The song is already stuck in your head, isn’t it? Take me out to the ballgame… Take me out to the crowd… You know how the rest goes! The 2012 Seattle Mariners season is well under way and with dozens of regular season home games between now and the beginning of October, you have plenty of chances to take your kids and let them experience the magic of the Mariners first hand. If you’ve been to a game before, you know that being at Safeco is certainly family-friendly – there are kids sitting in every single section – however, we’ve pulled together some expert tips to make sure you have the best time possible. Now…play ball!
1. Mariners Tickets 101
Tickets, tickets everywhere… and where are you supposed to buy them? It seems as if there are a million options when it comes to purchasing Mariners tickets. You can usually save a few bucks by purchasing via a third-party website, such as StubHub.com, however, sometimes you can find the best tickets on the Mariners website itself (via Ticketmaster). Don’t forget, when comparing ticket prices, that there will be additional fees at checkout, but for most games, tickets can be found for as little as $10 each.
2. Now, Where to Sit…
Every family has their favorite spot at Safeco Field to watch the Mariners play and when it comes down to it, the more you can spend on tickets, the better your seats will be. But, better seats doesn’t necessarily equal a better time. The bleacher seats are certainly cheapest, which is great when you’re taking the entire family, but not having an actual seat for them to sit in can be tricky. Many families choose to sit up in the highest level at Safeco, in the 300s, where there aren’t as many people sitting, giving their enthusiastic little fans plenty of room to stand up, dance, and cheer on their favorite players. Another cool place to sit? The Nintendo Fan Network sections where you can sync your Nintendo DS and watch the game live and even order food and drinks via your DS! Section 103 is the designated alcohol-free Family Section at Safeco.
3. Bring It vs. Leave It
It’s the age old question when you’re going on an outing with your kids… what do we need to bring? For a Mariners game, dress for the weather and then pack one extra layer for everyone, plus cold weather gear if it’s even slightly chilly outside (the wind can pick up inside the stadium, even with the roof closed). You can bring a stroller if you need to, and even check it at Guest Services during the game, but we suggest ditching it and putting the kids in comfy walking shoes instead. Stick to just the necessities otherwise, since you’ll be forced to shove all your belongings under your seat at the game! That being said, a pack of baby wipes certain can come in handy for sticky cotton candy fingers and post-hotdog wipe downs.
4. The Always-Dreaded Parking
Let’s face it – there’s just no easy way to park near Safeco Field. Lots that are closest to the field are pretty pricey (as much as $40 for some games), but walking miles from the car to the stadium isn’t a great option either. It is possible to find free street parking if you’re patient and arrive early enough, but don’t count on it. If you park in the stadium parking garage, be aware that the line to leave after the game is very long. Pack an extra snack for the kids in the car to keep them busy while you wait to hit the road.
5. The Early Bird Gets the Ball
If your kiddo is a big time Mariners fan, arrive early enough to catch batting practice where you can get close to the field in the lower sections and grab an autograph or two. The third base line is usually a great place to be!
6. Better than Your Average Stadium Food
We realize that stadium food is typically overpriced and not that great, but the food at Safeco is on a whole new level. The ‘Pen is the new and improved foodcourt-esque area of Safeco, stocked with concession stands that boast the names and menu items of Seattle’s best and most innovative chefs. Read more about The ‘Pen and all it has to offer – it will blow your foot-long hot dog loving mind (crepes, anyone?). You are welcome to bring food in to Safeco Field, but it must be packaged and fruit must be cut up (to avoid people throwing apples and oranges on the field, we suppose?). You can read more on the outside food guidelines in the Mariners A-to-Z Guide.
7. Fun During the Game
The average Mariners game lasts around 2-1/2 hours. When was the last time your kid stayed in one place that long? The great news and one of the things we love about taking kids to watch the Mariners play is that you aren’t expected to sit in your seat the entire time! Safeco Field was designed to be explored – there are cool places all over the stadium that are perfect for a pre-seventh-inning stretch. The Baseball Museum of the Pacific Northwest and the Mariners Hall of Fame is always open during home games and located in along the third base line. Stop by the Moose Den to say hi to the Mariner Moose (section 191). And, you won’t want to miss the Seattle Children’s Hospital Play Field – the kids will love the playground and parents will love that there are TVs inside so you don’t miss that crucial play (Center Field on the main level). Psst! There’s a Nursing Moms Lounge in section 128 and it’s a great place to change a diaper as well! (Props to Safeco for that!)
1250 First Avenue South
Mariner fans, we know you’re out there! Fill us in on your tips for bringing kids to watch the Mariners play!
— Katie Kavulla
Thanks to Mia and Malcolm for the great picture at Safeco Field. Additional photos via the Seattle Mariners Official Facebook page.