Whether you’re new to the sport or a racing buff, the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina is an unforgettable family experience.
In the same way that you don’t have to be an artist to enjoy a tour through a sculpture garden, you don’t have to know about NASCAR to enjoy a stroll through the Hall of Fame — in fact, NASCAR’s whole goal is to get you hooked on the sport.
If you’re in the Charlotte area and need something fun to keep the kids occupied, look no further than the Hall of Fame. These are some of my favorite things about the HoF.
The Hall of Fame is open from Monday through Sunday at 10am through 6pm local time. Adult tickets cost $25 while children from 4-12 will cost $18. But if you want to spend the day there, you can buy a day pass that includes a meal and a day pass to the simulator, which will save you plenty of money.
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1. Real-Life Cars
When you first walk into the Hall of Fame, you can’t help but look up at the cars fixed along the wall. These are real-life cars ned up on a banked oval inside the building; you may not know the importance of each car, but NASCAR invites you to learn with such a stunning display.
2. Fire Suits and Trophies
The Hall of Honor includes trophies, ribbons, awards, race suits, and photographs with personal effects like race hats. I had no idea how much racing has changed over the years — especially when it comes to safety! One of my favorite areas, though, was where you can see all of the colorful race suits hanging from top to bottom in a larger than life case.
3. Interactive Touchscreens
After registering your card to access the interactive pieces before stepping into the hall, you can gain insight into more about the cars and racing legends. Whether you’re a fan or not, playing with the interactive touchscreens could easily be an exciting experience for the whole family. Want to see what is inside the car’s motor? Tap on the screen and watch it rev. Or maybe you want to see which is the smallest or largest track? There’s a screen for that. I enjoyed comparing the race tracks and learning more about what’s under the hood. The touchscreens are a fun way to give car enthusiasts and NASCAR diehards an experience beyond what’s physically in front of them. Giving families an opportunity to connect with NASCAR and the cars collectively through virtual and physical exhibits makes it a more personal experience. I feel like I discovered so much more through the interactive touchscreens than if I were to walk through without engaging with them.
4. Family-Friendly Competition
If the kids or your husband need something to interact with, they can enjoy the drive simulator, the pit road challenge, and even sit in a race car seat. This is the kinds of hands-on NASCAR experience you normally won’t get during a traditional race weekend!
5. A Personal Touch
Not every fact in the Hall of Fame is pure racing; it also gives a personal, human touch to the race car drivers who you may only experience on television. Normally when you go through a museum or exhibit, they have important artifacts from their life and a visual timeline of their accolades. This had all of that, but it also had each driver’s personalities encapsulated in the trophy and artifact cases. I loved hearing that Jeff Gordon didn’t want a race suit in his case, and he suggested that NASCAR switch it out. Why? He wanted to show one of his favorite moments, when he wore his black leather jacket on Saturday Night Live. His car on display still has the confetti from his Victory Lane celebration. It’s history frozen in time inside of this Hall of Fame, and I think it’s special to see it with your family and other race fans.
6. Events Galore
The High Octane Theater frequently hosts fun, family-friendly events in its 278 seats. Plan your exhibit to coincide with a race-watching party or the screening of a movie to see the fun of NASCAR on the big screen.
7. Unique Exhibits
Like all museums, the NASCAR Hall of Fame includes time-sensitive, temporary exhibits that really dive deep into certain elements of the sport. After seven-time Champion Jimmie Johnson retired, for example, NASCAR dedicated a whole exhibit to his iconic career. Make sure you check back frequently so you don’t miss something great!
8. A Personalized Scrapbook
See something you love? You can add it to your digital scrapbook; that way, you can explore interactive exhibits and photos at home, on your own time.
9. Gear Up!
Just like all museums, the NASCAR Hall of Fame has plenty of merchandise for you to stock up on once you finish your trip. Treat your family of newly-minted race fans to a hat or a t-shirt to commemorate the trip.
10. Meet a Legend
Are you a Disney Pixar’s “Cars” movie fan? Lightning McQueen proudly sits on display just outside of the entrance to the Hall of Honor. Fun fact: this Lightning McQueen is one of three just like it outside of Disney. Enjoy your chance to meet a legend!