Originally named the Florida Suncoast Dome and then the ThunderDome, Tropicana Field’s 1.1 million square feet include unique design features and fan amenities found nowhere else in the Major Leagues.
Tropicana Field is the world’s only professional sports facility that features live cownose rays. The Rays Tank presented by VisitStPeteClearwater.com opened in 2006, and is located just behind the right center field wall. Through a unique partnership with the Florida Aquarium, there are over 30 rays that fans can touch and feed throughout the game. The 10,000 gallon tank is one of the ten-largest in the United States. If a player hits a home run into the tank, then the organization will donate $5,000 to charity – $2,500 to the Florida Aquarium and $2,500 to the player’s charity of choice.
Tropicana Field is the only Major League park to feature an artificial surface and all-dirt base paths. It features natural-looking FieldTurf. All of the other parks that currently feature an artificial surface have only dirt cutouts around the bases and at the pitcher’s mound. Only four other artificial turf ballparks have ever featured all-dirt base paths: Houston’s Astrodome (1966-1971); San Francisco’s Candlestick Park in 1971; Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Stadium in the early ’70s; and, most recently, St. Louis’ Busch Stadium (1970-1976). Chicago’s Comiskey Park had all-dirt base paths with an artificial turf infield and grass outfield in the early 1970s. The Rays installed a new FieldTurf in 2007.
In 2007, the Rays added four new video boards to Tropicana Field. The main video board in right field is 35 feet high and 64 feet wide, making it more than four times larger than the previous board. This ProStar video board from Daktronics will provide video content, highlight pitching matchups, and show pitch speeds, pitch counts, and other detailed statistical information. There will also be two 10 by 50-foot strip boards below the main board which will have batter and pitcher statistics. In addition, the Rays will unveil a new video board above the Batter’s Eye Restaurant in center field. This board will have an in-game box score and will provide statistical information in a baseball card style format. The Rays will also continue to use a matrix board in left field which has out-of-town scores and crowd-pumping images.
Tropicana Field is home to a number of interactive areas for kids of all ages. In the Left Field Street area, fans can participate in a baseball-themed game show, take their picture on a Topps baseball card, have their name inscribed onto a Louisville Slugger bat, touch and feel real game-used equipment, and broadcast play-by-play of baseball highlights. Left Field Street also features the Mountain Dew Extreme Zone where fans can play stickball in a unique area that is designed to resemble a New York street alley. Fans can also enjoy the latest modern baseball video games, or they can play old school video games from Nintendo and Atari.
Right Field Street
In 2007, Right Field Street was renovated to include numerous activities for younger baseball fans. Kids can experience the magic of baseball in the Rays Baseball Carnival, a real working carnival that includes plinko, spin the wheel, ring-a-bat and skee ball. In addition, fans can take their swings against computer images of real Major League pitchers in a batting cage or test their arms in the speed pitch, both found in the T.G. Lee Rookie Challenge area of the Carnival. Right Field Street also features popular kids-themed areas such as "Bats, Balls, and Brushes", "St. Petersburg Times Pressbox" and "The Science of Baseball."