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Children's Museum Opens "Sports Legends" Exhibit; Andrew Luck Makes an Appearance

The Riley Children's Health Sports Legend Experience had its grand opening Saturday morning. 

INDIANAPOLIS--Nearly 6 years in the making and now it's a reality.  

The Riley Children's Health Sports Legend Experience had its grand opening Saturday morning. 

It's worth $38.5 million and spans 7.5 acres combining rich sports history, physical fitness, and health education in a way that incorporates family-fun, indoor and outdoor experiences. 

Matthew Cook is the President of Riley Children's Health. He says there are many ongoing health issues the state of Indiana deals with, the biggest of which is inactivity.

"In today's world, it's so easy to get on your Smartphone, your Ipad, and sit in front of the computer and play games. We see kids with lifestyle issues that we see in adults whether it's obesity, diabetes, heart disease, the list goes on. We really need to start them earlier with healthy lifestyle habits," Cook said.

That's why he felt partnering with the Children's Museum on this exhibit made perfect sense. 

"The Museum has been a fantastic partner for us. We were able to collaborate with them on the health and wellness components of the Sports Legend Experience. Our experts were consulted on the nutrition components. We even helped design the menu in the food court," Cook said. 

Jeff Patchen, the President and CEO of the Children's Museum says this exhibit is a better way for them to tackle the health problems facing the state. 

"We tried to get our arms around it for many years with static exhibits indoors and they were never all that popular. So after doing a survey, we decided, 'Imagine if we could create a dozen venues that are family size with information about great sports legends and run you through drills applicable to the developmental age of children or for family groups," Patchen said. 

Numerous pictures and memorabilia are on display at the Museum featuring Indiana sports legends like Reggie Miller, A.J. Foyt, Oscar Robertson, and many others. Patchen says it's not just about what these people did when they played. 

"It's also what they've done off the field with how they've given back either in their own discipline in the world of sports or to serve in some other way. That's an important part of the message too," Patchen said. 

Patchen also slid down a slide with Indianapolis Colts Quarterback Andrew Luck in front of hundreds of happy children and families. Luck called the exhibit "sports utopia." Luck missed all of last season with a shoulder injury. 

"I think he's in great shape," Patchen said with a smile. That's all he would say regarding Luck.  


Specifics About the Exhibit

-Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever Basketball Experience gives families a chance to take their best shot and practice basketball skills on courts with hoops that are just their size (fitting adults and little legends).

-Indianapolis Colts Football Experience sets the scene for kids and their grownups to practice offensive and defensive moves like the pros do among large Colts tackle dummies and take part in passing and kicking challenges.

-Indy Fuel Hockey Experience provides opportunities to pass, shoot, and score street hockey style.

-Subway Soccer Experience offers soccer fundamentals and multiple goal-kicking opportunities.

-Indianapolis Motor Speedway Pedal Car Racing Experience and Church Brothers Collision Repair Drag Strip Experience encourages families to get their hearts pumping and feet moving on the pedal tracks with kid-sized and adult-sized cars.

-Pete and Alice Dye Golf Experience presented by Henry and Christine Camferdam invites legends in the making to play some of the Dye’s most famous course and hole designs in the world on a smaller scale.

-Wiese Field donated by Elizabeth Bracken Wiese and J. Frederick Wiese Jr. allows baseball fans to pitch, hit, run bases, and catch the ball on a miniature baseball field.

-Seymour and Rheta Holt Tennis Center encourages adults and little tykes to serve and be served on tennis courts in different sizes.

-Dr. Cory SerVaas Fitness Path boasts several fitness pads where families are able to practice healthy habits by doing activities and using exercise equipment that improves muscle strength, balance, coordination, and flexibility.

-Jane and Steve Marmon Run-Walk Experience hosts a track with one lane for jogging and one lane for walking that follows the perimeter of the Riley Children’s Health Sports Legends Experience.

-The Children’s Museum Guild’s Fantasy Tree House of Sports, which stands 60-feet tall is a magical place for little tykes to develop curiosity, confidence, and persistence as they climb inside and explore a tree that is filled with fantasy and sports.

-Old National Bank Avenue of Champions allows visitors to meet a legendary character, hear his or her story of greatness, and learn the drills and skills that helped them succeed along the Old National Bank Avenue of Champions. Bronze figures will be installed in June. The avenue will feature 12 life-size, bronze sculptures (representing 16 sports legends) with which visitors can pose for photo memories and learn about the athlete’s accomplishments. It will feature some of the greatest sports names of all time while helping visitors discover their own paths to greatness. Legends include: DaMarcus Beasley (soccer), Larry Bird (basketball), Tamika Catchings (basketball), Indianapolis Clowns baseball (Hank Aaron, Mamie “Peanut” Johnson, Marcenia Lyle “Toni” Stone), Pete & Alice Dye (golf), A.J. Foyt (racing), Wayne Gretzky (hockey), Bobby “Slick” Leonard (basketball), Reggie Miller (basketball), Oscar Robertson (basketball), Wilma Rudolph (track), Reggie Wayne (football), and Barbara Wynne (tennis).


Three brand new indoor experiences

The National Art Museum of Sport (NAMOS) captures the eternal spirit, endurance, and resilience of humankind. It’s amazing to think about how artists capture the spirit of sport and how they portray motion and emotion in their artwork. Visitors will be inspired by the surrounding artwork and then encouraged to create their own at special creation stations.

The World of Sport will introduce children and their families to the key factors that elevated a diverse range of sports figures (both women and men, amateur athletes and professionals, coaches, and other associated careers) to legendary status – hard work, training, opportunity, and perseverance. An NCAA Training Facility focuses on the student athlete and the Church Brothers Collision Repair Shop provides an opportunity to challenge each other in a pitstop challenge and learn the history of minorities in the sport.

In History of Hoops, visitors learn what it takes to be successful on the court. Children and families learn about athletes’ statistics and percentages; then, they get to try out their own basketball skills to see how they measure up. An area that is sure to be a hit is the interactive in which visitors can practice their footwork with 4x gold medalist and Indiana Fever legend Tamika Catchings.


(PHOTO: John Herrick/WIBC)


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