There’s a Hall of Fame for just about every sport in America, and my family has visited six athletic halls of fame to date. you can read about our adventures here. Halls of Fame are a great way to learn the history and rules of a sport, the evolution of the game, and the background and stats on famous players. There are always plenty of interactive exhibits to keep children entertained. The “do not touch, please stay quiet” rules of many museums are non existent at athletic halls of fame.
Recently, when my family was in Springfield, Massachusetts, we stopped at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. I’d plan on at least a half day at the Hall of Fame, but if you find yourself with extra time, take a quick five minute drive and visit the Dr. Seuss Museum (read my tips here) or the Springfield Armory (read my tips here). Also a short drive from the Hall of Fame is the Yankee Candle Village.
Ten Things You Must Do & See Inside the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame:
1. Compare the size of your foot with the size of players like Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant with footprints located outside the entrance to the Hall of Fame.
2. Start on the 3rd floor with the Honor Rings of all inductees. (Take a right out of the elevator to go in chronological order.) Look out for various mementos of players and coaches, including 12+ milestone basketballs.
3. Get a workout with interactive exhibits like WingSpan, Virtual Hoops, Vertical Leap, and Training Camp.
4. Find Shaquille O’Neal’s size 23 shoe (the largest shoe ever made)
5. Visit the “Media in the Game” exhibit where you can sit in a Skybox Suite, call a play, and give a sports update on “live” TV.
6. Oogle at Craig Sager’s “fashionable” jacket.
7. Search through the lockers in “The Coaches” display.
8. Learn the origins of the original rules of basketball.
9. Check out the local MAAC (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) teams, including my alma matter, Fairfield University.
10. Show off your skills on Center Court, a full size basketball court located on the first floor- check how high you can “dunk” (6, 7, 8, or 9 feet).
There is a Subway quick service station located inside the Hall of Fame, and several chain restaurants like Pizzeria UNO and Plan B Burger that share the parking lot with the Hall of Fame. My kids liked the “make your own pizza” option at UNO’s.