The LovingStPete Guide for Watching Tampa Bay Rays at The Trop!
Stingray touch tank, post a message on the big screen, watch your kids run the bases, cornhole, Jenga, video games, Skee-ball, kids club, tag-a-kid program, easy prepaid parking, and of course watching the 2020 World Series contenders play ball! These are just a few of the aspects I’ll cover in this guide! To see the other sports related activities that I’ve suggested so far on LovingStPete.com, simply select the “sports activities” checkbox on the home page. Easy!
Inevitably, I mention the following when speaking with my real estate clients: “The Tampa Bay Area is surrounded by several excellent professional sport teams, providing year-round opportunities for outings with friends and family”. The “CHAMPA BAY” nickname has been rightfully earned. We’re talking multiple championship caliber teams, that other areas of the country can only dream about. And it’s all practically in our backyard!
The Bucs 🏈 and Lightning 🏒 are both within 45 minutes for many of us. Then you have the Rowdies ⚽️ and Rays ⚾️ just a few minutes away. While this guide is for the Rays, over time I’ll provide a guide for all teams.
Onto my Tampa Bay Rays Guide
Our family is often looking for ways to beat the summertime heat and afternoon thunderstorms. One great option is inside the air-conditioned comfort of Tropicana Field (The Trop), watching the 2020 and 2021 AL East division champs play ball! It’s great sitting inside the only indoor professional baseball facility in Florida!
While attentively watching all 9 innings is the obvious first choice, that’s not always possible. In our case, we have a very energetic 7 year old who would rather be on the field playing ball, rather than watching in a seat for 3 hours. And to be honest, mom and dad enjoy occasionally walking around, taking in the sights and sounds to break up the game a bit. Here are a few options to consider when planning your Tampa Bay Rays outing!
Suggestions for Families and Young at Heart (scroll down for more general info)
Rays Touch Tank Experience: Just behind the right centerfield wall is a 10,000 gallon tank full of cownose stingrays. These cartilaginous fishes are always up for entertaining the crowd, in exchange for some gentle petting. This activity, in partnership with the Florida Aquarium, also provides a nice photo opportunity.
Ballpark & Rec: Colt enjoys visiting this area as much as we do! This is the “party center” behind the Budweiser Porch in centerfield. The area offers indoor and outdoor activities, such as cornhole, jumbo Connect Four, jumbo Jenga and other tailgating games, plus PAC-MAN and Skee-Ball. Additionally, you’ll find plenty of concessions and signature cocktails.
Personalized Big Screen Message: Fans can send a special message to others in attendance via the Rays Vision big screen. Simply go to raysbaseball.com/scoreboard for the options.
Mascot Races: Each game, in the middle of 5th inning, the mascots compete on the field to see who’s the fastest that day. Colt got a kick out of it.
Rays’ Mascots: The Rays have two friendly mascots! Raymond is a furry blue seadog wearing a backwards baseball cap. DJ Kitty is a cat who wears chains and spins tunes. When you see them, head over and grab a picture with them!
Kids Run the Bases: After every Sunday home game, watch your kids or grandkids run around the bases on the field! Simply follow the instructions on the video board to find out where to line up to enter the field at the end of the game. Cool experience!
Rays Rookies Kids Club: For $30, your child can join the Rays Rookies Kids Club! “Members receive exclusive items including a backpack, snapback hat, and baseball seam bracelet. Members receive 50% off tickets to select home games. Plus, access to exclusive events and experiences at Tropicana Field, including priority access to Kids Run the Bases. And new for 2022, Rays Rookies Monthly Pin Series. Once a month, swing by the Rays Rookies kiosk during a home game to collect each month’s pin. Check back here to see the featured pin of the month.” Here’s the link to join: https://bit.ly/3QsgjEn
Kick Soccer Balls: Between gate 6 and 7 lies an area where kids can burn some energy by kicking soccer balls.
Tag-a-Kid Program: Concerned about being separated from your child in the crowd? The Rays offer a wristband program! Simply visit Gate 3 Guest Services where children are given wristbands with their parents’ section, row and seat number on them.
Strollers: They’re permitted inside Tropicana Field, but need to be stored beneath a seat during the game. Strollers may not block walkways or aisles. If it cannot fit beneath your seat, a stroller must be checked at Guest Services at Gates 1 or 3, or in the 3rd base food hall under the escalator.
