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Mariners Game Is a Home Run for Families: A Local Mom Shares Her Best Tips

From events you don’t want to miss to the tastiest treats and where to find them

Devon Hammer

Published on: June 05, 2024

Girl walking down steps at T-Mobile Park to watch a Seattle Mariners Game
Head to a Mariners game this summer for family fun. Credit: Devon Hammer

I grew up in a family of six kids, and one of my favorite childhood memories is going to Mariners games with my dad: No siblings around to vie for my red rope licorice, chocolate malt ice cream or Dad’s attention. It didn’t hurt that the Mariners had record-breaking seasons during my formative childhood years, either. I can still remember most of the players from the Ken Griffey Jr. era, and the Kingdome will always hold a special place in my heart.

Sure, I’ve been to plenty of Mariners games since then, but attending a Major League Baseball (MLB) game with kids? That’s a whole new ballgame. Fortunately, M’s games offer plenty of winning attractions for kids, ensuring a successful family outing and creating those precious lifelong memories.

Two kids walk up the stairs at T-Mobile Park for a Seattle Mariners game
Head to T-Mobile Park to make family memories at a Mariners game. Credit: Devon Hammer

Experiencing a Mariners game with kids

I recently set out to experience a Saturday-night Mariners game at T-Mobile Park with my husband and our 7-year-old daughter and 9-year-old son on an unusually warm May evening. We took our seats behind home plate on the 100 level and had a blast rooting on our home team, even though the Mariners ultimately lost.

My 9-year-old was enthralled with the action, while my 7-year-old mostly just danced in her seat trying to get on the jumbotron. We all excitedly yelled out our picks for the iconic ball under the hat game and hydroplane race, and we sang our hearts out to “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” during the seventh inning stretch. Free hot dogs parachuting down from the 200 level were the icing on the cake when it came to game-time entertainment. The highlight for everyone was watching two spirited guys in the section next to us successfully get the wave going all the way around the stadium. Nothing instantly bonds thousands of people quite like pulling off such a magical display. My daughter was in awe.

Young girl watches Seattle Mariners baseball game at T-Mobile Park.
Kids will love watching the excitement of a Mariners game. Credit: Devon Hammer

I noted that the game seemed to fly by. I was made aware of the new pitch timer rule changes implemented in 2023 to create a quicker pace of play. The game we saw was just over two hours long; I was expecting it to be closer to three hours. This will help parents’ chances of catching a whole game when their little cheering squad is in attendance.

We opted to get a babysitter for our 21-month-old. We’ve brought a 1-year-old to a game before and didn’t make it past two innings. Every kid is different, but keep your expectations low (and don’t spend a fortune on tickets) when you have toddler fans in tow. Games can be loud and overwhelming, and it’s hard for little ones to sit for that long, even with distractions.

Winning activities for kids

Having a plan when the game grows long and the seats can no longer contain the wiggles is important to a successful family visit. Luckily, there are game-saving kid activities available when your little fans throw you a curveball.

Kids Corner

Right off the bat, after arriving at the stadium, we headed for Kids Corner on the 300 level. Your Mariner in training can try out the batting cages and show off how fast they can pitch (this is a paid attraction). Plus, you will find lots of photo ops, including one with a giant Funko Pop King Felix. The views of Elliott Bay and downtown on this side of the 300 level alone are worth the trek up the stairs. We also took advantage of the short vendor lines on the top level and grabbed some extra-cheesy, extra-delicious pizza.

Young girl pretending to catch a ball at T-Mobile Park
T-Mobile Park has plenty of spots for the perfect baseball fan photo op. Credit: Devon Hammer

Meet the Mariner Moose

After a few innings at our seats, our 7-year-old started to get antsy. We headed up for a Dippin’ Dots sugar fix and to check out another kids area, the Moose Den, which is located in center field on the Main Level in Section 191. I noted in advance the times that the Mariner Moose would be in his Moose Den for pictures (from 90 to 30 minutes before the first pitch, and again from the middle of the second inning to the middle of the third, and middle of the seventh to middle of eighth). We headed over during a designated time, and this was when I realized, “Holy crap, my kids have aged out of character visits.” As I held back tears grappling with another reminder that kids don’t keep, they begrudgingly waited at my request. It was a quick line, and we got our picture taken with the lovable moose. They even said he wasn’t as creepy as they thought he might be. I can imagine this being a major highlight for the 5-and-younger crowd.

Two kids with the Mariner Moose at T-Mobile Park
Check the schedule ahead of time to meet the Mariner Moose. Credit: Devon Hammer

Kids’ Playfield

The Kids’ Playfield is conveniently located right by the Moose Den. It’s a big Mariners-themed play structure for the 48-inch-and-shorter crowd. I laughed quietly, observing the parents in the play area sipping their adult beverages while keeping an eye on their kids and the game on TV. This might be the only play area where you can drink a beer and watch baseball while your kiddo explores. I think they are onto something. My daughter loved climbing through the structure, and most kids her age or younger would have a blast. It’s a perfect spot for a seventh inning stretch or to use as motivation to sit a little longer.

