Summer just doesn’t feel right until I’ve attended a Kansas City Royals game at The K (Kauffman Stadium). Sitting in the breeze on a warm night, watching the game with a hot dog in hand, chatting with friends, swaying leisurely and singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” …
OK, so that was how I enjoyed baseball before I had kids. These days, I wouldn’t exactly use the word “leisurely” to describe the experience – but our family still loves to watch the Royals play live. As we all know, taking kids anywhere (much less to a major sporting event) can require some advance planning, so we’ve compiled all the important information you need in one place! Here are some tips for a great Royals game day experience with your family:
1. Pack for success. Bags up to 16x16x8 inches can be carried into the stadium – basically, bags the size of a small backpack or diaper bag. Hard-sided coolers are not allowed! In addition to essentials like sunscreen, cameras, and your favorite Royals gear, don’t forget to bring:
- Cash: Parking for cars and motorcycles costs $15 and stadium attendants accept cash only (the rest of the stadium accepts both cash and credit).
- Food: The K has a generous food policy which is great for families with kids. You can bring snacks into the stadium as long as they are packaged in soft-sided containers smaller than the maximum bag size.
- Water: Unopened plastic water bottles (one per person) of less than 1 liter are allowed in the stadium.
- Strollers or infant carriers: If your little person is still able and willing to ride in a stroller, it’s probably a good idea to bring one. There can be a lot of walking between the car, stadium, and your seat. Umbrella strollers can be kept under your seat while larger ones can be checked at Guest Services.
2. Visit Guest Services. The main Guest Services office is on the plaza level behind home plate and offers several amenities for families. Is it your child’s first Royals game? Ask for a personalized, first-time fan certificate that can be easily framed or put in a baby book. You can also get an ID bracelet for your child in case you get separated at any point during the game. And if you’re a nursing mom, there is a small but private nursing mom’s room nearby (on the Plaza level behind home plate next to First Aid).
3. Leave your seat! Let’s face it, you probably weren’t going to spend much time in your seat with those busy kids, anyway. Luckily, The K makes it easy on parents to entertain kids while watching the game from almost anywhere in the stadium. The Outfield Experience is a perfect place to spend a few innings with your family. You can watch the game from behind the outfield fountains (our son’s favorite part of the game), grab some food, or participate in many fun and affordable ($2) activities for kids such as The Little K, pitching mound, mini golf, or a free playground. The numerous TVs live-streaming the game make it easy for parents to stay in the action. Each Sunday home game, there will be entertainment and activities in the Outfield Experience as well as a pre-game player autograph signing atop the Royals dugout. Click here for more tips on navigating your game day experience with your kids.
4. Snacks over sleep. This is probably bad advice any other day of the year, but hey, for a major league baseball game, exceptions must be made. The starting times of most games almost guarantee you’ll be dealing with missed naps or late bedtimes, so when the sleep-deprivation sets in, I think the best way to save everyone’s sanity is to surprise your kids with food! Pack some new or exciting snacks, or bring at least $5-10 per person to buy some food at the stadium. Our family’s treat of choice is the Belfonte ice cream in the outfield. (2016 update: Weekday evening games in April and September will begin at 6:15 p.m.; weekday evening games May-August will begin at 7:15 p.m.)
5. Know that being a mom IS being a good fan. Sometimes attending a game with kids can make you feel more like a snack machine or a bathroom attendant than a real sports fan. I hate to miss out on the big play because I was changing a poopy diaper! But it helps me to remember that letting my child experience the game is an important part of being a good fan. I’m providing my son with the opportunity to root for his hometown team, learn game traditions, and create lasting memories of watching sports in Kansas City.
With these things in mind, enjoy those family trips to The K this summer! For more information about Kauffman Stadium and special events for kids, check out the Royals’ website and their Ballpark A-Z guide.
What other tips do you have for moms heading to the game?