Darrell Thompson's class action suit accuses the league of using the images of former players, but doesn't distribute revenue from use of those images to retired players. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

A trip well worth the price of admission

Have you ever been to the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame?

If not, put it on your bucket list.

I took my kids there (three girls!) when they were old enough to enjoy walking through museums … and I won’t regret it. In fact, this might be the year I return. After all, to see the newly added Vince Lombardi Trophy would be worth the admission. To see not just three Super Bowl trophies as we did on the last visit, but four will, I’m sure, make my chest fill with pride.

From the very start of the tour when we sat in the darkened mini-theater and watched old, scratchy black and white film that explained how the team began, through each and every exhibit that shines light on all of the great players to wear green and gold, to the very end where one can sit in the shrine room with the Super Bowl trophies glistening under their own light, it was a memorable experience.

Needless to say, I exited the Hall in tears. I had been a fan of the team for 30 years when I first went to the Hall and now more than a decade later, I am even that much more a fan of the team, the organization and the league.

I have literally grown up as a fan … and grown as a fan … My very earliest memories were watching the Packers in the very early 1960s with my Dad – who became a Minnesota Vikings fan when they established their home in Minnesota (a topic for another blog). We cheered as the Packers won championship after championship.

Bart Starr, Forrest Gregg, Jim Taylor, Paul Hornung, Max McGee … they were just a few of my favorites … players I saw once again under the lights at the Hall.

Then came the 1970s, the excitement at the start of each season, the disappointment with how things ended. Those were tough years, but not nearly as tough as the 1980s … the gory years. While there were great players on those teams … Lynn Dickey, James Lofton, Gerry Ellis, Phillip Epps  to name just a few … those teams were never able to win when they had to. Mediocrity set in, losing became a way of life as fans pined for the glory years.

Those years and players are also a part of the Hall … I think somewhat to remind us that things weren’t as bad as we all thought.

And of course we remember the 1990s and the return of the Vince Lombardi Trophy to Green Bay. Reggie White, Brett Favre, Dorsey Levens … and so many others that brought respectability and championship fever to Green Bay … they too are part of the Hall.

For the past nearly 20 years, the Packers have continued to field competitive teams and players of quality talent and character. These players will also be part of the Hall at some point in the future.

The 2010 team no doubt should have a wing of its own. Never before has a team come from such depths to win a championship. Without question, the coaching efforts of this past year’s team went above and beyond what so many expected. Many believe it was a spectacular effort the likes the league has never seen and may not see for years to come.

That too should all be part of the Hall.

It’s a spectacular place and a Mecca that every football fan, regardless of allegiance, should find their way to.

The following is a promotional piece written to attract fans to the Hall … the thing is, every word of it is true. Take the time to enjoy.

The new Packers Hall of Fame experience is 25,000 square feet of pure Packers adrenaline where youcan see, touch and feel over 80 years of riveting history. There is an exciting 12-minute introductory movie created by NFL Films, as well as many other presentations shown in small theaters. Beautifully recreated moments are around every corner. Interactive videos line the hallways.

There are 77 exhibits featuring Packers fans, the Ice Bowl, the three Super Bowl trophies, plaques of all 133 members of the Packers Hall of Fame , today’s team, and even a re-creation of Vince Lombardi’s office. A huge kids area lets little fans do the Lambeau Leap, throw passes and kick field goals. New fans, old fans, young fans – there is something for everyone in the incredible Packers Hall of Fame.

Group tours are available.

ADMISSION
Adults $10, Seniors 62+ $8, Children 6-11 $5, Children 5 and under FREE. Call 920.569.7512.

HALL OF FAME HOURS: NON-GAME DAYS
9 am to 6 pm. Hours vary on holidays.

HALL OF FAME HOURS: GAME DAYS

HALL OF FAME HOURS: HOLIDAYS
Thanksgiving Day: Closed
Christmas Eve: 8:30 am to 4 pm
New Year’s Eve: 8:30 am to 6 pm

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