Seeking some good, clean family fun at an affordable price? Why not take them all out to the ballgame? Buy them some peanuts and Cracker Jacks (well maybe just ice cream, cotton candy or hot dogs), they won’t care if they never go back (home). Let them root, root, root for the home teams, the Carolina Mudcats or Durham Bulls. If they don’t win, it’ll be a shame, but even so you’re still sure to enjoy a great game.
The Raleigh area is home to not just one, but two minor league baseball teams. The Carolina Mudcats, who are associated with the Atlanta Braves, and the Durham Bulls, who advance into the Tampa Bay Rays, both proudly boast beautiful, well-maintained facilities that easily accommodate families. Whether you’re nearer to the Bull City or to Zebulon’s Five County Stadium, you really should grab those baseball mitts and head on over to watch the balls fly this summer.
If you didn’t get enough of the booms and pops on Independence Day, both teams routinely wow their crowds throughout the season with Friday night fireworks displays.
With reasonably-priced parking and admission tickets, you won’t want to forget your extra pocket change for shopping in the team stores. Wear your team spirit with a cool new ball cap, visor or t-shirts for the kids and see if you make it onto the big screen during the seventh-inning stretch. And who couldn’t use an extra bat and baseball, branded with your home team’s logo, to practice your skills in the backyard at home? We’ve got a hat for every member of our crew and a bumper sticker for our van.
If your interest is in your belly, they have that covered, too. From the traditional peanuts, popcorn, hot dogs and soft drinks, to ice cold lemonade, craft beer and margaritas, the concession stands and roaming vendors have something to satisfy every craving.
You’ll want to arrive early to sign-up for a chance to participate in the between-inning shows. Perhaps, your name will get selected to race Muddy the Mudcat around the bases or maybe you’ll get the chance to don a giant pair of undies in the Tighty Whitey Race. Either way, don’t forget your permanent markers (although if you do forget yours the team store will have you covered) so the kids can get an autograph from the teams’ mascots, Wool E. Bull and Muddy the Mudcat. After the game, stick around and see if your favorite player has a minute to sign your mitt.
Since the fun goes on all season long, be sure to check out the full schedule and take advantage of special promo event days like Thirsty Thursdays or Weenie Wednesdays when select items are sold at a reduced rate or sponsors give away free merchandise. My children are especially fond of Sundays with the Mudcats because that’s when kids are invited to run the bases after the game.
Group discounts are available when arranged in advance, so why not wrangle up your co-workers, homeschool group or church members for a night of fun and fellowship. Or consider celebrating a birthday at the stadium by booking a party deck or simply registering to have the birthday boy’s or girl’s name announced halfway through the innings. We even witnessed an engagement in the making when the big screen was lit up with a “Will you marry me?” message.
Why bother fighting the crowds this weekend? Who wants to lug a heavy cooler to some inconvenient outing location or scour the grounds for a port-a-potty for that child who has to go NOW? Save yourself the trouble, make plans for a guaranteed good time by heading out to watch a game and one of two exciting fireworks shows in the town nearest to you.