If you’re a passionate football fan, a visit to the Pro Football Hall of Fame is a must. Honestly, with the changing displays it’s worth visiting more than once. But what if you really want to dig in to the Hall? Is a Pro Football Hall of Fame Insider’s Tour worth it or not? Here’s the scoop on Hall of Fame tours, cost, and what you can expect to help you decide.
Last weekend, I drove my family to Canton, Ohio, to check out the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Truthfully, we live about 90 minutes away – and I hadn’t been since a sixth grade field trip. And there’s no way I’m adding a year to that field trip, so don’t ask. Until then, when someone would ask me about the Hall I’d tell them the truth. I’d also get a wide-eyed stare or eye roll, depending on who was asking. I mean, how could I live so close and no visit?
My answer? I don’t know why. My household goes bananas over all-things hockey. Mr. Locke was a huge football fan as a kid but then the love kind of dwindled. So, me being me, I set out to find out why fans were so passionate about football. As a lover of the history behind everything, it was a no-brainer visit, if only for the historical aspect alone.
But I got so much more out of it than that. With Gary the Docent to answer any questions we had, a VIP Insider’s Tour was exactly what I needed. Here’s why.
Docents Know Their Stuff
Gary was highly knowledgeable about the Hall and that was a bonus for me and my family. His passion was clearly palpable which made me like the tour even more. He gave us the story on museum highlights that made them seem very real.
One of my questions was “Why Canton, Ohio?”. Think about it. There’s no pro football team in the city. But there’s a good reason. In 1920, the American Football Association (precursor to the NFL) was formed in Canton. Jim Thorpe, the first pro football player, began his career with the Canton Bulldogs.
We learned this fascinating fact, and so much more, compliments of Gary. Honestly, without him, I may have just skimmed over so many important details. Details that made the visit fun!
There’s Plenty of Time to Check Out the Interactive Exhibits
An Insider’s tour last around one hour, but afterwards you’re free to explore the Hall on your own. It’s then you need to head to the interactive exhibits on the first and second floors. If you’re all about interaction, check out the right side of the upper floor and look for the quarterback helmets. I honestly had no idea that they had radio signals to the coaches!
Or test drive your football grip to see how your hands match up with famous quarterbacks. The Kid has some room to grow!
I was amazed at the arm casts from prominent players.
Hall of Fame Busts
Each inductee to the Pro Football Hall of Fame gets his own bronze bust cast. Even if you’re not a giant fan, the massive room is impressive. On our Insider’s tour, we were able to ask Gary about the busts, how they’re cast, and the most-viewed pieces. He even pointed out two of the biggies: Terry Bradshaw and O.J. Simpson. We live in Pittsburgh Steelers country, after all.
Test-Driving a Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl Ring
Near the end of our tour, Gary asked if we wanted to try on a Pittsburgh Steelers Championship ring. And, when someone asks to that, you say yes! It was a beautiful replica from the 2008 Super Bowl, but I was still impressed. I learned that Super Bowl ring owners have their own ways of keeping the treasured pieces. Some wear them daily and some lock them up and never really look at them. Fascinating!
In a Nutshell: Insider Tours
Here’s the scoop on a Pro Football Hall of Fame Insider’s Tour:
- Each tour lasts about an hour
- Docent lead
- Cost: $8 for members, $10 for non-members. Cost is in addition to regular admission
- Time: daily at noon
- Gift shop and Food cafe available. Prices at the cafe are very decent, too.
- Parking: $10 per car. If you’re visiting to eat or shop, there’s no parking fee.
Is it worth it? Absolutely. For more info, head here.
Pro Football Hall of Fame: What’s Next?
So much, actually. As I type, the Hall of Fame Village, including a four-star hotel, senior care center, and pro-sized football stadium is under construction. This August, the 2018 Enshrinement Ceremony will take place (man, would I LOVE to see that!). In between all of that, there’s the largest football card collection in the world on display.
Will I head back to visit? In a hot minute. I’m all about expanding my proverbial horizons.
Disclosure: I was hosted by the Pro Football Hall of Fame to give you fine folks the scoop on its Insider’s tour. All opinions are my own!