When unaware of something I’ve always said that we simply don’t know what we don’t know. However, in the case of the National Sports Museum at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, ignorance is far from bliss. Recently in the lucky position of visiting the host of our nation’s sporting past and present, the discovery of this hidden gem left me a little awestruck. Always wanting to spread the word on good stuff in Melbourne, I thought I'd share it with you.
On the occasions when I’ve visited the MCG, I'll admit that I haven’t noticed the NSM. Given the thousands of sporting fans that frequent the venue for major events it’s no wonder it might get overlooked. So it took me by surprise that it was quite literally and modestly tucked away beneath the proud standing MCG. There by day and without the hordes of sporting fans – instead, a hub of activity from school groups, visitors, lovely volunteers and busy staff – the MCG took on a whole new light. After a quick tour of the grounds and some impressive stats and information, we moved onto the National Sports Museum.
Walking past the ticketing booth just inside gate three, traveling through glass doors and onto a long descending escalator into the belly of the MCG, entering a colourful and theatrically lit cavernous room, with major arteries splitting in different directions from the entrance, and there we were, inside the museum. A fun, vibrant, informative, interesting and entertaining walk through the underground giant ensued.
More than cricket, you’ll find information and displays on tennis, thoroughbred horse racing, football, gymnastics, soccer, cycling (Cadel Evans bicycle from the final day of his big win, no less), netball, golf, Paralympic games, rugby union and league, and basketball. You’ll find cinema rooms with a holographic Shane Warne telling you about the journey of his career, and an interactive gallery to kick, catch, ride and test your own abilities. You’ll find the Australian Football Hall of Fame and Australian Cricket Hall of Fame, changing exhibitions, and a rich insight into Australia’s role in the Olympic Games dating right back to 1896.
So there’s a lot to see at the National Sports Museum here in Melbourne. Open daily from 10am to 5pm, tours are by audio (or Smart Auslan for deaf or hearing impaired visitors) and at your own pace which I felt was good given the range of things to see. Tours of the MCG itself include visiting the players change rooms, media centres, the member facilities (including a beautiful library) and a walk on the MCG arena; these take place daily between 10am and 3pm, although not during major MCG events – that could get awkward in the change rooms. For something a little different, take a look into their themed tours, too.
You can visit one without the other for $20 a venue ($10 for kids under 15) or you can get the MCG Tour and NSM Package for $30 per adult and $15 for children. Super convenient by tram or train as the MCG is, or limited metered parking nearby, you get hours of entertainment and historic, cultural education for a good price. Grab a coffee and real, fresh, wholesome food at the Paddock Café to keep up the strength and you’ll have yourself a pretty awe-inspiring day. It is definitely something worth discovering and checking out.
Find more information on the National Sports Museum online at www.nsm.org.au, www.facebook.com/nationalsportsmuseum, or engage with them on www.twitter.com/NSMNews.
With love, LMM xoxo