Grab your Quackers, folks, because it's time to root, root, root for our very own home team--the Long Island Ducks. On my mom's side, my family's got a long line of Yankee fan-atics, while my dad grew up in Brooklyn when the borough was having its love affair with the Dodgers. Needless to say, I grew up with a love of baseball. I have every intention of sharing the passion for the sport with my kids, but with Yankee Stadium's pricing out of the ballpark, it can be difficult to take a whole family out to the ballgame. The Ducks, on the other hand have family-friendly pricing and so much activity going on throughout the game that you and the kids may not even care if you ever get back.
This past Father's Day, we treated the dads and uncles in the family to our very first Duck's game. At $9 a ticket we were able to get the whole gang in for less than the price of one ticket at Yankee Stadium and we all enjoyed spending some quality time together. This was a first for my kids—ages 5, 3 and 1—and exceeding my expectations, they sat through about three innings before they got restless. There was so much else to do at the stadium, though, we managed to stay from beginning to end.
Standing Room Seating
When we called to get tickets, general seating was sold out so we tried standing-room seating. We hung around the picnic area and toured the stadium. By the third inning, we were able to score a whole row of seats directly behind home plate where we watched the game. There is a very laid-back attitude here about seating, you are really free to move around as much as you'd like and sit wherever you see a vacancy. Standing-room seating is available on weekends and holidays.
The Bouncy House
The organization sets up a bouncy house on Sundays and certain holidays; check the calendar for dates. There was a really long line at one point, but we were able to watch the game from where we were standing. For $2 a ticket, the kids got about five minutes of bouncing.
Running the Bases
Kids and kids at heart get to run the bases after every game! We had so much fun doing this. My son hurt his foot on the bouncy house, so had to be pushed in a stroller as the whole family ran the bases.
Pre-Game Autograph Session
Fifteen minutes before each game, the Ducks players will sign autographs.
According to the park rules, no outside food is permitted in the bag and bags are recommended to be left in your car. Naturally, with a baby, toddler, and preschooler, this is not easy. I managed to get in with a rather large diaper bag, although it was searched. Take only what you think you will need, and if you absolutely need to have some Cheerios and milk on hand for a baby, pack it securely.
QJ (his nickame) is the Ducks mascot. When he wasn't standing on the Duck-Out dancing, he was easy to find and available for high-fives and pictures throughout the game. Long Island's largest living duck is also available for appearances at community events. Send a request for an appearance at your event on letterhead to: Long Island Ducks, Attn: Duck Appearances, 3 Courthouse Drive, East Islip, NY 11722. Appearances are subject to a fee.
Waddle on into the Waddle shop for some really cool merchandise. Quackers, these really cool whistles that sound like a duck and look like a duck's beak, are not available online but are available in the store for about $2. We also got a glove and softball for my three-year-old son for about $5. The glove is lined with Velcro, and the ball is really soft—a great way to introduce little ones to catch-and-throw. There are also plenty of T-shirts and caps for babies through adults.
Celebrate your child's birthday at the game and have the whole stadium sing Happy Birthday with you, while your child stands on the dugout. The party package starts at $265 and includes 10 seats, 10 Duck souvenir baseballs, 10 fastball pitches, a birthday T-shirt, two pizzas, 10 sodas, and 10 ice cream snacks.
Long Island Ducks Baseball Clinics
Friday, July 20th, and Saturday, July 21st
Friday, August 10th, and Saturday, August 11th
9am–1pm, arrive at 8:45
Ages 7-14 years, all abilities welcome
The Ducks are welcoming players of all abilities to come out and play. Just bring your glove and a bat and be ready to play rain or shine. Players get two days of instruction as well as lunch each day, an equipment bag, and a Ducks jersey.
Parents looking for a great way to get kids 14 and under excited about baseball should consider getting a seasonal membership to the Long Island Ducks Kids Club for $25. Members will receive a ticket to a Ducks' game, quarterly kids' club newsletter, an invitation to kids day at the stadium with an opportunity to run the bases after the game, a commemorative yearbook, a group photo with QuackerJack displayed on the website, and more.
Click here for the team's schedule.
The Long Island Ducks
3 Courthouse Drive
Central Islip, NY 11722