Looking for the perfect family getaway? Somewhere to spend the day outside and away from all the technology of today's world? How about taking the family to escape to the 16th-century style at the Scarborough Renaissance Festival? Step into the castle doors and become a knight, a wizard, a fairy, or an elf! Spend the day walking the 35-acre recreation of an English village celebrating the visit of King Henry VIII, his beloved wife, Catherine of Aragon, and their guests to the “Village of Scarborough”. Become engulfed into the world with live entertainment, artisans, food, and magic. I can think of no better way to spend time with my family.
About Scarborough Renaissance Festival
The 40th Annual Scarborough Renaissance Festival is fun for everyone, 16th Century style! Here you can enjoy amazing exhibits such as full combat jousting and birds of prey; a Mermaid Lagoon, 25+ stages of non-stop Renaissance style entertainment, and 50+ member performing company. Don't forget shopping! Discover hundreds of shops featuring exquisite crafts and authentic artisan demonstrations. Get in on the experiences with Knighting Ceremonies, combat competitions, a Grande Parade, Renaissance rides, games of skill and so much more.
And when you're "fill'd with pangs of hunger", you can feast like a king with their famous giant roasted Turkey Legs and the largest food-on-a-stick selection in Texas plus delectable favorites from the Village Bakery, Pasta Palace, and more! Care to wet your whistle? Visit one of the 12 pubs & taverns, the full-service restaurant, or the daily wine and beer tasting events. But before you come, be sure to check out the theme for the weekend! Every weekend has a different theme and a variety of special events so no two trips are ever the same!
The theme for our trip was Artisan's Showcase Weekend! We spent the day visiting many shops and watching artisans show off their creative masteries. It was fantastic! Speaking of our trip, allow me to share with you our trip and what to expect when visiting the festival.
I highly recommend visiting the festival as soon as or even earlier than they open. So many people love the Scarborough Renaissance Festival, that a line outside quickly forms. But don't worry, the staff is quick and well prepared. We didn't have to wait long before we were wandering the grounds. The Festival is separated into three main areas, Holly Field, Crown Meadow. and Pecan Grove. To find your way around easier, I recommend buying the map booklet. It'll tell you show times, where to find certain shops, and includes a detailed map of the entire location. It was very helpful. Our first stop was in Pecan Grove to visit the Mermaid Lagoon!
In Mermaid Lagoon, my daughters got to meet several mermaids and ask them questions only mermaid could answer. The artists were beautiful and wonderfully designed. They sat in tubs of water as to not "dry out". My youngest was overjoyed with meeting a "real-life" mermaid! It was like a dream come true! It was certainly a precursor of the top-notch showmanship we could expect from the rest of the festival.
Before heading to the next show we wandered a bit in Pecan Grove. There my girls were able to enjoy an elephant ride, take part in a maze scavenger hunt, and we even got them fitted in their own life like elf ears. A definite must stop, is Fair Winks in Pecan Grove (or their larger booth Fairy Haven in Holly Field) to get your own elf ears! They have a large selection of different styles and even color match the ears to your skin tone. Then they carefully and skillfully attach the ears for you. They look so lifelike and it added to our festival experience. If you want the most out of your trip, come dressed up. The staff loves to interact with the visitors, especially those who look the part.
Our next stop was over to Crown Meadow, to see the Birds of Prey show. Another one of my must-see stops! The Birds of Prey exhibition is conducted by “Last Chance Forever” Birds of Prey Conservancy. Here they give an entertaining and educational show using live birds. If you want to see all the action up close, get there before the show starts so you can sit right upfront. We got to learn about different falcons, owls, vultures, and even bald eagles. All taught by the very educational, Master Falconer. It is a sight to be seen!
After the show, we headed over to Holly Field to enjoy some light shopping and a quick snack break of fish and chips, foot-long corn dogs, and funnel cakes. There are so many different options of places to eat that it's difficult to pick just one. One place I recommend stopping by is The Bakery. Here you'll find artisan breads, mini-cakes, tarts, coffee, hot tea, iced chai, and more. At The Bakery, we got iced chai, hot coffee, and some of the richest cheesecake I've ever had. It was heavenly!
After all the sugar, we had to get moving. What better way than to visit all the rides! Scarborough Renaissance Festival offers so many different ride options and they are all man-powered. That's right, you won't find any motors here. It's incredible to see the ingenuity in all the different options. From jousting on wooden horses to swinging in pulley-powered pirate ships, the kids loved every second! You can find rides scattered all over the festival grounds but Pecan Grove seems to be the place to be for most of the rides.
Our final must-see stop for the day was to see the Joust. We watched two great knights fight against each other on horseback and with might swords. All while we stood on the sidelines and cheered till our throats were raw. The sportsmanship involved was amazing! The King & Queen stood above us all as the knight fought for their honor. Each knight had their own back story which made the crowd cheer for them more. And when one knight stood victorious, some cheered and some booed, but everyone walked away with a smile. It was the perfect way to end the perfect day.
What's great about Scarborough Renaissance Festival is even if you just wander around, you will stumble upon something entertaining or bump into friendly people willing to share a laugh or two. In all, we stayed from open to close, and I still don't think we got to experience everything that Scarborough Renaissance Festival had to offer. There's just so much to see and experience that one blog post can't begin to touch on it all. We fed parakeets, met a giant "Baby" in his high chair, took a trip through a museum of Mystical Monsters, stopped for amazing photo ops, and even saw a cat performing tricks. We had such a fanatic trip, one that my kids will be talking about for years to come. And it certainly won't be our last trip to Scarborough Renaissance Festival.