PLEASE NOTE: This post was written in 2017, and while it should still give you a good overview of the experience, it may also contain some outdated information. Please be sure to visit their website for the most up-to-date information, especially about things like schedules & pricing.
We’ve got Audrey and her family back on the blog this week to get us in the summertime spirit (you know, if that high of 93 today didn’t do the trick-ha!) with her recent adventure at a New Britain Bees game at New Britain Stadium. There’s peanuts and Cracker Jacks…and a carousel and a bounce house! You won’t believe how family-friendly a baseball game can be!
But first, we’re experiencing an epidemic here at Out and About Mom. We’ve got…wait for it…BABY FEVER! That’s right! Bug is going to be a big brother!
But let’s get back to summer for now. We’ve got a lot of fun coming up this season, and we’re kicking it off with that quintessential summer staple: America’s favorite pastime 🙂
Thank you to the New Britain Bees for giving my family complimentary admission to a New Britain Bees game for the purpose of writing this post. All opinions are 100% my own.
Taking your active 3-year-old to a baseball game is the first thing that comes to mind when most people think about a fun activity to celebrate Mother’s Day, right? No? Maybe not, but without the slightest shred of sarcasm, I’m happy to report that my little family had a truly wonderful time when we made a Mother’s Day trip to New Britain Stadium to see the New Britain Bees.
It had rained heavily the night before and morning of, so I was slightly concerned Bug was going to have a soggy first experience at a baseball game. However, in a truly fortuitous turn of events, it wound up being a real “Goldilocks” kind of day; clear, not too hot, and not too cold. And because the weather forecast had looked kind of crumby, it also wasn’t too crazy busy! Juuuust right.
I had picked a Sunday date to attend a game because every Sunday home game is a Hardware City Family Fun Day! Players sign autographs before the game (usually 12:40-1:00 pm, from what I gathered on the promo page of the Bee’s website) and kids (and kids at heart) can run the bases after the game.
Parking at the stadium is available in a spacious surface lot for $5 a car (attendants in the lot will collect your $5 fee–bring cash!). And though we had intended on arriving earlier to maybe snag some autographs, we of course arrived about 20 minutes before the 1:35 pm game time. Oops! We also found out when we arrived that the game would be a double-header (the previous day’s game had been cancelled due to the aforementioned rain), so kids would not be allowed to run the bases until after the second game. And this is why you do not share such information with children until you are absolutely, 100% certain something is going to happen (oops again!). But this is what that activity would have looked like if we had been able to participate. So much fun!
No matter, though! Upon entering the stadium we received some free promotional goodies (on that day it was lip balm from the Durham, CT-based, Buzzle Balm)!
And we got to meet the Bees mascot, STING!!!
OK, so it wasn’t the Sting of The Police fame (hope I’m not dating myself here), but still pretty exciting! Since we arrived later than we had intended to, we made a quick pit stop at the restrooms and then a beeline for our seats so that we wouldn’t miss the start of the game.
There’s a family restroom next to the first aid station on the right when you enter the stadium but it, somewhat surprisingly, didn’t have a changing table. However, all of the other restrooms (both women’s and men’s) did. The family restroom would still be a great option for some extra privacy and space for helping a potty-training toddler or doing an outfit change if there was an accident or big spill.
After hitting the bathrooms (priority numero uno for a family with a 3-year-old and a 5-month-pregnant mamma), we made our way to our seats. We were very pleased with our spot right behind home plate, but truly I don’t think there’s a bad seat in the house.
However, all of the tickets are pretty affordable, especially when compared to an MLB game, so if you’re going with a young child like I did, you might want to spring for close seats. Though Bug definitely didn’t sit and focus for the entire game (and it was only 7 innings because it was a double-header), I think it would have been even tougher for him to pay attention or understand what was happening if he couldn’t see well. That being said, the image I used for the cover photo near the beginning of the post is a pic I took from the very top, outer edge of the right field bleachers and it was still a pretty good view!
After watching a bit of the game (we may have made it through about an inning or inning-and-a-half), it was time to check out the team store and get something to eat.
Though both the store and any of the concession stands we visited do take credit cards, there is an ATM in the store if you want to use cash.
It’s worth noting that the store is open both on game days and non-game days, if you simply MUST have your New Britain Bees merchandise immediately. The store also has a no returns or exchanges policy, so you’ll want to be absolutely certain your little one wants the yellow Bees shirt and not the black one before purchasing.
There was lots of fun, brightly colored Bees merchandise available for purchase for kids and adults alike. From caps and helmets to shirts and jerseys – there were even Bees branded kickballs, baseballs, and stuffed toys!
Bug eventually settled on a very cute Bees cap, giant foam finger (he particularly enjoys shouting “GO BEES!!!!” while waving it around in the air), and a souvenir scorecard (available at the counter along with souvenir programs).
