Metro Bank Park is very beautiful and has an extremely unique setting. It is located on the 62 acre City Island in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Yes, on an island! Metro Bank Park is the home of the Harrisburg Senators, the AA affiliate of the Washington Nationals. They play in the Eastern League. Some of their alumni include Vladimir Guerrero, Drew Storen and Stephen Strasburg.
The park itself was built in 1987, but recently underwent a series of renovations making it appear brand new. In its current configuration, the park holds 6,178 fans. I have been told that since the park is right on the water that bugs can be an issue in the later summer months, but I did not have the problem during my early season visit. The park is also prone to flooding during extraordinarily rainy years, but it isn't a real big concern.
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Some good food options are available at Metro Bank Park. I'll start on the third base side since you enter the stadium in this area. This section is called the boardwalk and contains the most unique food items in the park. The Rendell burger, named after a former Pennsylvania Governor, costs $6.50 and is a 6-ounce steak burger served on a pretzel bun with Swiss cheese, fried onions, peppers, tomato and spicy mustard. Other options include the spot cheesesteak ($7), the classic Spot dog ($3.25), Ollie dog ($4), jumbo Spot dog ($4.25), heater dog ($4), and the grounder dog ($4.50).
The other nice food stand on the boardwalk section is the BBQ station. For sandwiches, they have BBQ Pork for $5.50, chicken ($5.50) and Texas beef brisket for $7. The other main options are BBQ Nachos for $8 and BBQ Parfait for $5.50. The parfait is a layer of baked beans, then a layer of pulled pork and finally a layer of coleslaw in a 9-ounce cup.
For standard food, you could get Pizza Hut pizza with both cheese and pepperoni slices costing $3.25, or you could get breadsticks for $3 or the entire pizza for $20. That stand also offers a wrap for $7, a rascal dog for $2.25, a gourmet pretzel ($4.50), peanuts ($3), cracker jacks ($3), popcorn ($2) and chips ($1).
The next stand over on the main concourse behind the home plate seats offers typical park food. The main items are cheeseburger and chicken sandwich combos for $8, or you could get the cheeseburger alone for $5.25 or the chicken sandwich for $5.50. Other items include chicken fingers for $5.50, or $7.25 with fries, a jumbo hot dog $3.25, smoked sausage $4.25, regular nachos $3.75 or nachos supreme $7. French fries are available for $4 and a pretzel for $3.
This stand also has draft beer in two sizes, small for $4.75 and large for $6.25. They also offer hot cocoa and coffee for $2.25, slush puppy for $3.50, water $3, kid's soda $2, regular soda $3 and souvenir sized soda for $4.50.
Behind the first base side bleachers is a food area called the City Island Brews where you could get many of the same beer and food options, but they also offer wings from a local restaurant called Arooga's for $6 or $8 with fries.
Out in right field is a small section of seats at the base of the scoreboard where the all-you-can-eat seats are located. The menu consists of hot dogs, mini slider burgers, peanuts, popcorn and ice cream sandwiches. Patrons of this area have to buy their own drinks with options including soda, draft beer, O'Doul's $5.25, jumbo canned beer $7, Mike's hard lemonade $6.25 and frozen mixed drinks for $5.50.
Personally I tried the chicken fingers and fries basket and they were fairly good. I could have used a little bit of salt on the fries but they were good as they were served. I also tried the Rendell burger since it was the signature item in the park and was impressed. I'm not much of a pretzel bun person but the steak burger was very good and it had a good combination of toppings.
I also bumped into one of my fraternity brothers that I hadn't seen in approximately eight years and he was enjoying two spot dogs. He said they were his favorite and he had tried every dog option on the menu over the course of a few visits.
The atmosphere was pretty good for a mid-week, early spring game in mid-40's degree weather. Sure the attendance was small but the people who were at the game were big fans of the team. They cheered, they jeered and they even danced the chicken dance.
They had a lot of fun trivia questions with prizes, and some fun on-the-field contests including a stuffed pony race and toilet races. Hard to explain but trust me, they had a toilet race sponsored by Roto-Rooter.
Not all of Harrisburg is nice, but the area around City Island has some beautiful corporate buildings and the capitol building for Pennsylvania. The best two roads to walk around on are Market Street, which is the road that carries you over to the island, and Walnut Street.
If you like, you can park in the garages around the capitol building on Walnut Street and walk the pedestrian bridge right over to the game, or drive over on Market Street and park right outside the stadium for $3. It is real easy to get to the stadium parking and is worth the $3 in my opinion.
