Cornell University is an Ithaca, New York-based university that is part of the Ivy League conference, which is a top academic conference in the nation. The school’s athletics teams go by the nickname “Big Red,” and their mascot is a costumed bear named “Touchdown,” but it also goes by the name “Big Red Bear.” One unique aspect of the mascot is that the suit is not worn by a single person, but by several Members of the Big Red Bears Club. Students take turns wearing the outfit at different events, but they must first prove they can do a bear walk, which is a spirited and exaggerated walk.
The Big Red football team plays their home games at Schoellkopf Field. The field, one of the oldest in the FCS subdivision of the NCAA’s Division 1, opened in 1915 and seated approximately 9,000 people. The stadium has seen several renovations since then, and it now seats 21,000. The stadium has unusual seating since it only has seats on one side of the field — the other is occupied by a parking garage.
Cornell University participates in 36 varsity sports, but their football, basketball, and ice hockey teams are the most popular. The football team won four national championships between 1915 to 1939, and they have won the conference championship multiple times. In 2010, the Big Red basketball team reached the “Sweet 16” in the NCAA tournament which made it the first Ivy League team to do so since 1979.
On a quest to RV to some of your favorite NFL teams? Buffalo, New York, is about three hours to the west, so why not check out the Bills if time allows. If your travels will bring you to the New York City area, the Giants, Jets, Mets, and Yankees are about four hours to the east.
College football tickets may vary from season to season, but, based on ticket prices from previous years, fans can expect to pay around $50 per ticket on average at Cornell. Games against rivals or high-ranked opponents may raise ticket prices when seeing the Cornell University Big Red. Guests typically find Big Red basketball tickets for around $30.
Several state highways connect with surrounding interstates near Ithaca, where Cornell University is located near the Finger Lakes region of New York. Between Buffalo to the west and Albany to the east, Ithaca makes for an excellent destination or mid-way point for road trips to state parks throughout the State of New York.
Tailgating is allowed for regular-sized vehicles, but fans must purchase a tailgating parking permit from the Cornell Athletics ticket office. Regular parking lots are located across campus, but make sure to familiarize yourself with the tailgating lots before arrival. Some lots may be free to park in, while others may not. Cornell University prohibits RVs from parking at the designated tailgating areas, but smaller campervans and tow vehicles that would fit in a standard parking space may be allowed.
The Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit (TCAT) provides transportation to Cornell University and the City of Ithaca. There are over two dozen bus routes that can take you pretty much anywhere you want in the city. It’s possible to take the TCAT to campus and leave your vehicle behind at a campground.
All Cornell University lots must be evacuated two hours after game day events end. However, there is no need to worry as there are many Ithaca RV parks and campgrounds, some even as close as three miles from campus. Consider filling up your water and gas tanks in case the campground you choose lacks those amenities.
Buttermilk Falls State Park may be within walking distance for ambitious campers to Ithaca, New York, and lends better to smaller camping units seeking a primitive setting.
Big Red fans can find several campgrounds within 20 minutes of Schoellkopf Field. Robert H. Treman State Park is nearby and it offers camping spaces, showers, hiking trails, and a beautiful creek to swim in.
The Watkins Glen / Corning KOA is also available, though it’s almost an hour away. This KOA, however, has electric hookups, Wi-Fi, a laundry room, and a pool.
If you would like to get to the stadium without having to drive, consider taking the TCAT. Most tailgating lots are near the stadium, so you may not have to walk far between locations. Wear a comfortable pair of shoes if you tire easily. You may also want to bring a stroller if you’re traveling with children.
Remember to pack any red and white Cornell apparel, especially if it has a bear on it for your time at Schoellkopf Field. When the season gets underway in the fall, dress for mild to cool weather. In the winter, pack warmer clothes and accessories such as beanies, scarves, and gloves. Hiking boots, comfortable outdoor clothing, and a few hand warmers will come in handy for trails near any of the Finger Lakes National Forest Areas, most of which are within about an hour's drive.
If you plan to tailgate at Cornell once you buy a tailgate parking permit, remember to check what items are allowed in your lot. If you have a tow vehicle, consider driving it to the tailgating lot with a grill, some chairs, and a cooler. If cargo space is limited, focus on the essentials, including the grill and cooler. If you do have cargo space, bring a tent, a speaker, and maybe a fold-out table to prepare and serve food.
In past years, alcoholic beverages have allowed at the tailgate lots, and the environment is a family-friendly one for all Cornell fans. Also, keep an eye on your grill and make sure that children stay away at a safe distance. To prepare for emergencies, carry a first-aid kit in your camper. Remember to check trail maps and note where you park or are camped before heading out into Taughannock Falls State Park and other gorgeous sites.
Before you hear the sizzle coming from burger patties on the grill, make a trip to the store and stock up on groceries, supplies, and other essentials, such as water, ice, or charcoal. For something easy and tasty, you could grill up some chicken wings and toss them in buffalo hot sauce. Tomatoes, onions, red bell peppers, and potatoes in alternation would make for some white and red coloring on your Cornell University tailgate table.
It’s not the biggest city in the State of New York, but there are a decent amount of dining options in Ithaca. You’ll find a variety of different cuisines such as Italian, Mexican, Thai, and Chinese. Hungry travelers can enjoy eating by the water with amazing seafood at a sit-down restaurant or take a meal and along with you to enjoy Six Mile Creek less than three miles from campus.
Schoellkopf Field is quite small and may not have extensive food and apparel options for all events. The school’s dining department handles all the concessions at sporting events, where you will find traditional stadium food such as pretzels, burgers, hot dogs, and even street tacos. The concession stands do accept credit and debit cards as well as cash.
Before entering Schoellkopf Field, make sure that there are no prohibited items with you and your crew. Weapons, noisemakers, and laser pointers are some examples of items you should leave behind. Like most stadiums in college football, large bags may not be allowed inside, so it’s best to travel light.
Summers can be quite muggy, warm, and wet, with the average high temperature in July being a balmy 82 degrees. After late July, though, the temperature gradually begins to cool. By the time football season typically starts in September, the weather is cool. By December, the average low drops to below freezing. The average rainfall in Ithaca is 37 inches, and 65 inches in snow often falls may fall annually.
Speak to a stadium staff member or dial 911 if you are feeling unwell. There are hospitals and clinics nearby. Personal medications are best acquired in advance so that you do not have to find a pharmacy with your specifics while on vacation, but the community of Ithaca does have options if needed. In the past, there has not been a general first-aid room at Schoellkopf Field.