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Gameday Survival Tips: Top 15 Kid Friendly Things To Do on Gameday at Purdue

We all love a good tailgate but kids can get restless. What are some of the best kid friendly activities on gameday?

The gameday experience at Purdue is one that is steeped in the traditions of one of the most underrated experiences across college football. There aren’t the draws of big cities like Ohio State has in Columbus, Ohio or the tradition behind a program like Penn State, but if you’ve been part of the Boilermaker family long enough then you know a thing or two about one of the great gameday experiences in the B1G.

From the tradition rich places to eat like XXX Family Restaurant to the post game concerts at the Engineering Fountain, here is a list of some of the best things to do with your kids on a Gameday at Purdue.

<Credit to my wife for the idea of this article...thanks babe!>

#1: Walk on the Moon with Neil Armstrong

Location: Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering

Located just across from Lambert Fieldhouse on the corner of Stadium and Northwestern Avenue, the Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering serves as the flagship building for one of the best engineering programs in the country. Just outside of the building, you can find a statue of Neil Armstrong from his time at Purdue along with replicas of his famous moonwalk on the Apollo 11 landing.

If you are able to head inside, check out the other major feats of Purdue engineering history such as the construction of the Hoover Dam and Golden Gate Bridge along with other engineering feats to come. This is a must see for any parents who have kids fascinated with the wonders of space, rocketry, and exploration.

#2 Grab a Root Beer Float at XXX’s

Location: XXX Family Restaurant, 2 N Salisbury St, West Lafayette

Located just off the footprint of Purdue’s campus, XXX Family Restaurant has been serving everyone and anyone since 1929. It serves as the last remaining XXX Thirst Stop in use and the tagline ‘on the hill but on the level’ is a testament to its unique location. Although it is better known for the unique food options that bear the names of great Purdue athletes, the root beer might be the best you have ever tasted. For a kid there isn’t much better than a cold root beer, especially when you pair it with some ice cream for a root beer float! If you are going to eat, try the Dwayne Purvis ‘All American’ Burger or the ‘Bernie Flowers All Pro’ that were featured on the hit show ‘Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives’ with Guy Fieri.

#3: Fountain Run (Weather Permitting)

Location: Engineering Fountain, Loeb Fountain, Lion’s Fountain, Memorial Fountain, Sinninger Pond

We all know that those early fall kickoffs in September and even October can be scorchers and what better way for kids (and their parents) cool off than with a fountain run! This is definitely going to be weather permitting but starting the day off or ending it with a run through the cool waters of the fountains that dot the campus will be a memory building moment for any family.

Although you can start anywhere, you may want to start at the Engineering Fountain, walk toward the Bell Tower where you can find Sinninger Pond nestled amongst the landscape, head towards Memorial Mall for the Lion’s Fountain, head directly to the Memorial Fountain (where John Purdue is buried), and finally run through Loeb Fountain. A word of caution: If you go after the game, you may want to start in reverse since the All American Marching Band does a post-game concert at the Engineering Fountain after most home games.

H&R Staff suggests just dipping your feet in Sinninger Pond and not jumping all the way in like other fountains.

#4: Bowling at the Union

Location: Union ‘Rack and Roll’

Needing a little bit of a time killer that can either cool you down or warm you up? Head to the Purdue Union to knock down some pins at the ‘Rack and Roll.’ A mainstay on the campus since 1924, the Rack and Roll has undergone upkeep and renovations in its nearly 100 year history. With one of the more recent renovations, Purdue now offers ‘HyperBowling’ which bills itself as the place where bowling lanes meet video games.

#5: Clapping Circles

Location: Academy Park, between the Purdue Memorial Union and Stewart Center

This has been a widely enjoyed phenomenon for many Purdue students as they walk through campus since 1996. Standing at the center of any of the ten circles located in this area provide a ‘squeaking’ sound that echoes after someone claps at the center. The most notable of these circles is the largest one where someone can stand at the center, clap their hand, and receive a return squeak, something kids will be fascinated with as they enjoy the landscaped areas around Academy Park. This is a great activity on your way to XXX or to the Rack and Roll!

