The Boys of Summer are back, and there’s no better way to celebrate the start of baseball season than taking in a game with your BFF- that’s Best Furry Friend. From the minors to the bigs, parks all over the country are hosting these dog-friendly events.
I’ve dug up the deets on the games in our region, along with a few fun travel tips. If you’re not into the Royals, the Rangers, or the Cards, you can find a complete major league schedule here.
For minor league clubs, check the online events.
We promise; this is waaaay better than bobble head night!
Kansas City Royals Tuesday, April 21st 7:10 p.m.
The first is the first event on the regional tour. The American League Champions are actually hosting two events this year; the second is scheduled for Tuesday, September 22nd at 7:10. Your $35 ticket includes both you and your dog, and a Sluggerrr Chew Toy. $5 from each event ticket is donated to Wayside Waifs. The Royals will have a special section designated for dogs and their owners to sit together, and fans with two or more dogs, must have an additional adult owner. Additional human-only tickets for the same section may be purchased for $20. This is event WILL sell out. So get your tickets quickly.
Where to stay/play:
Holiday Inn Coco Key has an indoor water park (dogs not allowed) and is perfect if you’re taking the kids, too. You’ll need to sign a pet waiver at check-in, but there is no additional room fee or deposit, and no weight restrictions.
Drury Inn is the place to stay if you plan to take a friend, and your friend has a dog, too. They allow two pets per room. Pets are not to be left unattended in a room for more than 30 minutes, and quiet hours begin at 10 p.m. So, no howling at the moon. There’s no weight limit, but you will be charged an extra $10/day for room cleaning.
BOTH of these hotels are within walking distance of the park
For a drink, a bite to eat, or to do a little shopping, visit the Power and Light District. Just a 10-15 minute drive (minus game traffic) from the park, you can stroll the eight blocks of restaurants, bars, and shops, many of which are dog friendly, before or after the game. After the game is likely to be a little more lively, but if your dog can handle it, the patio at McFadden’s Sports Saloon is un-officially dog-friendly and a favorite spot of Royals fans.
Arkansas Travelers Thursday, April 30th 7:10 p.m.
The next event in our region is at Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock, AR. I grew up going to these games at the no longer standing Ray Winder Field, and was once a Travelerette. I’m a fan, so of course I’ve taken Henri. Isn’t that what parents do?
This annual game is scheduled for Thursday, April 30th at 7:10 p.m. with a dog parade starting at approximately 6:15 p.m.
Tickets for this game are general admission on the lawn, and fans can bring chairs and/or blankets if they wish. There will be a special section exclusively for dogs and owners featuring doggie pools and water bowls for cooling off, and dog-friendly vendors.
Concessions will also be available in the designated area, meaning you don’t have to leave your dog with a friend to go get your beer.
Where to stay/play:
You’ll have to stay across the river, and the closest place is the Residence Inn. They allow dogs of any size with a one-time non-refundable deposit of $100. Kinda steep as far as deposits go, but conveniently located on the edge of the River Market District and within walking distance of several dog-friendly places to eat and drink.
If you’d like to grab a bite to eat before the game, I recommend Creegan’s Irish Pub. You can park at Dickey-Stephens and walk to the pub.
For more info on Little Rock in general, read our write-up Hangin’ in the Rock.
Texas Rangers Saturday, May 2nd 7:05
Here’s the most important detail to note about this game: you must pre-register by submitting your dog’s vaccination records by APRIL 25th, and your registration does not guarantee you tickets. You’ll be notified after you register if tickets are still available for purchase. There are no walk-ups on game day. So, if you want to go, you better get on it!
Tickets for the designated dog area are Left Field Lower Reserve. Human tickets are $20 and dog tickets are $10. A maximum of 5 human tickets can be purchased with each dog.
This event is the first of 8 sponsored by AvoDerm Natural Pet Food and Nylabone. Welfare partners include Tony LaRussa’s Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF), Code 3 Associates, and Pets Add Life. All of these brands and partners will be featured in the activity area before the game. There will be games, product demonstrations, give-aways, free samples and a photo booth. An on-field dog parade around the warning track will begin at 6:00 p.m. and dogs are encouraged to dress in their best Rangers game day attire. Prizes will be award to the top five best-dressed pooches.
