Jackie Robinson Ballpark in Daytona, FL | RTX Traveler Magazine  

106413383_WebExperience where Jackie Robinson broke the first of many barriers in Civil Rights history

While Daytona is home to a long history of and legacy of auto racing, the beachside town also holds an important place in the history of the Civil Rights Movement. Until recently, many visitors may not have immediately made that connection, but the April 2013 release of the film 42 about the life of baseball player Jackie Robinson has brought Daytona’s Jackie Robinson Ballpark (originally known as City Island Ball Park) into the spotlight.

It was on this field on March 17, 1946, that Robinson broke the color barrier in the sport when he played with AAA minor league team the Montreal Royals during a spring training exhibition game against major league team the Brooklyn Dodgers. Two other Florida towns had already refused to allow the game due to segregation laws, but Daytona allowed it, making history. Robinson was the first black player to openly play on a minor league team against a major league team. The following year, Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers and continued to break barriers and make history until he retired less than a decade later, and even after his retirement as a player in the sport.

In 1990 the ballpark was renamed for Robinson and the Jackie Robinson Museum was created within its gates. The ballpark’s museum, on City Island and along the Halifax River, is free to the public and is open daily from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. The area along the riverfront side of the park is marked with informational plaques and interactive displays dedicated to Robinson and his legacy.

A timeline of his accomplishments on and off the field can be found on the exterior wall of the Daytona Cubs’ clubhouse. Some displays depict the stories of four other barrier breakers including golf and tennis legend Althea Gibson, baseball Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente, hockey great Willie O’Rea and Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm. Several interactive displays include a base path, basketball hoop and track and field elements so that visitors can learn firsthand what Robinson excelled at and how he did so.

If you want to take in a game while checking out the museum, the Daytona Cubs host several home games during the summer through the end of August. Tickets are $7 for adults, $6 for children, seniors and military, and $12 for VIP seats with in-seat service. There is plenty of parking in the large lot on City Island, or you can park on or near Beach Street and take the short stroll across the bridge.

105 E. Orange Ave
Daytona Beach, FL 32114
(386) 257-3172
The Jackie Robinson Museum is free to the public and open daily from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.
For game times, check the Daytona Cubs website for their current schedule.

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