Many of you take your kids and grandkids to the ballpark for a spring-training game. With autographs galore and an intimate atmosphere, it’s the perfect introduction to pro ball. Here are our top kid-friendly spring-training ballparks.
Of course, many would argue that all of spring training is a kid-friendly offering. And, indeed, with open workouts and autograph sessions, there’s a lot in spring training to appeal to kids—and the whole family, for that matter. That’s why you’ll see so many kids at spring-training games with their parents and grandparents, many patrolling an outfield berm, paying catch and waiting at the fence for a homer or an autograph.
Some teams and ballparks, however, put more of an emphasis on specific kid-friendly activities, whether it be dedicated play areas for the younger set or larger berms where the whole family can spread out. If you’re bringing your family to spring training games, here are the venues that go the extra effort in filling your gameday needs. These ballparks are listed in alphabetical order within the league listings.
We find kids love large berms, and one of the largest in spring training is at Camelback Ranch-Glendale, spring home of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox. Kids will love the Camelback Ranch-Glendale experience from beginning to end. Arrive early to wander through the training fields for morning workouts: the kids won’t care whether it’s a star or a future Great Lakes Loon on the field. The kids will also love the giant Tommy Lasorda and Frank Thomas bobbleheads past center field on the concourse, even if they have no idea who Tommy Lasorda and Frank Thomas are. Finally, you can spread out on the berm and enjoy an afternoon in the sun. You can find the Chicago White Sox spring training schedule here; you can find the Los Angeles Dodgers spring training schedule here.
There are plenty of distractions for kids and teenagers at the spring home of the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians. The ballpark’s large footprint allows for two notable activity areas. Down the first-base line is a supervised Wiffle ball diamond where kids can get in their own licks, as well as bouncy houses and other attractions. (Also in this area in past years: family-friendly concessions like Dippin’ Dots and shaved ice.) Down the third-base line are attractions for older kids, including corn hole. In past years a carnival was set up outside the ballpark at the beginning of spring training. This isn’t the best spot for autographs, as players enter the ballpark in a right-field entry area, but some will stop on their way to the dugouts. You can find the Cincinnati Reds spring training schedule here; you can find the Cleveland Indians spring training schedule here.
A very large berm with seating next to both bullpens and kids’ activities in center field make the spring home of the Oakland Athletics a good destination for families with children of all ages. Kids can also work to snare autographs from players entering and exiting the ballpark in the right-field corner. You can find the Oakland Athletics spring training schedule here.
This is perhaps the most kid friendly spring training ballpark in all of baseball. A recent renovation of Peoria Stadium placed a heavy emphasis on family offerings offered year-round. The ballpark was expanded in recent years with a new pirate-themed splash pad (The Shipyard) and kid-friendly concessions. (Yes, bring swimsuits and towels.) The Shipyard is next to a large left-field berm, making it easy for families to set up camp with a view of the game and letting the kids run back and forth. San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners players are also known for stopping on their way to the field from their training complexes to sign autographs. You can find the San Diego Padres spring training schedule here; you can find the Seattle Mariners spring training schedule here.
The spring home of the Chicago Cubs is usually crammed to the gills for spring-training games, and that goes for the spacious outfield berm (sloped at the same pitch as the legendary Wrigley Field bleachers). So, kids won’t be able to play much catch out there. But they can head over to an adjacent kids’ play area, featuring a Wiffle ball diamond and plenty of room to run around. An adjacent food-truck area offers some good eats—try the Iowa breaded pork tenderloin if available—and parents or grandparents won’t feel too far from the action. You can find the Chicago Cubs spring training schedule here.
You’d think a ballpark at Disney World would have more offerings explicitly for kids, but the spring home of the Atlanta Braves does have enough to entertain families. The outfield berm is a good place for families to set up camp, but a word of advice when buying tickets. Disney ropes off two separate areas in the left-field berm area and sells two different tickets: 3rd Base Lawn General Admission and Pennant Berm General Admission. Go for the Pennant Berm General Admission for a direct view of the action. The other big attraction for kids: fireworks and lots of them. A night game at Champion Stadium is a treat because of how often fireworks are deployed: during the National Anthem, after a home run, and during the seventh-inning stretch. You can find the Atlanta Braves spring training schedule here.
The spring home of the Tampa Bay Rays is amongst the most intimate in spring training, which makes it an excellent spot for a kid to snare an autograph. Both teams enter the ballpark in the right-field corner and generally follow the fence line to the dugouts and bullpens. That means anyone staking out a spot at the fence has a decent change to get the attention of a player—especially the polite kids, who tend to be rewarded by today’s players. As a bonus for the younger set, there’s a playground installed down the first-base line, but it lacks a view of the game action. You can find the Tampa Bay Rays spring training schedule here.
There’s no specific offering for kids inside the ballpark, but the spring home of the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals offers a lot of access to players and one of the largest berms in the Grapefruit League. The workout areas are open to the public, and a great place to snare an autograph is at the open workout areas, where fans can catch the home team’s batting practice in the training fields, as players move between there and the clubhouse. Both teams enter the field from connected clubhouses; the Astros from the left-field corner and the Nats from right-field corner. You can find the Houston Astros spring training schedule here; you can find the Washington Nationals spring training schedule here.
The spring home of the Philadelphia Phillies may be the most kid-friendly venue in the Grapefruit League. A special kids’ area in the left-field corner of the ballpark should keep the young ones busy for hours. 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. A large berm is a bonus as well. You can find the Philadelphia Phillies spring training schedule here.