Taking kids to a sporting event can go one of two ways. It can be a fun-filled family activity where the kids sit contently in their seats and watch the wonder around them, or in my case, it can mean wrangling what feels like two greased pigs as they squirm out of your arms and lunge for the cotton candy vendor.
Despite the struggles, we still love to expose our children to local, family friendly outings. With the spring season upon us, venturing out to a Sporting KC game is the perfect afternoon or evening out! For those of us in the midst of little league soccer practices and games, it is also a fantastic way to show our kids the excitement surrounding Kansas City’s local team and deepen their love for the sport. So don’t be afraid to attend, just keep the following tips and tricks in your back pocket for the next time (or the first time) you attend!
What should you bring and be prepared for? Depending on the age of your children, the answer will vary.
- For those with babies and infants, the only drinks allowed in the park are bottles of milk or formula. Water bottles of any kind are only permitted if the heat index reaches a certain level. Read: HOT! For this reason, it’s best to pack light and plan to purchase drinks and snacks after arrival.
- Need to bring a stroller to transport your brood? No problem! The stadium will gladly check them at any Fan Services kiosk. The parking lot walk can be a haul at this venue, and I would encourage everyone to bring a stroller to avoid carrying your children in and out of the stadium. The check in and out process has always been a breeze for us.
- A smart move is to also bring a Ziploc bag full of small toys. When all else fails, have them kneel down in front of their seat and drive trucks or play with baby dolls. I try to grab toys that are extra special or ones they have not played with in a while.
- Also, a pair of noise-cancelling headphones can be handy if little ones are sensitive. It can get pretty loud during an exciting game.
- If your family is past the stroller and toddler stage, have your children make signs beforehand to display during the game. It’s always a great way to get them excited about attending, and perhaps even pay attention during the match itself.
What should you do when you arrive?
- As a mom with two active boys, my go-to bribe is a treat they receive only during a special occasion. After attending several sporting events with our kids in hand, we have learned the best thing for us to do is to head straight for the food! Whether it’s a full-on lunch/dinner pig out or simply snacks to pull out when they begin to get restless, the “treats” will bribe them to stay put for an extended time. Obviously, I am not, nor will I ever, be above bribes. Luckily, Children’s Mercy Park is full of food for any range of taste buds. Note: there are also vendors with gluten free options, simply ask a stadium worker on how to find the specific vendors.
- They serve beer at the game for a reason. Grab a Boulevard to support Kansas City’s finest brewer, and then you won’t mind the squirming and squealing!
- Once the game is about to begin, be sure to make your way to the seats in order to enjoy the fireworks. With the music, the fan energy and the display, it’s an exciting thing to watch and be a part of, for any age.
Need to stretch legs and run off some energy?
- There’s a grassy area and an adorable kid-sized soccer field close to one of the main entrances. The area is perfect for grabbing dessert and letting little legs run wild.
- If you are feeling extra adventurous, purchase tickets in “The Cauldron,” also known as the Members Stand where the fans are boisterous and the people watching is extraordinary! The clapping, the costumes and the chants will keep little ones involved, entertained and off their bums most of the game. You may not even need a “run around” break.
Extra tips to keep in mind:
- Nursing moms take note, stadium workers will gladly escort you to any First Aid Suite for a quiet place to feed your babies.
- Shuttles are available to and from the parking lots surrounding Children’s Mercy Park. Use them if possible, but be prepared to wait.
- When choosing to purchase tickets within the Members Stand, you will also have access to the Members Club, which is an indoor area where fans gather. It affords you shorter lines for snacks and drinks. The seats, however, are not assigned, instead are first come, first serve. Note: this might be ideal if you are taking a baby and want a place to nurse away from the outdoor elements or simply want access to a climate-controlled area.
- If this is your first time visiting the park, head to a Guest Services tent and your children will receive a pin commemorating the event!
Enjoy your next outing supporting our local soccer club! How lucky are we that Kansas City has the chance to participate in such a fantastic family-friendly and exciting event?!