All Ages

7 Best Sports Hall of Fames for Families

See recent posts by Hilarey Wojtowicz

Have a family of sports fanatics, yet struggle to find vacation time amidst football and tennis practices, plus big games on the weekends? Keep the kids active and in that competitive mindset with a trip to one of these sports hall of fames this year. Referee a Super Bowl play, get your picture next to the Stanley Cup or bowl like a pro. Plus, each of the museums is close to other family-friendly attractions to round out your trip, from theme parks to beaches.

Written by Hilarey Wojtowicz


National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Cooperstown, N.Y.

America's favorite pastime has been around since the 1800's. Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson are just a couple of names that come to mind when we think of baseball, and your family can learn more about the history of the game at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y.

With more than 40,000 artifacts and 500,000 photographs, the Baseball Hall of Fame tells the story of the beginning of the sport, the game-changing era of women's baseball and how the game has evolved into what we know it as today. See the uniforms women wore in the 1940's, life-size photos of well-known players, such as Hank Aaron, and re-live memorable moments from the World Series. Young children will love the Sandlot Kids' Clubhouse, where they can play dress-up with old-fashioned uniforms and watch baseball-themed movies, such as "Curious George Plays Baseball."

Planning Your Visit:

Cooperstown, N.Y. is a great town for a weekend getaway with your family. Visit the hall of fame, check out local shops and, if visiting during baseball season, check out a game at DoubleDay Field.

Children under 6 receive free admission to the museum and children 7 to 12 are $7. Purchase combination tickets and get access to the hall of fame and your choice of the Fenimore Art Museum or The Farmers' Museum and do even more during your visit.

Recommended Hotel: Holiday Inn Express Cooperstown

Pro Football Hall of Fame, Canton, Ohio

Test your knowledge and get involved at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Think you have the skills to referee the next Super Bowl? Review a play and make the split-second decision at the Instant Replay Exhibit, just one of the interactive areas in the museum. Play the latest version of the EA Sports Madden Football video game or throw your best touchdown pass in the throwing cage.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame and Museum opened in 1963 in Canton, Ohio, the place where the American Professional Football Association, now the National Football League, was founded in 1920. Home to 118,000 square feet of history and artifacts, the Pro Football Hall of Fame aims to be the number one tribute to the athletes who have made football America's most popular sport today.

Planning Your Visit:

Admission is free for children under 5 and $16 for children 6 to 12, but families can buy "Hall Passes," which offer discounted admission to both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Ohio's other major attraction, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, in Cleveland, just 60 miles from Canton. Check out the hall's Web site for special offers and discounts at local restaurants, as well.

Recommended Hotel: Hyatt Regency Cleveland at The Arcade

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Springfield, Mass.

Located in Springfield, Mass., known to be the birthplace of basketball, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame pays tribute to the game invented by Dr. James Naismith in 1891. The original hall of fame opened in 1968 and now, more than 50 years later, has transformed into a landmark structure. The building itself is shaped like a basketball and cannot be missed from the Springfield skyline. Inside families will find uniforms and memorabilia of famous players, and photos upon photos of basketball favorites like Michael Jordan. Plus, you might just be able to show off some of your skills during a shooting contest!

The hall plays host to multiple basketball events year-round, and offers a special 60 Days of Summer program for families. Visit between July 1 and Aug. 31 and experience a new program every day, with special guests, giveaways and exhibits. Plus, each one is free!

Planning Your Visit:

Children under 5 are free and children 5 to 15 are $14. Other local, family-friendly attractions include the Volleyball Hall of Fame, located in Holyoke, Mass., just 20 minutes away, and Six Flags New England in Agwam, Mass., just 15 minutes away!

Recommended Hotel: Springfield Marriott

Hockey Hall of Fame, Toronto, Canada

In September 1943, the Hockey Hall of Fame was established as the result of former Canadian Amateur Hockey Association President James T. Sutherland's claim that Kingston, Ontario was the birthplace of the sport. However, it wasn't until 1961 that the Hockey Hall of Fame museum officially opened in Toronto, Canada, where it stands now, housing the history of the Great White North's beloved sport.

Learn about your favorite players, take shots on real-time goalies and watch "Stanley's Game Seven," hockey's first 3D film, in one of two theaters. Families can see the Stanley Cup up close and can explore the world's largest collection of hockey memorabilia and artifacts. Shop for your favorite hockey gear and enjoy discounts at local restaurants.

Planning Your Visit:

Children under 3 are free and admission for kids ages 4 to 13 is $11. Other local attractions to visit in Toronto include the CN Tower and Harbourfront Centre, a short subway ride away from the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Recommended Hotel: Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel

International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum, Newport, R.I.

Tennis as we know it began in 1881 with the first U.S. National Lawn Tennis Championships held in Newport, R.I., now home to the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum. More than 125 years later, tennis is still played on the grounds of the hall of fame.

Interactive exhibits, videos, photos and other novelty tennis memorabilia fill the hall, outlining the sport in its entirety from the 12th century through today. Check out legends such as Billie Jean King, Rod Laver and Fred Perry have graced the hall and have been honored for their talents, skills and contributions to tennis.

Planning Your Visit:

Families can catch a match, play one of their own and can take part in a family scavenger hunt at the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum. Admission is free for children under 16.

Newport, Rhode Island is also home to the famous 50- to 70-room mansions that line the coast and are more than 100 years old, so be sure to see these grand homes before heading back to yours.

Recommended Hotel: Vanderbilt Hall

International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame, Arlington, Texas

Did you know bowling dates back to Ancient Egypt? The International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame, located in Arlington, Texas, pays tribute to the popular sport's long history, including its U.S. beginnings in the 1800's. It also documents the accomplishments of champion bowlers, and since the sport is ever-changing, the museum even gives bowling a futuristic focus. Families can interact with a virtual bowling ball, lane and pins to see how it was once played and what it will be like in the years to come.

Planning Your Visit:

Admission is free for children under 3 and $7.50 for children ages 4 to 18. The International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame is located at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington, so you can get a thrill at the theme park during your visit, too!

Recommended Hotel: Hyatt Regency Dallas

World Golf Hall of Fame, St. Augustine, Fla.

Golf dates back to 15th Century Scotland, but the game and its champions were not recognized in a hall of fame until the 1970's. In 1974, the World Golf Hall of Fame opened in Pinehurst, N.C., honoring 13 of the game's greatest players. During its time in Pinehurst, the hall inducted 71 players.

After relocating to its current location in St. Augustine, Florida in 1998, the World Golf Hall of Fame gained multiple galleries, a golf simulator, an 18-hole natural-grass putting course and the Hall of Fame Challenge Hole. Guests are urged to try their shots at a 132-yard island green, similar to that of the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Verde, Fla. Each day, the closest distances are recorded, and at the end of the month, the guest who is closest to the hole wins a prize worth $500. The hall also has an IMAX theater that shows films on the history of the game, as well as current blockbusters.

Planning Your Visit:

Children under 5 are free, children between 5 and 12 are $5 and students 13 and older are $10. Tickets allow admission to the hall, as well as one round on the 18-hole course, plus a shot at the Hall of Fame Challenge Hole.

Other local attractions include Old St. Augustine Village, the oldest continuously settled city in the United States, and the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park. Plus, you'll be minutes from the beach!

Recommended Hotel: Fairfield Inn & Suites St. Augustine

Our team of parents and travel experts chooses each product and service we recommend. Anything you purchase through links on our site may earn us a commission.