What do you get when you cross America’s favorite family vacation destination with America’s pastime? The Myrtle Beach Pelicans, the Advanced Class A minor league baseball affiliate of the Chicago Cubs and one of the most entertaining venues on the entire Grand Strand.
Located across from Broadway at the Beach on 21st Avenue North, the Pelicans Ballpark is a popular gathering spot for both locals and visitors when the team is in town 70 days a year from April through August. Playing in the Carolina League, the Pelicans play host to teams from around the region and fans from all over the East Coast as baseball is as much an entertainment attraction in Myrtle Beach as it is a sport.
Opened in 1999 after the old Durham Bulls franchise, featured in the hit movie “Bull Durham,” relocated to Myrtle Beach, the Pelicans have been known for providing family-friendly fun at the ol’ ballpark, which is actually like new by most minor-league baseball stadia. Pelicans Ballpark is repeatedly ranked among the best facilities in the country, and the team’s new partnership with the Cubs, ranked as the No. 1 minor-league operation in all of baseball, gives the Pelicans a solid 1-2 punch of baseball and entertainment.
The 5,000-seat ballpark packs them in on game nights, thanks in part to the team’s popular promotions. In addition to weekly specials, such as $1 hot dogs on Wiener Wednesdays and $1 draft beers on Thirsty Thursdays, are big hits with fans looking for affordable family fun. While Major League Baseball has priced the average family of four out of a night at a big-league game, the Pelicans offer a great opportunity to spend an exciting night at the ballpark without going broke.
The Pelicans also offer special nightly promotions, allowing the first 1,000 or so fans or kids to collect a free gift at the gate. Check for off-the-wall events as well, such as the Pelicans’ popular “Bark in the Park Night” when fans can bring their dogs to the game, and Ugly Hawaiian Shirt Night” where the loudest, most obnoxious floral shirt, as voted on by crowd noise, wins a prize package. Fans dress up like super heroes, movie characters, and more to keep with the nightly themes, and they take part in fun activities coordinated by the team.
Perhaps the biggest laughs come from the team’s mascots – Splash the Pelican, the Rally Shark and Deuce the Home Run Dog, a yellow lab who delivers a fresh bucket of balls to the umpire to the delight of fans. They take part in between-inning stunts that keep fans entertained during the down times of the ballgame. Fans are chosen from the crowd to compete in wacky games and contests, such as inflatable sumo-suit wrestling, the Dizzy Bat Race, the popular hot dog cannon that launches free wieners into the stands, and a tricycle race around the bases. From allowing kids to play catch on the field and run the bases before the games to postgame fireworks and concerts, it’s non-stop fun and action at The Nest.
Pelicans Ballpark also has lots of amenities to make your family or group’s night at the ballgame a special one. The cozy box seats come with arm rests and drink holders so you can enjoy the game and show in comfort. Stay seated and let the roaming food and drink vendors come to you with cold drinks and beer, popcorn, peanuts, cotton candy and Cracker Jack’s. All the traditional ballpark fare, plus a few new items one wouldn’t expect to be part of the menu at a baseball game are available at the concession stands and the souvenir shop.
The Pelicans host 70 home games between April and August, welcoming teams from the Carolina League to town for three- and four-game homesteads. Most games start at 7 p.m. (doubleheaders begin at 6 p.m.) and the game’s last an average of 2 ½ hours. For a full schedule and to purchase tickets, visit www.myrtlebeachpelicans.com.