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Making The Most Of {Monster Truck} Shows With Kids

Monster truck shows are an annual tradition I’ve had with my twin boys for years.  This tradition started when they were about 3 and my father insisted this was a thing he’d want his grandsons to remember going to them when they grew up.  This reasoning was amusing to me since my parents had NEVER taken me to a monster truck show as a child.  This wasn’t some old family tradition, but I liked the idea of starting new traditions for my children.  So with a little coaxing, I got local show tickets and pre-show pit tickets so we could have a fun outing with our Papa. 

The first monster truck show we went to I thought I had done my research.  The number one thing people mentioned was to get hearing protection.  People told me that you could buy this protective hearing gear for children for about $10 each, which was on par with an Amazon purchase, so I waited to buy them at the stadium.  I also borrowed a clear bag (aka: a purse for sporting events) so I could carry my personal items and I felt prepared for show time. 

Party in the Pits

Naturally, on the way there, my small children fell asleep so we were late to getting down to the pre-show pit tour.  The pre-show is usually an extra charge and a 3 hour event where you can walk on the stadium floor and get up close to several of the trucks and their drivers parked for display.  No one warned me that the walk down to the pit was about a ten minute walk down a maze to the bottom of the venue, and the hardest cardio workout I’d have all month.  Dragging two groggy kids and my fashionable, clear bag down an estimated 154 ramps of the stadium seems easy enough, right?  We were only down in the pit for about 45 minutes before the party ended, but it was enough to get two 3 year olds up close to some of the trucks.  My boys loved this aspect of the show and it was a great photo opportunity.  Plus, trucks!!

After the pre-show there is about 1.5 hours of waiting for show time so they can get the trucks in place.  We used this time to go buy our hearing protection, which ended up being $25 per headset.  $75 dollars later, the twins and I had our motor sports hearing sets (my stubborn dad chose to use the small, disposable ear plugs which do absolutely zero for the noise).  We spent the rest of the time snacking on overpriced sno cones and dinner, which was actually all quite tasty. 

So finally 7 PM rolls around and it is showtime.  The rules of the truck competitions are pretty easy to follow and there are several rounds of it.  My kids handled it very well and sat for the whole show, which ended around 10 PM.  When the show ended, it was way past bedtime and I was happy I had the foresight to bring pajamas and teeth brushing gear for my boys.  While traffic quickly left the parking area, we used the back of my minivan to change and clean up, since I figured my two guys would quickly fall into a food coma on my drive home. 

Our first late stadium event was a success.  Papa spent a ton of money on snacks, but I have some great photos of him sharing bags of peanuts and buckets of popcorn with his grandsons.

Snacks at Monster Jam

The next year, our monster truck outing was much easier.  I had invested in my own clear bag to bring my headsets to the show.  My kids didn’t nap before the show, so we got to really look up close at the trucks during the pre-show.  We even knew exactly which snacks we wanted to waste our calories on while we waited for the show to start. 

So what advice can I give to parents considering the show as a family outing?

  • Invest in the hearing protection before you go to the show.  Better yet, find a friend who may have some you can borrow.  The same goes for a clear bag or purse that is compliant with the stadium’s bag policy.  You can not take in a purse or a diaper bag at all into the stadium. 
  • Do the pre-show on the floor and get there early.  It is SO FUN.  Even people who are not motor sport enthusiasts get caught up in the lights and excitement of it all.  You really need two hours to get down to the floor, walk around and take fun photos.  Do NOT let your kid wear their nicest shoes.  They will get dusty and dirty.  It’s all just part of the experience.

Zombies in front of Zombie!

  • Bring plenty of cash.  Food is expensive and you’ll get hungry being there a good part of the day.  Pizza is a good value for kids since they can often share this as dinner.  Several vendors do take credit cards, but there is always someone walking around with cotton candy during the show and cash makes it easy.  I also brought in two empty sippy cups, so we could fill them at the water fountains inside.  It’s a fast and easy drink for kids.
  • Go to your favorite box store beforehand and buy your kids some Hot Wheels or other small cars.  They are $5 each at the stadium.  I’d just stow them until we are there, and then pull them out as cheap souvenirs.  You’ll spend plenty on tickets and food.
  • Bring your bedtime clothing, including dental hygiene products, because you don’t want to leave all that sugar on teeth for the night.  The show ends late enough and you won’t want to struggle with tired kids when you finally make it home.  Just change the kids in the car while traffic files out and if they fall asleep in the car, no big deal.
  • Have fun!  If your child is noisy, no one will care.  Let them stand and watch the show if they need to wiggle as long as they are mindful of their neighbors or the people behind them.  Let yourself get caught up in the excitement of competition with the trucks. 

Monster truck shows are a totally fun experience and I’d highly recommend it to any parents considering going with their kids.  It’s something we look forward to each year and kids just love it.

 

 

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