FLAGSTAFF, AZ - Ready to escape the heat and watch some of your favorite players gear up for the 2012 season?
Cardinals training camp, which fans can enjoy free of charge, is nearly underway and diehard football lovers are ready to show their support during practices in Flagstaff.
But what about parking at the northern Arizona facility? And what can you bring with you? Where is the best spot to score an autograph?
Don't stress! We've got the inside information that will keep you camp-ready.
DIRECTIONS AND PARKING
Fans headed to Cardinals training camp from the Valley are urged to exit Interstate 17 at McConnell Drive and head eastbound. ABC15 sports director Craig Fouhy recommends taking your first right at Pine Knoll Drive for the easiest parking access.
You should be able to spot the Skydome as you're coming in to town, helping to guide you towards the camp.
As you follow Pine Knoll east, you will notice fan parking lots on the southeast side of the Skydome. The parking is free for visiting fans and there is plenty of space available.
THINGS TO DO
The Cardinals aim to please, and fans won't be disappointed with their training camp experience.
According to Craig, in years past, visitors had plenty of options to stay busy at the preseason festivities. A team shop trailer offering jerseys, hats and other Cards gear will be set up near the practice fields, along with concession stands offering food and drinks for fans.
And don't worry about bringing the little ones -- the camp will feature some booths and activities for even the youngest Cards lovers.
Fans are encouraged to bring chairs, blankets and coolers so they can enjoy a comfortable stay on the hill near the practice fields or in the bleachers. Portable toilets are also stationed around the fields for fans' convenience.
So what can autograph hounds expect?
Craig says the players will take time before and after practices to sign memorabilia for fans. There is even a small walkway on the northeast side of the Skydome from the players' dorms to the practice fields, where fans can see their favorites and score a signature.
For those looking for a unique preseason experience, typically the team will hold a couple of night practices during training camp. Football lovers in the past have gotten to enjoy a game under the lights during two Wednesday nights. So if you're a night owl, plan to stop by one of these special practices.
Unfamiliar with the Flagstaff area? Don't fret -- Craig says the northern Arizona city is easy enough to navigate and very visitor-friendly.
Most hotels and restaurants are a short distance from the training camp facilities. According to Craig, San Francisco Street, which runs along the east side of the Skydome is the perfect way to get to everything you need.
After leaving the day's practice, fans can travel north on San Francisco and will immediately hit downtown Flagstaff. Visitors coming towards the city from I-17 also have an easy transition, as the freeway drops drivers off on Milton Road, another street running through the heart of Flagstaff.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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