Baseball season has arrived in New York! If you are looking for a way to enjoy a ball game with your kids this year, we have got your guide to family-friendly baseball in and around NYC right here — updated for the 2021 season.
Because of ongoing COVID-19 concerns, make sure you check the team’s website to understand any safety protocols that may need to be observed.
Family-friendly NYC baseball: Major Leagues
New York Mets — We’ve written many times over the years about how the Mets and Citi Field, by far, are the most family-friendly Major League Baseball option here in NYC. They offer ticket deals, giveaways and a post-game “kids run the bases” event on Family Sundays, which is every Sunday home game. They have an awesome fun zone to entertain kids, big and small, in the center field plaza. And don’t forget the perks like free tickets and gear if your child joins the Mr. Met’s Kids Club.
New York Yankees — The perennial AL East contenders finally started offering something just for your little Bronx Bomber at Yankee Stadium in 2017. That’s when the team opened its Kids Clubhouse, a 2,850-square-foot area on the 300 level in right field. It has baseball-themed playground equipment on a soft artificial surface and shaded areas with interactive exhibits. Parents can play along or watch the kiddies from a dugout a few feet away. The area includes TV monitors so you don’t miss the game, family restrooms with changing tables and a private space for nursing mothers.
Family-friendly NYC baseball: The Minors
Sure, it’s not the big leagues. For families, though, it’s a lot cheaper and often more fun. You and the kids can get closer to the action at these more intimate parks and the home teams tend to emphasize entertaining the fans more than just making a buck.
Brooklyn Cyclones — The Single A affiliate of the Mets now offers the Puzzle Piece Funhouse, “a sensory safe space, designed specifically to accommodate children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, as well as their families,” according to their website. You must apply online to use this space. Check the promotion schedule for fireworks nights and the chance to run the bases after a game but don’t delay — tickets tend to sellout quickly for this cool park that has views of both the Atlantic Ocean and neighboring Coney Island.
UPDATED 2021 – This affiliate no longer exists.
Staten Island Yankees — Definitely a more kid- and family-friendly baseball option than their parent club, this Class A affiliate of the Yankees offers a kid’s club and a play area. The ballpark is a short walk from the Staten Island Ferry terminal, and it offers great views of the harbor (Statue of Liberty included) and easy access to the players (read our review here).
Beyond the Boroughs
If you live outside the five boroughs or feel like adventuring out of NYC, you have several family-friendly baseball options less than two hours away from downtown Manhattan. The level of play may be a step or three down from the Majors, but your kids will have just as much — if not more fun — at a fraction of the cost.
Somerset Patriots — Pinstripers of the future are showcased in Bridgewater Township, N.J., which is a bit over an hour from Manhattan by car or 75 to 90 minutes by train. After hosting an independent Atlantic League team for more than 20 years, the Patriots in 2012 became a Double A farm team for the Yankees. This beautiful retro style park, opened in 1999, features lawn seating for the squirmier set, a kids’ fun zone, tons of promotional nights, frequent post-game fireworks shows and Sunday kids AND family “run the bases” events. You can even order food from any seat using a mobile app then pick it up at the concession so you minimizes the about of game time you miss.
Long Island Ducks — Just an hour east of Queens in Central Islip and only a short Uber ride from the nearest Long Island Railroad stop are the Ducks, an original member of the independent Atlantic League. Children age 14 and under can join the Kids Club to receive discounts and special deals. Watch for special on-field events and promotions.
New Jersey Jackals — Part of the independent Frontier League, the Little Falls, N.J.-based Jackals offer a cool deal for groups like Little League teams. The Baseball Buddies program lets kids be introduced and take the field to stand with the players for the national anthem. The stadium, which also features a kids’ zone area and the usual game-day promotions, is just an hour from Penn Station by New Jersey Transit train.
New York Boulders — Also part of the Frontier League, the (formerly Rockland) Boulders play in a beautiful ballpark in Pomona, N.Y., about 80 minutes by car north of Manhattan. In addition to a playground, there’s also a batting cage, a mini-golf course and mini-train ride, all with a clear view to the field so you don’t miss the on-field action. Plus, the players exit the field through the stands so stick around after the game for autographs and photos (see the photo at the top of this post).
Trenton Thunder — At the Triple A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays (they were the Double A affiliate of the Yankees until the 2021 minor league reorganization), your child could join Boomer’s Kids Club, a paid membership deal that offers ticket and gear discounts and cool game-day/on-field opportunities. Could. The club is canceled for 2021 because of COVID-19 but will be back in 2022. Still, look for promo days when kids eat free or can run the bases. Arm & Hammer Park in Trenton is about 90 minutes from NYC, via car or N.J. Transit train.
Autograph photo: NY Boulders