The National Anthem. Peanuts. Cracker Jack. The smell of leather gloves and the crack of a bat. Spring is beginning, and baseball season is just around the corner.
This year, Major League Baseball begins its season March 29, which is earlier than years past. It’s also the first day since 1968 that every team in the Major Leagues will play on Opening Day. And I cannot wait for the unofficial start to summer and my goal to attend as many games at the ballpark as I can. Over the past ten years, I’ve attended over one hundred baseball games. In that time, I’ve become a baseball fan, learned more about the game than I thought possible, and many of the ins and outs of a day at the ballpark – especially as a mom.
My first ballgame after my son was born was on Opening Day, and it was daunting. I didn’t know entirely what to do with him during the game. Now that I have a toddler, I can’t say I have it all figured out, but I do have some tips that should help ensure your time spent attending a ballgame is fun and enjoyable for you and your little ones! Below are my best tips for your kid’s first baseball game.
Your Kid’s First Baseball Game—What To Know
The Texas Rangers’ ticket policy says that children under 36 inches can get in for free, but they have to sit in your lap. If it’s your first trip to the ballpark with your little one and they fit the lap child designation, it’s a great way to introduce them to the game! If they’re over 36 inches or you really don’t like the idea of a squirmy toddler on your lap for two hours in the dog days of summer, you can buy a discounted ticket in certain sections for kids under 13.
Get a First Game Certificate
Get a first game certificate by asking the greeters when you enter the ballpark.Ours even has a spot to affix the ticket from their first game, and it’s a great keepsake for them to hold onto!
Check for Kid-Friendly Promotions
Before you buy your tickets, check the promotions calendar to see if there is a fun giveaway, discounted food, or even a kid-friendly activity happening during the game. On March 30th, the Rangers are offering a Kids’ Opening Night, and a giveaway for the first 7,500 kids under 13, plus fireworks after the game! Wednesdays are Dollar Hot Dog nights—so helpful when feeding a crowd, and Sundays feature $1 kids’ Blue Bell ice cream (delicious and refreshing)! There are many different promotions and giveaways throughout the year, and you can find the Texas Rangers complete list of promotions here.
Pack a Bag
According to the Texas Rangers Fan Code of Conduct, fans may bring in a bag that is 16x16x8 inches or smaller, and all bags are subject to search. I like to carry the same clear bag I take to football games for consistency. My bag was a giveaway item and is similar to this one from Dick’s Sporting Goods. I try to carry anything I may find helpful during the game. For my two-year-old, that means snacks and crayons, but for your kids, it could include diapers and wipes, a scorecard for a budding Little Leaguer, and even a mitt to catch a foul ball – or a home run!
The last time I went to a Rangers game we were lucky enough to have tickets in a suite, which made nursing my son easy. However, that’s not always the case, and if we decide to grow our family, I may find myself in need of a quiet place to nurse in the future. At this time, the Rangers’ site doesn’t indicate that they have a nursing mom’s area, so if I were breastfeeding now, I’d talk to a greeter or Fan Accommodations to find a spot where I felt comfortable nursing my baby.
Take the Kids to Play
Most MLB teams offer a place for kids to climb, run, or play. The Rangers offers KidZone, which features climbing, video games, and coloring, for a fee. It is air-conditioned, and if your little one is anything like mine, you’ll find the time indoors refreshing on days when a two-hour game stretches into four, or for when your little one just can’t sit still for even one more inning.
Finally, remember to be flexible. Even for some adults, ballgames can get long and even seem dull. When we go to games with our two-year-old, we do a lot of walking around the ballpark to see everything it has to offer. A walk lets us all stretch our legs and helps work out the wiggles. You may find you have to leave a game early, offer more snacks than planned, or spend more time in the KidZone than you originally intended. As long as you stay flexible and go prepared, there is no reason you can’t take your kids of all ages to the ballpark this summer!