If your toddler still melts down halfway through a grocery store run, the thought of all afternoon at a baseball game can be daunting. Is it worth the cost of the ticket? Will we make it out of the parking lot? Will he like baseball?
With a focus on family fun, the Chicago White Sox have you covered. Their Family Sundays include balloon artists, face painters and $10 parking. Best yet, they know that parents are hoping to pass on their love for the game, and the Sox are happily in the business of making future Sox fans.
Kids ages 3 and under (or shorter than the 36-inch turnstile arm) don’t need a ticket to enter the gates at Guaranteed Rate Field, but must sit on a parent’s lap throughout the game (who are we kidding, toddlers don’t sit). This is great for a kiddo’s first game, because you won’t feel bad if they melt down early and you don’t make it through the 7th-inning Stretch.
If your kiddos are little and they can manage a seat, pick your tickets wisely. If you aren’t 100 percent familiar with the seating at Guaranteed Rate Field, it’s worth the phone call to the ticket office (312-674-1000) when you purchase your tickets to find availability under an overhang or with shade, and near the back of a row or on the aisle for quick bathroom exits.
Strollers are absolutely allowed at the ballpark. Keep in mind the crowds and where you’ll be pushing your kiddo around. You’ll want something easily collapsable (umbrella stroller, yes; tricycle stroller, you’ll have to check it at guest services) but sturdy enough that you can maneuver through the concourse. If you have a stroller and want to head up to the Xfinity Kids Zone, which is usually accessed by stairs, follow the signs to Ramp 6. Make friends with the usher in your section and you might be able to stow your stroller behind the last row of seats near you for ease of accessibility.
Xfinity Kids Zone
The tiered play decks specially designed for kids under 13 are welcoming to toddlers as well. In addition to a great view of the ballgame, kids can race Tim Anderson, play Wiffle ball, make an out at first base and throw pitches to a moving catcher. They can also “measure up” against some of the tallest, shortest, longest and highest-jumping players in Sox history. The area is toddler/ parent-friendly and there is also a kiosk to sign up for the Kids Club, where young fans receive an official lanyard that they can show for prizes at return weekend games until they reach teenagerdom.
Marking the occasion
The White Sox have upped their first-game certificate and included a button for new fans to wear for the day. Stop behind Section 154 at the official booth to pick up the certificate embossed with a name, the game’s date and opponent. Pro tip: while most people think this is just for kids, adults also pick up certificates all the time, which is a great way to mark a first trip to the ballpark for a kid at heart.
While strollers are permitted, outside food or drink could be confiscated at security check-in. The good news is that you’re at a baseball game, so there are hot dogs, pretzels and chicken fingers galore. Kid-sized ice cream cones are readily available at the Creamery locations (which also sell soft-serve in a helmet), and if you’re filling a juice cup, apple juice can be found at the hot dog stand behind Section 122.
There is a baby changing station in every restroom, and for those with toddlers on the potty training plan, family bathrooms are located near Section 107 (if you hope to buy your tickets close to a family-friendly restroom).