Whether you are a novice player and want to learn the rules and history of a sport, or a hard core enthusiast who wants to challenge their sports trivia knowledge and relive legendary moments, Sports Halls of Fame are a great place to visit with children. There’s a Hall of Fame for just about every sport and they are very family friendly. Here are some highlights from Halls of Fame (HoFs) my family has visited over the years:
Travel with Kids:
- Check online for discounts on admission tickets. Most HoF also have packages linked to other area attractions. If you plan on visiting more than one spot, you can save a lot of money.
- Check the dates you plan to visit; each HoF has a time of year where they induct new members. Those time periods usually mean bigger crowds and special (usually higher) ticket pricing.
- Bring the stroller. Most locations are spread throughout several floors and little feet will tire quickly. Every HoF is wheelchair (and therefore, stroller) accessible and should allow you to bring in a stroller in case toddlers want a rest. Plus, the stroller will hold jackets, snacks, and other stuff.
- Before you go, read a book or two about the sport. Head to your local library and check out books like the Everything Kids Book series (good for car rides too!)
1. National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York:
Kids will love: Filling out the scavenger hunt and hanging out in Sandlot Kids’ Clubhouse.
Adults will love: Reading the plagues of every inductee to answer trivia questions and posing next to the locker of their favorite team.
2. Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts:
Kids will love: getting a workout at five different training exercises and broadcasting from a Skybox Press Suite.
Adults will love: showing off their skills on Center Court, a full sized court, and competing to see who can make the highest dunk.
3. Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio:
Kids will love: the outdoor turf field to practice their passing, the interactive exhibits in the NFL First Century, and watching dozens of videos bloopers.
Adults will love: the (seemingly) endless videos of highlights and game reels, and scoping out the 20,000+ seat stadium used for the first preseason NFL game and the enshrinement ceremony for Hall of Fame inductees each year.
Bonus: They're currently (as of June 2018) building a whole complex with a hotel, convention center, and waterpark on the property.
Note: that's our son at Giants training camp in New York. My husband and I visited the football HoF over a decade ago.
4. World of Golf Hall of Fame in St Augustine, Florida:
Kids will love: participating in the Science of Golf show and the playing on the 18 hole outdoor putting course.
Adults will love: trying to get their ball closest to the pin at the outdoor Challenge Hole, “playing” a hole at some of the world’s most famous courses in the Golf Simulator, and checking out the views from The Tower, the tallest structure in the area.
5. Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Ontario Canada:
Kids will love: testing their hockey skills in interactive games at the Game Time zone.
Adults will love: having their photo taken next to the Stanley Cup and reliving the top 30 moments in hockey history. Okay, so adults might like the Game Time activities too.
6. National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, New York:
Kids will love: Horse Play! where they can dress up like a jockey, and listening to audio explanations about how to (legally) place a bet.
Adults will love: posing with the trophies for the Triple Crown races, and resting their feet while viewing the Hall of Fame video.
7. Bonus: while not the official horse racing Hall of Fame, the Kentucky Derby Museum at Church Hill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky is well known as the home to the Kentucky Derby. There is a great tour and museum that the whole family will enjoy.
Kids will love: pretending to take off from the starting gate on a replica horse and riding the horse simulator- you get to choose your breed of horse.
Adults will love: attempting to call a race on Derby Day inside the sound proof booth and taking the tour (there are many options) of the race track that gets you right next to the track for photos. We liked the Behind the Scenes Walking Tour.
8. Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana: The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, located in Daytona, Florida, is the official HoF for the sport; my family enjoyed visiting the home of the Indy 500 in Indiana)
Kids will love: taking the bus ride around the track (at 2.5 miles, it would be a looong walk) and pretending to drive one of the race cars on display.
Adults will love: checking out the 75 race cars, including the 2016 Indy 500 winner and several race cars from the 1950s and 1960s, on display.
9. National Soccer Hall of Fame in Frisco, Texas is currently under construction and is set to open later in 2018.
10. International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island:
Kids will love: filling out the scavenger hunt for a prize and pretending to broadcast a match on television.
Adults will love: Getting the chance to actually play a match on one of the 13 grass courts (call ahead for a reservation) and testing your tennis knowledge at the touch table.