It’s a tough time of year for Chicago sports fans. The Cubs and Sox have given up hope on fall ball; the Bulls and Blackhawks are probably relaxing on a beach; and the Bears are still sweating it out down in Bourbonnais.
But fortunately for diehards, there’s a new sports shrine in town. The Chicago Sports Museum, housed alongside Harry Caray’s 7th Inning Stretch on the top floor of Water Tower Place, honors our beloved Chicago teams—plus the thrill of victory and agony of defeat that go along with them.
The museum, which surprised me by its size, is divided up into five sections. The first, “Measure Up,” lets fans compare their vertical to Jordan’s, throw a pitch under Cy Young winner Steve Stone’s tutelage, check their wingspan against Scottie Pippen’s monstrous reach, try on the Fridge’s Superbowl ring, and block shots against Patrick Kane.
In “Forensic Sports,” the museum uses CSI-style techniques to examine some mysteries of Chicago sports, including Sammy Sosa’s infamous corked bat. “The Hall of Legends” lets kids and adults play with the legends of baseball, basketball, football and hockey, thanks to realistic-looking simulation technology. And in “Fan Zone,” try out your best Harry Caray impression in the broadcasting booth or prove how true-blue you really are with the interactive trivia game.
For Chicagoans who’ve been around the block—especially long-suffering Cubs fans—a highlight is “Curses & Superstitions,” the section devoted to playoff beards … and goats. You’ll find the infamous “Bartman Ball,” now a blown-up mess of yarn, leather and rubber, plus have the chance to explode it yourself, thanks to a clever simulation.
For those who might not follow the big five teams, there are shout-outs to the Fire, the Sky, the Wolves, the Bandits, the Chicagoland Motor Speedway and even the now-defunct Sting.
The museum is free if you spend at least $6 per person at the adjoining restaurant, which has a kids’ menu and some truly delicious selections (try the Mac ‘n Cheese Muffins!). It all adds up to an experience that will make fans of all ages stand up and cheer.
Chicago Sports Museum
Elizabeth Diffin is the associate editor at Chicago Parent. She lives in Wheaton.
See more of Elizabeth's stories here.
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