This is the second post in a series on my recent visit to Newport, Rhode Island.
Originally called the Newport Casino, the International Tennis Hall of Fame was built in 1880 and hosted the first U.S. Nationals Tennis Championship just one year later. The grounds include a museum, pro shop, museum store, restaurant, 13 grass courts and one clay court open to the public for play during the summer, and six indoor hard courts available for public play during the winter. Each July, the Hall of Fame hosts a weeklong tournament, culminating with induction of new members to the Hall of Fame.
The museum is self guided, with the option to purchase an audio tour for an additional charge, and guided tours are offered on specific days and at specific times. Children will definitely want to pick up a scavenger hunt at the Visitor's Center (and return it finished for a prize). The Visitor's Center also has tennis themed trinkets for sale. There is a larger pro shop and museum gift shop located at the entrance to complex, on Bellevue Avenue. The entire museum is located on the second floor (there are elevators) and does not allow strollers. There are restrooms located in the middle of the museum. The museum is very kid friendly and you don’t need to worry about children damaging the exhibits, which encompass over 2,000 artifacts. I would plan for an hour to explore the museum.
My family’s favorite parts of the museum:
1. The binoculars that allow you to look back in time to what the grass court looked during a match in the 1930s.
2. The Hall of Fame gallery with placards of information about each inductee.
3. The Birth of Tennis and Fashion of Tennis exhibits (check out how fashion has changed over the years!)
4. The displays of trophies from the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open.
5. You Call the Shot which allows you to broadcast a famous tennis match.
6. The Roger Federer Hologram where you can watch Federer explain his favorite parts of the game.
7. The interactive Touch Table where you can test your tennis knowledge.
8. Tennis Around the Globe, an interactive globe that gives you up to date info on tennis matches and players all over the world.
9. A display of 150+ canisters of tennis balls dating back to the 1920s.