Another cool option is to take a carriage ride. I think a ride across the pedestrian bridge is $2.50 per person, but I couldn't find anyone to ask for confirmation. They are offered by the Harrisburg Carriage Company and you could also have a private tour of the island for $20 or a tour of the city for $40.
As I mentioned, the fan attendance the night I was there was small (2,986), but the weather was not great for baseball. However, the fans there were into the game and I was surprised by how many of them already knew the names of the starters since it was the first game of the second home stand. There was a guy in the bleacher section along the first base side that was a bit too much into the game, with an obnoxious jeer for every player - home and away - but most people in his area just seemed to relocate since there were plenty of seats open in the park.
Also, a good number of people were hanging out in the boardwalk section instead of seats for Thirsty Thursdays, enjoying the $2 beers up until the 7th inning. The kids seemed to enjoy the large selection of blow up slides and games, as the lines for the rides were quite long at times.
Sometimes it is hard to get a proper gauge of the fan base with just one visit, especially when the weather isn't ideal, but I was impressed with the fan base, save that one guy. They even stayed until the end, even though the team got down early and got to witness a great 8th inning rally. I hope to be able to come back for a packed house in the summer.
I was able to drive right up and park, with no line to get into the stadium and getting out of the parking lot was just as easy. The concourse and boardwalk areas were fairly wide. I thought it was easy to move around and it seemed like there would be plenty of room even on busier nights.
Since the park is relatively new, the handicap access seemed real convenient and they had handicap seating areas for every ticket price. Metro Bank Park was a real nice, fan friendly park. The bathrooms were extraordinary.
Tickets start at $7 and go up to $30. For good, AA baseball in a renovated park, it was well worth the price of admission. As I've mentioned, the park was beautiful, there was always something to keep you entertained between innings and the kids play area was outstanding. I don't think you can ask for much more in a minor league baseball experience, especially for the price.
I really liked some of the promotions that the team had lined up for the year. Sure, some were goofy such as the monkey rodeo, where monkeys perform rodeo acts while riding on dogs, but the Friday night deal where they give out a flat screen TV every inning and end the evening with fireworks was a neat idea. The 25 cent hot dog night was also a nice promotion sure to draw a good crowd. Finally, the park has a few real nice maps installed that show the entire layout of the park and where the concession stands, rest rooms, first aid stations, etc. are located so it is easy to find your way around even as a first time visitor.
Nice park settled on City Island in the middle of the river. Watch out for the May Fly bugs on summer evenings.... YOU NEED A HAT... not much shade either for day games.
This is a very interesting location for a ballpark. It's located on an island in the middle of the Susquehanna River. That's cool. It also means that there are lots of bugs, especially May Flies. That's not so cool. I couldn't enjoy my beer since there were so many bugs swimming around in it. I've seen two games here and both times the crowds were very small. I do know that, when a big prospect (Strasburg, Harper) is called up, the place gets packed. There also seems to be good stuff for the kids to do on the island and you can take a sternwheel ride on the river too. Parking is pretty close and the views of the river (from outside of the stadium) are very nice in the evenings.
I attended my first Harrisburg Senators game on 9/2/12 vs. the Bowie Baysox. I've been to quite a few AAA games, and a couple High A games, so I was interested to see what AA would be like. I've also lived in the Harrisburg area for about 5 years now, and had never been to a game.
Food & Beverage: Seemed to be pretty standard fair. I'm a vegetarian, so I usually only get peanuts and a diet Pepsi anyway. I can't really comment on this one.
Atmosphere / Fans: The park is really nice and inviting. A great place to watch baseball. There didn't seem to be a bad seat in the house. The fans were great. Since we were geographically close to the opposing team, there were a good mix of Harrisburg fans and Bowie fans. Everyone got along and had a great time.
Neighborhood / Access: The neighborhood is sort of non-existent because the park is on an island. There are garages on the island ($3), but if you want to park there, make sure you get there at least an hour before the game. I tried to go the night before, and gave up because the line to the garage was so long.
There is street/lot parking on the Lemoyne side of the pedestrian bridge for free if you don't mind the scenic walk.
Return on Investment: Tickets are cheaper than many lower echelons of baseball in the region. Parking and food are reasonably priced. I would say it's a high return on investment.
Extras: The park has batting cages and an arcade (Star Trek: The Next Generation Pinball!) which is an added bonus.
Conclusion: A great place to watch a game. I would highly recommend.
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