Great American Ball Park (GABP) officially opened its doors at the beginning of the 2003 season. Located on the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati, it serves as the home of baseball’s first professional team, the Cincinnati Reds. Despite the team still looking for its first winning season since moving in, Great American Ball Park remains a wonderful place to watch a baseball game.
Food & Beverage
The concession stands at Great American Ball Park are operated by Sportservice. All of the regular staples such as hot dogs, brats, popcorn, peanuts, nachos, soft pretzels, beer and soda are widely available. The aisles are spacious and most stands have at least one television so you don’t miss any of the action.
For the true Cincinnati experience, be sure to visit the Montgomery Inn for some pulled pork or chicken. There are three Skyline Chili locations for Cincinnati’s own Skyline Cheese Coney. My personal favorite is LaRosa’s Pizza, which can be found at three locations throughout the park as well as The Machine Room Grille.
The Machine Room Grille is located in the left-field corner on the Suite Level and is usually the first stop my family makes when visiting the GABP. There are televisions everywhere, a full bar, pool table and video game kiosk. Inside and outside seating is available with some tables having a view of the field. The Machine Room is themed with items from the Big Red Machine era. For old-timers such as myself, seeing the zamboni machine used at Riverfront Stadium is always a real treat.
The Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame & Museum does an exceptional job at paying tribute to the club’s storied history. A long-time Reds fan will be in paradise with interactive exhibits and memorabilia that will undoubtedly trigger some great memories. Be sure not to miss the massive display of 4,256 baseballs, one for each hit Pete Rose collected during his career.
The Fan Zone is an area offering entertainment such as live music, games and activities. There are photo walls, giant baseball cards, home run challenge video game and a playground for kids. You can even test your speed from home to first at the “Run It Out” booth.
Crosley Terrace serves as the main entrance to Great American Ball Park. As you approach the gate, the ground is paved with bricks purchased by fans with a personal message inscribed. My wife and I bought one prior to the stadium opening, as did my parents. Statues of Joe Nuxhall, Ted Kluszewski, Frank Robinson and Ernie Lombardi are featured as well.
The Reds have three official mascots that patrol the park on a regular basis. Mr. Redlegs, Rosie Red and Gapper always pose for pictures and bring a smile to children’s faces. Even after seeing them countless times, my kids still get excited for a picture with one of the trio.
The area between Great American Ball Park and Paul Brown Stadium, the home of the Cincinnati Bengals, is prime real estate and ideal for development. However, a seemingly endless political battle has caused the former home of Riverfront Stadium to remain a construction site.
I love Cincinnati, but any activities before or after a Reds game are usually done on the outskirts of downtown, miles from the stadium. Newport on the Levee is a very nice area, but you must cross the bridge into Kentucky.
Cincinnati has always been a baseball town. Fans are passionate and knowledgeable about the game. Baseball is a sport that is passed down from generation to generation and Cincinnati exemplifies that concept as good as any city.
I can remember my parents taking me to Riverfront Stadium and sitting in the upper deck on a Sunday afternoon. My wife and I shielded our daughter from an Adam Dunn home run ball that nearly hit her carrier when she was less than two months old. My son’s first Opening Day was when he was six months old and he has not missed one since.
Our story is a common one around Great American Ball Park. Despite recent struggling attendance figures, fans are well-versed in the history of the Reds and genuinely hopeful for more special memories to come.
There are 3,500 on-site parking spaces at Great American Ball Park. If you are able to walk several blocks, I recommend parking at one of the garages downtown. You will save some time and money. There is also surprisingly quick and easy access to interstate ramps.
When it comes to being handicap accessible, Great American Ball Park is second to none. My parents are both disabled and have no trouble taking their grandkids to see the Reds. There is handicap parking available at the stadium as well as a disabled pick-up/drop-off zone located on Joe Nuxhall Way.
The aisles are wide, making it no problem for a wheelchair to navigate. Handicap seating is available in most seating areas with great views of the field. There are even electrical outlets to charge a scooter, etc. at no cost.
Return On Investment
In a struggling economy, people have to be more careful about where and how they spend their money. It can be quite expensive for a family of four to attend a sporting event or movie. Like many teams, the Reds have tried to make a trip to the park more affordable.
Tickets are available for as little as $5 and there are several “Family Days” throughout the year, which allow one person to purchase a full-price ticket while the rest of the family gets in for half-price. The Machine Room Grille is also very affordable option for a family dinner.
Great American Ball Park is a fabulous place to watch a baseball game. There are comfortable seats angled toward home plate, various standing areas with a perfect view of the field and plenty of attractions that will catch your eye. If you get the chance, be sure to visit home of the Cincinnati Reds. You won’t be disappointed.Great American Ball Park
100 Joe Nuxhall Way
Cincinnati, OH 45202