Nat'l Museum of Racing & Hall of Fame, Saratoga Springs, NY

Day 3 in my week long series about Saratoga Springs New York:

Along with tens of thousands of racing fans, my family recently made the short pilgrimage to Saratoga Springs, New York for the first week of the Saratoga races. We attended the races on a Wednesday (they race six days a week- Tuesdays are “dark”) and you can read all about our adventures at the Saratoga National Historic Site here and the National Museum of Dance and Hall of Fame here.

There was a break in the action between our morning tours and when our table at Turf Terrace was available, so we took a walk across the street to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. It’s a small museum, but it was the perfect way to spend about an hour and a half learning about the history of racing. Score: children will definitely be entertained.

A few bonuses:

  • If you’re an AAA member, tickets are buy one, get one free.
  • Included in your admissions fee is a beautiful guide that is full of information about the exhibits, special events, and Hall of Fame members and current inductees.
  • Each room has plenty of areas to rest weary feet- this was super helpful in a few spots where my children wanted to sit and watch a short video while I explored an exhibit. It would also be good for nursing mothers to have a quiet, clean, comfortable space. Plenty of space to navigate strollers, too. There was only one room where I was worried about my children “touching stuff”; most of the museum is very child friendly.
  One side of the Hall of Fame gallery.  My children rested and watched short films about horse racing.

One side of the Hall of Fame gallery.  My children rested and watched short films about horse racing.

We always play “I Spy” at museums, and here are my children’s top picks:

  • The three trophies from the “Triple Crown”: The Kentucky Derby, The Preakness, and the Belmont Stakes. You can also check out the full trophy collection online.
  • A collection of tickets from race courses pre World War I
  • The Hall of Fame room with plaques for each of the inductees (and a ton of chairs to sit and watch a video)
  • The replica of the board at Saratoga with recorded explanations of how to place bets and timing of the horse races.
  • The Anatomy Room with a full size display of every bone in a thoroughbred’s body
  • The “HorsePlay!” kid area where children can match human shoes with their horse counterparts, play dress up with replica jockey silks, and “groom” a stuffed animal thoroughbred.
  • There is a “Ride Like a Jockey” simulator that looked fun (an additional fee), but when we inquired about it at the front desk, the staff warned that it moves very quickly and is not recommended for kids under 10. We decided to pass.
  Playing dress up with jockey silks in "HorsePlay!"

Playing dress up with jockey silks in "HorsePlay!"

  My children learned all about scoring so they would be prepared when we returned to the race track.

My children learned all about scoring so they would be prepared when we returned to the race track.

  The "Anatomy of a Horse" display

The "Anatomy of a Horse" display

There's a Hall of Fame for just about every sport. Read our Top 10 list here