GREEN BAY – Training camp is serious work for players and coaches, but it's a month-long party for Packers fans, and more so this year as the team continues its celebration of 100 seasons of professional football.
Training camp normally draws 90,000 people from around the world, so it gets pretty busy for the four weeks of camp, especially at the beginning. It could draw more visitors this year because of the Packers Experience event during the first four days of camp.
Changes in NFL rules mean fans don't get to see as many practices as in past years, but the Packers and the community offer plenty of other activities to fill the days.
Here are things you want to know if you are coming to Green Bay Packers training camp:
WHAT: Training camp includes 15 public practices between July 26 and Aug. 27, weather permitting. All are scheduled to start between 11:15 a.m. and 12:15 p.m., except for Family Night, Aug. 4, which is at 7:30 p.m. and requires tickets. Some tickets remain, but Family Night typically is a sellout.
WHERE: Practices will be at Ray Nitschke Field. Seating is free for about 1,500 seats. There is standing room at each end of the field as well. Gates open 90 minutes before practice.
WEATHER: Outdoor practices are subject to weather, but precipitation won't necessarily drive them inside. Umbrellas are not allowed in the bleachers at Ray Nitschke Field, so if it looks like rain, bring a poncho.
WANNA RIDE? Packers players ride children's bicycles from Lambeau Field to Nitschke Field before practices. Kids and their bikes gather about an hour before practice at the American Family Insurance DreamDrive area on the east side of Lambeau Field.
What's new this year?
The Packers Experience, a four-day interactive festival celebrating the Packers' 100 seasons of football, begins on the morning of July 26 in the Lambeau Field parking lots . It includes family-themed events for all ages. Packers Experience will take up most of the paved parking lots north and northeast of Lambeau Field for the first four days of training camp. Parking will be available on the western to southeastern side of the stadium.
This is the first year the Packers' Titletown District will be open during training camp. Located west of Lambeau Field, it includes three playgrounds for kids, a football field, a cafe and assorted games for kids and adults. All free. Also in the Titletown District is Hinterland Brewery and Lodger Kohler, which each have restaurants.
The park and plaza within Green Bay Packers Titletown District opened to the public on Sept. 15, 2017. The 10-acre space features three playgrounds, a full-sized football field, and sections for games such as foosball, table tennis and horseshoes. Sarah Kloepping/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
Other things to do
Lambeau Field stadium tours often sell out during training camp. Tours can be purchased in advance online. Tickets can be purchased in person for that day at the Packers Hall of Fame in Lambeau Field. It is advised to buy tickets early in the day.
If you tire of football, there are many other family activities in the Green Bay area, including the National Railroad Museum, Bay Beach Amusement Park, NEW Zoo and Adventure Park, Green Bay Botanical Garden, Heritage Hill State Park, Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary and more.
Speaking of other things to do, Experimental Aircraft Association's annual fly-in is scheduled for July 23-29 in Oshkosh, 53 miles south of Lambeau Field. Lamers Bus Lines will provide a $25 round-trip shuttle service between Lambeau and EAA. The Packers' Lambeau Field Live exhibit will be at EAA, and EAA will provide flyovers for the shareholders meeting on July 25 and the opening of Packers experience on July 26.
Other training camp events and activities include:
- Bellin Health football combine-style drills for fans, before practices July 30-Aug.7
- Chevy Packers Display July 28-Aug. 3
- Bellin Health bike rodeo on Aug. 6. Children are fitted with bike helmets and ride their bikes through a safety course. Children are encouraged to bring their bicycles.
- Seagrave 1926 antique pumper on Aug. 12
- Chili's and Wendy's interactive activities Aug. 13
- Wisconsin Cranberry Association providing juice and dried cranberry samples on Aug. 20