Home Run Hill at Funko Field. Credit: Jenna Vandenberg
Big-league dreams begin in Everett. Every spring, young baseball players picked by the Seattle Mariners say goodbye to their families and head for the minors, playing for teams in West Virginia, Modesto, Little Rock and Everett, hoping to get called up to the majors.
Fans of the Everett AquaSox show up each summer to take part in all this excitement, hoping to see the next Junior or Edgar in his early days. (Fun fact: Ken Griffey, Jr. hit his first professional home run out of Everett Memorial Stadium.)
The best part? Everett AquaSox games offer terrific and affordable family fun at the ballpark. Mark your calendar: The AquaSox' home opening night is Friday, June 21, and the season runs through early September.
In addition to nine innings of thrilling line drives and double plays, there's plenty for kids and families to experience at newly named Funko Field. More on Funko below, but first let's run through the fun, including theme nights, kids' activities and more.
Theme nights and giveaways
For special family fun, the AquaSox game schedule includes nights dedicated to Star Wars, Girl Scouts, cowboys and princesses. There is a Bark in the Park game and a Pride Night. On the second weekend in July, the team becomes the Everett Conquistadores for a Noches de Diversión — that's "nights of fun" in Spanish. Fireworks go off every Saturday, and promotional barbecue aprons, dog leashes, trucker hats and bobbleheads will be handed out. Some to the first 200 fans, some to the first 2,000. (Take note and plan your arrival accordingly.)
In March, the AquaSox announced a six-year partnership with namesake Funko, the wildly popular Everett toy company. Funko received field naming rights and will sponsor giveaways on Funko Fridays. Images of Freddy Funko in a baseball uniform have been released amid much hype from both baseball and Funko fans. Watch for AquaSox mascot Webbly the Frog cast in Funko form.
Funko Pops, mini-hats, pins and other items will be given to an unspecified number of fans on every Friday the team is playing at home.
“We’re saying limited-edition,” says Jason Grohoske, director of marketing with the AquaSox. “There will be more items given away than in past giveaways, so even with big crowds, the majority of fans will go home happy.”
Because of this, large crowds are expected on Fridays. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see people lining up at noon,” says Grohoske. For most ticket holders, gates open an hour before game time. The stadium can seat 3,682 fans, but the team will sell approximately 1,500 additional tickets, cramming fans into grassy spaces and general admission benches.
Ballpark entertainment extends beyond Funko Fridays. Between innings, action on the base paths includes racing mascots and remote-control cars. Kids can also race around bases while adding jumbo shoes, jerseys and stirrups to their outfits. There are pop-fly contests, pizza box tosses and dance parties atop dugouts.
“I’ve got my frog onesie. I’m working on my '90s outfit,” says Grohoske. “I’m always taking pictures of the random shenanigans we do. Whether the Sox win or lose, we want you to have fun.”
Kids play on the grassy football field behind the first baseline. For a $5 wrist band, kids can play in the Fun Zone of inflatable bounce houses. Families with kids who don't relish sitting still can spread blankets on Home Run Hill, a grassy knoll above right field where toddlers can roll around, while parents keep an eye on the ball game. A 15-foot Freddy Funko statue will soon grace the hill.
In the eighth inning, kids can grab a yellow trash bag and collect empty peanut bags and discarded soft drink cups for baseball bucks. After Friday and Sunday games, they can run the bases and get a certificate and ticket to Everett’s Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum.
The moments after the game are also great for autographs. “The ramp that goes to the clubhouse is always a busy spot after games.” Grohoske says. “Players sign autographs here, especially if it's early in the home stand.” Autographs can also be collected before the game, but not once the game starts.
Get into the game
Bouncy houses and Funko merchandise aside, AquaSox games are havens for baseball purists. Season ticket holders hunker down in their seats, scorecards in laps, headphones dialed in 1380 AM, where Pat Dillion has been calling games since 1998.
Keeping score is a great way to keep kids engaged and foster a love for the game. Scorekeepers record each player along the left-hand side of a scorecard and use a series of lines and numbers to indicate the outcome of each pitch. Older kids can easily pick up the basics and younger ones can be given a sticker to place next to a player each time he reaches base. Baseball bingo cards are handed out each Wednesday, and fans can win prizes if plays on the field lead to a straight line on their card.
If you go:
When: The Everett AquaSox season runs from mid-June to early September.
Cost: Tickets start at $9 for general admission seating, and the priciest seats are $19. Kids ages 2 and under are free. Buy tickets online or at the box office. Coupons for $5 Wednesday tickets can be picked up at participating HomeStreet Bank locations. On Mondays, pick up coupons for half-price tickets at Fred Meyer locations. Other promos and specials can be found on the AquaSox website.
Parking: Parking is free in the lot off 39th and Broadway. Parking fills up quickly on busy weekend nights. Try transit, ride-hailing or parking on the street and walking to the stadium.
Tips for bringing infants and toddlers: Strollers are hard to get up and down stadium steps and cannot block walkways. If you must bring a stroller, consider sitting on Home Run Hill. Bring a blanket to sit on and keep an eye out for home run balls. There are diaper changing tables located in the family restroom and in the men's and women's restrooms at the ballpark. While the stadium is not excessively noisy, some families do bring noise-cancelling headphones, especially on firework nights.
Carry-in item restrictions: All bags must be soft-sided and no larger than 16'' x 16'' x 8''. All bags, including backpacks and purses, are subject to search. No cans, weapons, glass containers, food or beverages (except for sealed bottled water or completely empty water bottles) are allowed. Diaper bags are permitted for guests accompanied by their babies.
Fun facts about Funko!
Funko is a toy company that was founded in Snohomish County in 1998. Originally specializing in bobbleheads, the company introduced the toys that would become Funko Pop Vinyls at the San Diego Comic-Con in 2010. Fame, fortune and fandom followed. In 2017, Funko Headquarters opened in downtown Everett.
The flagship store features giant Funko statues set in carefully crafted forests, Disney castles, Batmobiles and Star Wars scenes. Kids and "funatics" can purchase collectibles or make their own at the store. Find Funko HQ at 2801 Wetmore Ave. in Everett. The Funko HQ store is open Tuesday–Friday, 11 a.m.–7 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.–7 p.m.; and Sunday 11 a.m.–6 p.m.