University of Phoenix Stadium Tour

University of Phoenix Stadium Tour

Judy Hedding 

The University of Phoenix Stadium opened for business in August 2006, and that business is primarily as the home of the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League (NFL). In addition to Arizona Cardinals games, University of Phoenix Stadium is the site of the annual Fiesta Bowl and was the location for the 2015 Super Bowl.

The stadium tours take place on non-game days. It's a totally different place without 60,000 or 70,000 excited fans and when only staff is on the premises. Your tour guide will take you on a journey of the history of the Arizona Cardinals, and tell you how this state-of-the-art stadium came to be built. You'll hear about the people who made it happen, the costs involved, the design team, and the unique features of the stadium.

Stadium tours may have 5 people or 40 people on any given day. Tour guides are equipped with personal sound systems so everyone can hear. There is plenty of interaction with tour participants. My bet is that there isn't a question about the stadium about which your tour guide won't know the answer!

University of Phoenix Stadium Tour Tip: The tour is busiest when there are special events in town, especially related to sports. The Fiesta Bowl, Cactus Bowl, College Football National Championship Games, and even regularly scheduled Arizona Cardinals football games, when out-of-town football fans are most likely to be in the area, are busy tour days. Likewise, many visitors are in the area for Spring Training baseball games, so tours during March tend to fill up, too.

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Who Should Take the Stadium Tour

University of Phoenix Stadium Tour
© 2008 Judy Hedding

You don't have to be a football expert to appreciate the University of Phoenix Stadium tour. All you have to is have a basic understanding of football and an appreciation for the enormity of the project and the creativity of the designers. One of the most popular stops on the tour is the stadium floor, where you'll learn about the seating configurations. Always a popular topic, you'll hear about the roof of the stadium and learn about it's unique design and purpose.

Here's a general comment of my own, and not necessarily put forth by University of Phoenix Stadium staff. This tour isn't so much about kids. There are no hands-on activities during the tour, and I wouldn't expect to see any athletes there. No mascots, hot dogs, music, Kid Zones. ​​The University of Phoenix Stadium is a very quiet place on non-game days, and the group is required to stay together for security purposes. The tour lasts about an hour and 15 minutes. If you have an older child that can handle over an hour of listening to a lecture and has an interest in football, then he or she can appreciate this tour. Otherwise, I'd leave the kids home.

University of Phoenix Stadium Tour Tip: Bring your own water, as concessions are not open during most tour times. The tour works for both wheelchairs and strollers; the few steps that you'll come across aren't required to enjoy the tour.

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Field and Grass at University of Phoenix Stadium

University of Phoenix Stadium Tour
© 2008 Judy Hedding

I am always the most impressed with the grass. The Arizona Cardinals' football field is quite unique. What's so special about grass? Well, University of Phoenix Stadium has the first fully retractable natural grass playing field in North America. That means that the grass is outside, getting natural light until a few days before game time and then it is rolled into the stadium for the game. It is quite a marvel of engineering and ingenuity! What kind of grass is it? How does it roll into the stadium? How long does it take? I'm not telling. You'll have to take the tour!

When there's no grass on the inside, University of Phoenix Stadium also hosts trade shows and events, such as the Maricopa County Home & Garden Show, and the International Sportsmen's Expo.

University of Phoenix Stadium Tour Tip: Wear comfortable shoes. You'll be walking about a mile on this tour.

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Where You'll Go

University of Phoenix Stadium Tour
© 2008 Judy Hedding

During the behind-the-scenes tour of the University of Phoenix Stadium you'll get to visit places that typical ticket holders don't get to see. You'll go onto the stadium floor, into the media area, into the visiting team's locker room, into the corporate suites on the club level and more. As you walk around the stadium, you'll see murals and photos of Arizona football players, owners, builders and other people who have contributed to the success of the project and the enjoyment of the fans. You'll also pass a large display of champion Arizona high school football teams. If you played football in Arizona, maybe your photo is there!

At the end of the tour, you will have an opportunity to stop in the Arizona Cardinals gift shop. This is a great time to pick up a few gifts, either for yourself or a football fan you know, when it isn't crowded. If you don't have time to stop and shop here, you can always order your Arizona Cardinals gear online.

University of Phoenix Stadium Tour Tip: You will not be permitted to enter the Arizona Cardinals locker room. It is simply their private place and they don't allow the public to visit.

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Tour Location, Tickets, Admission

University of Phoenix Stadium Tour
© 2008 Judy Hedding

Where is University of Phoenix Stadium?

The address is: 1 Cardinals Drive, Glendale, AZ 85305

The U niversity of Phoenix Stadium is located in Glendale, Arizona. That's next to Phoenix, on the northwest side of town. Here are a map and directions to the University of Phoenix Stadium. The tour begins at Gate 2. Those numbers are marked clearly in huge numerals outside the stadium. When you've arrived at the stadium, just keep driving around it until you are near Gate 2 and then park in the visitor parking area. There is no charge for parking.

When are the stadium tours, and how much are tickets?

Tours are given year round, typically three times per day Thursday through Saturday. Don't just show up without checking; some tour days may be blacked out for special events or parties.

The prices of stadium tours are: $7 for adults; $5 for each child age four - 12, seniors ages 65+, and military with ID. Children three and under are free. (October 2015). These prices don't include fees, which are hefty!

Need more information? Call or visit the University of Phoenix Stadium online.

University of Phoenix Stadium Tour Tip: You can buy tickets at the window near Gate 2 on the day of the tour, but they are available on a space-available basis only. If you really want to go on this tour, your best bet is to buy tickets in advance through Ticketmaster and have them delivered to Will Call so you can pick them up at the stadium.

All dates, times, prices and offerings are subject to change without notice.

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