Minute Maid Park:
Location: Houston, Texas
Address: 501 Crawford Street Houston, Texas 77002
Parking: Surface lots around Minute Maid Park are available
Year Opened: November 1, 1997
Occupants: Houston Astros
Rules: No outside beverages or food; Designated smoking areas are provided.
The Houston Astros began their lives as an expansion team in 1960, and were initially dubbed the Houston Colt .45s. While the team's domed stadium was being built, owner Judge Roy Hofheinz commissioned the construction of a one-tier ballpark called Colt Stadium. The building proved to be one of the worst places to play in Major League Baseball, with temperatures regularly climbing into the mid-100s and constantly swarmed with mosquitoes. In 1965, the team changed their name to the Astros and became the first professional baseball team to play indoors at the Astrodome. The domed stadium would be a fixture in the Houston community for decades before the Astros moved into their current home, Minute Maid Park, in 2000.
After going through a few name changes, the Astros finally settled on the moniker Minute Maid Park in 2002 and the new ballpark was a boon for the downtown Houston area. Following the trend of building stadiums in an urban area, Minute Maid Park spawned plenty of restaurants, bars and shops that have made the area a hot bed of activity on game days. The new ballpark also featured a retractable roof, one of the first of its kind in any professional sport. The $65 million roof can open and close in under 25 minutes and only uses $5 worth of energy to operate each time. With a built-in air conditioning system, Minute Maid Park can adjust to changing weather conditions to ensure a pleasurable fan experience.
Getting to Minute Maid Park is a stress-free experience whether a fan is driving or taking public transportation. Union Station is built into the ballpark, so attendees coming from all corners of Houston can reach the stadium by riding the rails. The Astros made public transportation a priority from the get-go, and this is seen in one of the park's most noticeable features, a replica of a 19th century locomotive located on a track above left field. This pays homage to Houston's rich railroad history and was designed by the same company that constructed the ballpark's massive retractable roof.
The Astros have given their fans plenty of warm memories over the years, from their seven division championships and their Cinderella run to the World Series in 2005. With a wide open National League race, the Astros look to be one of the next small-market teams to take the Major Leagues by storm.