Juggling the needs of babies and young children can be overwhelming even without venturing out to Queens for a three-hour baseball game. But nothing beats getting to see the game through a child’s eyes and sharing the experience is worth every second of prep and travel. Here are a few tips and tricks to getting the most out of your family time at Citi Field, feel free to add your own in the comments!
Where should I sit?
Kids are happy just about anywhere in the park, and that goes double for babies, but a few considerations can relieve stress later on. Sun protection is a big one. You’ll be bringing sunscreen regardless, but take some of the pressure off by sitting in the back rows on Field Level or Excelsior Level or in the Promenade Infield sections right behind home plate.
It’s also worth the investment for a ticket with club access, where your family can cool off—or warm up—and where the quieter atmosphere gives babies and toddlers some breathing room. Our nap location of choice was Foxwoods Club, and we were never the only ones!
Per the official rules, a child up to 32” in height doesn’t require their own ticket for entry. Unofficially, I have personally experienced flexibility on this, particularly for lanky little ones who are still clearly babies.
What should I bring?
There isn’t much space for big bags in the stands, so pack accordingly, but there are a few necessities that you can’t get inside. Team stores offer sunscreen and emergency clothing changes but no diapers or wipes and no baby food, formula, or regular milk (just the chocolate variety). Formula and milk are not subject to the normal beverage restrictions so pack that spare sippy cup!
If your child is small and cooperative, I can’t recommend baby/toddler carriers strongly enough. Lightweight and napping friendly! If you’re more into the strollers, there’s a free stroller check at the Fan Assistance booth to the left of the Rotunda entrance. I’m also a big fan of ultra-lightweight umbrella strollers, which you can fold and stash near the section entrance or even under the seats.
What should we eat?
The best deal on food in the ballpark is the kid’s meal, a hidden gem available only at the basic concession stand near section 121. For $7.25, you get a hot dog, a small bag of popcorn, a bottle of juice, and a toy (usually a little pack of stickers or trading cards). For the pre-hot dog age group, I go for fries, a mac and cheese side from Blue Smoke, or a soft pretzel.
Per New York State law, breastfeeding is completely legal in any public facility and both of my kids were fed “the old fashioned way” in our seats many times with no complaints or raised eyebrows. The clubs also offer a quieter space if you prefer and last season, Citi Field opened its first nursing room, located in the Porsche Suite area (if your tickets don’t include this access to this section, a pass is available from any Fan Assistance station).
Where should we go?
Your first stop should definitely be the Fan Assistance booth just to the left of the Rotunda entrance (the same one with the stroller check) to fill out the form for an official “First Game Certificate”. This adorable (and free) memento can be mailed to your home in a couple of weeks, or picked up after the 7th inning of the game.
No visit is complete without a fist bump and a photo with Mr. Met, so swing by the Fan Fest area behind center field at 12:20 pm for a 1:10 pm game (add on 3 hours for a 4:10pm game, etc.) or during the second inning.
Next, check in at the Mr. Met’s Kids Club kiosk with the membership card you got your child for Christmas while they were still in utero. The kiosk has moved this year to Field Level behind section 106, near the Right Field gate.
On Sundays, if your kid is still conscious, they can run the bases after the game (with your assistance if they’re too little to go solo).
What about bathrooms?
Every bathroom in every section has a changing table, both men’s and women’s. There are also dozens of single-stall family restrooms throughout the stadium, though they can have lines during busy times. There are no baggies or wipes at the changing stations, so be sure to pack plenty.
What else am I forgetting?
Nothing! Citi Field is one of the most family-friendly ballparks out there and it’s never too early to instill a love of the game. For near-newborns to surly tweens, there is always something to enjoy at a baseball game.