When I moved to Nebraska and started working at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, it was evident that this state loves football. In fact, more specifically, they love Husker football. According to Husker Athletics, “Memorial Stadium has been sold out for home football games since 1962 and becomes the third-largest city in Nebraska on Game Day holding over 90,000 fans.” If heading to Lincoln on Game Day is in your future, I have a few tips to help make your Game Day experience more manageable for your family.
- It is easier to find tickets in pairs, so if you have a family of four, I recommend splitting up two and two. You can rotate seats at halftime or enjoy the opportunity for one-on-one time with one of the kids.
- October games are ideal. In October, it is not too hot or too cold. September games can get brutally hot, and November tends to be on the chilly side.
- Avoid night games if your kids are little and can’t stay up until 11 pm.
- Sit in the west stadium if at all possible. West stadium seating gets the most shade during the game. If you can afford it, spring for tickets in the West Stadium Club seating it has air conditioning and is inside.
- Children ages 1 year and younger may purchase a $20 lap ticket day of the game at the Ticket Office.
- If you decide to take younger kids to the game be prepared to do a ton of walking and not a lot of seeing the game. Plus, always be ready to leave early if needed.
- Kid-friendly bathrooms or changing tables are few and far between, so be prepared to change your kid on a floor or while they are standing.
- Each ticket holder is allowed one clear bag upon entry. Fill your clear bag up with travel toys you don’t care get lost and coloring supplies. Anything to keep a bored kid occupied. And bring layers! The temperature can change drastically within four hours depending on the time of year and time of the game. Don’t forget the sunscreen and a hat.
- It depends on the gate agent, but most of the time, if you have a kid with you, they will let you slide with more snacks than normal. It is important to note that for kids with severe allergies, the game may not be great because they still sell packages of peanuts.
- Bring milk or juice if they let you because they don’t sell those at the stadium. Water and soda are your only options.
- Check out the Husker Nation Pavilion, a fun zone for older kids with games, music, and special guest appearances.
- I recommend watching the Tunnel Walk in the tunnel under the north side of the stadium. There you can give the players high fives.
- The half time band performance is fun for some kids, but it can get long and depending on where you are seated, it can be hard to see.
- A tip from a colleague was to prepare your kids with something to look forward to for each quarter. For her, the first quarter is coloring and concession food (hotdog, Runza, or Pizza), the second quarter is a snack (popcorn, cookie, and pretzel), the third quarter is ice cream, and the fourth quarter is some sort of I spy game or back to coloring. Making a big deal out of each quarter with food makes it feel like a super special event, and they end up being more compliant.
- Wi-Fi is touch and go, and it hard to hear when talking on the phone. Texting is the only way to communicate. Make sure you designate a spot to go to if anyone is lost but base it on the gate and section numbers. It is easy to get lost as everything looks the same when you are behind the scenes in the stadium.
- Educate the kids on the traditions of Husker Football. Here are a few fun ones to share:
- Throwing the Bones: Crossing your arms, making an X after defensive stops and when welcoming the Defense to the field. (FYI: The Defense is referred to as The Blackshirts)
- Shoes Off-Kickoff: During kickoffs, the student section (referred to as the Boneyard) removes one shoe and raises it in the air while jumping up and down.
- Going through security with your pump and cooler is easier than expected. A quick check of your bag is required but usually doesn’t hold you up.
- There are stations located throughout the stadium – including the lobby of Gate 19, as well as stations near the first aid areas on the northwest concourse and the southeast field level.
Other ways to Experience Husker Nation
Is Husker football not your thing? Here are a few more options that are family-friendly, less expensive, and great introductions to the Nebraska football experience.
- Attend the Red-White Spring Game; which usually occurs in mid to late April.
- Go to a Husker volleyball game. With five NCAA national championships, this isn’t your regular volleyball game.
- Check out Football Fan Day; A preseason event held in Memorial Stadium in the first week of August.
- Run or jog in the Nebraska Football Road Race; a 5K and 1 mile fun run and a chance to meet the players.