Camel Races for a Fun Virginia City, Nevada Weekend
Camels racing in Virginia City, Nevada, at the annual September Races.

Time travel to Virginia City, a Nevada town that offers families the chance to experience what life was like in a 19th-century mining “boomtown” — and see how fast camels can run. Located just a 45-minute drive from the Reno-Tahoe area, you’ll step back in time as you visit historic buildings and old-fashioned saloons.

Kids of all ages should enjoy taking a mine tour and riding a real steam train.

Virginia City is entertaining anytime of year, but its biggest annual event is the International Camel and Ostrich Races. Tens of thousands of spectators gather to watch novice jockeys race on camels and ostriches. The races span three days, and will take place from Friday, September 8 through Sunday, September 10, 2017.

The festivities begin at noon each day, with spectators allowed to grab a seat as early as 10am. Not only will camels and ostriches be racing, the occasional zebra might decide to join the fun. Saturday begins with a photo-worthy camel parade.

The 58th annual edition will be the second year in a spanking new venue. The Virginia City Arena and Fairgrounds boasts more parking options, better visibility with a circular arena (versus the horseshoe previously used) and improved handicap and stroller access.

Want to relieve the Wild West in Virginia City?

Ticket prices are fair. For 2017, general admission was $8-$10. VIP admission was $40 for any of the days. Additionally, In Arena tickets were available for $25 and up. Toddlers and small children who sit on an adult’s lap are free.

Trip Planning Details for the Camel Races

Stay longer than a weekend. Virginia City has more to see and do than you might expect, as you can tell from our roundup of Virginia City family attractions. FTF writer Allison Tibaldi stayed at the Goldhill Hotel, built in 1861, and enjoyed it and its long history. Gold Hill has tiny rooms in the historic section priced from just $50, ranging up to free-standing cabins sleeping six to eight from $150 and up. You’ll have to book ahead anywhere during the Camel Races weekend.

And if camels are what you’ve come for, tickets for the event can be purchased online at

For more information on Virginia City, go to Visit Virginia City NV.



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