Football’s biggest theme park returns to New Orleans after an eleven year hiatus.
The NFL Experience opens today, with thousands of visitors expected to flock to the Morial Convention Center over the next five days. Those who are lucky enough to go are in for many pleasant surprises. I was fortunate enough to be able to take a sneak peak this week ..and it was nothing like the Experience I went to in 2002.
This year’s show focuses on the history of the game and features many new exhibits never seen before. As you walk into the show, you are greeted by several displays showcasing the best of the best from previous Super Bowls, including rings and game balls from every game. My favorite part of that exhibit portrays some of the gutsiest plays ever made in the Super Bowl, including a radio call for each play.
Other highlights include a large locker room area, where fans can see their favorite player’s pre game equipment and locker set up and see what it takes to be an equipment manager on game day in the NFL. Several stages will be set up so fans can take their picture with this year’s Lombardi Trophy and also pretend their up on stage on draft day. And as always, the ever popular memorabilia show is in town, where fans can buy everything from trading cards and gear and get some of their favorite players to autograph them.
In addition, there will be a wide array of local food options and local bands playing all day. The NFL Network will be taping live throughout the week on its New Orleans themed wrought iron stage.
I am most looking forward to visiting the never seen before Hall of Fame exhibit, complete with authentic player busts, gear, trophies, and throwback jerseys from the real Hall of Fame in Canon, Ohio.
As always, the NFL Experience has something for kids of all ages, including the little ones. Of course, there is a wide array of games and obstacle courses for kids of all ages ( Note- My dreams of trying out on my college’s football team, and subsequently the NFL, died when I shanked two extra points at one of these games the last time the show was in New Orleans.)
A separate kid’s zone has games and fun activities for the smallest of fans. Some highlights of this area include a mini football field, run up and go games and the occasional sit a long area, where NFL players will come visit and read books throughout the day.
I am excited to go back and see what the completed show looks like. I think it will be worth the wait.