Finding Florida: Tropicana Field brings us to lovely St. Petersburg. Tropicana Field is nestled just blocks from the ocean and the Dali Museum . Tropicana Field is home to the Major League Baseball team, Tampa Bay Rays. On certain days of the week, group tours are offered at 10 AM. You can call to reserve a spot or just showing up is an option too. I liked that showing up was an option as life can be unpredictable in autismland.
The tour lasts for about an hour and a half. You begin in the large rotunda which just so happens to be the main entrance. There you will find large pictures of current players as well as a gift shop. From this entrance , you can either ride the escalator up to the second floor or keep going to see what’s on the first floor. The tour guide will move you along the first floor but fear not. At the end, you will exit down those same escalators . Believe me that you will see everything .
The first stop is the Hitters Hall of Fame and Ted Williams museum . Here you will find two stories of baseball history. Lots of memorabilia along with pertinent information. This stop makes the tour worth it for the baseball lover. The description from the website says it all :
The Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame brings a special element to Tropicana Field. Fans can view an array of different artifacts and pictures of the “greatest hitter that ever lived.” These memorable displays range from Ted Williams’ days in the military through his professional playing career. This museum is dedicated to some of the greatest players to ever “lace ’em up,” including Willie Mays, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris and Sadaharu Oh.
The museum also is home to various traveling exhibits throughout the year. The Rays invite all fans to enjoy this unique experience in sharing a rare glimpse into extraordinary hitters’ lives.
Across the walk way from the Hall of Fame is my favorite spot, the gluten free food counter. It’s important to be able to eat while you are at the game even if you are gluten free. Now, I will be the first to tell you that eating anywhere in this stadium is not cheap regardless of whether you are gluten free or not. It’s nice to have that option though in case you find a wad of money randomly laying around waiting for you to spend.
The tour takes you through all the fan offerings like games, food s well as the grand finale of petting the sting rays in their tank. In between all that, you get the behind the scenes tour of the back walkways and the upper levels where the press box is located. It is here that you will find the bats set up in order to tell you the American League East standings for that given day. After touring this area and getting info on scoring a game as well as what you need for press credentials, you actually get to go all the way downstairs to the dugouts. You can walk on the AstroTurf field but not on the clay near the bases. Here you find out how the scaffolding in the middle of the field is scored should someone hit the ball up there.
You can sit in the dugout where there are a plethora of sunflower seed shells making their presence known. The highlight will be seeing the urinal at the entrance to the tunnel that leads to back to the locker rooms. If you ever wondered how they went to the bathroom during a game this will answer your question. One seriously sweet little boy in our group was beyond enamored with the idea that Evan Longoria used that actual urinal. The door leading into the dugout has a story too but I won’t spoil all the fun for you. You don’t get to enter the actual locker room since their personal belongings are in there so that was sort of a let down. Understandable but disappointing nonetheless.
The tour culminates with a visit to the sting ray tank. Here you are instructed to use two fingers to pet the sting rays as they glide past you. You learn about their care and upkeep. During certain times, you can feed them for a fee. After this, you ride the escalator back down to the rotunda where the exit awaits you.
If you have a baseball aficionado, this tour will be fun. It’s just long enough to keep it interesting . Even smaller children will be able to keep up while having fun. The price point is reasonable. There is tons to do in St. Petersburg if you wanted to make a day out of it. Within blocks of Tropicana Field is the Dali Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Chihuly Exhibit, Holocaust Museum as well as the waterfront area. The Pier is undergoing transformation so that is a no go right now. When it’s finished , you will have all of that as well. As you can see, there is no shortage of cultural excursions in this area of Central Florida.
1 Tropicana Drive
St. Petersburg, Florida
Seniors (65+) $8
Children ages 3-14 $7
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