Disclaimer: Thank you to the Rock Cats baseball organization for providing us with tickets to the baseball game and for complimentary access to the kids play area. All opinions are 100% my own.
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Nothing says summertime like baseball, right? And for a few little ones in the OAAM entourage, baseball is a new obsession.
So, when we had a free Saturday night a few weeks ago, the whole crew met up in New Britain, Connecticut for a Rock Cats minor league baseball game.
The game we decided to attend started at 6:35 pm and I was a little unsure if that start time would work with my crew.
These days, the baby goes to bed around 6:30 and the twins are usually asleep by 7:30. Shawna and her crew were also joining us, but Boo is a bit of a night owl these days, so I figured he could probably hang at this event.
I mentioned my timing concerns to the Rock Cats’ Marketing Director and he had a recommendation: arrive when the gates open at 5:00 pm (they open 90 minutes before the start of the game on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays), check out the stadium, check out the kids play area, grab some dinner and then stay for a few innings of the game.
Can you tell he has little ones and has done this a time or two?
His suggestion sounded perfect, so that is exactly what we did.
Now, since I’m never on time for anything these days, I think we actually ended up getting there a little after 5:00 pm.
As we pulled into the stadium’s parking lot, I saw the sign with information on the parking prices: $7 for premium parking and $5 for regular parking, cash only. Since we were there so early, there was plenty of parking available. We paid the $5 fee and were directed to a space that was pretty close to the stadium entrance.
Don’t they look cute walking into their first baseball game? I’m a bit biased, I know.
Outside the gates, people were waiting to go inside and there were plenty of activities to keep them busy.
We even got a chance to check out this cool thing called The Art Truck which was visiting that day.
After Sparkles finished her coloring session, we grabbed our tickets and made our way inside.
Once inside, we met up with Shawna, her husband, and Boo and then made a bee-line for the Kids Fun Zone.
The Fun Zone is located behind section 215. If you come in the main entrance, just hang a left and head straight. You can’t miss it.
To get in, the cost is $5 per child and they will receive a wristband that will allow for unlimited re-entry. (A word of caution. I think all of the kids pulled off their wristbands at some point. Just keep an eye on them in case they decide to tear them off and you still want to come back for another visit.)
A few rules for the play area are listed below.
Note that the sock requirement is not a hard and fast rule. The guy manning the area said they realize most kids are wearing sandals in the summer and do not have socks.
If you remember, bring them. If not, no big deal.
The area is not huge, but it has plenty of activities to keep the little ones entertained. There is a bounce house with a mini slide attached, a giant slide, some games, and a swing set.
The kids spent a solid 45 minutes playing here before we decided to go find our seats and maybe grab a bite to eat and possibly an adult drink (I mean, you must have beer at a baseball game, right?)
We found our seats and got everyone situated while we waited for the game to start.
The kids were entertained watching the grounds crew put the finishing touches on the ball field.
Before we knew it, the game was getting started.
The OAAM crew took up pretty much a whole row.
I even got a chance to sneak in a baby bump shot 🙂 (I still can’t believe it is only a few more weeks until our newest crew member arrives!)
While the kids were entertained with witnessing their first live baseball game, I took the chance to get us something to eat.
There was a variety of food offerings available. I saw a concession stand selling Bar-b-que and one with wraps, salads and pizza. While all of those options sounded good, all I really wanted was ball park favorite, hot dogs! (shhhhh don’t rat me out to my latest food blog obsession, 100 Days of Real Food. I have a feeling that hot dogs are definitely not on the “real food” list.)
I grabbed a couple of dogs, a soft pretzel and a beer for me (I deserve it!) Shawna picked up some goodies for her family too. She was smart and got a big bucket of popcorn for Boo. I think that was her secret weapon in getting him to sit still for a few innings. I need to remember that trick for the next game!
Sweetheart enjoyed some of the treats we purchased, but I also brought her favorite little squeeze packets.
Oh and Shawna snapped this cute picture of Sweetheart and her Daddy that I just had to share.
While Shawna and I were out gathering up some food, we checked out the bathroom situation. There are regular restrooms and at least one family restroom. According to the Rock Cats’ site, they all have baby changing stations (yay). We were able to verify the authenticity of this statement based on our sample set of one bathroom visit 🙂
So, around the 4th or 5th inning, the kids were done eating and they were starting to get restless. We decided it was time to head back out to the Kids Fan Zone for a little break.
Once there, they played and played and played and had a great time.
After a while, though, we had to start taking into account that it was pretty far past their bed time and we should probably think about heading home.
I think they could have ridden the giant slide for another hour if they got the chance.
We were able to round the kids up and we went back inside to get one last look at the ball field before heading home. We timed it well and got a chance to participate in the 7th inning stretch and sing “Take me out to the ball game” with Rocky the mascot.
Making it to the beginning of the seventh inning was about all these little ones could handle, though. We were pretty sure that a melt down was right around the corner, so it was time to make our way home.
Back in the car, it was lights out for all three of my kids. Hopefully the outing resulted in an easy bedtime for Boo’s parents as well! There is nothing better than a bunch of worn-out toddlers at day’s end. Usually that means a good night sleep for everyone. Yay!
Have you been to a Rock Cats game? What are your tips?
New Britain Stadium
635 South Main Street, New Britain CT
Hours & Admission:
- The 2013 game schedule can be found here.
- The stadium gates open one hour prior to game time on weekdays, and ninety minutes before game time on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. All ballpark services are available once the gates have opened.
- 2013 ticket prices range from $6 to $20, but promotional deals are also sometimes available. More details can be found here.
Tips & Things to Bring:
- Parking is $5 for standard and $7 for premium. Cash only.
- A variety of food and beverages are available for purchase inside the stadium.
- A Kids Fun Zone is available for the little ones. It is located behind section 215 (left field) next to the exit at the end of the stadium. It contains games, a giant slide, moon bounce/slide inflatable, and a small playscape. Tickets are $5 per child and includes unlimited entry. Cash only.
- One of the Fun Zone rules is that kids should wear socks. If your child is wearing sandals, though, and you didn’t bring socks (like us), no worries, they can still play in this area.
- Gates open 60 – 90 minutes before the games begin (depending on the day).
- The event is outside, of course, so I would recommend bringing your standard sun gear (hats, glasses, sun tan lotion, etc.) For evening games, I would also suggest bringing some bug spray.
- All restrooms have baby changing stations and there is a family restroom available.
- I would not suggest bringing a stroller to the stadium. There are stairs everywhere. We used an ergo carrier for Sweetheart and that worked out well.
- Have more questions? A lot of answers can be found here.
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