By Drew Olson Special to Published Sep 07, 2006 at 5:31 AM
GREEN BAY -- Every Packers fan should see at least one game inside Lambeau Field.

Entering its 50th year of operation, the venue is regarded as a football nirvana by many fans and is mentioned in discussions with other hallowed sports venues such as Fenway Park and Wrigley Field.

Every fan should see a game there, but there are only about a dozen a year (give or take) and getting tickets can be a difficult and expensive endeavor.

For the 350-plus days without a game, the Packers Hall of Fame can serve as a worthwhile substitute.

The 25,000-sq. ft. facility, located below the stadium’s gigantic atrium, features exhibits and artifacts from the Packers’ early days in the National Football League through the Super Bowl dynasties of the Lombardi era and the team’s resurgence in the 1990s up to the present.

The Packers Hall of Fame, the first ever to honor a single pro football team, was founded in 1966 by William L. Brault, a Green Bay businessman, began as a temporary display in the concourse of Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena and became a year-round fixture in 1976, when it was formally dedicated by then President Ford.

When the Packers renovated Lambeau Field in 2003, the Hall of Fame moved into the new facility and was dedicated by Hall of Fame quarterback Bart Starr and then general manager Ron Wolf.

"This is the greatest Hall of Fame around, you bet your life it is," Starr told fans at the opening.

One of the more interesting exhibits is a recreation of Vince Lombardi’s wood-paneled office, a somewhat sparse setup complete with an old-style movie projector. Stroll toward that area and you can imagine the legendary coach breaking down game film, negotiating a contract, cutting a player or yelling at Max McGee and Paul Hornung for breaking curfew.

Other exhibits include a recreation of the final snap of the "Ice Bowl" game, plaques representing each of the 134 inductees, and kiosks and murals that feature team trophies, Hornung’s Heisman Trophy award and numerous photos, telegrams and letters from the Lombardi era.

The late Reggie White, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer, is featured in a display alongside other Packers who are enshrined in Canton. White’s locker exhibit features his jersey, helmet and pants, photos and an audio highlight from clip of him sacking the quarterback in Super Bowl XXXI.

A 12-minute video clip created by NFL films is shown at regular intervals throughout the day and the Hall of Fame features an interactive kids area that lets young fans throw passes, kick field goals and work on the Lambeau Leap.

The Packers also instituted a FAN Hall of fame, which honors their fans. Nominations come in the form of 500-word essays or two-minute videos and inductees are 10 finalists are chosen by members of the Packers’ front office and the Hall of Fame board of directors. Fans then vote on the finalists and the winner, who is introduced during the annual Packers Hall of Fame induction dinner, receives four clubs eats to a game, a gift certificate to the Packers Pro Shot and a trip for two to a Packers road game.

Admission to the Packers Hall of Fame is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors (62 and older), $5 for children ages 6-11 and free for children five and under. On game days, admission is restricted to ticket holders only. The Hall is closed on Thanksgiving.

If you're going to visit the Hall of Fame, it’s a good idea to take a tour of Lambeau Field, as well. Tours are available most non-game days from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and include visits to the Club Level, the Legends Club and a walk through the tunnel and onto the field.

Tickets to stadium tours are sold in the Atrium, between the entrance of the Hall of Fame and Curly’s Pub. The cost of a combined ticket to for the tour and Hall of Fame is $19. The tour itself costs $11 for adults, $10 for seniors and $8 for kids.
Drew Olson Special to

Host of “The Drew Olson Show,” which airs 1-3 p.m. weekdays on The Big 902. Sidekick on “The Mike Heller Show,” airing weekdays on The Big 920 and a statewide network including stations in Madison, Appleton and Wausau. Co-author of Bill Schroeder’s “If These Walls Could Talk: Milwaukee Brewers” on Triumph Books. Co-host of “Big 12 Sports Saturday,” which airs Saturdays during football season on WISN-12. Former senior editor at Former reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.