The snow is melting, the sun emerging, and it’s been a few weeks since pitchers and catchers reported for spring training in sunny Florida. As spring creeps up on us in Baltimore, Opening Day for the beloved O’s will be here before you know it. Are you ready for some baseball? We are…and we’ve got the skinny on ways to include your pint-sized fans in the fun this season.

(cool) ways to enjoy baltimore baseball with kids

The Dugout Club

Somehow it took us until this past summer to discover the wonders of the Baltimore Orioles Dugout Club, the official fan club for children 14 and under. And now I feel like we’ve been missing out on one of the city’s best treasures for kids. For just $30 per child ($25 for returning fans), your child will receive tickets for 10 specific games, a subscription to the Orioles Kids’ magazine, and an Orioles bag filled with goodies including an O’s baseball hat, lanyard, fan club card and water bottle. Adults can purchase special tickets as a special low rate to join their pint-sized attendees. Tickets are for a combination of weekend and evening games and are spread throughout the season. And because it comes down to about $3 a game, there’s no guilt if you miss one. Once there, there are plenty of diversions from the game for little ones who can’t sit still. Check out discounted food options, face painting, bounce houses, and photo opportunities galore. You may even catch a sighting of the beloved mascot. As an added bonus, there is a special giveaway for Dugout Club members at each game—we scored free tickets for the kids to Dutch Wonderland at one game, which made this deal even sweeter.

(cool) tip: You don’t need to belong to the Dugout Club to run the bases. Check the promotion schedule to find out what’s happening, including special events like fireworks and base running for fans under 14, as well as cool giveaways, because who doesn’t want a Buck Showalter garden gnome overseeing their tomatoes and zucchini this summer (FYI….show up Saturday June 27th for that particular treat)?

The Tom Clancy Orioles Reading Club

The Tom Clancy Orioles Reading Club brings together a few of Baltimore’s favorites—author Tom Clancy and the Orioles. No matter what the benches say these days, we are still the city that reads, right? The Orioles have teamed up with the Enoch Pratt Free Library to sponsor a reading program with a homerun reward—2 complimentary tickets to an at-home game in April or May for kids from birth through fifth grade. Just read any 5 of the books listed on the printable bookmarks from the website and return it to the library by April 1, 2015, to claim your tickets. There are four categories—children under 5, grades K-1, grades 2-3, and grades 4-5—and you’ll find lots of familiar authors (Eric Carle, Kate DiCamillo, and Mo Willems) and maybe even a new favorite.

Kids Clubs with the Minor Leagues

You can score all of the fun for a lower price with a little less fanfare, which can be a very good thing when you’re talking kids and ballgames. Let’s be honest—hot days and endless innings can zap a kid’s energy and interest level by the top of the second inning. Check out one of the local O’s Affiliate teams, including the Bowie Baysox, the Frederick Keys, and the Aberdeen Ironbirds for major fun on a minor budget. The kids’ clubs are free, and often include free game tickets and unique ballpark experiences, including autograph sessions and even a chance to run through the takeoff tunnel.

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