The new Big League Fun exhibit at the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum debuted on Nov. 18 and has been so popular that it’s already been extended to next March.
Originally scheduled to be featured until Jan. 8, the museum said the baseball display will now remain open for another two months after that date.
Big League Fun, an educational exhibit that immerses visitors in the exciting and expansive world of America’s pastime, made its world debut in Milwaukee two weeks ago. When it leaves the city, it will travel on a four-year national tour, sponsored by the Marcus Corporation, with additional support provided by former Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig, and his wife Sue.
The Betty Brinn Children’s Museum created the 2,000-square foot, hands-on experience under a license from MLB. Big League Fun, its sixth national touring exhibit, features interactive opportunities, simulated game activities and trivia challenges that, according to the museum, "promote important educational concepts for children and engage fans of all ages."
Two weeks in, Chief Advancement Officer Kristen Adams said, "The exhibit is really fantastic" and "families are loving it."
There is no shortage of things to see and do at Big League Fun. From Spring Training to the World Series, visitors can explore the ins and outs of baseball season. Exhibit activities emphasize the science and math behind the sport, reflect national academic standards for school-age children and support developmental milestones set by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
Visitors receive tips for proper throwing, fielding, hitting and base-running. They can go to the bullpen to pitch into a strike zone; they can step up to the plate and perfect their swing; they can lead off, run to second base or scurry back to the bag; they can throw from the infield or outfield with simulated plays; and they can grab a glove and practice catching.
When people tire of playing, they can pretend to be Bob Uecker, announcing and delivering play-by-play using real game clips and sound effects. There are plenty of opportunities to learn about Major League Baseball teams and history, as well as better understand the game’s vocabulary and rules and how to calculate statistics (perhaps not VORP or FIP, though). Afterward, they can test all that knowledge with challenging trivia. And finally, every little kid’s dream: to choose a position and a jersey number, add their name and snap their photo in front of a baseball card backdrop.
It’s a pretend stadium experience that comes alive with fun and realistic props, costumes, real equipment and memorabilia. So while it may not be baseball season right now, families can still take themselves out to the old ball game.
Big League Fun is included with admission to the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum, 929 E. Wisconsin Ave. The museum is open Monday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. Admission price is $8 per person, $7 for seniors (55-plus) and free for children ages 1 and younger. More information can be found here.
Born in Milwaukee but a product of Shorewood High School (go ‘Hounds!) and Northwestern University (go ‘Cats!), Jimmy never knew the schoolboy bliss of cheering for a winning football, basketball or baseball team. So he ditched being a fan in order to cover sports professionally - occasionally objectively, always passionately. He's lived in Chicago, New York and Dallas, but now resides again in his beloved Brew City and is an ardent attacker of the notorious Milwaukee Inferiority Complex.
After interning at print publications like Birds and Blooms (official motto: "America's #1 backyard birding and gardening magazine!"), Sports Illustrated (unofficial motto: "Subscribe and save up to 90% off the cover price!") and The Dallas Morning News (a newspaper!), Jimmy worked for web outlets like CBSSports.com, where he was a Packers beat reporter, and FOX Sports Wisconsin, where he managed digital content. He's a proponent and frequent user of em dashes, parenthetical asides, descriptive appositives and, really, anything that makes his sentences longer and more needlessly complex.
Jimmy appreciates references to late '90s Brewers and Bucks players and is the curator of the unofficial John Jaha Hall of Fame. He also enjoys running, biking and soccer, but isn't too annoying about them. He writes about sports - both mainstream and unconventional - and non-sports, including history, music, food, art and even golf (just kidding!), and welcomes reader suggestions for off-the-beaten-path story ideas.