Big House Security Policy and other questions

Submitted by michgoblue on August 12th, 2013 at 11:03 AM

I am taking my 6 year old and 2 year old to their first game at the Big House for the opener on 8/31.  I haven't made it back to Ann Arbor for in 5 years, so a few kid-related, restuarant-related questions on a somewhat slow Monday morning:

1.  What is the Big House policy on strollers?  I am staying at the Bell Tower Hotel, so I was hoping to do the walk down State Street to the game, as that is a cool part of the game doay experience, but my 2-year-old would be in his stroller.  Can I bring it in, and if not is there a place by the stadium to safely park it?  What do others with young kids do for this walk? 

2.  Best seating locations for young kids to (1) be close enough to see the players (my 6 year old knows most of the bigger name guys, so he would probably enjoy seeing them somewhat up close), but (2) not be so close to the band, as the 6 year-old has some minor sensory issues and would be very scared of the band.  So, quiet sections with good view for the kids.  Sections where people tend to sit more are probably better.  Price not really a consideration for this game.

3.  Restaurants.  I have some old favorites that I always hit - Mr. Spots wings and waffle fried are a must for me.  My wife and I also always get breakfast at Angelo's.  Any other restaurants that the kids might enjoy?  I think that my older son would love Mongolian BBQ, just because it is somewhat unique and there is nothing in NY much like it.  Any other thoughts?

4.  Any good game-day or friday afternoon / early evening ideas that are kid friendly?  We will obviously spend a good amount of either friday or saturday walking campus, but I am looking for other thinkgs that the kids might enjoy attending. 

Thanks, to all , for any suggestions / information.




August 12th, 2013 at 11:21 AM ^

It's times like this that I wish there was a modration button for "douchbag."

Obviously, I could have just looked there, but I had other questions.  Plus, these types of threads sometimes lead to other great tips, such as where to part a stroller, the suggestion of taking the kids to Pioneer HS, etc.



August 12th, 2013 at 11:28 AM ^

Seriously, did you even bother to look at any of the op's questions?

If too much noise bothers your child, Mongolian may not be the most optimal place because of the clatter from the spatulas and the yelling/chanting/singing of the grill staff.  Can get pretty loud in there, too.  If weather is nice, obviously Dominick's would be my destination.  If it were up to my wife, it would be Pizza House.  The Kerrytown restaurants may also be pretty chill.

Unless things have changed (granted, it's been like 5 years since I've been at a game)  the band was in section 40-42? Kitty corner to the student section.  If you want best seats for your child to interact with players away from the band, section 21-23 or section 1 near the tunnel maybe your best bet.

Hand's On museum would be a place to take the kiddo as well.


August 12th, 2013 at 11:08 AM ^

I am of no help...but man am I so glad my only responsibilities as a recently graduated/non-married football fan are still: 1) Drink lots of beer 2) Enjoy lots of football


August 12th, 2013 at 11:19 AM ^

I don't know man. I have a 4 year old and a 2 year old and I have a hard time seeing my 4 year old doing well in the stadium (i.e. sitting still, not getting bored etc.) And my 2 year old is completely out of the question. I know every kid is different and maybe yours will be fine, but have you ever taken them to anything like this before? If not I would be prepared for the possibility of leaving in the 2ND quarter.


August 12th, 2013 at 11:31 AM ^

The 6 year old will be fine.  He loves all things Michigan and all things sports.  He went with me to the Michigan K-State bball game at MSG last Thanksgiving weekend, and loved it start to finish.

The 2-year-old, I am worried about.  The older one wanted to go, and my wife and I really wanted to get out to AA, so we figured that this would be a perfect game to try it out since it should probably not be in contention past the 2nd quarter.  I am hoping to get through the first half, then hope that the band keeps him busy for half time.  If we have to leave after that, I expect that the game will be out of hand, so it is fine.  DVRing the game, so that I can watch any parts that i miss.  Also, the concourse at M stadium is pretty wide open and huge, so my wife and I can but some sort of ball at the game and take turns evey 15 minutes playing with him on the concourse. 

Being optimistic, I know, but I have definitely seen young kids at the game, so I figured I would try it - start em young.


August 12th, 2013 at 11:30 AM ^

I took my daughter who was 4 at the time to her first game last year.  She loved it but part of the deal was that I was also there with my parents, so when my daughter started to get bored grammy took her for a couple walks out in the concourses.  She got to hive-five the drum major and she found a nickel so it was a good day, but If I didn't have a full support team with me it wouldn't have gone well.  And that was with one kid.

One other thing struck me.  You said you don't want to sit by the band because your 6-year-old has a "sensory issue".  Is he going to be okay if the crowd all roars at a big play, or when they pipe LOUD (it's always LOUD) rock music through the stadium speakers? 


August 12th, 2013 at 11:35 AM ^

He should be ok.  When he was little, he hated loud noises, but those issues have mostly faded over the past year and a half.  He went to a bball game at Madison Square Garden last fall, where it is max volume, and he was totally fine.  But, for some reason, he used to have a fear of the marching band.  I think that it is totally gone, because last Spring in Disney he wanted loved when a few marching bands walked by playing at full volume, but just to be safe, I figured I would avoid areas that might be louder than usual in terms of band noise. 


