Creating memories at a spring-training game is one of the best reason to attend a game in Florida or Arizona. Here are the best spring training ballparks for kids and their parents in the Cactus League and the Grapefruit League.
Not every spring-training ballpark is the perfect family environment. Sure, you’ll see kids at a Los Angeles Angels spring-training game, but Tempe Diablo Stadium is a small venue that isn’t really set up to appeal to families—apart from hardcore Angels fans, of course—and it lacks the family amenities found in other spring-training ballparks.
Here are our picks for the best spring training venues for kids. We are assuming that, like most kids, your children or grandchildren will want to spend part of the game running around the ballpark before or during a game. There are kids who will be awed by the venue, as well as the easy accessibility to players and autographs. But let’s be real: Very few folks are glued to nine innings of baseball action these days, so diversions for the younger set are needed.
Peoria Stadium The spring home of the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners, Peoria Stadium received renovations during the past years that provide plenty of enticements for families. Most prominent: a splash pad designed to serve families year-round, not just during spring training. The Shipyard’s splash pad is designed as a pirate ship (shown above), giving young buccaneers a great place to play before or during a game—and parents can take advantage of the dedicated kid-friendly concession stand. There’s no charge for the splash pad, and we noticed many families taking advantage of cheap berm tickets while cooling off during a spring game.
Goodyear Ballpark No splash pad, but the spring home of the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians does feature a supervised wiffle ball diamond that’s especially popular with the kids. It’s located down the first-base line, along with inflatable bouncy-house-type amusements. Down the third-base line is an abundance of activities that are also popular with kids, such as corn hole and rock climbing.
Sloan Park The spring home of the Chicago Cubs features a kids’ play area in the far reaches of the right-field concourse. Kids can play wiffle ball while the parents hit the nearby food trucks. And, let’s be honest: there’s a definite thrill to seeing the family name on the Sloan Park marquee.
Salt River Fields at Talking Stick The spring home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies features a supervised wiffle ball diamond, as well as plenty of room for families to roam.
Spectrum Field The spring home of the Philadelphia Phillies features the largest kids section in the Grapefruit League. A supervised playground area lets them burn off a lot of steam, while a concession stand devoted to kid-specific treats will boost them up. You’ll still be able to see the action while keeping the kids in the corner of your eye.
Charlotte Sports Park There are few ballparks in the Grapefruit League, but there’s one at Charlotte Sports Park, spring home of the Tampa Bay Rays. You won’t be able to view the action while the kids play, alas. Bonus: Charlotte Sports Park is a great place to score an autograph, with a huge area down the first-base line available for kids to catch players heading to the dugouts.