Where to stay/play:
The Sheraton Arlington is located within a 5-minute walk of the park. Sheraton is one the few chains that have always been dog-friendly, but I’m not sure how people friendly they are. According to the website, canine guests will be greeted with a Welcome Kit, and a Sheraton Sweet Sleeper Dog Bed will be provided upon request. However, when I called this specific hotel the person I spoke with couldn’t give me any information about that. When I asked to be transferred to the concierge or hotel manager, I was told they were busy, but I could call back. I got the manager’s email and requested clarification on their policies and details on the Welcome Kit, but received no reply.
There is a limit of 2 dogs per room, and weight should not exceed 80 lbs. No additional deposits required, but you will be asked to sign a damages waiver when you check in.
Out of frustration, I called the Aloft Los Colinas in Irving. They’re about 20 minutes from the park, but they were really helpful. Aloft is another of those always dog-friendly hotels, and Los Colinas even has a water bowl in their lobby. There is no deposit and they accept dogs up to 50 lbs. without question. They do make exceptions for larger, well-behaved dogs on a case-by-case basis, and I was told the best way to handle that is to just walk in with your pooch. Aloft offers a great list of amenities through their Arf program which features complimentary bed, bowl, treats and toys to use during your stay. I assume they don’t want the treats back.
For pre or post game eats I’m sure you can find a patio near whatever hotel you choose, but I think you need to do some driving. In Dallas. Sorry.
Mutts Cantina is where the cool canines go to enjoy libations and off-leash fun with their peeps. On Saturday, they’ll be open from 8 a.m.-10 p.m. with the kitchen closing at 9 p.m. If your dog is the energetic type, this would be a great pre-game option for running off steam before leashing up and heading to the ballpark, or if after a few innings your pooch is over-stimulated, you can watch the rest of the game on one of their two TVs. It’s about 20 minutes from the park and the same distance to/from Aloft.
Northwest Arkansas Naturals Sunday, May 3rd 2:05 p.m.
We love our dogs in NWA (where Henri and I live) and it shows. The Naturals are hosting TWO Bark in the Ballpark events this year, both coinciding with Kids Eat Free Family Sunday. The first is Sunday, May 3rd at 2:05 p.m. and the second is Sunday, August 16th at 6:05 p.m. Dogs receive free admission with an owner’s purchase, and tickets range in price from $7-$13 per person ($1 more on game day). Dogs are allowed to sit throughout the seating bowl (told you we love dogs) and/or in the grass berm general admission area where blankets and lawn chairs are allowed.
Water bowls will be located along the concourse, and a special area is designated down the first base line and past the bullpen as a doggie relief section (please pick up). Special contests for Best Looking, Most Unique, Biggest and Smallest dog will be awarded. After the game, the kids can run the bases, but no dogs on the field.
Where to stay/play:
Holiday Inn Springdale is located about 2 miles from the ballpark, but there are no sidewalks, so it isn’t a walk-able route. They allow dogs up to 35lbs and require a one-time non-refundable deposit of $35. Dogs must be kenneled if left alone in the room, and on-leash at all times when on the property.
For eats and drinks, go see our friends at Jose’s Springdale. Their patio is recently dog-friendly, and we’ve known the owner for years. We’re totally biased.
Tulsa Drillers Wednesday, June 7th 7:05 p.m.
In Tulsa, Oklahoma you’ll find the farm team for the LA Dodgers. On Wednesday, June 7th, the Drillers will be playing my boys from Arkansas at ONEOK Field. Henri and I visited Tulsa last summer, and took in this game while we were there. We had a great time!
You can read the details of our Tulsa trip in Up With Trees.
Tickets for this game are $5.00 general admission only, as seating is in the grassy berm behind the outfield. This area is not shaded. You’ll want to be sure to bring a water bowl for your dog along with a blanket for seating, and you may even want to wander the concourse until it cools off a bit.
Enter through the Oil Derrick or Arvest/Brady Street entrance, and be prepared to show proof of up to date vaccinations.
