It’s Opening Day in Major League Baseball, and I can hear the fireworks going off at Nationals Park right now, as the Nationals get ready to play their home opener against the Phillies. If you didn’t get tickets for this first sold-out game, seats are available for the rest of the week and, of course, the remainder of the season. You won’t get to catch President Obama throwing out the first pitch, but there’s plenty more to enjoy on a game day at the riverfront stadium, particularly for kids.
Generally, there seems to be two schools of thought when it comes to taking little ones to baseball games: 1) it’s a great family activity 2) it’s a huge pain in the butt. (Given that I’m writing this, I obviously fall into the former group.) I think the games are a blast. We caught the exhibition game against the Redsox on Saturday. It was Sasha’s first game; our first time bringing both kids. And while it was a bit of work keeping a 4-year-old and 15-month-old engaged for nearly four hours, it was more so a really good time. Owen dug the action, especially the fly balls (including a foul that landed two rows behind us) and Racing Presidents (Let Teddy Win!). When he got antsy, the playground—a lofty maze of tunnels and slides—was a great way to burn some energy. Sasha loved the excitement of the crowd, clapping along and bouncing around to the music.
It’s not just a game, it’s an experience. The Nationals—and their sponsors—make sure of that. There’s the ballpark grub, hang out areas like the Red Porch and Red Loft above it, and lounging seats along the concourse. Then there’s the Family Fun Area featuring interactive games, Rookies – Food for Little Sluggers, a Build-a-Bear Workshop, the Exxon Strike Zone batting and pitching cages, the awesome kids playground, a picnic area, the Playstation Pavilion, and the Geico Racing Presidents (for photo ops with the mascots). All of this is open to guests three hours prior to the start of each game.
And here’s a treat for kids aged 4-12: After select Sunday home games, they can participate in Kids Run the Bases. Starting at first base, kids will be directed to run around the bases for a mini home run experience. Parents and guardians are encouraged to sign up their kids on the Nationals website or in the Strike Zone during Sunday home games.
If the whole gang is going to a Sunday game, consider the Family Fun Pack. Each $14 ticket includes an Upper Right Field Terrace seat, a hot dog, chips and a soft drink. If you really want to treat the fam, upgrade to a field level Outfield Reserved seat and still get the hot dog, chips, and drink for $25 per ticket.
Don’t strike out with the kids—visit the Nationals website for tickets and more info.