Updated August 13, 2018
Are you ready for some football? The CyHawk showdown will take place on Saturday, September 8, 2018 at 4:00 pm at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City. No matter if you’ll be cheering on the Hawkeyes or the Cyclones attending a college football game can be an exciting way to spend a Saturday afternoon with the family. Here are a few things to know about attending football games with kids at Kinnick Stadium.
EVERYONE entering Kinnick must have a ticket, this policy includes babies in arms. Ticket information can be found on the University of Iowa’s website. The ticket office at Kinnick Stadium opens three hours prior to the game through half time, and is located in the southeast corner near gate M.
When choosing your seats, think of what works best for your family. Kinnick offers long bench seating, so if you have an option, try to get seats that are closer to the end of the aisle, especially if you have wiggly kids who might need to visit the bathroom a few times. Family restrooms are on the south concourse, near sections 215 and 218. Nursing mamas can utilize the family restrooms or the First Aid Station, located on the south concourse, near section 212. Other restrooms are located throughout the concourse.
Dress the Part
Even if you didn’t go to the University of Iowa or Iowa State, embrace the colors for the game and dress your kiddos up! If you don’t have anything, there are plenty of stores at the stadium to grab a t-shirt, pom-pom, or even a tattoo. You’ll also want to be sure to dress the kiddos for the weather. September in Iowa can swing from the 70s and 80s in the afternoon to 50s in the evening. Be sure to pack a sweatshirt or jacket!
Traffic & Parking
Traffic and parking can be a hassle for Iowa football games. Have a game plan, arrive early and know where you’re going to park. Drivers traveling into Iowa City from I-80 are encouraged to use alternative routes like Dodge Street (Exit 246) and Coral Ridge Avenue/Highway 6 (Exit 240) as well as ride the Hawkeye Express train.
Public parking, which is $20 per car, can be found in Lots Myrtle Avenue, 3, 11, or 65 or Ramp 4. FREE parking with FREE shuttle service to and from the stadium is available in Lots 55, 71, or 85. Otherwise, parking can be found on neighboring streets, if you’re lucky. Be prepared for a hike and wear comfortable shoes to walk in. For help planning your travel, go to https://footballgameday.hawkeyesports.com/parking/.
All aboard the Hawkeye Express! A great alternative to driving to the game, is taking the train. It’s become a game day tradition for many families. Park for FREE and board the train up to four hours prior to kick-off near the Coral Ridge Mall (2435 James St, Coralville, IA 52241). The train ride to Kinnick takes approximately ten minutes and drops you off at the southwest corner of the Stadium. Round-trip tickets are available for purchase on game day at the Hawkeye Express Depot on a cash-only basis. Round-trip tickets cost $12 per person with children 12 and under riding for FREE. Post-game boarding begins at the start of the fourth quarter and continues until 90 minutes after the game. For more information about the Hawkeye Express, please call (319) 335-9247.
Safety & Security
There are a number of items that are not allowed into Kinnick Stadium and with your kiddos in tow you will also want to have a few safety protocols in place. ONLY CLEAR BAGS (12” X 6” X 12”) are allowed into the stadium. Purses, handbags, backpacks and cinch bags will NOT be permitted. Find more information about the Clear Bag Policy here. You’ll also need to find an alternative to your stroller as they’re not allowed either. If your child is young or easily startled by noise, consider headphones, earplugs or cotton for their ears as 70,000 fans can get a little loud.
What can you bring?
A few suggestions to make your evening more comfortable – patrons with infants are allowed to bring diaper bags. All other fans are allowed one sealed plastic water bottle and food contained in a one-gallon clear plastic bag. You may also bring seat cushions, blankets and binoculars are fun for the kids to see things up close and can keep them busy if they start getting bored.
If you’re not tailgating, there are several food trucks and other food vendors available outside the Stadium. If you’re looking to nosh during the game, there’s several concession options offered inside the Stadium with food items available from Pancheros, Molly’s Cupcakes; 30hop Rooftop Coralville; Kitchen Cooked; and Pizza Ranch.
Enjoy the Pre-Game Atmosphere
Try to get to the Stadium a few hours before the game begins to enjoy all the festivities. If you know someone tailgating, stop on by or set up your own. Check out our fun tailgating with kids ideas here.
Hawkeye Kids Zone and Hawkeye Tailgate
Families will want to be sure to check out the Hawkeye Kids Zone located on the practice fields behind the Hansen Football Performance Complex. Spirit squads, athletes from other U of I sports teams and Herky the Hawk will be there, along with an inflatable obstacle course. In addition, there’s a new Hawkeye Tailgate at the Krause Family Plaza outside Gate A this season. There will be two video boards showing the nation’s pregame shows.
Go Early for the Pre-Game Warm Up
Kids will think it’s fun to watch the team arrive at the Stadium and touch the statue of Nile Kinnick as they enter the arena. If your kiddos are true-blue football fans you’ll want to head to your seats early so, you can watch the players warming up and jam to the music. You’ll also be there in time to see the band come on the field (my favorite part;).
Teach your kids the songs, chants and cheers ahead of time!
Kids love being part of the excitement, chanting along with the crowd and learning all about your school’s beloved traditions. Be sure to teach them some cheers and the words to the fight song before heading to the big game.
Join the Junior Hawks Club
If you find you have a fan on your hands, you can enroll them in the Junior Hawks Kids Club. For only $20, your kiddo will get a t-shirt, free admission to most varsity sports (excluding football), a quarterly newsletter, a birthday card and more. For kids ages 12 and below.
825 Evashevski Drive
Iowa City, IA
Have you been to Kinnick Stadium with kids? If so, give us YOUR tips, in the Comments section below.
Many thanks to my friend Jody Lipcamon, an Iowa City resident, for helping me compile all of the insider info. and tracking down the photos for this post!
The featured photo is courtesy of the Mullens family.