Where to stay/play:
The Ambassador Hotel Tulsa is on the National Register of Historic Places and located less than two miles from the ballpark. They provide custom memory foam dog beds, gourmet dog treats from the Dog Dish, and will provide you with a list of local dog-friendly places. There is a $50 non-refundable pet deposit, and a size limit of 35 lbs. that is ‘negotiable.’ We love negotiable.
For eats, The Rusty Crane is right across the parking lot from the park. They feature a dog-friendly patio with upscale bar food and large electric fans. The Cubano with citrus marinated red onions was fantastic, and Henri really liked the sweet potato fries.
St. Louis Cardinals Saturday, June 13th 3:10 p.m.
Tickets for the 11th Annual Purina Pooches in the Ballpark event go on sale Friday, April 17th at 10:00 a.m., and they WILL SELL OUT! Last year’s tickets sold out in less than two days. This is the only game all year where dogs can join their owners in Busch Stadium, and it promises to be tons of fun. Each $150 ticket, which includes one person and one dog, also includes a goodie bag filled with Purina samples and coupons, as well as access to an all-you-can-eat buffet and all-you-can-drink water, soda, and beer. Yes, beer. That is not a typo.
There will be special doggie events all day including the Ultimate Air Dogs Competition located in the parking lot north of Ballpark Village at noon, Canine Cardinals Costume Parade around the warning track at 1:45, Purina Pro-Plan Performance Team Show in the Busch Stadium outfield at 2:45, and finally, of course, the game.
Visit cardinals.com/pooches to get your tickets. And HURRY!
Where to stay/play:
We’ve done this one, and we recommend the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark, or the ‘Ballpark Hilton’ for short. It’s 100 yards from Busch Stadium and pretty much right in the middle of Ballpark Village. Your dog can join you in the lobby bar and on the Starbucks patio. There is a $75 non-refundable deposit required, and no weight limits.
The only place at Ballpark Village that allows dogs is the Drunken Fish, a popular sushi bar with a patio. For more upscale dining, there’s Mike Shannon’s, but you will definitely need a reservation, and you need to mention that you’ll need it on the patio to accommodate your very well behaved pooch.
For a complete run down of what else to do with your pooch in St. Louis, read our post Gateway to the West.
And, GO CARDINALS!
Springfield Cardinals Sunday, June 21st 6:10 p.m.
Another Cards game presented by Purina, this one is a little more affordable. Game tickets in the seating bowl are $8-$14 and your dog is welcome to join you there as long as they don’t pester other fans. For more boisterous dogs, GA tickets are $6.00. You’re welcome to bring a blanket for the grass, but no chairs, please. Humans do not need to present proof of vaccinations for their dogs, but you will be required to sign a waiver accepting complete responsibility for your his health and behavior. The game features a St. Louis Cardinals pet leash giveaway for the first 2500 fans (we need one of those!), a free ice cream party for kids sponsored by Hiland Dairy, and all kids in attendance can run the bases after the game.
Where to stay/play:
The University Plaza Hotel is just a couple of blocks from Hammons Field, and walking is easy. Designated ‘pet rooms’ are on the 2nd and 3rd floors. A $25 non-refundable deposit is required and there are no weight restrictions. If you forget dog treats, they are available for purchase in the hotel gift shop.
Now, here’s the fun part.
When I called University, it just so happened that the young man who answered the phone not only has a dog, but moonlights at the dog-friendly Galloway Station on the Southside of Springfield. It’s about 10-15 minutes from the hotel. I asked about Mother’s Brewery while I had him on the phone. Galloway taps most of Mother’s beers. So, go there. Ask for Tyler. Tell him thank you. And tip him well.
If you are interested in actually going to Mother’s Brewery, they have a ‘back yard’ that is dog-friendly. Don’t lick the taps!
Please keep in mind that regardless of who your team is, the major league games typically sell-out quickly, and at least a few do not allow walk-ups. At all games, be prepared to show proof that your dog’s vaccinations are current and be willing to sign a waiver.
Dogs should be well-socialized and friendly towards people and other pets. Keep your pooch on a leash at all times, pick-up any messes, and be respectful of other fans.
And of course…
Enjoy the game!