Do you love baseball?
If so, Spring Training in Phoenix, Arizona is the place to be for Spring Break! Teams from all over the U.S. come to Phoenix during the month of March to get ready for the regular season. They play each other all month long in 10 stadiums throughout the city. It's a great opportunity to get an early look at your favorite teams and enjoy the Phoenix sunshine.
We traveled to Phoenix to visit family and explore the city for Spring Break last year, and attending a Cactus League game with our kids (ages 8 and 10) was at the top of my list. We are not avid baseball fans, but my husband and I enjoy attending major league games when we have the chance. So, when in Phoenix…
We picked a weekday afternoon game at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, which is a newer field located in a developing section of Scottsdale. It is the Spring Training home of the Colorado Rockies and the Arizona Diamondbacks. Since we don't have a major league baseball team in Salt Lake City, we consider the Rockies to be our home team, with the D-backs a close second.
My 10-year-old daughter's best friend had moved to Phoenix a few months before our trip, and we brought her to the game with us. Spring Training games are family friendly, and we felt comfortable letting the girls explore the stadium together. Having a friend made the game more fun for our daughter.
Buy tickets in advance
Some Cactus League games sell out and some do not. There were plenty of open seats at the weekday game we attended. If you want to be sure to get tickets for your favorite team or time, buy online in advance at www.cactusleague.com. All the games for all the teams are listed there, and I found the site easy to use.
Consider lawn seats
If you're casual baseball fans like we are, lawn seats are the way to go. Lawn tickets are inexpensive – almost half the price of any other ticket – and you can let the kids roam. It was easy to buy an additional ticket later for my daughter's friend, since seating is not assigned on the lawn.
We attended a weekday afternoon game and had plenty of space to spread out. We were surrounded by families with kids of all ages. Lawn seats are behind the outfield and several kids brought their baseball gloves in hopes of catching a home run.
Bring a blanket or beach towels for the lawn. Chairs are not allowed. Be aware that there is very little shade on the lawn in the afternoon. Nearly all of the other seats at Salt River Fields are shaded.
Watch the weather
It was an unseasonably warm spring day in Phoenix on the day we were there, with temperatures over 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure to pack sunscreen, hats and clothing appropriate for the weather. I was glad to see sunscreen dispensers at the stadium, but I would use those as a backup rather than your first line of defense.
If the forecast is very hot or rainy, you may want to purchase seats under shelter. It wasn't crowded the day we were there, and we probably could have just moved to some of the unsold seats after awhile.
Especially for kids
There was a area near our lawn seats where kids could take turns trying their baseball skills and participate in other fun activities. My children didn't want to try it, but it looked like fun!
More than peanuts and Cracker Jack
I'm pretty sure that you can buy peanuts and Cracker Jack at Salt River Field, but when I gave my kids treat money, they came back with frozen lemonade and cotton candy. My daughter's friend brought her own money and between them, they bought much more than they could eat. When I took a stroll through the stadium, I was tempted by ethnic cuisine and berry kabobs, in addition to traditional stadium food like hot dogs and burgers.
You'll also find team stores where you can stock up on tees, jerseys, hats and other souvenirs. If you're a fan, you won't want to miss these! Bonus: team stores are air conditioned.
You cannot bring your own food and drink into the stadium, with the exception of sealed water bottles (2 per person), baby supplies and medical supplies. You can find an A-Z list of Salt River Field's policies and services here.
Know when to call it a day
After a few hours in the heat, my kids were really ready to get back to our resort's swimming pool. Baseball games can be long and Spring Training is just for fun, so we didn't feel too badly about leaving after the Seventh Inning Stretch.
My husband and I thought that Spring Training was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, our kids didn't give Spring Training much of a chance. For $11 per ticket it was a low-risk investment and I'm still glad we gave them the opportunity. Next time we find ourselves in Phoenix for Spring Training, I'll definitely go again, with or without the kids!
Good to Know
Where: Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, 7555 N. Pima Road, Scottsdale, Arizona
When: Every year throughout the month of March
How Much: 2016 Colorado Rockies tickets range from $11 to $37. Expect to pay extra for more popular games. Parking is $5.
How Long: 3+ hours
Amenities: concessions, souvenirs, sunscreen, restrooms
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