Nursing Room: A private room for nursing or pumping is available behind home plate at the Bayfront Fan Care Clinic. A keypad door lock ensures privacy, and the room is sanitized after each use. Use code 33705 for access.
Reading with the Rays: While this isn’t necessarily an in-game activity, it’s a way to encourage summertime reading. Simply pick up a game card at any public library and track your reading while rounding the bases. More info here: https://www.mlb.com/rays/community/reading
Tropicana Field and Tampa Bay Rays General Info
Game Day Promotions: The Rays offer giveaways and such for many home games. I’m talking ie free hats, bobbleheads and necklaces upon entry. Here’s the link to follow to see what games offer promotions: https://www.mlb.com/rays/tickets/promotions/schedule
Food policy: Outside food and beverage is not permitted, with the exception of one sealed, personal-sized bottle of water. Exceptions can be made for food specifically needed for medical reasons or childcare.
Merchandise: If you think you’ll want t-shirts, jersey, baseballs or any other Rays/MLB branded items, the main team store is near Gate 1 in centerfield. Next door is the Rays Authentics store with game-used and authenticated items.
Tailgating: Tailgating is permitted at Tropicana Field, and parking lots open three hours before first pitch.
Cash-free: Tropicana field is cash-free. You must use a debit or credit card for all merchandise, food and drink purchases.
Food & Drink: so many options! Hot dogs, hamburgers, Cuban sandwich, pizza, veggie burgers, popcorn, peanuts, BBQ, and even sushi bowls and seaweed salad. Of course, you’ll find bars and many locally brewed beers within Tropicana Field.
Tickets: The easiest way is to buy single-game tickets through the MLB Ballpark app, which you should download before arriving at Tropicana Field. As I understand, paper tickets, including print-at-home tickets, are no longer used. You can also purchase tickets at a box office window, near gates 1 and 4. The box office opens 90 minutes before game time and will also help fans access the MLB Ballpark app on their phones. Here’s the seating map at the Trop to assist when you’re reviewing ticket options. https://www.mlb.com/rays/ballpark/information/seating-map
Tropicana Field Parking and Transportation
Parking: Ideally arrive 60-90 minutes before game time to get situated. Parking can be purchased only with credit or debit card, no cash. If you have an MLB or Rays account (easy to create), you can buy prepaid parking for $15 here: https://www.mlb.com/rays/ballpark/transportation/parking#advancesingle
Uber and Lyft: If you opt for Uber or Lyft, that pickup is located on 4th Avenue South by the Lot 7 entrance/exit.
Transportation: You can take the free and convenient Baseball Shuttle from downtown St. Pete to Tropicana Field. Service on buses, minibuses and trolleys (trolleys are equipped with wheelchair lifts) runs from Second Street South, south of Central Avenue to Tropicana Field about every 10-15 minutes both before and after home games (service ends approximately an hour after the game ends).
Accessibility and Accommodations: Accessible parking is in Lots 1 and 7. The ballpark offers accessible seating throughout and a wheelchair transport service, the Rolling Rays, at Gates 1 and 5. A Sensory Bag is available at all Guest Services locations for those needing sensory support. On the suite level, you’ll find a Sensory Room designed with the University of South Florida’s Center for Autism and Related Disabilities.
Pre-Game and Post-Game at Ferg’s
Ferg’s Sports Bar and Grill: This is our favorite spot to visit before and after the games. Ferg’s is huge and also has a dog park. Once you’ve wrapped up your pre-game, there’s a tunnel that leads from Ferg’s to the Trop’s entrance. Ferg’s address is 1320 Central Ave.
Tropicana Field Facts
- Opened in 1990 and named for the citrus juice company founded in 1947 in nearby Bradenton.
- Tropicana’s dome glows orange after every home-team win.
- The Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team played at the Trop from 1993 to 1996 before the Rays made it their home.
Behind the scenes tours: Pre-Covid, the Rays offered behind the scenes tours of Tropicana Field. A way for fans to learn about the history and interesting quirks of the unique venue. While this activity hasn’t resumed quite yet, keep it on your radar for next season. The number you would call to inquire is: 727-825-3448
Tampa Bay Rays Season Dates and Schedule
The Rays regular season runs from April 8th thru October 5th, so there’s plenty of time to perfect your game day experience! Here’s the full schedule: https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/teams/TB/tampa-bay-rays/schedule/regular/
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