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Official Review by Paul Swaney, Stadium Journey Co-Founder
In 1999, the Altoona Curve were born as the AA affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Curve are members of the Eastern League, and have solidified themselves in the hearts of the baseball fans of central Pennsylvania.
The home ballpark of the Curve is Peoples Natural Gas Field, which opened in 1999 under the name of Blair County Ballpark. The ballpark has a capacity of 7,210.
Surrounded by the Appalachian Mountains, it is probably best recognized because of the wooden Skyliner Roller Coaster located just over the right field fence, part of Lakemont Park.
The Curve organization relies on affordability and the unique and comfortable charm of its ballpark to bring in fans, and they have achieved success and stability. A trip to Peoples Natural Gas Field is a worthwhile journey for any baseball fan.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
There is the usual assortment of ballpark cuisine to be found in Altoona, but what they do offer is fairly well done. And as is the case with most of the experience at Peoples Natural Gas Field, the prices are very reasonable.
Highlights include the Curve burger, and the BBQ Pork Nachos. You'll find Pepsi products offered at concession stands throughout the ballpark.
The Budweiser Party Deck in left field is the place to hang out if you would like to have a couple of beers during the ball game.
Peoples Natural Gas Field has a lot of charm and interesting aspects, but above all things it provides comfort in order to watch a ball game.
The ballpark features a brick exterior and is meant to conjure images of an old railway roadhouse. The team's name comes from the railway curve built in the area as a way to navigate the Allegheny Mountains. That railroad theme permeates the experience.
The Curve have several mascots, including Steamer who is a green steam engine, and has recently been named as the club's Director of Fun. Al Tuna (get it?) is on the field and in the stands pre-game, then makes his way to his special hide out in center field. He'll make appearances after the Curve score a run, and do a celebration dance. He also appears in the bottom of the ninth when the club is trailing to help rally the fans. A recent addition to the mascot line-up is Loco (short for locomotion), who is sort of a yellow version of the Phillie Phanatic, and is up to all sorts of hi-jinx around the stadium. Less frequent appearances are made by Diesel Dog, and an engineer named Tenacious.
There are plenty of good seating options throughout Peoples Natural Gas Field. The Rail Kings seats are found out in the Budweiser Party Deck in left field. These are front row seats hanging over the left field corner with a comfortable chair and a bar. Most of the remaining seats are very comfortable green plastic chairs with above average leg room and cup holders. There are three different prices and levels for these seats (100, 200, and 300 level). Sections 308 and 309 provide panoramic views above the net directly behind home plate.
General admission bleacher seats are also available down the right field line in foul territory and in straightaway left field. These bleachers are metal, but more comfortable than most with backs and good leg room. A kids play area, and a small arcade are located down the first base line, near the bleachers, making this a good option for families with young kids.
While it would be easy to say that Altoona has seen better days, there are still a few spots worth checking out during your visit to Altoona. Within walking distance is Lakemont Park, which opened back in 1894 as a trolley park, and has been an amusement park since 1899. It is the eighth oldest amusement park in the United States, although it is hard to imagine that it can continue to survive.
If you are looking for a spot to eat, then try Tim's American Cafe. It is the ultimate "looks can be deceiving" kind of place, serving up delicious food in huge portions. Check out their daily specials, but they also have great sandwiches like Altoona-style cheesesteak and good chicken wings.
In downtown Altoona, an iconic stop is Texas Hot Dog, which has been around for nearly 100 years, located on 12th Ave. If you're in the downtown area you'll also want to see the magnificent Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, and the historic Mishler Theatre (built in 1906).
Railroad enthusiasts will want to make a trip to the Railroaders Memorial Museum, located on 9th Avenue.
Within a mile of the ballpark you'll find several hotel options, including a Holiday Inn Express and Super 8.
In 2015, the Altoona Curve had their best year in terms of average attendance since 2008, averaging 4,325 fans per game. Still, this placed them 8th in the Eastern League in average attendance. Consider however that there are four ballparks in the league with a capacity of more than 2,000 greater than Peoples Natural Gas Field. Of even greater significance, the most recent census reported only 46,000 residents in Altoona, meaning that approximately 10% of the town can be expected to turn out at each ball game.
