Noisy trucks tearing themselves to pieces aren’t just for little boys. There is something about vehicular carnage that will tear even a teenager’s eyes off a phone screen – boys and girls alike. This makes Monster Jam 2017 an excellent way to spend a day, with a little something for everyone.
Here’s what you need to know before you go, to enjoy a day at Monster Jam:
Every member of the family needs ear plugs. Noise reducing ear protection is a must. Cheap ones from any corner store will do, many people invest in the huge headset versions, especially for babies and toddlers. I used these and was happy as a clam. A blissfully quiet clam.
Parking on site is $15, cash is recommended.
This is a tailgating event. The thing we most regret is not bringing along our corn hole, ladder ball and folding chairs. We arrived at 2:30 for the pit party, which made for great parking but was honestly too long. We were out of the pits by 5:00 and had a little too much time to kill and nothing to kill it with. People really went all out like they do for football with tents & grills. Next year we’ll come prepared to relax and enjoy the atmosphere.
It’s worthwhile to spring for the pit passes. For an extra $10, you get 3 hours to meet the drivers, see the trucks up close, and enjoy some pre-show entertainment.
- If you are already familiar with the monster truck scene, rest assured you’ll have plenty of time for a meet & greet with all your favorite drivers. Be sure you bring something along to sign! We forgot that part and made the drivers sign my son’s pants. Yes, it was weird.
- The BMX / FMX show in the pits is not to be missed! They fly high every hour. You’ll want to cozy up to the fence early, unless your kids are of the proper size for sitting on shoulders.
- If you need some down time and shade, scope out the America’s Best tent where your kiddos can color signs to hold up for their favorite trucks. Actually, now that I think about it…if you forget to bring something to sign, stop there first. Darn it! Why didn’t I think of that before we used my boy’s jeans?
- You need to flash your actual show tickets in addition to handing them your pit-pass tickets to get in. Make sure you have all of these in hand before you get in that long line. Fortunately, the line moves really fast once they open the pit doors.
- Hydrate at the car BEFORE you go into the pit party. No outside food or drinks are allowed, and no re-entry means you are good and trapped in there. A bottle of Smart Water set us back $6.50.
- Other than a $20 photo booth and $5 bouncy slides, other pit party activities are free. Check out the Go Army tent for several physical activities for small recruits.
- There are women drivers. I don’t know if I’m sexist for pointing this out, but in the name of girl power I’ll make sure you know that El Toro Loco is often driven by a pink-haired lady that is nothing short of awesome. (If you have a mud, sweat and gears kind of princess in the family, head straight for the Loco tent at the pit party!)
If you don’t know a single thing about Monster Trucks, it’s OK. They’ll teach you. 10 minutes before showtime, they’ll give a “Monster Jam 101” presentation that explains what will happen and how the competition works. I’ve attended several of these shows, and even I learned a little something. Any notable “pre-show” is happening at the pit party, so there is no need to be in your seat early. But I do recommend you catch this little nugget of wisdom if you can.
There’s an intermission between the races and freestyle competition. Ours was around 8:15 – 8:45. (I don’t know the exact time due to an inopportune migraine. Shout out to the first aid station behind the pirate ship! Speaking of which, if you are at the Tampa show at the Raymond James Stadium, intermission is a great chance to stroll to the north end zone for a photo opp.) Concession stands are open, at stadium prices. Cotton candy with a non-negotiable truck hat will set you back fifteen big ones. The hat’s cute, so I won’t judge.
In the unlikely event you have a kiddo who’s losing interest, have everyone pick a winner for each race. Like hitting the horse track but without all the lost money. It’s always more fun if you have someone to root for and someone to bemoan your “I told you so” dance.
It’s important to note that every car will die a violent death. These drivers don’t come to win a fast race and leave with a pretty face. Winning comes second to running the truck into the ground. Literally. By the end of the night, it’s possible that not a single one of the dozen contenders will be drivable. Missing tires, bodies, axels, horns (the bull kind not the beep beep kind). If you have soft hearted little ones, be sure they know it’s part of the fun. The drivers all get out safely. The trucks are like toys that will get fixed by the end of the night.
This is good family fun. Dad will have as much fun as your oldest daughter. Sons are going to go bonkers over a mom cool enough to score these tickets. Coming off the materialistic holiday hangover, this is an experience well worth sharing. Click here to buy tickets for the next show in your area. They’ll be in Orlando on Jan 21st and back in Tampa on Feb. 4th. All that’s left is to go have fun at the show!