T-Mobile Park Kids Playfield structure has slides, tunnels and a fun baseball theme
Get the wiggles out by climbing, sliding and crawling in the Mariners-themed play area. Credit: Devon Hammer

Kids’ Clubhouse for Mariners gear 

While my 7-year-old romped around the play structure, my 9-year-old ogled all the sweet Mariners gear inside the Kids’ Clubhouse. You will find everything from hats to Mariner Moose items.

First Mariners Game Certificate

If your kid is into sentimental items and you’re planning their first trip to the park, be sure to stop by one of the guest experience centers in Section 128, Section 329 or the ’Pen for a free First Mariners Game Certificate to mark the occasion. It might just be a treasure that makes it into their special box.

Seattle Mariners Kids Club

I noticed a little table advertising sign-ups near the Kids’ Playfield for the 2024 Seattle Mariners Kids Club. I didn’t have a chance to look into it while at the game, but now I wish I had. All fans 14 and younger can sign up for free and get a whole bunch of perks, including a free hat (while supplies last). Other special benefits include discounted tickets, early gate openings, a free game day ballpark tour ticket (with a paid adult ticket) and more. You can also sign up behind home plate on the 300 level.

Boy at T-Mobile Park looking at crowd outside of the Kids Club
Sign up for the Seattle Mariners Kids Club for extra perks. Credit: Devon Hammer

Your best chance for a player ball or autograph

Many young fans have one thing on their mind when heading to an MLB game: snagging a coveted game ball or special autograph from one of their idols. Your best chance for both is to arrive at the park well before game time and head straight to the bullpen at center field. Showing up early will increase your chances of securing a spot at the fence, giving you easier access to the players. Just as the game starts, you can often snag a ball from the bullpen guys and get a few signatures, too!

The food

A visit to the ballpark isn’t complete without indulging in some tasty food. The stadium hits it out of the park with a variety of options, from gourmet to value-menu, kid-approved eats. From the famed garlic fries to Salt & Straw ice cream to Seattle’s own Moto Pizza, plan your tastebud tour of the stadium carefully and satisfy your every craving.

Two kids walking around T-Mobile Park during a Mariners Game
Take a tour of the stadium to find your favorite menu items, from garlic fries to ice cream. Credit: Devon Hammer

Tickets and special events at T-Mobile Park

You don’t have to spend a fortune on tickets (and probably shouldn’t if you have young kids in your crew). Check out the dates for the Mariners Value Games, when you can score tickets as low as $10. There are also awesome upcoming events and special giveaway nights to mark on your calendar, such as Bark at the Park, when you can bring your dog to the game, a Run Around the Bases (postgame) event for kids, Star Wars Night and tons more.

Mariners Game at T-Mobile Park at night
Going to a Seattle Mariners game should be on your summer to-do list. Credit: Devon Hammer

The game wrap report

It’s no secret that a trip to see the Seattle Mariners play is an essential family outing in the Seattle area. Ticket prices, parking, and food and beverage costs can add up quickly though ($18 beer anyone?), so it’s important to have a game plan when attending with kids to make the most of your experience. A play structure in the park, a visit with the Mariner Moose, photo ops galore and a skills zone on the top level will help cover all the bases with your kids. This was a home-run outing for our family, and I look forward to introducing our youngest Mariner fan to T-Mobile Park soon.

If you go to a Seattle Mariners game ...

When: The Mariners season runs from late March through September each year. Check the 2024 schedule online. Typically, night games are at 6:40 p.m. or 7:10 p.m., with various afternoon (12:40 p.m., 1:10 p.m. and 4:15 p.m.) games mixed in. Gates open 90 minutes before game time.

Cost: Tickets start at $20 for general admission seating. Kids ages 2 and younger enter free. Promos, value games ($10 tickets) and special events can be found on the Mariners website.

Find it: T-Mobile Park is at 1250 First Ave. S., Seattle. Find directions on the Mariners website.

Parking: You can sometimes score free street parking south down First Avenue if you show up early enough. There are parking lots near the stadium charging anywhere from $10 to $40. Or, you can go with the super convenient option and park in the Mariners Garage for $55 (this was the price listed at the game we attended; it could vary). Another option to look into is Link light rail. You could thrill your littles with a bonus train experience, too!

Tips for bringing infants and toddlers: Strollers are allowed, but they would be tough to maneuver through the crowds, and you will encounter many stairs (though elevators are available). They can be stored at one of the guest service centers in Section 128 or 329. Baby-changing tables are located in most restrooms throughout the ballpark. A nursing lounge is available in Section 128. Bring noise-canceling headphones for tots sensitive to loud noises.

Carry-in item restrictions: Clear plastic or vinyl bags no larger than 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches are permitted. Diaper bags are permitted for guests accompanied by their little ones, and clutches smaller than 4.5 by 6.5 inches are also allowed. Factory-sealed bottles of water and one empty plastic reusable bottle 32 ounces or smaller in size are allowed. Outside food is permitted in single-serving sizes.

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