While the baseball season is coming to a close, it’s not too late to enjoy baseball with the kids. Contributing author Kerri Zane details her top 10 picks for family-friendly baseball stadiums across the country. Whether it’s getting to run the bases, hanging out with mascots, or playing with their friends and siblings, it’s easy to have fun and enjoy a good game.
October is playoff season for Major League Baseball. In honor of America’s favorite pastime, how about planning a family trip to see the venues where your favorite teams battled it out on the diamond? It is an especially meaningful trip for single moms to bond with their boys.
So, pack up your glove and baseball cap, don your team’s jersey, and hit the top ten best stadiums in North America for you and your kids to experience the adventure of a lifetime.
1. Chase Field, the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, has recently been in the news for controversy involving one of the stadium’s most unique features. Located behind right field sits the Pool Pavilion for guests to rent out during games. What could be better than enjoying a live baseball game AND a relaxing swim? Apparently, the Los Angeles Dodgers were thinking the same thing when, after clinching the NL West Championship, they jumped into the pool. While the Diamondbacks and their fans found their poolside celebrating rude and disrespectful, who can blame them? The Pool Pavilion is the perfect place to celebrate any occasion. If you are looking for a fun, memorable experience, grabbing your kids and inviting your friends down to the Pool Pavilion at Chase Filed might just be the way to go.
2. Another great team to check out this playoff season? The Toronto Blue Jays. The Rogers Centre is a great place to visit with kids. Not only will you get to see some great baseball (without having to worry about the weather because of the retractable roof), but you can enjoy a no-hassle trip by staying at the Renaissance Toronto Downtown Hotel, which is the only hotel located in a Major League Baseball (MLB) venue. In addition to having its own accommodations, Rogers Centre caters to kids with its Junior Jays Saturdays program. During Saturday home games, families can participate and gain access to the Junior Jays Zones. In addition to hosting fun, family-friendly activities in these Junior Jays Zones, the Blue Jays’ mascots, Ace and Junior, visit each zone. Junior Jays can participate in outdoor activities pregame, and they even get to run the bases post game. With its family-centered fun activities, it is no wonder baseball fans love the Blue Jays.
3. The Pittsburgh Pirates also offer great fun for kids. In addition to the beautiful views of downtown Pittsburgh that you get to enjoy from your seats, PNC Park offers great amenities for kids. Not only can your kids run the bases after games, but PNC Park has a miniature version of itself in its Kids Play Land located in right field. The Kids Play Land also features a multipurpose play set for kids to enjoy. In addition to being kid friendly, PNC Park puts parents at ease with their Kids Identification Bracelets. Kids who enter the park receive identification bracelets with their name and seat number, so lost children can be returned to their parents quickly.
4. Kauffman Stadium, home of the Kansas City Royals, was remodeled in 2009 to add a number of family friendly amenities. In addition to adding a brand new scoreboard, more seating, and more bathrooms, Kauffman Stadium added batting cages, pitching cages, a five-hole miniature golf course, a themed carousel, and a kids play area. They also allow kids to run the bases on the field.
5. In addition to their unique fountain at Comerica Park, the Detroit Tigers encourage fans to bring their kids out to games for some family fun. Their Every Kid Every Sunday program includes free prizes, free rides on the carousel and Ferris wheel, free face painting, and kids get to run the bases. They also have batting cages and kids identification wristbands to ensure your kids make it back to you safely if they get lost.
6. Petco Park is the home of the San Diego Padres. Every Sunday, they host KidsFest at the park, which features a fun zone with bounce houses, face painting, balloon artists, and other fun family activities. Sundays are great days to take your kids to enjoy a day at the ballpark as a family. The Padres also have giveaway days where fans get special prizes for being the first ones into the park.
7. AT&T Park in San Francisco is a great place to watch the Giants play. They offer a Kids Corner, fun animal hats, and kids can run the bases. The greatest part for families on a budget? You can bring in your own food. Many stadiums require that you purchase your food and drinks at the concession stands, but AT&T Park allows you to save money by packing your own food. It’s a great opportunity to watch baseball without spending too much money.
8. Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros, offers a special Family Sundays ticket package. The Squeeze Play Kid Zone in the main concourse is a fun area for kids. Minute Maid Park provides families with opportunities to play games, get their faces painted, and receive balloon animals. In addition to all the fun activities, kids can run the bases. Family Sundays are chalk full of fun activities for kids and families.
9. Nothing beats the history of the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, originally built in 1912. One standout feature at Fenway Park is the Green Monster. The Green Monster is a thirty-seven-foot green wall in left field. It is a great place to catch home run balls. Last year Fenway Park upgraded several suites and clubhouse with state-of-the-art technology. New options have been added to the menu so guests can enjoy a variety of different foods. Fenway Park is a great place to take your to experience the history of baseball.
10. Citizens Bank Park, home of the Philadelphia Phillies, provides some great mascot-based fun. Phanatic, the Phillies mascot, pumps up the crowd, providing fun entertainment for kids. Citizens Bank Park also has a play area for kids and for select games kids can run the bases. There is plenty of family fun to be had at a Phillies game, not to mention you get to see some great baseball.
While visiting a ballpark is a great family fun activity, these MLB stadiums provide the perfect atmosphere for kids. Don’t miss out on your baseball adventure this play-off season. Visit one of these stadiums with your kids and enjoy the perfect baseball family vacation.
By Kerri Zane for PeterGreenberg.com. Kerri Zane is a family travel expert and author of It Takes All 5: A Single Mom’s Guide to Finding the REAL One, on sale now. For more advice on health, parenting or Kerri’s exclusive MomEscapes, visit her at KerriZane.com.