I need to clarify one item first: I am not nor have I ever been a football fan. I assumed it was just a sport where big guys hit each other and chase a ball around. Besides I live near Cleveland and the Browns have their ups and downs, to put it nicely. On trips to Southern Ohio, I would pass the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton and always wondered what the big deal was. The parking lot was consistently full and I could not imagine that there were that many football fans. Researching the Hall of Fame opened my eyes to the fact that there is more to football than just what is on the surface.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame is located at 2121 George Halas Drive NW in Canton, Ohio. They offer over 83,000 square feet of exhibits to thrill fans. Be sure to check out their special galleries, artifacts and the theater which shows highlights of the 2008 season as well as Super Bowl XLIII spotlights. There is also an interactive section of the museum that features games, a passing cage and the chance to play Madden 2010 on an Xbox 360, which I hear is quite good. Fans of football or their loved ones will want to stop by the Museum Store which offers items from all 32 teams plus other Hall of Fame collectibles.
The Hall of Fame is open daily from 9 am until 5 pm and offers extended hours during the summer months. They are closed on Christmas day. The admission pricing for 2010 is $20 for adults, $14 for children 14 and under, $16 for seniors over 62 and free for children under five. AAA members get 10% off regular admission fees and members of the military get in free by showing their proper military ID.
The Hall of Fame is just ten minutes from Akron/Canton airport (CAK) and just about an hour from Cleveland Hopkins Airport (CLE). It is approximately an hour drive from Cleveland and that depends on weather and traffic as it could be a little bit longer. There are several hotels in Canton if you need overnight accommodations such as the Courtyard by Marriott-Canton, LaQuinta Inn & Suites-Canton, Ramada Hall of Fame Hotel, McKinley Grand Hotel and Microtel Inn & Suites, all of which offer combination specials of rooms and tickets to the museum. Akron offers several hotel options and, again, is a close drive from Cleveland and surrounding area hotels.
The Hall of Fame is also very close to all kinds of restaurants and shopping venues. So there really is something for everyone.
At the Hall of Fame you will see all the members of the NFL that have been inducted into the Hall of Fame including the Class of 2010: Russ Grimm, Ricky Jackson, Dick LeBeau, Floyd Little, John Randle, Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith. You will get to see their stories and learn about their courage.
This brings me to the part of the organization that impressed me, their outreach programs. The Pro Football Hall of Fame offers an Educational Outreach Program as well as teacher workshops and seminars in an attempt to create a learning atmosphere by melding football and education. The website (www.profootballhof.com) offers Teacher Activity Guides and other ways to help educate today’s youth. They also offer special seminars; the most recent included a Black History Program, Physical Education Day and a Native American Seminar. There are so many stories of courage and overcoming adversity.
So there is so much more to the game then just the game, the stories under the game are as thrilling and inspiring as any “Hail Mary” play (that is the extent of my football terminology knowledge). What I am trying to say is you don’t have to be a fan of football to enjoy at trip to the Pro Football Hall of Fame it has something for everyone. If you are a fan, then this is a must-see. Check out their website to see more about exhibits and other interactive activities and be inspired. Happy Travels!!