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Out of the Park

TICKETS: The Braves haven't set single-ticket prices yet, but last year's ranged from $12 for upper level seats to $40 for dugout seats. Info: 404-577-9100, www.atlantabraves.com.

WHAT ELSE TO DO: Martin Luther King's home and Ebenezer Baptist Church are in the Sweet Auburn neighborhood, about two miles northeast of the ballpark. There is a working plantation at the Atlanta History Center and a tasting room at the World of Coca-Cola. The Richard Meier-designed High Museum of Art has a grand collection of paintings, ceramics, sculptures and more. See talking heads and newsmakers on a CNN tour. Info: Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau, 404-521-6600, www.atlanta.net.

Spring training 2004 at Holman Stadium, Vero Beach, Fla. (Vero Beach Dodgers)

GETTING THERE: The major carriers fly to Atlanta nonstop from Washington for about $150 round trip. For trains to the ballpark, take the North/South line to Five Points Station; exit on the Forsyth Street side. A Braves shuttle runs from the MARTA station.

Aug. 12-14: Denver

Coors Field, built in 1995, is a hitter's park. Balls fly farther in Denver's mile-high altitude, and the thin air is said to flatten out a pitcher's curveball. The best views are from the upper deck on the third-base side looking away from the field to downtown and the mountains. Hike up to the purple seats six rows from the top and you're 5,280 feet above sea level.

For local flavor, try the Rocky Mountain oysters (fried bull testicles), sold at the ClockTower food court behind home plate. Frankly, we prefer the creamy Mount Ranch pasta. The Tornadough is a fried pretzel slathered with butter and cinnamon or cheese. Or try a buffalo meat hot dog. Food prices are high, but you can bring in food from outside vendors, who sell good brats and even elk jerky.

TICKETS: The Rockies haven't set their 2005 ticket prices but last year's ranged from $5 to $40. Info: 800-388-7625, www.coloradorockies.com.

WHAT ELSE TO DO: While exploring the LoDo district around the ballpark, find baseball's best art -- a funky sculpture called "The Evolution of the Ball" that includes a spitball, Lucille Ball and a matzo ball. Step back to the early 20th century at the Lakeside Amusement Park with its art-deco neon, wooden roller coaster and trains from the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. Walk to the observation deck in the State Capitol's gold dome for a panoramic view of the Rockies. See the Egyptian mummies at the Museum of Nature and Science, and the polar bears at the zoo. Info: Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau, 800-233-6837, www.denver.org.

GETTING THERE: Frontier and United fly nonstop from Washington for about $300 round trip. Coors Field is at 20th and Blake streets, and a number of downtown parking spots are only a 15-minute walk away. Or park at the 16th Street Mall or the Broadway/Lincoln Center and take the shuttle.

Sept. 16-18: San Diego

San Diego's Petco Park (2004) is downtown, near the city's historic Gaslamp Quarter and a trolley ride from downtown hotels. The best feature is the 95-year-old red-brick Western Metal Supply Co. building in left field, a portion of which overhangs the asymmetrical outfield wall.

To reflect its seaside image, San Diego's new ballpark is shades of blue, white and sand, with dramatic waterfalls at the entrance. No Camden Green here. The place is packed with food stands and kiosks with a diverse offering of healthy and traditional ballpark fare, from Asian salads and veggie burgers to hot dogs and garlic fries. Rubio's fried fish tacos with lime are sublime, and hot kettle corn is hard to pass up. For $5, fans can sit on Picnic Hill beyond the fence in right-centerfield.

TICKETS: Ticket prices are not yet set for 2005 but ranged from $5 to $40 last year. Info: 877-374-2784, www.padres.com.

WHAT ELSE TO DO: There's plenty to see at the museum-packed Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo and the Wild Animal Park in Escondido, 90 minutes north. Check out Pacific Beach for surfer-chic stores. Explore the historic Gaslamp District, which hums with music and dancing after hours. Rent a bike and cycle around the island of Coronado, then cool off with a cocktail at the elegant Hotel Del. Pop up to nearby Scripps Beach, which sits below the oceanography institution, and poke around the tide pools for critters. Info: San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau, 619-236-1212, www.sandiego.org.

GETTING THERE: Southwest flies nonstop to San Diego from Washington from $230 round trip; other carriers offer connecting service. A number of trolley stations are within a 15-minute walk of the park; you can also take the bus, the north counties' Coaster train or the water shuttle.

For the Nationals' complete schedule, contact the ticket office at 202-675-6287, www.nationals.com. For information about spring training: www.springtrainingonline.com.

Bruce Adams and Margaret Engel are the authors of "Fodor's Baseball Vacations: Great Family Trips to Minor League and Classic Major League Ballparks Across America."

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