If you’ve got a house full of football fans, you’ll need to visit the NFL Experience, an immersive indoor theme park of sorts that’s all about the pigskin. We spent the day checking out the interactive exhibits, being blown away by its 4D theater, scoping out the Lombardi trophy and tons of memorabilia and meeting Eli Manning, a part of the Experience’s Player Series that brings the pros in to sign autographs. You’ll go from fan to player to coach to champ in one afternoon and you’ll love it just as much as your kids will.
Here are ten reasons why you should venture into Times Square with the fam:
Legendary moments from all 32 teams are showcased.
If you’ve got a fantasy footballer who knows all the stats, this is the room for her. The 32’s exhibit lets you explore team traditions, fun facts, iconic plays and take a peek at stadiums across the country.
The interactive displays make it easy to flip between your favorite teams and test your knowledge. Split your time between the showcases (divided by division and conference) which hold club treasures like seats from old stadiums, newspaper clippings and Wheaties boxes, and interactive displays, where you can vote for your favorite players or test your knowledge on any team.
Join the huddle in the 4D theater.
Ever wondered what it would be like to catch the perfect spiral or chase after a fumble? In The Stadium, a 4D theater, your world will quite literally be rocked. This ten-minute show puts you right on the field. Special effects include motion seats, five different aromas and a wrap-around projection screen that make you feel like you’re braving the elements (plus, there’s a special surprise that will have the entire theater cheering).
Hit the lockers and check out the equipment room.
Not a pro? No sweat, you can still check out the training grounds. The kids can test their skills at different stations, which combine physical and digital activities. Test your strength against a blocking dummy or see who can reach the highest at the vertical jump challenge.
Step into uniform.
It’s time to Suit Up—pick your team, number and digital face-tracking technology will help you step into the cleats of any star baller. Try jumping jacks or dance around—that’s right, you’re the star of this game. Even better? Take a photo op of yourself in uniform to share online.
Take the snap and call the plays.
Huddle Up is a point-of-view experience that lets you call the plays. No matter your age or ability level, this interactive game has you taking the snap, picking the receiver and formulating the perfect blitz. Huddle Up uses voice recognition software so you actually call the plays out loud.
Make a play from the pocket.
At Quarterback Challenge, you’ll be in the pocket, but don’t worry about getting sacked. Pick your team and wind up for the perfect spiral—you’ll have three tries to pass the football to your star receiver. Track your performance and statistics, like speed and completions, and compare yours with pro QBs. Then pat yourself on the back for a playoff-worthy performance.
Get the Super Bowl Champion treatment.
Get up-close and personal with a Lombardi trophy—yes, you read that right. The Lombardi isn’t even the pinnacle of the Super Bowl Celebration. Check out tickets from every Super Bowl in history, rings from each victory and more.
Walk down a hall of confetti and step into a room designed to make you feel like a champion. Try the augmented reality experience, and see yourself celebrate among teammates after the big win. And be sure to get a photo of a post-Super Bowl Gatorade dunk to put next to your team memorabilia.
Take a lap through the Victory Tunnel.
Leave it all on the field as you walk through 42 mirrored screens, which provide post-game perspective from both players and fans. Hear and feel the excitement of thousands of your fans as you walk off the field.
Sample some stadium eats.
Before you shop for NFL merch, indulge in a mini-tailgate. The NFL Experience provides a rotating menu, with dishes served up at each NFL stadium. Menu items are made with locally sourced ingredients from every NFL hometown and the menu changes based on who’s playing the big game of the week.
You can meet NFL Players (if you time your visit right).
It’s true! The venue invites players to join in on the fun. What’s more immersive than coming face-to-face with your favorite player? Leave with signed merch which you must purchase from the gift shop (think footballs and NFL Experience hats) and you’ll be the envy of all your football-loving friends. Check nflexperience.com to find out who’s scheduled to visit.
The NFL Experience
20 Times Square, NYC
Corner of 7th Ave and 47th St.