August 12th, 2013 at 11:30 AM ^

This is where we sit The higher the better actually - as you will be able to access the bathrooms (there is a family bathroom) very quickly, and spend less time lining up to go up and down the stairs (take the tower stairs and come down). If you are row 92+ you also get some shade.

It is far enough from the band to be less scary noisy, and people generally sit. We had pretty good luck with my then-3-year old niece last year and she will be coming to CMU as well

Friday stuff: can't beat the Hands-On museum in the old firehouse on Huron and 5th (entrance a block north on (?) Ann? )

Prince Lover

August 12th, 2013 at 11:38 AM ^

Really likes the hands on museum, maybe for a friday thing to do. And I do agree with Brutus. We took my daughter to her 1st Tigers game this year knowing full well that we would not be staying for the whole game, which was good because she was very antsy by the 5th inning. But I was happy because I didnt think we would make it past the 3rd.

Edit:Sorry for the redundancy on hands on museum, I'm a slow typer....


August 12th, 2013 at 11:34 AM ^

Your best bet if you need to bring the stroller is to bring a bike lock and lock the stroller to one of the racks near the IM building or theater arts complex (or just use a street sign). It would probably be safe. Or if you know anyone who's there tailgating, you could ask to stash it in their car, with the drawback being  you'd have to meet up after the game to retrieve it.

Couldn't you just do the shoulder carry thing, though? 


party like its 1989

August 12th, 2013 at 11:34 AM ^

with you and just secure your stroller to an out of the way light post or something just outside the gates. I've done that with bikes and even did it with one of those backpacks that you carry kids in. No one bothered it.

I'd also suggest getting tickets in the last row (it's 96) in my section. You get a little extra room, nobody behind you, stand or sit as you please, etc.

DO be prepared to leave a little early with a 2 year old and a 6 year old, but have a great time!

Also bring sunscreen. ; )


August 12th, 2013 at 11:34 AM ^

But I think taking a 2 year old to a football game is asking for trouble.  Opening weekend is often very hot and sunny and making a 2 year old sit in that is not something I would do.  The loud noises from the crowd will likely be frightening to him.  Probably not quite as bad if there is a second adult (mom?) who can take the little one out of the seating area into the shade, but I still wouldn't do it.  Based on my own experiences, the 6 year old is about as young as I would go.

I love the Big House, but it can be quite uncomfortable, especially if you're in a row where someone has decided that they can cram extra friends who bought single tickets.  Those folks love to encroach on the space of young children.

As for the band, they're in the student section around Sec. 26 or so.  If you sit in the southwest corner (sec. 18-20) you'll only hear them over the PA system.  (Secs. 18-20 will also get you into the shade more quickly given it's a 3:30 start). I sit in the NE corner and can hear them quite well but they are not too loud in my opinion. 

My last piece of advice - find seats that are on the aisle if possible - and close to the entrance/exit to the section.  Kids will want to get up and walk around a lot.  The people who sit in front of me have kids in the 8-9 range and when they started bringing them a few years back they commented on how they wouldn't do it if they didn't have seats on the aisle and 5 rows down from the exit.


August 12th, 2013 at 11:58 AM ^

I started taking my kids in 2010 - ages 6, 4 and 3 - but I have premium seats with easy access to food, bathroom and shelter. Not to mention covered seats and an elevator to seats.

Far be it from me to tell another man what to do with his kids, but I can tell you that I left a number of games early and showed up late to others. It wasn't easy, and it wasn't always fun, but as a father you sometimes have to be a glutton for punishment!

Just make sure you pack sunscreen, an iPhone or two and plenty of patience!


August 12th, 2013 at 11:37 AM ^

I went to my first game in 24yrs last year, my kids were old enough that I wasn't too worried (9 and 10 at the time). Went to the Air Force game and actually sat in the visitor section. Kids and I had a great time and most of the AF people were cool. I was never really willing to brave taking my kids to such a big event as that when they were that young. Patience is the key as you may end up not seeing as much of the game as you want. I did do some local stuff with kids but if they were tired I could get up and leave. It would be hard to leave a football game in the middle (or at least disappointing).

Good luck to you sir.



August 12th, 2013 at 11:50 AM ^

I bet there is someone on here who lives close enough to the stadium where you could leave the stroller on their porch.  Sadly, that person is not me.  


August 12th, 2013 at 11:56 AM ^

But do you know what happens if you get caught in the big house at night? A lot of students go on the field, late and take pictures. I've been considering this...


August 12th, 2013 at 12:06 PM ^

One option to eliminate the stroller, although you would be doing some carrying of your two year old, would be to take the bus.  I know they run from the Campus Inn and various other locations around Ann Arbor directly to the stadium..

Good luck with the two year old.....maybe you will get lucky, but my kids at two didn't understand the concept of sitting still.  


