Sports lovers will delight in learning about Australia's sporting heritage in the National Sports Museum. No matter what your game, if it is the least bit popular in Australia, you will find stunning exhibits on it featuring items of interest, multimedia features and plenty of fascinating explanations.
Football takes pride of place, with the largest exhibit being the football gallery and adjoining Football Hall of Fame. Footy legends are celebrated in the hall of fame with displays of guernseys, training bags and certificates which once belonged to those who made significant contributions to the game.
The Backyard to Baggy Green section celebrates the history of cricket in Australia, tracing out its early days to how it became the game of today. There is a Cricket Hall of Fame, featuring former players including Sir Donald Bradman, regarded as the greatest batsman ever. A visit to the cricket section wouldn't be complete without entering the Baggy Green Room, which showcases caps worn by various Australian Test cricketers.
An Olympic exhibit, Faster Higher Stronger, focuses on Australian Olympians, profiling some of our greatest. The exhibit is enriched by the inclusion of medals won by current and former athletes.
Sports that don't enjoy the prominence of football and cricket are not forgotten at the museum, with smaller areas dedicated to netball, cycling, boxing, rugby, paralympic sports and many more. Rugby fans, don't despair- both rugby union and rugby league are included.
As well as reading about and seeing artefacts of sport, you can also participate in Game On!. The interactive gallery allows you to test your goal kicking, running, and coordination skills; which are then rated against the achievements of some of our very best athletes. This part of the museum is perfect for kids to let off some steam after they've been quietly looking through glass cabinets for the last hour.
The quirkiest aspects of the museum are two three-dimensional holograms of sporting greats. A captivating image of Shane Warne, cricket ball in hand, talks to visitors about his dazzling career. In the football section, former Essendon football player James Hird discusses about his experiences as a player and captain. It may surprise you to learn that this seemingly futuristic technology has actually been around in the 1860s- although it was a little less sophisticated back then.
Admission to just the museum costs $15 per adult, $11 concession, and $8 per child, or $50 for a family pass (covers two adults and four children). A visit to the museum can be combined with a guided tour of the MCG, with slightly higher admission costs. The full price list can be viewed here.
Fittingly, the museum is located at the MCG. However, this means that when major weekend sporting events are being held at the MCG, the museum's opening hours are affected, or it may be restricted to only admit those holding tickets to the event. On event days with restricted access, the price of admission for ticket holders drops to $7.50 for adults, $5.50 concession or $25 for a family ticket.