There’s a lot to like about the new home of the Atlanta Braves. SunTrust Park’s highlights include a variety of exciting food options, great seats all the way around the diamond, a place to borrow a baseball glove for catching foul balls, and a lively atmosphere outside the stadium. But if you are a kid looking for a fun time at the ballpark, SunTrust Park just might be the best stadium in Major League Baseball for you.
There is a designated area just for kids. The Hope and Will Sandlot is just behind centerfield on the concourse. Sponsored by Children’s Hospital of Atlanta, this is a carnival-like area for kids. SunTrust Park is the first ever sports venue with a zip line or rock-climbing wall, and kids can try both at the Sandlot. Braves President of Business Derek Schiller joked that the idea was, “a little bit of a throw away one at first. But we started to look into it and found out we could get them done.”
You can reserve your time to go on the zip line or climbing wall by using the MLB.com Ballpark App. The rest of the Sandlot is very similar to an arcade, requiring $1.00 tokens to participate. You can play Chop-A-Mole or take swings in the batting cage.
If running is more your speed, try the First Base Dash and see if you can beat a Braves’ player’s time down the line. Kids, or adults looking to test themselves, run 90 feet, which is the distance from home plate to first base in pro baseball. Their time displays on an electronic board, next to times of Braves players, so kids can run against their favorite Brave.
One of the unique features inside the stadium is the Mizuno Glove Experience kiosk. No other MLB ballpark has this program. “One of the greatest things you can do at a baseball game is catch a home run or foul ball,” said Schiller. “So if you forgot your glove or don’t have one, we’ll loan you one. And if you really like that glove, you can buy it from the kiosk.”
Before you even get inside the ballpark, the Battery Atlanta will get you ready for the first pitch. The Battery is several blocks of restaurants and stores that lead directly to the Chophouse gate behind right field. A unique component of the Battery is the Mizuno Experience Center. Kids can test out baseball gloves, running shoes, and golf clubs.
When you decide it’s time to walk towards the stadium, you will reach an area called the Plaza. Schiller describes it as “a space that has been designed for whether we have 50 or 5,000 people there—it’s very comfortable.”
Pre-game in the Plaza has live entertainment featuring the Braves’ drumline, interactive kids’ games like tossing foam Braves Tomahawks in plastic swimming pools, and autograph sessions with former Atlanta players before Sunday home games.
While the kids are planning their great day at SunTrust Park, Derek Schiller also has some advice for the parents taking their kids out to the ballgame.
“First of all, know where you are going. One of the first ways to hurt an experience is to not know where you are going.” Schiller continues, sharing how parents can customize attending a game.
“One of the things we pride ourselves on is having a very family-affordable mindset. About half of our seats can be purchased for $20 or less. For the same price as going to a movie, you can come to a Major League Baseball game. While you are here, walk around and get out of your seat, there’s a lot to see here. There’s something for everybody, it’s designed with the family in mind, and it’s affordable.”
The excitement at any ballpark is substantial, but SunTrust Park takes it to the next level for young fans. It’s time to play ball!
Photographs by (from top): Scott Cunningham/Getty Images; Courtesy Atlanta Braves