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Published: Wednesday, 5/10/2006

Sports museums: Sites dedicated to sports history are just a few short road trips away

BY DONALD EMMONS
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Each summer, fans flock to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton for the annual induction ceremonies.
Each summer, fans flock to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton for the annual induction ceremonies.
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There is plenty of sports history on display, and it s only a few short road trips away from northwest Ohio.

If you re in a football state of mind, you ve got two options from which to choose.

To the east, there s the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton. To the west, take a trip to South Bend, Ind., and tour the College Football Hall of Fame.

For those fond of golf, particularly Ohio s own Golden Bear, the Jack Nicklaus Museum is a two-hour excursion to Columbus.

The Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory in Louisville isn t Cooperstown. Yet, avid baseball fans looking for a quick baseball fix may find it worth the drive into Kentucky.

Here s some brief details about each of the nearby homes to some historical sports treasures.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton contains a wealth of information about America s most popular sport. Whether it s seeking out the busts of those inducted into the prestigious hall or checking out artifacts from the gridiron game dating to the early 1900s, there s plenty to keep young and old sports fans occupied and entertained. Whether it s an up-close look at throwback jerseys worn by legends like the Cleveland Browns Jim Brown or seeing vintage footballs and football equipment, football s evolution is clearly on display.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame, which annually kicks off the NFL season with its Hall of Fame induction festivities during the summer, is open every day except Christmas.

From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the hall is open daily from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. It s open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. the rest of the year.

Cost is $15 for adults, $8 for children (14 and under), and $12 for senior citizens over 62. A family package (parents and all single children under age 21) costs $45.

Directions from Toledo to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, 2121 George Halas Drive NW, Canton: Take I-80 to I-77 South, exit 107A.

For more information call 330-456-8207.

The College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend provides plenty of information about the great ones from the college game, including the likes of two-time Heisman Trophy winner and Ohio State product Archie Griffin.

It s interactive and informative and only a couple hours away.

The daily hours of operation from Thanksgiving to Memorial Day are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. From Memorial Day to Thanksgiving; it s open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Hours are subject to change and are extended on Notre Dame football home dates.)

General admission is $11 for adults, $8 for senior citizens (62 and older) and students (age 13 to college), and $5 for children (age 5 to 12). It s free for children 4 and under.

Directions to the College Football Hall of Fame, 111 South St. Joseph St., South Bend, Ind: Take I-80 west into Indiana and exit off Exit 77. Head south three miles to Washington and turn left. For more information, call 574-235-9999.

Jack Nicklaus is not only one of golf s all-time greats; he s an Ohio sports legend. The 24,000-square-foot educational and historical museum built in Mr. Nicklaus honor is filled with trophies, photographs, and information that chronicles a career that resulted in an unprecedented 20 major championships and 100 worldwide professional victories.

General admission is $10 for adults and $5 for students. The museum is open Tuesday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Jack Nicklaus Museum, 2355 Olentangy River Rd, is located right in the center of Ohio State University s sports complex. For more information, call 614-247-5959.

Plenty of baseball history is present in the building where the most recognized baseball bat in the history of the game is manufactured.

The Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory offers more than just a tour of how bats are made; it also showcases plenty of history and memorabilia about baseball.

The world s largest baseball bat, which stands 120 feet or seven stories tall, leans up against the building right outside the front entrance.

General admission is $9 for adults, $8 for senior citizens (age 60 and older), and $4 for children (age 6 to 12). Admission is free for children 5 and younger.

The Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory, 800 West Main St., Louisville, Ky., is in the heart of the city s downtown historic West Main district. Hours of operation vary throughout the year.

For more information, call 502-588-7228.

Directions to the museum: Take I-75 South. Merge on to I-71 South (Exit 173) headed toward Louisville. Merge unto I-64 West (Exit 1A) and head to downtown Louisville.

Contact Donald Emmons at: demmons@theblade.com or 419-724-6302.



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