The Kane County Cougars, the Single A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, are a member of the Midwest League, and play at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark (5/3) in Geneva, IL. Fifth Third Bank Ballpark is a family-oriented stadium and is worth a visit not only to watch a ballgame but to visit with friends.
The stadium opened in 1991 as Kane County Events Center. In 1993, it was renamed Philip B. Elfstrom Stadium in honor of the person most responsible for bringing minor league baseball to Kane County. On May 3, 2012 (5/3 day), it was renamed to Fifth Third Bank Ballpark.
The Kane County Cougars have been a continuous minor league franchise since 1952. The team originated in Decatur, Illinois, and moved to Wausau, Wisconsin in the mid-1970's. In 1991, the Cougars found their current home in Geneva, IL. Since that time they have been affiliated with the Baltimore Orioles, Florida Marlins, Oakland Athletics, and Kansas City Royals and, beginning the 2013 season, the team became an affiliate of the Chicago Cubs.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
5/3 Bank Ballpark offers a grand variety of food and beer options.
Permanent concession stands are: Sheffield Grille and Waveland Café and both provide hot dogs, sausages, hamburgers, bratwurst, pulled pork sandwiches, chicken tenders, and the like ranging from $3.00 - $9.00 depending on what you get and if you bundle it with fries (chips) and a drink (Pepsi). Snacks include nachos, ice cream, pretzel, candy, cracker jacks, popcorn, etc., and range from $1.50 - $4.25.
Carts on the concourse include: South of the Border (nachos to burritos from $4.00 to $6.75 and margaritas $6.00 - $7.75), Ozie's Grille (on first base side) offers prime rib, philly cheese steak, Italian beef, and giant meatball sandwiches at $7 a pop. Ozie's also offers whole pickles. There are also stands for funnel cakes and ice cream.
Drinks (beer): The Beer Pen offers Coors, Blue Moon, Redds Apple Ale (hard cider), Miller, Leinenkugel, Batch 19, and Third Shift ($6.00 - $6.75) and most of the other concession stands offer beer options. There is also a Two Brothers Brewery stand which offers local selections from nearby Warrenville, Illinois.
Now for the best:
Cougars Craft Beer Cave: Down the third base concourse, this is a walk in cooler providing all types of micro beers ($6). Better yet, the attendant can provide information on the brews offered as well as make recommendations on which to purchase based on your beer preference. It is a truly remarkable offering at a minor league ballpark.
I'd recommend the Clark & Addison BBQ beyond the first base concourse. It provides fresh cooked hot dogs, burgers, bison burgers, sausage, pork chop sandwiches, bratwurst, and a Meg favorite - the grilled sweet corn. Prices range from $3.50 to $7.50. This is the best place to visit for food options. Expect lines.
There is a beautiful display of trees beyond the outfield wall. The third base side gets the shade quicker than the first base side or outfield seats.
The Cougars proudly display their new affiliation's logo (Cubs) on both grassy berms / field seating areas. If your preference is to sit and converse with family and friends while a baseball game is going on in the background, I'd recommend the Leinie Lodge in right field. This area contains picnic tables with umbrellas and has a nice deck. It is a perfect setting for sisters-in-law who want to meet up and socialize but are not necessarily interested in the game.
Other seating options around the infield and down the baselines include eight rows of real seats closest to the field with the remainding 10 -12 rows consisting of metal bleachers. These are the seats within the infield area of the stadium. The nets run from the beginning of one dugout to the beginning of the other so to be 'net free' I'd recommend sections 106 on the first base side (home) or 114 on the third base side (visitor's).
Birthday, anniversary, and other messages are announced at the game at no charge. Keep in mind, due to the volume of requests no promise is made that all the announcements will happen.
There are promotions every half inning.
The music is way too loud to converse with your neighbor at a normal volume and music is played between every pitch, so just be prepared for that.
Other additional items of note when visiting the ballpark and game:
• Player autographs on the field pre-game for select games - typically weekend games
• A misting station beyond first base line for those hot, humid Illinois summer games
• Cougars Den gift shop which offers caps, shirts, jerseys, balls, key chains, pennants, etc. No hat pins though. You can get media notes and a game roster at the gift shop.
