Football fanatics now have a new playground: The NFL Experience in Times Square, New York City. Opened in November of 2017, it’s four floors of interactive experiences. You’ll forget you’re in the heart of arguably one of the biggest spots in the world when you step into 40,000 square feet that encompass a dozen practice drills, hours of film footage, and thousands of player and team statistics.
Traveling with Kids:
In my opinion, the Experience is best suited for kids ages 8 and up; many exhibits require reading skills, a specific height and strength practice drills, and the ability to handle loud noises and motion sensored seats in the theater. However, strollers are allowed and there are elevators. Younger children who really love football and want to learn about the history of the sport will enjoy it too, and there are spaces for younger siblings to explore.
Check in on the street level (corner of West 47th Street and 7th Avenue) and take an elevator to the fourth floor to begin your journey.
Restrooms are located on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th floor and are easily accessible.
On the second floor there is a gift shop and dining area overlooking the heart of Times Square. There is a full bar, snack bar with NitroPop popcorn and other snacks, a private room for party rentals, NFL Eats (a “rotating menu of stadium inspired food” according to the display) and plenty of areas to relax (couches, a bar, and high top tables). I was told the space also hosts watch parties.
Five Can’t Miss Exhibits:
1. Start with the “32’s” on the 4th floor. There are memorabilia displays for all 32 teams in the NFL, organized by conference division. The interactive touch screens allow you to choose famous clips from your favorite teams, laid out on a map of America. Take note of our featured team in several of these photos (we’re Giants season ticket holders).
2. The 180 seat 4D Theater shows a ten minute reel of highlights on wrap around projection screens putting you right in the middle of the action. You’ll feel like you’re in the middle of the action with motion seats (you can adjust the intensity of the motion with three settings). You’ll get a pretty good feel for what it’s like to be tackled and blocked and how it feels to be at the bottom of a pigpile. And then there’s the snow. Yes, snow. Note: if you get motion sickness or fear loud, starling noises, I would skip this part and wait for your group on the third floor. It is extremely loud, and even though you can adjust the intensity of the motion seats, there is still a lot of jostling and sharp movements.
3. The massive Training Center with plenty of hands on activities: Blocking Training (modified version of what it feels like to block), Vertical Jump (compare yourself to NFL players), Rate Your Weight, Suit Up (you’ll select your team and number, have your photo taken, and do some callistatics, following the lead of your digitized self), Measure Up (compare your grip to the grip of famous NFL players), Game Plan (you’ll be right in the middle of a QB meeting with coach), and Huddle Up (as QB, you get to pick your receiver and run a play). We spent the majority of our time in the Training Center. It was a quiet afternoon and we were able to try each activity multiple times. The area has plenty of space to move around and designated lines for when there are large crowds.
4. Quarterback Challenge gives you three chances to score a touchdown by throwing a football to your (chosen) computer generated receiver. My husband and children loved competing against each other.
5. Super Bowl Celebration will surround you with confetti so you’ll feel like you were there at the end of the biggest game of the year. You can take your photo with a special Tiffany-made Vince Lombardi trophy. There’s a great display of tickets from all 52 Super Bowl- a ticket to the first game cost $10! My husband and daughter were excited to find the ticket from the XLII game (she was born the following day; I’d like it noted I waited until the Giants won before going in labor). Also on display are 35 Super Bowl rings (under close watch!). If you’re an Eagles fan (again, we’re Giants fans- hence the photo below), you can pose with (the reigning champs) players.
Bonus: The Postgame Tunnel consists of 42 mirrored screens which put you right in the middle of the post game. The tunnel will lead you to the gift shop and dining area.
Disclosure: My family was given a press pass to visit the NFL Experience. All opinions are my own.