#6: Flex Your Muscles with the Boilermaker Statue

Location: Ross Ade Stadium (outside Gate D)

Located just outside of Ross Ade Stadium and standing tall since 2005, the world’s largest Boilermaker statue is a historically accurate depiction that evokes the spirit that the hard work is never done and the tradition of Purdue sending ‘thousands of engineers, scientists, managers, entrepreneurs, farmers and builders who have shaped the modern world (’ Recreate the pose of this imposing figure or flex your muscles in the spirit of Boilermakers everywhere!

#7: Tailgate Football

Location: Tailgates Around Ross Ade Stadium

A favorite of every tailgate, throwing the football is a chance to get your kids moving and burn off some of that energy before heading into the stadium. Whether you decide to go with two hand touch, tackle, or just throwing the ball back and forth, you can’t go wrong with this gameday classic.

#8 Get A Picture with Purdue Pete & Hold His Hammer

Location: Everywhere on Gameday

There is no better way to really celebrate the gameday at Purdue for a child than to take their photo next to the iconic Purdue Pete, but make sure to ask if you can hold his hammer! Purdue Pete is ever the gentleman and make sure you tell him thank you with a fist bump or a hug!

#9 Get A Picture with Big Bass Drum at Slayter Hill During the All American Marching Band Pre-game Concert

Location: Slayter Center of Performing Arts

Starting 90 minutes before kickoff of every home game, the All American Marching Band performs at the Slayter Center of Performing Arts located on Slayter Hill. The concert features musical selections from previous weeks and some of the favorites all Purdue fans should know. The concert will feature the AAMB, cheerleaders, Purdue Pete, the Purdue Special, the Extra Special, and the Big Bass Drum.

Located in front of the stage, the Big Bass Drum is manned by a crew of six to eight members. If you get there early enough or there is enough time after the performance, ask the BBD Crew if your child can hold one of the modified mallets while they get their photo snapped! If you have small children (5 and under), you can ask if they can hit the drum but please make sure to ask the BBD Captain in advance.

#10 Jingle Your Keys on Kickoffs

Location: Ross Ade Stadium

During every kickoff during the game, hand your keys to your kiddo and let them jingle them to their hearts content with thousands of their fellow Boilermakers. Not much to say on this one but the joy for kids with keys has been known for centuries!

#11: Break It Down with the All American March Band at the Post Game Engineering Fountain Concert

Location: Engineering Fountain

After their post game concert inside Ross Ade Stadium, the All American Marching Band marches to the Engineering Fountain for a concert surrounding the area around Hovde Hall. With the beauty of the campus surrounding you and the sounds of the best damn band in the land, what better way to end your gameday experience than watching the Drum Majors perform their breakdown.

#12 Eat Some Bruno Dough & Check Out some Purdue Athletics History

Location: Bruno’s Pizzeria

A fixture on the scene in West Lafayette and Purdue University, Bruno’s has stood the test of time since 1955 as a premier pizza place. Order the ‘Bruno Dough’ which is fried pizza dough brushed with garlic sauce and parmesan cheese and your choice of dipping sauces. While there, check out one of the best collections of Purdue memorabilia, put together by owners Orlando and Bruno Jr.

#13 Ride the Boilermaker Special

Location: Around Campus

Come on ride the train! The official mascot of Purdue University, the Boilermaker Special endears itself by blaring a train whistle on every gameday Saturday morning to alert everyone that it is, in fact, gameday. Jump on board with the Reamer Club, who is charged with maintaining what is said to be the largest, fastest, heaviest, and loudest mascot in all of college sports.

#14 Boilermaker Crossing

Location: Sally & Bob Weist Plaza between Holloway Gym and Mackey Arena

This is an all around family friendly event that takes places starting three hours before kickoff of every home game. Featuring inflatables, interactive opportunities, and meet-the-team events, the Boilermaker Crossing is free and open to all fans.

#15 Join the Boilermaker Kids Club

Location: Boilermaker Kids Club

This is a great way for your kids to get involved and get some sweet swag along the way. Not only do kids get great benefits like free tickets to football, volleyball, men’s basketball, and women’s basketball through the year, they get the chance to be ball boys and ball girls as well. For just $35, a child who is enrolled with the Boilermaker Kids Club will get a long sleeve dri-fit shirt, clear fanny pack, Purdue squishpillow, Purdue decal, and official lanyard/badge. Kid’s Club members also get in free to every other sporting event that is an official varsity sport such as baseball, softball, wrestling, track and field, and swimming and diving, and tennis.