I love getting out and about to explore the Northeast Ohio region with my son. And while sometimes I can be ambitious in where I undertake to go with him, I’ve learned some great tips and tricks on how to maximize fun and minimize stress on these outings. So, I thought I’d share what I’ve learned (sometimes the hard way) in an ongoing series of “On the Town Survival Guide” posts.
The hometown team had an amazing season last year and are on their way this season to defending their AL Central and American League Championships. Pair the excitement of a winning team with all the recent renovations to Progressive Field and you’ve got one of the hottest tickets in town. So, how do you take in a game with your tot and still have a great time?
Choose Your Game and Your Seats Wisely
Know your child’s schedule. If their bedtime is 7:30 p.m., then an evening game is probably not the best choice. There are a handful of weekday day games or Sunday late afternoon games that are great for our schedule. Page through the game schedule and target what works best for you.
Then choose your seats for maximum enjoyment for all. The Family Deck provides adults with a great view of the game, while also giving kids plenty to do, from photo ops with Slider to interactive games, as well as plenty of concessions, family restrooms, and all the amenities you need to have a great ballpark experience.
The KeyBank Kids Ticket is a cost-friendly option, with tickets for children 12 and younger starting at $15 with seats located in The Family Deck.
Get in on the Extras
Going to see a baseball game isn’t just about the on-field action. When picking a game, check out the promotional schedule, too. The KeyBank Kids Fun Day and Kids Run the Bases both take place before and after Sunday home games and add some really cool experiences on top of the Major League action.
Last year, Jeffrey scored a box truck as the promotional giveaway for one of the games we attended and he still plays with it!
Also, be sure to get your First Game certificate if it’s your child’s first Indians game. The staff at Progressive Field does a great job of making it a magical experience, so soak it up!
The Kids Clubhouse
The Kids Clubhouse, located on The Family Deck, features a ton of interactive entertainment for kids of all ages, from a pitching simulator to a two-story baseball bat slide to the Step2 Zone filled with fun toys. There are even outdoor seats connected to the Clubhouse, so you can still keep an eye on the game.
A couple tips: you’ll need to fill out a waiver and get a wristband to enter the Kids Clubhouse. This means some line time, so be prepared to wait a bit (especially on Sundays.) You’ll have an option to fill out your waiver online, which is a great way to speed through one layer of the process.
Also, the Step2 Zone in particular can get a little…busy. So, take a deep breath, grab a beer from the vendors who actually work the line waiting to get in, and remember that your kid is going to have a blast!
Just as elements like The Kids Clubhouse have elevated the game experience, the food at Progressive Field goes beyond the traditional ballpark hot dog (not that those aren’t delicious.) Whatever your child’s taste, you can find something delicious and local to satisfy it, including nachos from Momocho, grilled cheese from Melt, and pizza from Dante’s Inferno. We’ve found it helpful to stake out our food choices beforehand and use the divide-and-conquer method: one parent gets the food while the other keeps Jeffrey entertained.
Set Your Expectations
Like anything with kids, it’s best to set your expectations before you go. If you have young children, you might not make it through an entire game (or if you do, you might actually watch the combined total of one inning.) That’s OK. Going to an Indians game is about the total experience and I guarantee that if you plan ahead and know your options, you’ll have a great one!
From Cleveland that I love,