15 Most Child Friendly Stadiums in MLB
Let's face it, going to the ballpark with a kid can turn into quite an ordeal.
Kids play little league and softball, they look up to Major Leaguers as their idols and heroes; they certainly belong at Big League ballparks.
For the parents who are bringing them, though, there are things to consider such as concession stand availability, in between inning entertainment, children play areas for when the game just isn't enough and of course bathrooms. What parent hasn't had to rush a child to the bathroom, after all?
Major League Baseball and all 30 teams do a good job of realizing they need to accommodate parents with the amenities that will allow for an enjoyable experience for parent and child.
Besides, they're building a relationship with these future ticket buyers as well. Remember the old saying "get 'em young and you got 'em for life."
Based on reviews by some of the sports media's best and fans' experiences, I have compiled a list of the top 15 child friendly stadiums.
Disclaimer: I have not personally attended all 30 stadiums and may not be aware of all the amenities that may make one stadium better than one on my list. If you feel like another stadium is more child-friendly than one of these 15, please leave a comment with the information you feel is relevant.
Texas Rangers: Rangers Ballpark in Arlington
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Not taking into consideration the tragic events that took place earlier this season at the stadium, the Texas Rangers have one of the more family friendly environments in the league.
From their mascot, Ranger's Captain, to their Little Sluggers area on the Vandergriff Plaza, the Texas Rangers have turned Ranger's ballpark into a very kid friendly outing.
There are 20 men's and 20 women's restrooms throughout the stadium, taking care of a very important element of taking the kids to the game.
They also have an abundant amount of food and souvenir stands throughout the park.
Detroit Tigers: Comerica Park
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The Detroit Tigers have a carousel and a ferris wheel at their stadium. They have the MLB 2K zone and also the walk of fame for the slightly older kids and teens.
The Tigers definitely have a variety of options at their park if the game being played between the lines is not entertainment enough.
Among their many promotions this year, the Tigers also had a "Every Kid, Every Sunday" promotion they ran throughout 2011, giving away a variety of items to make the trip to the ballpark memorable.
Milwaukee Brewers: Miller Park
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From the famous "Racing Sausages" to Bernie the Brewer, Milwaukee puts some entertainment on the field other than just the players.
Bernie has a few kids zone attractions named after him as well: Bernie's clubhouse, Bernie's dugout and slide and Bernie's dugout kid's slide. There is also the fast pitch, hit a homer and race to first base.
Stepping aside from the fun stuff for a minute, there are plenty of food options and souvenir stands throughout the park for the younger Brewer fans' enjoyment.
And when nature calls, in addition to an abundance of both men's and women's restrooms, there are also five family restrooms.
Cincinnati Reds: Great American Ballpark
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The Reds have built into their stadium a family "Fan Zone."
The "Fan Zone" features interactive games for kids, a playground, the Mega Concession Stand, Picnic Deck, Rose Garden, the Concert Stage and the Mike-sell's Picnic Tent.
The Reds feature "Family Days" on Sundays throughout the regular season and giveaway promotional items to kids on such days. They also had scheduled several fireworks nights, always popular amongst the younger portion of the fan base.
St. Louis Cardinals: Busch Stadium
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The Family Pavilion at Busch Stadium in St. Louis has many features that cater to younger fans.
At the Family Pavilion younger Cardinal fans will find the 2K Sports Zone, batting cages and the fast pitch. In addition to the regular fan souvenir shops, there is also a Build-a-Bear shop in the stadium.
The Cardinals sponsor "Six Flags" days on Sundays for children 48" and under as well as several giveaways created for the younger fans throughout the year.
There are 13 family restrooms scattered throughout the stadium as well, adding even more convenience for the family to bring their young ones to the game.
Seattle Mariners: Safeco Field
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Just in case the Mariner Moose is not reason enough for kids to come out to a game in Seattle, the Mariners have added a number of attractions throughout Safeco Field to make a ballgame a family event.
The Moose's Den is a family zone with several attractions for younger kids who can not maintain focus on the game being played on the field. There are also Nintendo Fan Network kiosks throughout the stadium, a children's playfield and the children's wishing well.
Kids at Safeco Field even have their own souvenir shop, The Kids Clubhouse.
Houston Astros: Minute Maid Park
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The Houston Astros biggest promotion towards family and kids is the "Family Sundays" promotion on their schedule.
The Family Sundays event includes a kids fun zone with inflatable games, a giant slide and a sea of balls. There are video games including Wii and MLB 2K Sports, face painters, balloon artists and wax hands.
You can even take photos with Astros mascots Junction Jack, Junction Julie and/or Cousin Jesse.
After the game kids 14 and under are invited down to the field to run the bases.
Once again, there are plenty of restrooms spread throughout the park to assure that you won't have to wait too long in line when the kids need to go.
Los Angeles Angels: Angels Stadium
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The Angels are owned by Disney, do you really think they would not be a kid friendly team and stadium?
