We just returned from a week in Cooperstown, New York. Upcoming posts will cover different aspects of that trip to the baseball mecca, but this one follows the standard park review format.
Our oldest son and his travel ball team spent the week playing and living at Cooperstown Dreams Park. The park was started in 1996 by Coach Lou Presutti, a man who built the complex to fulfill his grandfather’s dream that every kid in America be able to play baseball in Cooperstown. Cooperstown is widely referred to as the town where baseball was invented, but a trip to the National Baseball Hall of Fame will debunk that myth. The family still runs the tournament camp, emphasizing baseball’s values and opportunity.
Cooperstown Dreams Park has 22 fields, 6 concession stands for fans, 3 parking lots, a playground, lots of open green space for siblings, and camp accommodations including an arcade for the players. The dugouts are covered and the seating areas are partially covered, but fans are right next to the field and need to watch for fly balls (and ricochet balls off of the high fence in the outfield!). The main way to watch the game is to use one of the plastic chairs provided in the fan section, although there are bleachers in the outfield on some fields.
- Geared toward family comfort while the boys are playing baseball, so there are kids crafts, a playground, and lots of open green space for running around
- 6 concessions stands (more info)
- Plentiful restroom facilities (more info)
- Parking is close to the games unless you are playing in Zone 6, and it is free
- Dreams Park staff zoom around on golf carts to carry fans across the property
- Store for purchasing commemorative items, engraved bats and balls, photos, and even a bathing suit if your son forgot his (I did not see girl’s bathing suits but they probably had them too)
- Games on fields 1-10 are broadcast on Dreams Park TV for fans at home
- Watching games is free
Not So Great Things:
- Very little natural shade, so families seeking shade need to arrive at their scheduled game early
- If your game is in Zone 6, the bugs are terrible – bring bug spray
- No outside food or drinks allowed except bottled water
- Pepsi products only
There are 6 concession stands conveniently located throughout the park, one in each of Dreams Park’s 6 zones. The concession stands all serve the same items, with hot and cold selections from 8 AM until the last game ends. Cooperstown Dreams Park offers some of the healthiest fare that I have seen – guacamole, hummus, wraps – along with traditional hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, candy, and chips. If you have a picky eater, you can even buy a Smuckers peanut butter and jelly sandwich. You can also purchase breakfast all day. Although we didn’t try everything, we tried many of the items and found them all to be fine and reasonably priced. Player campers also have a concession stand in their barracks, serving the same items, to supplement the 3 meals a day at the dining pavilion for growing 12 year olds. Concessions are cash only. I suggest buying the baseball jug, which costs $8.95 but you can refill as many times as you would like for $1.50 per refill.
Restroom sizes vary throughout the zones, but every visit that I made to a restroom around the complex revealed a clean, mostly well-stocked restroom with no waiting for stalls. Dreams Park staff, of which there are many, appear committed to ensuring that the restrooms are ready for fans and players at any time of the day. Stalls have metal doors at a sufficient height for privacy. Some faucets have turn handles and some have push buttons, but all provide a soap dispenser as well as a selection of hot or cold water with strong water pressure. You can even see yourself in the mirror!
- Pin trading is not just for players – make sure you keep some of your child’s pins with you for the siblings who will come to the fan section during games to trade
- Mike Trout, Bryce Parker, and David Price each went to Cooperstown Dreams Park when they were 12
- Fireworks at park on Thursday night
- Turn foul balls in for a token – collect 5 tokens and you get a Dreams Park pin
Cooperstown Dreams Park is 5 miles from downtown Cooperstown, where you can find some decent burgers, tons of baseball memorabilia for sale, the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the Farmers Museum, and the beautiful Otesaga Hotel. We enjoyed several late night dinners and drinks at the Hawkeye Bar and Grill in the hotel, overlooking Lake Otsego.
Cooperstown Dreams Park is located at 4550 State Highway 28 in Milford, New York.