Fans in attendance are engaged in the game, and show a passion for the team and the game of baseball. You can expect fans to be friendly. They'll be equally excited when the announcers share the Pittsburgh Pirates score for the night.
Overall, Peoples Natural Gas Field is very easy to find, and it is easy to move around once inside the ballpark as well.
There are two large parking lots available for fans. The VIP lot gets you right near the main entrance at a cost of only $4. You can also park in the lot closer to the outfield and save a dollar, with an only slightly longer walk into the ballpark.
Ticket prices are extremely affordable, with season tickets starting at just $284 (for 70 games). Individual tickets cost $2 more when bought on the day of the game, so it is best to purchase in advance to save a little. Bleacher seats start at just $6, and the most expensive seats (the rail king seats in left field) are just $13. Food prices are reasonable, and the parking is as well. Overall, you will certainly get your money's worth when you attend an Altoona Curve game.
One extra point for the great scenery to be found all around you in Altoona. Whether it is the old roller coaster, or mountains beyond, this is a beautiful site.
One extra point for the multitude of mascots that the Altoona Curve place on the field. The appearances of Al Tuna from center field is an added dose of excitement.
An additional extra point for the above average leg room in the seats that you will find at Peoples Natural Gas Field. This really is a comfortable place to see a game.
A final extra point for the affiliation with the Pittsburgh Pirates. If you can find a weekend to visit PNC Park, and Altoona, then you're in for a great baseball trip indeed.
The 12 ballparks of the Eastern league provide fans with many interesting and exceptional stadium experiences. With wonderful visuals, dedicated fans, friendly staff, and very reasonable prices, a trip to Peoples Natural Gas Field in Altoona is a can't miss experience.
Member Review by collegiatestdms
Blair County Ballpark is home of the Altoona Curve, the Eastern League AA affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The park is beautiful and a real model for how minor league parks should be built. The team itself is named after the infamous horseshoe curve built for the railroad.
The park opened in 1999 with a seating capacity of 7,210, although the largest crowd to ever watch a game was 9,255 on August 10, 2003. The park was built with over 69,000 bricks and has a great background in right field - a working rollercoaster, the Skyliner, from Lakemont Park that is only a few feet behind the fence.
Member Review by FuriousShepherd on Jan 24, 2012
This is one of my favorite ballparks. I've been there three times and hope to get back in 2012. It is exactly what you'd hope all ballparks would be like. It reminds me of Camden Yards (without all of those annoying Oriole fans). They roller coaster beyond the outfield wall is a great backdrop. The fans were very pleasant. The food was good though I don't remember the selection being as great as described in another review. Still it's a fun and relaxing place to watch a game.
Member Review by bieniek_31 on Aug 30, 2012
Literally nestled in the hills of central Pennsylvania is one of the gems of the Eastern League. Anyone familiar with the state of Pennsylvania knows that there is a lot of action on the east and west boarder, but not much goes on in between. While that may still hold true for the town of Altoona, the stadium and surrounding area is as great and beautiful as the drive through the hills.
Member Review by lakersfan on Jun 05, 2013
Very good minor league stadium where you can watch a great game for a small price. The food was a great value considering you can get a curverogi (a sandwich that has ham, cheese, onions, and a pierogi) and a bag of chips for just six dollars. The food selection was very good, and the staff was friendly as well. The Curve certainly do a great job getting fans interested with all their mascots, 4 of them to be exact. Al Tuna does a dance in center field when the Curve score and when they have runners in scoring position, fans starting chanting its name. Also the jumbo tron does a great job getting fans involved as the Curve do a great job managing it. The amusement park background is great, and it couldn't be much easier to get to the ballpark after you get off the interstate.
Member Review by jay_anderson on Apr 20, 2015
This is a very beautiful ballpark. Every seat has a wonderful view of the field. The food was excellent. Many places to eat and the picnic areas on the lower concourse were plentiful. Looking forward to going back with the kids to visit the amusement park before the game.
1600 Crawford Ave
Altoona, PA 16602
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Altoona, PA 16602
700 Park Ave
Altoona, PA 16602
3306 Pleasant Valley Blvd
Altoona, PA 16602