At Angel Stadium kids have the Family Zone, Halo Toss, Kids Area and a speed pitch to keep them entertained during games.
There are a number of souvenir and merchandise shops spread all throughout the stadium, including a number of kiosks. The food options are plentiful as well a Carl's Jr and some snacks to keep the kids happy.
If all else fails, I guess you could go down the road to Disney Land, but that would sort of defeat the purpose of a ballgame family outing.
Colorado Rockies: Coors Field
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The Colorado Rockies are another family/kid friendly team.
Coors Field has the 2K Sports area behind Gate A, Kids Play Area behind Section 149, Pro Batter and Pro Batter Jr, Speed Pitch and Speed Pitch 2 and a Tee-Ball booth (all behind Gate A).
For those looking to bring something home to remember the day, there are a number of souvenir shops including a Nike for Kids store and a baseball card shop.
The Rockies didn't do many kid-geared promotions in 2011, but they did host a good number of fireworks shows which are always popular with the younger fans and also gave away a kids hat and t-shirt player jerseys.
Cleveland Indians: Progressive Field
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The Cleveland Indians have Kids Fun Days Activities that are open until the fifth inning of each home game at Progressive Field.
Events that the kids can participate in include a home run derby, batting cages, speed pitch, wild pitch and a 'lil' sluggers activity.
The Indians also sponsor a mascot meet-and-greet, "signature Sundays," run the bases, an animal show and a Radio Disney event.
Kids Fun Days are scheduled for Saturdays, although the Indians schedule a number of other promotions including Indians Team Bands, T-Shirts, hats and of course fireworks.
Baltimore Orioles: Camden Yards
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Gate C at Baltimore's Camden Yards is the spot for kids to hangout when they aren't watching the game.
Located at Gate C, the Orioles have the Kids Corner and the Strike Zone.
Younger children may find it amusing to watch the Orioles mascot, "The Oriole Bird," run around the stadium pulling all the usual hijinks that mascots engage in.
On top of having some of the best food selection in the Majors, Camden Yards also has some kid friendly snacks such as cotton candy and ice cream snacks too.
There are 28 sets of men's and women's restrooms at the park so either mom or dad can take junior to the bathroom when the need arises and without having to stand in a long line. You'll be back to your seats watching the game before you know it.
Washington Nationals: Nationals Park
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The best spot for families and kids at Nationals Park is the Family Picnic Area.
In the Family Picnic Area there is the Exxon Strike Zone, the Geico Racing Presidents, the kids play area and the Playstation Pavilion.
There are 21 candy, ice cream and sweets stands throughout the park (in addition to a plethora of more adult options).
On Sundays kids can run the bases and there have been a number of other promotions such as a bat and ball set, kids jerseys and hat days.
Philadelphia Phillies: Citizen's Bank Park
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The Phillie Phanatic is one of the more amusing mascots in all of baseball, definitely entertaining for younger children.
In addition to the Phanatic, though, the Phillies have placed several attractions within Citizen's Bank Ballpark to help entertain kids during the game.
There is the Phanatic Shoe Slide and Rock Climbing, Ring 'em up, the Phanatic Phun Zone, Phan Photo and Phan Trivia, and the Citizen's Bank Games of Baseball.
The Phillies also have one of the best kids promotion schedules in the league, including shirts, hats and even action figurines of the players.
Pittsburgh Pirates: PNC Park
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The Pirates have one of the best ballparks in all of baseball, PNC Park is one of baseball's gems.
Located within the park, the Pirates have the Kids Play Land, open until the eighth inning of every home game. The play land features a miniature PNC Park configuration as well as a multi-purpose play set.
Following Sunday games kids 14 and under are invited to run the bases.
PNC Park has one of the best food selections in the league and plenty of options for kids.
The Pirates also have one of the best kids promotion schedules in the league. They give their younger guests hats, shirts, action figures, a baseball glove, bats and bobbleheads.
San Francisco Giants: AT&T Park
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In addition to the official mascot, Lou Seal, the Giants also have made unofficial mascots out of a few of their own players: Pablo Sandoval has become the Panda and comes with his own hat, Brandon Belt is now the baby giraffe, also coming with his own new animal hat.
The park has its own attractions aside from animal hats. The Coca-Cola slide is one of the most well known attractions in the park. There is also the AT&T Fun Zone located at section 116 and the batting cages and speed pitch located at the Marina Gate.
The Kids Corner, behind section 24, has several attractions for kids during the game as well as the Little Giants Park behind section 137.
There are also MLB The Show Playstation 3 kiosks by sections 115 and 129 for fans to play and enjoy.
There are plenty of food options around the park as well as within walking distance outside the park.
There are souvenir shops throughout, including a fantasy photo store, build-a-bear shop and a Topps baseball card shop inside.
Despite a rough season, the Giants have also been able to add to the atmosphere by being the reigning World Series Champions, a fact not lost even on the younger generation of fans in the stands.