Minor league baseball in Myrtle Beach may seem to be aimed at adults, what with Thirsty Thursdays and themed nights devoted to Jersey Shore and Key West.
The truth is, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans games have a lot to offer younger fans, and dedicate some nights to them, too.
"It's important for the Pelicans to appeal to the younger generation because they are the ones who bring the energy to the ballpark," said Jen Borowski, director of promotions and marketing for the Pelicans. "We believe that every child should be exposed to minor league baseball and the enjoyment it can bring."
This season, Monday home games are Kids Eat Free Mondays, which gives every child 12 and under a voucher for a free hot dog, chips and soda with paid admission. And there are no fewer than five nights where the first 500 kids through the gates receive a free Webkinz doll.
The free stuff and good times don't end there.
Nights dedicated to this young group of fans include a Wizard Night - first 500 kids get a free wand - a father-daughter day; two appearances by Reggy the Party Purple Dude; and a night for area Boy Scouts, where scouts have the chance to camp out on the field after the game.
For families who want to get in on the fun, take advantage of Sunday games, when you can bring a ball and glove to the park and play catch on the field for the hour before the first pitch.
And on two occasions you can bring your pooch to the park to enjoy the game, too. Pelicans' on-field best friend, the English yellow lab Deuce, would probably love to meet them. He turns 3 this year on Sunday, and the Pelicans have dedicated that night to his celebration.
Borowski said the giveaway nights and the Scout Night are especially popular nights. The Scout Night averages about 30 to 40 Scouts, and "is always a fun and exciting night at the ballpark," she said.
Pelicans players even get in on the fun.
"We have two youth clinics that are free with the purchase of a ticket for that evening's game," said Borowski. "During the clinic, the participants will receive instruction directly from Pelicans players." Those youth clinics take place April 19 and May 15, and there is also a three-day youth camp from July 26-28 from 9 a.m.-noon, Borowski said.
Each participant in the three-day camp will receive hands-on instruction, a T-shirt, lunch, two field box tickets to the July 28 game, and participation in a special on-field ceremony.
And for those kids who just can't get enough baseball, the Pelicans offer membership into the 2011 Pelicans Kids Club. It's open to children ages 3-12. For $10 per child, they receive free admission to selected home games; 10 percent discount on Pelicans merchandise on Sunday home games; and access to exclusive events, including a Pelicans player autograph session. There are currently 275 members in the kids club, and there's no limit to the number of kids that can join.
Other autograph sessions are available from two players between 6:10-6:25 p.m. on each home game day except for Sundays and are open to all attendees, not just kids.