The Red Sox may be Boston’s most enduring and most beloved institution, and a local kid’s first pilgrimage to Fenway Park is an important initiation rite that they’ll remember fondly for many years to come. In a FenwayNation.com post, a fan writes,
“Fifty-eight years ago today (July 8, 1956), my Dad took me to my first Red Sox game at Fenway Park… I was far too young to remember anything specific about the day, except for the bright sunshine playing on the emerald green grass… In reality, the details don’t matter. All I know is that my Dad set me on a journey that lasts to this very day. Thanks, Dad.”
So you don’t have to go to the effort that sports writer Howard Megdal did to explain the game to his daughter Mirabelle on her first visit to Fenway (he attempted to explain fine points of the game to a lap-sitting toddler – probably a little much). Kids just love soaking up the atmosphere, watching lots of grownups get really, really excited, and waiting for the big moments. They understand instinctively that they’re participating in something magical.
Still, there are a million little contingencies parents have to be aware of when taking the kids anywhere, so I gathered a few tips from around to smooth the way forward when the day comes for your brood to officially join the Red Sox Nation!
First, there’s the process of getting there: the experts say, and we agree, that it’s best to go with mass transit – parking is pricey. Your best bet is taking the Green Line to Kenmore (the B, C, or D line) or the Fenway stop on the D line. You can also reach Fenway Park on the 8, 19, 47, 55, 57, 60, and 65 buses. If you must drive (and taking mass transit with little ones can be tough, so we understand), bring plenty of cash for a garage.
Tickets are available in a variety of venues; you’ll get the best prices and the best seats on the Red Sox website. Keep in mind that Fenway is one of the smaller, older baseball stadiums in the US, so there isn’t really such a thing as “bad seats” – you won’t need to be really close to the game to enjoy it. Kids under age 2 won’t need a ticket, and it’s fine to bring your stroller and your giant diaper bag, as long as they’re at least somewhat stowable to keep them out of the way of your fellow fans (and the guys selling beer and popcorn). And speaking of beer, if you want to avoid rowdy locals who have had a few too many, the CVS Family Sections in the left field corner in grandstand sections 32 and 33 are alcohol-free! This also means you’ll be surrounded by other families bringing the littles to the park for the first time, so you and your kids may wind up making some ballpark pals.
In recent years, the Sox organization has gone above and beyond to make Fenway a kid-friendly place, so you’ve got even more fun options for little fans: the Kid Nation Clubhouse is a great place to hang out if the glacial pace of baseball leaves the kids feeling impatient.* The Clubhouse is also climate controlled, so it’s a good place to duck in if a hot summer day gets overwhelming.
While concessions at a game aren’t cheap, a classic Fenway Frank is worth every cent – it’s one part tradition and one part tastiness! Finish off a ballpark lunch with ice-cream-in-a-helmet, and everyone will leave happy.
If you feel like an actual game might be a little too long for your kids to handle (and if you want to save some bucks), you can also treat them to a thrilling Fenway Park Tour. What you see differs according to your guide, so it’s worth doing more than once, and the players are extremely friendly to fans: Yelp reviewer Ricky P. writes,
“I recently caught a game there against the Yankees and took the tour before hand. Great picture opportunities! The Red Sox really go out of their way to make this a family friendly environment. This is a great place to take your kids. I was pleasantly surprised that the players would be willing to take minute out of their day and sign autographs for my son.”
And you get to walk across the field. I repeat, you get to walk across the field.
Got any more tips and tricks for visiting Fenway with kids? Tell us about it in the comments! And we’d love to hear the stories of your first visit to the park with your kids – or with your own parents, back in the day.
* An admission: as a bookish and not particularly sporty kid, I always brought a book to baseball games. I’m not admitting what team my family took me to see, though; I live in Boston now!