Thanks to Dan who wrote this post for me after taking our toddler twice to Petco Park while I was working!
Melissa and I absolutely love baseball! Now that Aiden is a toddler and can understand a little more of what is going on during the ball game, it’s even more exciting watching him learn more about the game. Taking an almost two-year-old toddler to a baseball game is just a little different than taking a baby to a baseball game. We have now taken our toddler to two different ballparks over the last two seasons. This post is all about going to a baseball game with kids at Petco Park in San Diego.
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Something that has been on Melissa and my bucket list is to see a baseball game at every MLB Baseball Park. So, why not share that with Aiden? Aiden and I joined Melissa on a business trip to San Diego last September. Our hotel, the Hard Rock Hotel, was a block away from Petco Park, I knew I had to take the little guy to see a baseball game.
Baseball Game with Kids at Petco Park
I know I am biased but I love the Washington Nationals’ Ballpark. It’s a beautiful park. However, I think Petco Park gives it a run for its money.
Before visiting, I made sure to check the rules of Petco Park . Each ballpark is a little different so it’s good to know the rules about children’s admission, security, and things you can and cannot bring.
I first checked the children’s admission policy. Although Aiden is small, he is a toddler and all ballparks have different rules when it comes to children’s admission. At Petco Park, admission is free for children as long as they measure under 3 feet (36 inches) tall and are accompanied by an adult. Keep in mind children admitted free cannot occupy a seat. They must sit on the lap of their parent (beer-belly permitting as they say).
One thing I learned that I think is a great idea is that you can get a security wristband. Petco Park is very kid-friendly and there is a lot of space for kids to run around (and potentially get lost). You can visit guest services and get a wristband for your kid which contains seat locator information that can help if he or she gets lost.
Also, we don’t recommend it (see our first post on bringing a baby to a baseball game), but strollers are permitted. If you do bring a stroller your best bet is to check it at a guest service center — just don’t forget to pick it up when you leave!
As soon as we booked the tickets to San Diego I looked at the Padres schedule and saw they had an afternoon game. That is the game I purchased tickets to. It made sense because the start time was right after Aiden’s nap.
Once we got to San Diego and saw how awesome the ballpark was (and how inexpensive the tickets are), I also ended up getting standing room only tickets for a night game too. Since the ballpark was so close to the hotel we walked to the game. Aiden and I did not own any Padres attire, so we coordinated our t-shirts and baseball caps.
Game One: Park at the Park
The first game I brought my toddler to was a night game at the “Park at the Park”. It is just as described — a giant park outside the ballpark, but you must have a ticket to get in. It is perfect for kids! You enter the park through the Petco Park center field gates and there is a huge hill where you can watch the game. The admission ticket is a standing room only ticket so not only do you have access to the fun park, but you can also roam around the ballpark.
Within the Park in the Park area, there is a jumbo screen just in case the batter’s eye obstructs your view. If your little one is old enough there is a small baseball field where they can hit a ball pitched by Petco Park staff and run the bases. There are food stands and entertainment set up. We made it early enough to the game to roam around and get comfortable with the new park before the game started. I love that little ones can run around and there are still great views of the field. I wish more ballparks had this feature.
We settled into The Craft Pier. It is a huge bar that is accessed from the Park in the Park area. The bar is maybe 10 feet from the center field wall. Aiden and I got food and got a front row seat to the game! He only lasted three innings before he wanted to move around. As Aiden becomes more mobile his attention span is a little shorter. He wanted to exercise his new found freedom and explore. I also wanted to explore this new ballpark with him!
Game Two at Petco Park:
If you don’t follow baseball, ticket prices can fluctuate depending on how well the team is doing. At the time the Padres were not doing too well so I was able to buy one ticket very close to the field at a very reasonable price (Aiden met the requirements of a lap child and didn’t need a ticket). We were about 10 rows from the field, just past first base.
I made it to the game early and bought water and food before we got situated in our seats. Because of the heat, I bought the biggest and coldest water I could find. This kept the little guy comfortable and hydrated. To protect the little guy from the hot California sunshine. I also reapplied sunscreen on Aiden every two innings.
This game seemed to hold Aiden’s attention a little longer because we were closer and it was earlier in the day/after his nap. Once the 4th inning rolled around Aiden seemed to be getting antsy, so we got up and walked around for an inning before we went back to our seat. Aiden only lasted about two more innings before we got back up and walked around until the end of the game.
If it’s your little ones first Padres game, make sure to head over to their customers service near the big team store to get a first game certificate, squishy baseball, and pin from the Padres organization!
Packing the Diaper Bag for a Trip with a Toddler to Petco Park
It is best to pack as little as possible when visiting a ballpark because you have to go through security. Here are the essentials:
- Baby wipes
- A couple of pouches
- Change of clothes
- Baseball glove if you have one
Have you taken a toddler to Petco Park? How was your experience? Do you have any extra tips? I would love to hear them in the comments.
If you liked this post check out Tips for Packing a Toddler’s Suitcase for Vacation, Things to Do With A Toddler in Montreal, and The Secret to a Perfectly Packed Toddler Carry-on Bag for Air Travel.