By Calie Joy Herbst Special to Published Apr 20, 2013 at 8:06 AM

There was a time when going to a Brewers game meant tailgating, sunburns and beers – lots of them. But if you have young children and you’d like to enjoy a ballgame with them, those days may be over. Luckily, that doesn’t mean the fun has to end. Miller Park has a lot to offer kids of all ages, and families can easily enjoy a (sort of) stress-free experience at the stadium. Here are some suggestions for a smooth, fun-filled day at the ballpark.

Tip #1: Arrive early. Very early. At a recent matchup against the San Francisco Giants, my family and I arrived for a 7 p.m. game at around 5:30. It was raining, but we were able to park close to the main entrance and got in without much of a line or hassle. The wide open spaces gave our kid the chance to run around without bumping into innocent bystanders. Plus, he was enthralled staring out into the vast, empty stadium during batting practice.

Tip #2: Head for Bernie’s Clubhouse. Located on the Terrace Level behind home plate, this play area offers kids under four feet a place to wear themselves out before the game (i.e. they may actually sit in their seat for more than one inning once the game starts). Bernie’s Clubhouse is filled with slides, winding, colorful tubes and launching pads shaped as giant food items, perfect for climbing and jumping off.

Tip #3: For dinner, grab a kid’s value pack. The food stand adjacent to Bernie’s Clubhouse offers a Kid’s Value Combo for just $4. It includes a hot dog, soda, chips and a special treat, and comes in a clever, ballpark-themed box.

Tip #4: Make a Kohl’s sign and get on the jumbotron. Those cameramen seem to be suckers for the families who let the world know that this is their kid’s first game. Kohl’s signs are available on the first level behind right field.

Tip #5: Get a "first game" pin. Your kids can get a certificate or pin at the fan assistance center if it’s their first game. How cute is that?

Tip #6: Get seats in the family section. To avoid sitting near the rambunctious people that resemble your former self, purchase seats in the alcohol-free family section. Your kids will have fun meeting other mini-Brewers fans, and you won’t feel as terrible when your toddler throws a nacho at the person in front of them. The view’s not bad, either!

Tip #7: Create your own bobblehead. If your kids start to get antsy in their seats, take them down to the first level behind right field for batting practice, a race against the sausages, a picture in a giant baseball glove and a chance to create a bobblehead using your own image!

Tip #8: Leave early. Avoid the crowds and the lines in the parking lot, listen to the rest of the game on the radio, and get home for nap time or bedtime. You may miss the game-winning home run, but you’ve successfully evaded a stadium-food-induced meltdown.

For families with older kids who want to splurge, Miller Park offers a Bernie’s Slide Experience before each home game. For $100 per person, you get a behind the scenes tour of Miller Park, a meet and greet with Bernie Brewer in his dugout, a trip down the big yellow slide and a memorable photo-op. Find more information here.

Calie Joy Herbst Special to
Calie Herbst is a teacher in Milwaukee Public Schools and editor of She received a Bachelors in Spanish and Sociology from UW-Madison and a Masters of Teaching Spanish from Marquette.

She has travelled extensively through the Spanish-speaking world, but her favorite place in the world is Milwaukee. She lives in Bay View with her husband, two year old son, Hudson and her two dogs. She and her family love to check out the latest events in Milwaukee and spend time at their cabin in Winter, Wis.

In her free time, her ideal self enjoys doing yoga, reading one book a week, and cooking with organic, local foods. Her real self just ends up watching terrible reality television.