ABC57 Road Trip: Root for your team at the Mascot Hall of Fame
WHITING, Ind., --- ABC57 Road Trip stopped in Whiting, Indiana, just 30 minutes away from Chicago, to check out the Mascot Hall of Fame, an interactive children's museum dedicated to all things mascots.
“It's the only one of its kind. There's a history of mascots in here, you can see all the bright inflatable heads. You can see everything going on,” said Al Spajer, the Director of Community Engagement at the Mascot Hall of Fame.
Spajer, who is known to the kids as “Grandpa Mascot” has worked at the museum since it opened nearly five years ago, back in 2018.
He said the interactive experience offers so much more than just seeing the 29 carefully selected collegiate and professional mascots, like Blue from the Indianapolis colts or Benny of the Chicago Bulls, that sit in the museum.
“We're educationally certified. So, when people say, 'hey, we're here for fun,' you are. But you're also going to get a dose of mathematics, geography, nutrition, all sorts of different things,” explained Spajer.
The three-story facility features two levels of hands-on exhibits - including a “Phuzzical Education” area, which is an entire sports court on the first floor that allows you to break a sweat.
The second-floor features information about the history of mascots, an official Build-A-Bear station, a theater, a wardrobe room, and so much more.
The attraction is perfect for all ages, but especially elementary students, like the Vega family, who stumbled on this unexpected adventure before school started.
“I just had broken my finger and I was supposed to go to an amusement park yesterday, so I'm very limited. So, they [his parents] found some places that I could go,” said G Vega.
“It’s really fun for the kids, they love their mascots,” added his mom.
G and his little sister Adelina are among thousands of kids that get to learn and interact with their favorite hometown heroes.
Whether you come to see your favorite mascot or a few new ones, the experience has a little something for everyone.
“There's physical activity, there's mental activity, there's fun, there's embedded education,” said Spajer. “People come in here and there's that wow factor.”
“I had a great time here and I love this educational stuff a lot,” said five-year-old Adelina Vega.
Mascots in the hall of fame are nominated by a team or school then voted on for a spot in the museum every year.
A Mascot Hall of Fame favorite, Benny the Bull, will be at the museum on Saturday August 26.