How to Navigate a Reds Game with Kids


As a lifelong baseball fan, I couldn’t wait to take my boys to their first Reds game.

Sure, it’s not exactly a banner year for the Redlegs. But there is fresh hope to be found at the beginning of each game, as you survey the manicured field of green and hear the crack of the bats. Plus, a less crowded stadium is easier to navigate with kids anyway.

We finally decided to take them this summer at ages 5 and 3. Despite attending Reds games for decades, with many cost-saving and efficiency tricks up my sleeve, I felt like a newbie when planning to take our family.

With a few tips from friends and a bit of research on the Reds website, I cobbled together a game day plan that worked for us. Read on for tips on shade, parking, discounts, activities and food.


When to Go

Sunday fun days are for families, with three half-price tickets for every full-price ticket purchased in advance of game day. The games start at 1:40 p.m., which means you’re home for dinner and way before bedtime. My sometimes-napper snoozed on the way there, giving him an energy boost for the afternoon.

Saturdays offer 4:10 p.m. games and giveaways. Fridays are later with a 6:40 p.m. start time, but reward you with post-game fireworks.

Where to Park

As a single gal, I parked at Fountain Square and hiked down to the stadium to reduce costs and crowds. With kids, I knew we needed to park as close as possible if we didn’t want a sidewalk sit-in or meltdown. We wistfully drove past $5, $7 and $10 lots, and landed in a $20 spot near the stadium.

I’m not sure we nailed the parking this time around, but one block from the stadium steps was a welcome sight when carrying a 37-pound half-awake child. If your kids are up for a walk, cheaper parking lots abound along East Pete Rose Way.

Where to Sit

If it’s a hot summer day, you’ll be scrambling for shade. There’s a website for that. tells you where to sit based on game time, and where the sun will be each hour of the day.

We were a little off in our estimate, choosing 400/View Level Box seats near the foul pole, which put us in half-sun during the 4.5 innings we lasted. The 500/View Level upper deck was packed with wise fans who got both cheap tickets and shade. The top half of the 100/Terrace Level seats were also in the shade the whole time.

Where to Find Kid Activities

Arrive early on Sundays and check out the First Star Fan Zone (100/Terrace Level, first base side) for carnival games (with prizes!), a mini-baseball diamond for kids to bat and field grounders (bring your glove), a playground, photo ops, and balloon animals.

Our upper-level seat choice also put us right next to the Tri-Health Family Zone. This hidden gem overlooks the river and boasts a treehouse-like playground, batting tees with wiffle balls, musical toys, a reading room, and a nursing suite. We welcomed the shade and the reset for kids who were tired of walking and sitting.

One more: Kids ages 12 and under get free admission to the onsite Hall of Fame and Museum.

BYO Drinks and Food

Bring your own sealed non-alcoholic beverages and snacks in a soft-sided cooler with no questions asked. It’s fun to buy a soft pretzel or nachos at the stadium, but the cost adds up quickly. More snacks equal more innings, friends, so plan accordingly.

If you’re looking to splurge on a treat, there are various ice cream spots, including Graeters and UDF shops, with make-your-own sundaes in a red baseball cap bowl.

Bag and Stroller Tips

Speaking of cooler bags, I found the bag policy to be pretty accommodating. First, make sure anything you bring is 16”x16”x8”. Bags with medical and infant care supplies are acceptable, and there is no clear-bag policy. Further specifics are available in the Ballpark A-Z Guide.

Strollers are permitted, but there are rules around them: no inhibiting guest movement, no aisle blocking, and no under-seat storage. Find more info on stroller corrals at Fan Accommodations.

I saw more backpack carriers than strollers, and we skipped the stroller to keep our own baggage to a bare minimum for maneuverability through the park.

First-Game Certificate

If your kids are first-timers at the ballpark, visit the Tri-Health Fan Accommodation Stations to get a personalized certificate in honor of their first game. There are two: Terrace Level, Section 119 and View Level, Section 420. I hear there are long pre-game lines here, so I recommend going to the View Level station a couple innings into the game for no wait.

We considered our outing a success because we accomplished what we came to do: a new experience for the kids and a few innings of America’s favorite pastime.

I hope these tips help you navigate a trip to the ballpark this summer!



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