• A kid zone beyond right center field - $10 for unlimited bouncy house, moon walk, batting simulation and pitching simulation activities, or $1 a ticket per activity visit.
There are several restaurants a mile or so from the ballpark including Atwater's Restaurant (a little on the fancy side) and The Little Owl Restaurant (good bar food, beer, and atmosphere).
St Charles, Illinois is just a few miles away and has many additional restaurants, bars, hotels, and other attractions to visit while in the area.
I'd recommend the Best Western Inn of St Charles as a place to stay. It's comfortable, safe, and clean.
Area attractions include the historic Hotel Baker on the Fox River in St Charles, Durant House Museum (an authentically restored and furnished 1843 prairie farmhouse), the Fabyan Villa Museum and Japanese Garden, and a St Charles Paddlewheel riverboat cruise.
Both Geneva and St Charles are comfortable, safe neighborhoods and downtowns in which to stroll and visit.
The Cougars fans are just perfect. It's more of a social setting than fans watching a ballgame so all attendees are friendly and looking forward to a good time at the ballpark.
There are lots of fans recording starting lineups on score sheets pre-game; more so than other minor league games attended.
Many of the fans do the traditional YMCA and Cotton Eye Joe dance moves hoping to see themselves on the video board.
And, there were definitely plenty of them on the game I visited.
Both Chicago Midway and Chicago O'Hare are the airports in which to arrive to get to a Cougars game. I find Chicago Midway a bit easier to maneuver, though it is eight miles farther than O'Hare. I did not notice any public transportation options to Fifth Third Bank Ballpark.
Expect lots of traffic on the roadways getting to the game. The concourse is crowded and jam-packed. Recommendations for those a bit claustrophobic - get there early, get your food and beverage, hit the restroom and remain in your seat during the game. Otherwise, get out and experience the fans, congestion, and camaraderie on the concourse at 5/3 Bank Ballpark.
The crowds I experienced may have to do with the game visited, July 4th, 2013 and perhaps more than usual were in attendance to see the fireworks post-game.
Illinois's finest does a good job at moving traffic out after the game.
There is no bag check but note that there could be such a check as deemed necessary.
Parking is $5 for general parking and $10 preferred parking (which is a closer walking distance to the stadium's entrance and needs to be purchased pre-game).
Restrooms serve their purpose.
I found the parking a bit expensive for Single A ball games.
Ticket prices are an additional dollar or more when purchased day of game.
I found food prices a tad bit more than other Midwest League teams but there is such a variety from which to choose at this stadium.
I will spend the same amount of money to see a game if I'm in the area again.
The Cougars Craft Beer Cave walk in beer cooler deserves a mention as does the Clark & Addison BBQ beyond the first base concourse.
The stadium is open in the early afternoon (for evening games) and visitors are allowed to roam the concourse pre-game. And, staff even spent time talking with me. Not sure if this is common or an anomaly but it is worth mentioning.
Fifth Third Bank Ballpark is a good facility in which to watch a baseball game. Fans and staff are extremely friendly and helpful. Attending a game is mostly a social event and you'll find there is even a decent baseball game being played when visiting the ballpark. I recommend catching a game if you are in the area.
Forty-three miles from Chicago, in the small suburban town of Geneva, waits a nice baseball experience. Fifth Third Bank Ballpark is an unremarkable stadium, but filled with great food and drink, so the sum experience leaves fans feeling like they experienced a great minor league park.
The Kane County Cougars have been a continuous minor league franchise since 1952. The team originated in Decatur, Illinois, and moved to Wausau, Wisconsin in the mid-1970's. In 1991, the Cougars found their current home in Geneva, Illinois. Since that time they have been affiliated with the Baltimore Orioles, Florida Marlins, Oakland Athletics, and Kansas City Royals. Beginning the 2013 season, the team is an affiliate of the Chicago Cubs.
for the baseball fan or family man you have it all here. the stadium is new and offers all the features of a new era park. the stadium is easy to get to and offers plenty for kids to do. They have an amazing history of players that have come through here. Good food and beer options.
105 W State St
Geneva, IL 60134
15 South River Lane
Geneva, IL 60134
2 North Ave
St Charles, IL 60174