Dickey-Stephens Park – Arkansas Travelers
Photos by Dave Cottenie, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.00
Dickey-Stephens Park 400 W Broadway North Little Rock, AR 72114
Year Opened: 2007
All Aboard Travs Baseball
Baseball in the Little Rock area has been around since 1887 with the Little Rock Travelers. Named from the folk song, “The Arkansas Traveler” the team from Little Rock enjoyed two titles and fielded a team until 1961. Baseball royalty including Pat Gillick and Cal Ripken Sr. saw their careers run through the Arkansas capital.
The modern Arkansas Travelers were established in the International League in 1963. After one year, Arkansas traveled to the Pacific Coast League for two seasons before settling in at the Double-A level and the Texas League. The Travelers spent the bulk of their existence as the affiliate for the St. Louis Cardinals (1966-2000), but as of 2017 have been the Double-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners.
Since moving to the Texas League, success has not been a stranger to the Travs as they have enjoyed eight league titles (1966, 1971, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1989, 2001, 2008). In 1960, Arkansas baseball legend Ray Winder led a public stock drive purchased the New Orleans baseball franchise, and moved it to Little Rock. The modern Travs have been a publicly owned company ever since Arkansas Travelers Baseball Inc.
The home for the Travs is Dickey-Stephens Park. Located across the river from Little Rock, in North Little Rock, Dickey-Stephens Park was named after two sets of brothers, Major Leaguers Bill and George Dickey, and businessmen George and Jackson Stephens, and is located near the Union Pacific Railyard. The City of North Little Rock-owned park takes the railroad motif and rolls with it since opening in 2007, and provides a terrific backdrop for Minor League Baseball.
Food & Beverage 5
Concession options at Dickey-Stephens Park are excellent. Several concession stands offer a wide variety of ballpark options and options well beyond the expected ballpark fare. For those who love hot dogs, Nathan’s are the dog of choice at the park, and Seattle, Chicago, Detroit, and Texas Dogs can be found at the Fielder’s Choice stand.
Frito Chili Pie, BBQ Pork Sandwiches, Jalapeno Cheese Stuffed Pretzels, Cheese Curds, and regular and Deep Fried Pickles are among the best choices. Carnival fare such as corn dogs, deep-fried Oreos and deep-fried PB&J take the options to the next level. There is a huge selection of beer that can be found at Brewski Junction for those interested in a brew on a baseball evening. There’s something for everyone at Dickey-Stephens.
Overall, Dickey-Stephens Park is a nice park with a classic feel that needs a bit of a paint job. Dickey-Stephens Park takes a train station motif and weaves it throughout the ballpark. The exterior is brown brick and is built to look like an old-time train station, complete with a clock tower. Outside of the main gate hang four bronze plaques immortalizing the two sets of brothers, the Dickeys and the Stephens, who are the fathers of baseball in North Little Rock. Also outside of the main gate is a sculpture of a batter, which adds to the ambiance.
Inside the main gate, the train motif continues with an old-school wooden ticket booth which serves as an information booth and customer service. The 360 concourse is behind all of the seating and beneath the luxury boxes. The luxury box and press box level features unique forest green siding under a shingle roof.
The seating area is split with five rows of green stadium seats in the lower section and twelve rows in the upper level. Berm seating is found past the right and left field fences. The beer garden is at field level past the first base dugout. A nice view of the Broadway Street Bridge can be seen from the third base side of the ballpark. The team store keeps the train theme going as the Travelers Crossing; berm seating areas are The Platform and The Yard; and concession stands are named The Box Car, Border Stop, and Doubleday’s Depot.
The Travelers Museum is found in the concourse behind home plate, but unfortunately was closed on the day of this review. Past right field, a train can be found to give kids rides and Otey’s Splash Pad and kids area give the little ones a place to let loose and keep cool. For a team with such a significant history as the Travelers, there is very little history on display.
Plaques for baseball dignitaries Ray Winder, Jim Elder, and Max Moses are found in the concourse, but there were not any obvious indicators of the eight league titles that the Travelers have earned or the obligatory displays of MiLB players who have gone on to the Majors.
The gameday production at a Travelers game is fairly simple. One of the main features is the old-school organist, who is quite young and plays from the concourse behind the plate. The video board stands past left field and features a clock and faux flags at the top. It is assumed that mascots Ace and Otey are found during most games, however, the game that was reviewed featured very high temperatures, making it understandable that the mascots were nowhere to be found.
Dickey-Stephens Park is located right along the river in North Little Rock, Arkansas. Just North of the Arkansas River and Arkansas Capital, North Little Rock does offer some spots for pre or post-game food and drink. Flyway Brewing, Brood and Barley, Diamond Bear Brewing, Skinny J’s, and Diamond Bear Brewing are all options worth considering.
As far as other sporting options go, Little Rock is fairly limited. Heading south, across the river is the best plan, and taking in some Little Rock Trojans NCAA Basketball may be the best plan, however, the seasons do not readily cross. Trojans baseball may be a better plan. As far as other tourist options go, the Northshore Riverwalk Park is mere steps from the Ballpark and the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum is a couple blocks away near the fairgrounds.
Otherwise, heading south to Little Rock offers more options including the Historic Arkansas Museum, Clinton Library & Museum, and Gateway Bridge Trail. For fans wishing to stay near the ballpark, the Wyndham Riverfront can be seen from the park.
The Travs have enjoyed strong support at the box office for a long time. In 2023, the Arkansas Travelers averaged over 4,800 fans per game, up over 400 fans per game from the previous season. This puts them in 43rd place in all of Minor League Baseball and 4th in the Texas League. Although the attendance wasn’t up to average on the game that was attended, probably due to the three-figure temperature at first pitch, the Travs did enjoy a supportive crowd and into the game.
Getting to Dickey-Stephens Park is not too difficult. Located in North Little Rock, on the north shore of the Arkansas River, the park is west of I-30 and there is easy access from the highway. The main parking lot is to the west of the park and there is easy access with a convenient tunnel underneath the road leading to the park. For fans wanting to take public transit to the game, some buses travel along Maple Street and Broadway and the trolley travels a block east on Main Street.
Ticket windows are located outside, on the north side of the ballpark. Getting around the park is not too difficult and the washroom facilities are good. The washrooms do lack any air conditioning or fans making them pretty rough on a hot day.
Return on Investment 5
The Arkansas Travelers offer terrific value for the sporting dollar. Tickets for the Travs begin at $7 for berm seating and go up to $15. Parking is under $10 and concession prices are what one would expect for a minor-league park. The park is a great venue for Minor League Baseball and the product on the field is strong. Overall, it is a great opportunity to get the family out to a game and not break the bank in the process.
An extra mark for the railway motif, which is found throughout Dickey-Stephens Park and offers a unique experience among minor league parks. An extra mark for the history of the Travelers. The Travs boast the third-longest nickname duration in MiLB behind the Buffalo Bisons and Indianapolis Indians.
A trip to Dickey-Stephens Park to see the Arkansas Travelers is a great way to spend a summer evening or weekend afternoon. The Travs offer great value in a unique setting at a family-friendly price. A must for all baseball fans.