Kids at Kinnick & Carver: Tips for Taking Your Kids to their First Hawkeye Event

Hawkeye Football is about to wrap up, and basketball and wrestling are just getting going for their seasons.

The events look so fun, and Hawkeye team(s) are doing well, and you may be curious about taking your kiddos. I’ve been going to Kinnick and Carver for many years – here are a few things to keep in mind!


What is the best age to take my kids?

You know your kids best. Are they ready for an event that does not include Bluey or Peppa Pig or Spiderman? Are they ok with loud noises? An excellent way to test the waters is a Sunday afternoon event or a non-conference Hawkeye football game– usually, they are less crowded and often at a good time of day to get home in time for bed. Those 8 pm basketball games can be a harsh wake-up the following day!

Does my 2-year-old need a ticket?

All people, regardless of age, must have a ticket. Children under two are admitted free but must sit on an adult’s lap. You will need to pick up a child lap ticket at the box office on the day of the game. If you want your kiddo to have a reserved seat, you must buy a ticket. Except for Hawkeye football, men’s basketball, and wrestling, they will need to purchase a ticket for these events. There may be discounted tickets available for kids as well. Check with the box office.

What Can I Take Into a Hawkeye Game?

Great question! The gate checkers are very strict about what can/cannot be brought in. Diaper bags and breast pumps are ok. Bags must be clear plastic or vinyl or PVC and be within the dimensions of 12 x 6 x 12, and clutch bags must be 4.5 x 6.5. This means Lululemon belt bags and dupes are out. You can also take in factory-sealed water bottles. Blankets and seat cushions are allowed at Kinnick (those November games can get cold!), along with clear plastic gallon bags. You cannot take in alcohol.

My kids are starving! What is there to eat?

They are sports facilities, so hot dogs, bratwurst, nachos, popcorn, and candy are a standard fare. You can usually find chicken fingers and walking tacos as well at one of the stands.  Of course, we can’t forget about the legendary Carver Cones! They are $5 apiece and sold at two spots in the arena. Bowls are $8. The flavors can vary a little, but usually its vanilla, chocolate, twist, and raspberry! Get in line early – that line can get LONG.

Kinnick has a little bit more selection. You can find burgers, pizza, loaded tots and tenderloins. Also important to know is that Kinnick beverages have NO LIDS OR STRAWS.

IMPORTANT: Both Kinnick Stadium and Carver-Hawkeye Arena are CASHLESS. They only accept cards.

How Long Do the Hawkeye Games Last?

HOW I WISH I HAD AN ANSWER! It can be shocking how long 5 minutes of college basketball can take or how late a football game can go (the late-night Nevada game of 2022!) It can take a while, depending on media, timeouts, injury, and gameplay! The end can be the hardest for the littlest ones, but if your kids are older and it’s a tight game, it can get REALLY exciting.

Simply put, football has 4–15-minute quarters; men’s basketball has 2-20-minute halves; and women’s basketball has 4-10-minute quarters – all with a 20-minute halftime.

You are not required to stay for the entire game at all!

The Iowa Hawkeye spirit squad and the announces do their best to get the crowd involved. The spirit squad throws t-shirts into the crowds at Carver. There’s a “smile” camera that catches people off guard, and Pancheros does the “burrito lift” camera. Herky is on hand for photos and high-fives.

The Kinnick halftime show is spectacular with the Hawkeye Marching Band. They usually have people being introduced or honored. This is an excellent time to talk about etiquette at sporting events.

My kid has to go potty/I need to pump! Where can I find one?

Both locations have plenty of restrooms. Family bathrooms/Pumping rooms at Carver are near the North Entrance, close to the Feller Club room and First Aid. Kinnick does not have family bathrooms. There are two pumping rooms – one in the north end-zone and one in the south end-zone. There are porta potties outside the gates of Kinnick as well.

Tip: Halftime is not the best time to go potty. A few minutes before or after is generally the best time. The lines for the bathroom at halftime are wild.

Have the best time, and GO HAWKEYES!


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