Not all of the concession areas were open that day, but we found a good food selection at The Hardware City Grill.
I was pleased to see that they offered all of the requisite baseball game treats (hot dogs, peanuts, and Cracker Jacks) but also had a vegetarian burger on the menu. I, myself, am not of the vegetarian persuasion, but I know it can sometimes be hard to find decent vegetarian items in a counter-service situation, so it was a welcome sight! I then proceeded to order nachos with a mound of BBQ pulled pork…
Mmmmm…a very tasty Mother’s Day treat! There was also a stand for cotton candy and sno-cones nearby. It was manned for most of the game, but I did notice that it closed before the end of the game while the grill stayed open. So if cotton candy is a “must” during your visit, make sure you jump on that sooner rather than later!
With snacks and souvenirs acquired, we made our way back to our seats.
So I’ll admit now that the souvenir scorecard was my idea and was potentially a misguided attempt to keep Bug engaged with the game. While he did find it interesting for a bit, a lot of it went over his head. He did enjoy learning about America’s pastime from Daddy though! I’d consider that a win and it would absolutely be a good idea for older kids, in my opinion. I will be trying it again someday.
But once the appeal of the Cracker Jacks and scorecard started to wear off, I was very pleased that the New Britain Bees Fun Zone was an option.
For just $5 kids receive a wristband and can spend unlimited time enjoying a bounce house, big inflatable slide, and carousel. With the wristband, you can go to and from the Fun Zone as much as you want during the course of a game.
A few very basic rules apply to the inflatables, including the very standard “no shoes/no sharp objects” and some max capacity guidelines:
Bug loved everything about the Fun Zone, but I think my favorite part is that hanging out over there didn’t really separate us entirely from the experience of going to a baseball game. The outfield is right on the other side of the carousel and inflatable slide and the Bees’ bullpen is right next to the area as well, so we even got to see a couple of the relief pitchers warming up! My husband and I even got to continue to keep tabs on the game while Bug played since you can pretty easily see the scoreboard from the Fun Zone as well.
In fact, the Fun Zone is so close to the field that, while I was meandering back from the restroom, I happened to catch a foul ball! By “catch” of course I mean it rolled to my feet after bouncing down the concrete ramp that leads up to right field bleachers, but still! Bug was SUPER excited about it. He kept showing it to the other two kids playing in the Fun Zone and we eventually had to have a little bit of a chat about gloating (“It’s fine to show the other kids and share your excitement, but you don’t need to literally hold the ball in their faces and point out that you have a foul ball and they don’t”).
It did put a huge smile on my face seeing him so excited to be holding a real baseball from a real baseball game though. It made me realize that, even though sitting through the whole game wasn’t going to happen, he authentically enjoyed himself and was excited about being at his first game. Maybe the next time we go we’ll even get there early enough for one of the Bees to sign it 😉
Audrey Beatty is a work-at-home mom and proud CT native. Before becoming a mother, Audrey made her career working in marketing and development capacities at various notable nonprofits including The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts and Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network. Audrey now works from home assisting with grant writing for CPBN. Additionally, she manages a direct sales business as a consultant for Norwex and also volunteers for local arts-for-youth organization, Epoch Arts. In her (incredibly precious) spare time, she loves birding with her husband, painting, and playing outside with her son. Audrey is a regular contributor to Out and About Mom. Read all of Audrey’s posts here.
Phone: 860-826-BEES (2337)
Find them on Facebook!
Find a schedule of upcoming games here. Every Sunday home game is a Hardware City Family Fun Day.
Individual ticket prices range by seating location from $8-$13, but there are a variety of ticket packaging options including season tickets and 10-game mini plans. Visit the ticket page on the Bees’ website for more information. You can buy your tickets online or at the Stadium.
Stroller Friendly: YES
Coffee Mug Friendly: NO
Baby Changing Station: YES
Parking: YES, a surface lot at the cost of $5 per vehicle
Food for Sale: YES
Outside Food Allowed: NO
Cash Required: YES for parking fee; credit cards accepted everywhere in the stadium.
Dress Code: Dress appropriately for lots of outdoor time! Though the concession area is covered, most of the stadium seats are not and neither is the Fun Zone, so be prepared with sunscreen or UV resistant clothing on sunny summer days.
Age Recommendation: Depends entirely on the experience you’re hoping to have! If you don’t mind getting up and checking out the Fun Zone or concession stands if (when) your child gets restless, I found 3 to be an ideal age for my son’s first baseball game.
Evening/Weekend Hours: YES
Birthday Party Venue: YES. More info here.
Discounts: There are a variety of weekly promotions as well as a calendar of additional promotions on the promotions page of the New Britain Bees’ website.
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