One challenge that every parent of a young family faces is that of trying to find summer entertainment that is affordable, will keep everyone’s attention, and is enjoyable for all. This, my friends, is no small feat. There are plenty of options out there that are either too pricey, too risky, or too age-specific. Last night, however, I think we discovered the perfect compromise: a night out to watch our local minor league baseball team.
Our local minor league team, the Akron Rubber Ducks, play in Canal Park in downtown Akron, a quick 40 minute drive from our home. Parking was abundant and cheap ($5 for parking directly across from the stadium). We took advantage of teacher appreciation night, so our tickets for the game were only $5 apiece. However, you will find that minor league games in general are much less expensive than professional, even without an additional discount.
Our game did, unfortunately, have a rain delay. However, this was Theo’s first baseball game so he was content to walk around the stadium and cruise the vendors for snacks. (I swear, by the end of the evening that boy was nothing more than processed oils and sodium. And by golly, he was one happy boy. Sometimes you gotta sacrifice being practical for being fun, moms ;-). )
Here are a few other perks about this type of entertainment:
1. Tickets were so cheap that I went into this experience 100% fine with how little we stayed at the game. I wasn’t sure how Theo would do, and I would have been fine if he could have only made it a few innings. He ended up becoming so engaged with the game that we stayed till the very end, which I considered icing on the cake!
2. There is a lot going on at games, but the crowds are smaller and friendlier than what I’ve experienced at pro games. Theo had space to run around and blow off steam when he got tired of sitting, and instead of dirty looks, everyone around him simply smiled (because their kids were doing the same thing).
3. I can’t speak for other parks, but Canal Park takes excellent care of their guests. The attendant in our section was friendly and helpful, and even bent the rules to play a game of catch with Theo in the isle at one point. Theo was issued a certificate for attending his first baseball game, which made him feel extra special!
4. Vendor prices are more affordable. Good thing, too, because my boys at their weight in hotdogs, french fries and popcorn! We were happy to provide plenty of snacks to help keep Theo satisfied and happy. Plus, what is a ballgame without ballpark food?
5. The environment is very family friendly. I noticed that there were ample spots for families to sit and have their stroller alongside their seats. Family restrooms with changing tables were available and easily identifiable. There were blow up games (for a cost) to entertain restless ones. But even more importantly, the environment was 100% family friendly. Not only were there lots of families in the crowd, but even the adults who were there solo kept their behavior PG.
If you read my last post, then you know that things have been challenging for my family lately. Last’s nights adventure at the ball park was exactly what we needed. We only took Theo along; we felt that he needed some one-on-one time with his mommy and daddy. Plus, there has to be some perks to being the oldest, cause it’s not always the easiest gig in the world!
Together, the three of us ate ourselves silly on junkfood, enjoyed a beautiful summer’s evening, and mutually experienced the joy of Theo’s first ball game. It was wonderful, and just what the doctor ordered. The park didn’t have a ton of vegetarian friendly food options for me, so on the way home we stopped at Taco Bell so I could get a bean burrito (hey, no judgment). As we walked into the lobby, Theo exclaims, “Hey! This is a reeeeally nice place!” I died. Aren’t kids, and their incredibly low standards for happiness just wonderful???
My favorite memory from the evening would have to either be seeing Theo eat the entire bag of popcorn all by himself, or listening to him yell “hey batter, batter, swing!” in his sweet little toddler voice. Those of you who watched “The Office” will understand what I mean when I say that those moments are the ones that I took mental pictures of. The moments where all the hard stuff in life didn’t matter, because what I was looking at right then was so, so perfect. *Click*