For the kid who dreams of sitting on the same bench as his beloved baseball hero, or of peeking into the clubhouse where players get ready for a game, or of walking in the exact same dirt where baseball greats have stood – we heartily recommend the guided tour of Turner Field and the Braves Museum and Hall of Fame. The museum was recently given a first-place ranking from Ballpark Digest.
On a hot mid-week morning, Atlanta Parent joined about 40 fifth-graders and parents on the Turner Field tour. Dave Barrett, our wonderful tour guide and expert of all things Braves and baseball kept us under control. He encouraged us to ask lots of questions and entertained us throughout the hour-long tour. He gave us only two rules: no running, and no touching the grass. (Naturally, we couldn’t stop thinking about how badly we wanted to do only those two things!)
We hung onto Dave’s every word as he took us to the Coca-Cola Skyfield and impressively rattled off the history of each retired number that has a permanent spot high on the stadium wall. Peering out over the vast, empty field, we spotted the lawn maintenance crew cutting the sacred grass – grass that grows so quickly it has to be cut every day. Our attention turned to the giant screen on the wall in center field. “That high-definition Jumbotron cost more than $10 million, which is more than Ted Turner bought the entire team for in 1976,” Dave told us.
The tour continued into the press box, where kids were invited to sit in the same seat long occupied by the late great Braves sportscaster Skip Caray. Next, we all crammed inside one of the corporate suites equipped with plush seats and flat-screen TVs; Dave let us know these suites rent for $275,000 per season, with a three-season minimum. Our group got to “feel” like real pros next, when we were escorted down to the field and into the Braves’ dugout. Dave mentioned that the Braves still offer $1 seats, a program started by Ted Turner to make the games affordable for everyone. Two and half hours before game time, certain seats are sold for $1 and entrance is required as soon as these tickets are purchased.
The tour concluded where it started, in the Braves Museum, where glass cases filled with historic baseball memorabilia line the walls. The Braves’ roots, we learn here, began when this franchise was the 1871 Boston Red Stockings. The team moved to Milwaukee in 1953, then to Atlanta in 1966. From Bobby Cox’s cleats to Hank Aaron’s jersey and even an empty champagne bottle from the Braves’ 1995 World Series win, this museum has it all.
Plan on spending 1-2 hours on the tour and in the museum, and then consider buying some cheap seats to a game later that night. You’ll leave reminded about your love of the game, and your kids will leave inspired.
– Kate Wallace
Turner Field Tour and Braves Museum and Hall of Fame
775 Hank Aaron Dr. SE, Atlanta; 404-614-2311
Museum hours/tours: (Tours begin at the top of each hour.) Baseball season (April-Sept.): Mon.-Sat., 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; Sun., 1-3 p.m. Tours not available when the Braves have afternoon home games. Off-season (Oct.-March): Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Cost: Adults, $12; Children 3-13, $7.
Museum only (no tour), $5. Admission to the museum during games, $2. No reservations are necessary for groups of less than 20 people. Tickets can be purchased the day of your tour at the main ticket window. Parking is free for tours.