It is time to pull out the shorts, place on the hat, find the big picnic blanket, and lather up the sun screen, people! Sorry December, but the most wonderful time of the year is here in Arizona…. It’s Spring Training time. Maybe I am a little biased to March in the desert. Beautiful wild flowers are now blooming around town. The sun is warming us in the day. The gentle breeze is cooling our skin at night. (Plus, my birthday and our anniversary are celebrated this month, too.) However, one thing is for sure, if you enjoy the outdoors, a great time, friends, and fun as much as I do, then chances are you will love a good old-fashioned day at the ballpark. Whether you like baseball or not, is not an issue. Spring Training is a time for everyone, for adults and kids, any age and any size. If you decide to bring the little ones, then look no further!
Tips for Catching Spring Training Games with Kids:
- Bring stickers, crayons, markers, etc. and lots of paper for the kids. Just like the airplane, they might need a little distraction to stay seated.
- Pack empty water bottles in your bags. Most places will not allow outside drinks in, though some might allow unopened sealed water bottles. If you don’t like carrying the extra weight of a ton of filled waters around from the parking lot to your seats, then just bring the containers in without the liquid and fill them up at a drinking fountain inside. They are usually outside the bathrooms. Ask the concessions to fill them with ice, too.
- Did you forget the sunblock? Not to worry. Some stadiums, like Salt River Fields, offer free sunblock at various locations throughout the complex. Just ask where the sunblock dispensers might be found and slap some on.
- Don’t underestimate the power of shade. I learned this secret one year when we got to the stadium early to watch batting practice from our lawn seats in the outfield. After a very short time of sitting in the sun with young kids, I wanted to go home and the game had not even started yet. I quickly searched for shade from where we could still enjoy the game. I found it! Not only is the Jumbo-Tron good for keeping score, it also works as an umbrella. The shade it provides will move throughout the innings so be prepared to shift a bit and lay the blanket out accordingly. If you can afford it, pay the extra money and reserve seats that you know will be shady the whole game. If you do buy the sunless seats, then remember to pack light sweaters for all. It can get chilly when you are not in the sun.
- If you purchase the grassy seats, then maybe bring tennis balls and the kids’ gloves. In between innings, you can roll balls down the hill to your kids and work on their grounders.
- Look for in-the-park activities for the kids to do during the game. Salt River Fields offers kids the chance to hit pitched wiffle balls on a miniature turf diamond behind the seats down the right field line. They love it.
- Plan to attend with other families with kids. The more the merrier.
- Be proud and loud. If you made it to the 7th inning stretch, then you deserve to sing. Shout out for those peanuts and Cracker Jacks, Mom and Dad. You reached more than 70% of the game with kids by your side. Add “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” to your summer road trip sing-a-long playlist.
There are over 10 different Spring Training venues to pick from throughout the Valley in the Cactus League. Find one near you. Grab a scooter, a bike, your sneakers, or hop in the car and trek your family’s way to a game. Hey, why stop at one? Maybe hit them all and see which stadium your crew likes the best. Enjoy!