Best baseball stadiums to visit with the family
Baseball games may seem to last forever, but in fact they're usually over after just three hours. What are vacationing parents to do after the final out?
If you take the kids to one of these kid-friendly ballparks, you'll find plenty of family fun once you leave the sights and sounds of the stadium.
San Francisco Giants: AT&T Park
Many baseball lovers deem AT&T Park as one of the most beautiful ballparks in the country. It offers gorgeous panoramic views of San Francisco, and a Fan Lot so kids can feel what it's like to run the bases. After the game is over, families can enjoy a boat tour to Alcatraz Island, a walk down the Golden Gate Bridge and a chance to view sea lions at Pier 39.
Tampa Bay Rays: Tropicana Field
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Tropicana Field boasts a 10,000-gallon tank where kids can interact with and feed real rays during the game. How cool is that? Once the baseball game is over, though, parents and children can check out Tampa Bay's other attractions, like Busch Gardens Tampa, for exciting rides and animal adventures. Don't forget that Tampa Bay is just 85 miles from Orlando's Disney World and Universal Studios, too.
Washington Nationals: Nationals Park
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Major League Baseball returned to Washington, D.C. in 2005, and the team's ballpark makes a great destination for families. Kids can view the U.S. Capitol from the upper deck, and they can make their own mascot at the stadium's specialty store. Moreover, D.C. is a wonderful vacation for families because of the city's abundance of free world-class museums, memorials and historic sites.
Houston Astros: Minute Maid Park
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The Astros' Minute Maid Park is like an amusement park for kids. It features a Wild West steam locomotive above left field, and kids can play interactive games in the Squeeze Play area. After the ninth inning, families can enjoy the best of city's kid-friendly activities, like Space Center Houston, the Cockrell Butterfly Center and the Houston Rodeo (if you time your trip for spring).
San Diego Padres: Petco Park
San Diego's Petco Park is a family's dream come true. The ballpark itself features the city's balmy weather and ocean views — but the real magic happens after the game. Take your kids to famous San Diego Zoo, traipse through the scenery of Balboa Park or lounge on one of the city's beaches. Don't forget that San Diego is also home to LEGOLAND and the Navy Pier for extra family fun.
St. Louis Cardinals: Busch Stadium
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Finally, baseball is often at its finest in St. Louis, where Busch Stadium welcomes fans with an exciting retro-style atmosphere. The town is also home to cool kid-friendly attractions like Grant's Farm and Six Flags St. Louis. Looking for a unique day trip? Don't forget that the Gateway Arch continues to fascinate children and adults alike.