November 20, 2017

Take Me Out to the Ball Game (for Family-Friendly Perks)

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Baseball parks are a staple of summer fun. You’ve got classic foods (hot dogs, popcorn and peanuts), the opportunity to meet your favorite players, the hope of catching a foul ball and, of course, rooting for the home team. But nowadays, ballparks are doing a lot more to make the experience family-friendly. As baseball season begins to wind down, here are some treats to look out for the next time you cheer on your favorite team.

Freebies on Special Promotion Days: Major companies sponsor special promotions, offering freebies to fans who arrive early to the game or for children up to a certain age. Recent promotions have included free soccer balls at Chase Stadium (home of the Arizona Diamondbacks), Rawlings bats at Busch Stadium (home of the St. Louis Cardinals), and Taco Bell chip and dip platters at Kauffman Stadium (home of the Kansas City Royals).

Head online to check out your team’s schedule, which often lists out the special promotion days. Buying tickets for games on these days will definitely maximize your game day experience. If you do go on a promotion day, be sure to get to the park within the opening hour because some promotions are limited to the first fans that enter the park!

Special Perks in Guest Services: Stop by Guest Services, usually air-conditioned offices right on the main concourse, for free certificates commemorating your child’s first game at the ballpark. Such a great memento. The staff may also offer you advice and guides on kid friendly areas of the stadium, as well as tips on where and when to find the team mascot for photo opps.

Playgrounds to Keep the Kids Entertained: Most ballparks now have areas to keep little ones entertained in between innings. Very often there are jungle gyms and playgrounds sponsored by local businesses. Kauffman Stadium, for example, has an entire play center, where kids can practice in a batting cage, ride on a carousel, putt on a mini golf course and run the bases of a mock field. Some parks charge a nominal fee for these activities, but it’s worth it during those games that go extra innings.

Opps to Run the Bases: Many parks will allow children to run the actual bases on the field after weekend day games. Check with the ballpark before you go to find out which days the park is offering this perk to kids. Most stadiums have the process down to a science and the line moves quickly, but be sure to ask the staff about when and where you can line up.

Healthy & Wallet-Friendly Food Options: Sure, you’ll still find nachos and chicken fingers at most every ballpark, but some parks are becoming more health- and wallet- conscious. Busch Stadium, for example, has two Farmer’s Markets where you can purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. They even have gluten-free options! Many ballparks also have ticket and food packages. Busch Stadium has a package where you can get a ticket, hot dog and large drink for only $15.

Easy Ways to Stay Cool: Ballparks want to make sure you stay healthy. Any ballpark will give you complimentary water – most have coolers stationed throughout the park to make sure you stay hydrated.  You can also go to concession stands and ask for free ice water. Another way to beat the heat is to find the misting fans located around the park to cool you off- and you’ll find just as many adults as children crowded around them!

Jenn Record lives in Trumbull, CT with her husband two young children.

Photo Credit: ladybugsnleopards

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