Jackson Field - Northern Colorado Bears
Photos by Meg Minard, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29
Jackson Field 1850 6th Ave Greeley, CO 80639
Year Opened: 1927 Capacity: 1,500
Greeley Baseball - University of Northern Colorado
Jackson Field is a part of the UNC Jackson Field Sports Complex which also contains the women’s soccer field – Jackson Stadium. The field is named after Charles N. Jackson, a UNC trustee who helped purchase the land in 1927. It has been the site for Bears baseball since the late 1920s. In the fall of 2004, the venue got a new infield surface and improvements were made to the outfield.
The field has real grass and real dirt. No lights are at this ball field so all games are played during the day. There’s nothing better than a Sunday spring afternoon baseball game and the UNC (University of Northern Colorado) Bears do a fine job at providing a pure baseball-only experience.
The Bears play in the WAC (Western Athletic Conference) as an affiliate member. Most sports of UNC are in the Big Sky Conference, but the Big Sky doesn’t have baseball so UNC baseball joined the WAC in 2014. The UNC Bears have been to the College World Series ten times but not since 1974.
For baseball purists, a pleasant time can be had at a UNC Bears baseball game as it is about the game, the players, and the team(s).
Food & Beverage 1
One lone concession truck is behind the home plate area. It offers the minimal standard fare. Hot dogs and nachos are $3.75, soft drinks (Pepsi) are $3, Gatorade, water, and hot cocoa are $3. Popcorn, chips, candy, peanuts, and dill pickles range from $1.50 – $3. Alcoholic beverages are not offered at a Bears game. Save that for the many breweries in Greeley.
Recommendation: Bring a bottle or two of water and your own snacks to hold you and the family over during the game. Then visit the many dining choices Greeley has to offer.
Beyond the left field fence are colorful new town homes. Beyond center field is a nice set of trees. Over the right field fence is a ropes course. All quite picturesque in their own right and it makes for a nice backdrop variety when watching the game.
Seating is general admission and is first come, first served. There is no charge for tickets. Ten rows of aluminum benches are on the first and the third base sides; the third base seating area is half the width of the first base side as the third base is the visiting team’s side. Some aluminum seats with backs are above the home plate / press box area. Handrails are not provided. All of the benches in the stadium are in the direct sun. A few folks are clever and stand/sit underneath the bleachers behind home plate. Recommendation: Bring a seat cushion or seat back as well as some sun screen.
A net surrounds the entire seating/viewing area with zero places to watch the game net free (unless, of course, you are one of the players, coaches, or umpires). No lights are at the stadium so all games are played during the day. This is especially nice later in the April/May time frame as spring approaches and the temperatures are warmer.
It is all about the baseball game here. Music is played between innings with the volume level perfect as one can still converse with other fans in the seating area. The PA announcer has a clear voice and records the player’s at bat, player changes, and summarizes inning activity coherently. Perfect for those who keep score.
The standard scoreboard is perched just behind the right center field wall with balls, strikes, outs and a tally per inning for runs displayed for each team. It fits well with the basic game day experience but is a tad difficult to read as the bottom line is faded.
It does not appear there is a grounds crew as many of the players/coaches groom the field prior to the game.
Greeley is the 12th largest city in Colorado and it is very much a college town. It is a little over an hour drive northeast of Denver, CO; about an hour southeast of Cheyenne, WY. The stadium is in a quaint residential area about two blocks from the central campus.
Plenty of places are available to eat/drink before or after a game with Chipotle and Cheba Hut within walking distance (1/2 mile). A bit further in the downtown area (about a mile and a half from the stadium) are The Mad Cow Saloon & Eatery, Rio Grande (Mexican), Roma Restaurant (pizza and beer). A different place to check out for breakfast or lunch is Barnstormer’s Restaurant located in the small general aviation Greeley-Weld County Airport about four miles from the stadium. Click here for the Downtown Greeley Restaurant & Nightlife Guide for even more options.
For those who enjoy a good craft beer or two, Greeley has several breweries: Brix Brewery & Taphouse, WeldWerks Brewery, Crabtree Brewing, Wiley Roots Brewing, and more.
For other tourist activities when in town, check out the Centennial Village, a living historical museum of life in Colorado over 100 years ago. One can also visit the Colorado Model Railroad Museum.
Most hotels are about a mile from Jackson Field, the closest brand name hotel is the Clarion Hotel downtown, which is near many of the eateries and tourist attractions. A Doubletree by Hilton is located at Lincoln Park (also near the downtown area) about a mile and a half from the field.
It is a very safe neighborhood in which to walk and visit.
The Bears fans show up and they stay till the very end of the game. Fans are parents, girlfriends, fellow students and a mix of neighboring residents. The biggest supporters seem to be the ballplayers themselves. All are encouraging and supportive of each other and the players.
The first base side is the Bears’ home side and most of the cheering is heard from that section. Most fans are clean as they deposit their garbage in provided containers and do not place them on the flooring below the bleachers. Nice job!
Jackson Field is located at the corner of 18th St and 6th Ave in Greeley, CO just two blocks from the Central Campus of the University of Northern Colorado. Getting to the arena from out of town is okay. Greeley is not located right off any interstate and one must travel ten or more miles from any interstate on four-lane state highways. Once in Greeley getting to the ball field is relatively easy as it is a small town.
There is no noticeable local or public transportation options, though the field is walking distance from the main campus area. Otherwise, driving is the recommended method to get to the stadium.
When arriving at the facility, I’d recommend parking your vehicle in the farther parts of the parking lot; not near the entrance because of the short distance to the field and potential foul balls. Another decent option is parking a distance down 6th Ave. Street parking close to the stadium (especially behind the third base area) is also prime foul ball territory and is not recommended.
The closest airport to Greeley is DIA (Denver International Airport) which is a little over 50 miles away. Not close but not too far when traveling to the Rocky Mountains. And there are plenty of flights in and out of the airport.
Restrooms are surprisingly ample and clean before, during, and after the game and no lines are apparent.
The concourse is behind the seating area (the bleachers) and is plenty wide for traversing between innings.
Return on Investment 5
Free parking, no charge to get into the game, concession prices at an adequate rate (and one can bring outside food and drinks) all makes this a perfect return on money spent. And being able to watch just a game without all the other frills and entertainment makes it a perfect destination for the baseball purist.
Be sure to pick up a roster sheet placed on a table just to the left of the entrance.
Having a ropes course behind the right field wall has got to be a unique feature around a ballpark.
Although not uncommon in mid to low-major conferences, seeing the coaches and players groom the playing field is different.
Not stadium related but a unique incident occurred at the game of this review. A bat was broken (NCAA uses aluminum bats) and half the barrel flew down the third baseline.
Greeley is a nice college town. Jackson Field is a nice ballpark. If you’re heading to or live in northern Colorado, I’d recommend catching a game one weekend day in the spring. Would I go again?Absolutely.