August 12th, 2013 at 12:07 PM ^

I always found Mongolian BBQ to be kid friendly.  My kids loved it, because they liked picking out the food and watching it cook.  Because most people talk loud to talk over the grill sounds, it made for a more relaxing environment as I didn't have to worry about the kids getting too loud.

One thing my kids always want to do when back in Ann Arbor is go by and spin the cube next to the Union.  They'll spend a good half hour tiring themselves out running around that thing.

Having 4 kids myself, I can't think of one that would have been able to handle the big house at age 2.  That's just a tough age.  I would suggest not worrying about getting close to the field and find seats near an aisle and concourse exit.


August 12th, 2013 at 12:07 PM ^

First of all Welcome back.  My concern for such young kids is seeing the game, maybe an aisle seat would be best.  If not that a bit higher up would give them a better lookout view.

1989 UM GRAD

August 12th, 2013 at 12:09 PM ^

Call Brian at Hoover Street Auto and ask him if you can park your stroller there during the game.  This is as close as you can get to the Big House without being in University parking.   Hoover is the street that the band and most of the students use to walk to the game.  We've been parking there since our kids were facilitate a short walk to the stadium.  He has about 30 cars that park there...and he always has someone there to let you in or out.

As for your kids, it sounds as though you have it covered.  We've been taking our kids since our son (our oldest, now 11) was a baby.  You just have to be prepared to leave early and/or take the kids on walks around the stadium during the game; the walks give them a needed break from the noise/heat/chaos of being in the stands.  We've found that keeping them well fed and hydrated also helps.

As for activities, I'll echo the Hands-On Museum and the other museums.  Walking around Main Street and Kerrytown.  Diag and South U are also musts.  As for food, Pizza House is the easiest with kids. 





August 12th, 2013 at 12:15 PM ^

I am not sure how far you're willing to stray from Ann Arbor proper, but there is also the Domino's Petting Farm or the Matthei Botanical Gardens, but these are both closed by 4:30 PM, I believe, so it would need to be an early afternoon thing perhaps. There is also the Leslie Nature Center on the north side. 

In my own experience with a 7 and 6 year-old, kid-friendly restuarants around town (again, not sure how far you're willing to go outside of downtown / campus) would be places like NeoPapalis, Zingerman's Roadhouse and Northside Grill. 

True Blue Grit

August 12th, 2013 at 1:33 PM ^

to the Big House.  Got to start them young!  But, I'm guessing your most optimistic outcome is that the 2 year old lasts until halftime (unless a miracle happens and he takes a nap!).  For kids, I like the suggestions for the Hands On Museum (downtown), Leslie Science Center (north side), and Gallup Park (scenic place for everyone to relax).  Another place for younger kids might be Briarwood Mall where they have a big play area.  I go WAY back with restaurants here and one of my favorite campus place (past or present) is Pizza House on Church St.  Great atmosphere and lots of food choices.  Most of the campus places will be fairly loud, so if you want a quieter family type restaurant, you'll need to go further out. 


August 12th, 2013 at 2:35 PM ^

with camera rules? I have the max size for a lense allowed, hope I can walk right through I'm wearing it around the neck. I would love to share my shots here, I've had several car magazine shots in the past but I've never done sports. I have row 2 seats for the Minnesota game. haven't been since we snuck by Miami(oh) under RRod.

Feat of Clay

August 12th, 2013 at 2:45 PM ^

Don't sit too low.  It's hard enough for me to see down in the rows near the field--with my kid it's really bad.  I'd want to be at least row 15, higher would be even better.  Not only for sightlines but also for those steps up to the concourse when you have to make the food/bathroom runs.

In your shoes, if my toddler got antsy but my older kid wanted to stay, I'd send my spouse out with the 2-year-old and have them stroll down to Allmendinger Park (head west about five blocks down Potter, Keech, or Pauline).  There's a playground there, so that will give them something to do while you guys watch more of the game.  But I'd set up a time to meet, rather than rely on a "call me when you're done" deal because I often have trouble getting phone service in the stadium.  Even texts don't go through reliably.


August 12th, 2013 at 3:52 PM ^

1. If you have to take a stroller, the kid is probably too small to go, and you're just annoying your fellow fans with the whining and crying and the "I can't see's" and getting up 30 times.  But if you're going to do it, as mentioned above, maybe some box seats where you can go inside and get away from the weather, noise, and be close to a bathroom (if price isn't a big deal). Remeber, a college basketball game is maybe half as long as a football game with all the getting to the Stadium, pregame, etc, etc.  Making through a B-ball game is not a marathon.  Plus you're indoors and not in the weather.

2.The band is 1/10th as loud as the speakers now. They pipe the band through the speakers too. It's not away from the need to be away from the whole north endzone. I'm in the South corner, and pregame you can't even hear someone on a cell phone over the sound of their warm up music.

3. Mongo doesn't sounds like a bad choice. If gameday probably best to avoid the drinking establishments like Brown Jug unless you want to introduce them to drunken students and fans.

4. The oft suggested Hands On Museum is great for little kids. Your older might like the Natural History museum, because who doesn't like dinosaurs?