On Valentine’s Day we were lucky enough to be invited to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Cincinnati volunteer appreciation party at the Great American Ballpark. My Mom has been a volunteer for them for a number of years and they graciously allowed up to four family members to come to the event. My Mom took me and my girls. It was a cold, cold day but we enjoyed a nice brunch and a visit with Rosie Redlegs. It was heartwarming to hear how much Executive Director, Jennifer Goodin, and the staff members appreciate all of the volunteers. One volunteer has logged in over 13,000 hours of service. Wow! The Ronald McDonald House is a wonderful non-profit that houses families while their children are being cared for at the adjacent Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. It is more than just a place to sleep; they have meals, a place to exercise, visiting art groups, and other recreational activities for the families to do while they are dealing with a difficult medical crisis. The volunteers are wonderful and open up their hearts to these families.
After the brunch and presentation we were invited to visit the Reds Hall of Fame & Museum. I actually thought that we’d go through it in 5-10 minutes since I envisioned that it would be filled with photos of past Red’s players interspersed with some Red’s memorabilia and it wouldn’t be that exciting for a five and six year old. I’m happy to say that I was wrong. The place was great. It was very interactive and filled with great displays. We entered the museum on the second level and my girls made a bee line for the golden life-size statue of former manager, Sparky Anderson, who was hanging out in a replica of a dugout (featuring an actual dugout bench from Riverfront Stadium). Great photo op so bring your cameras.
As we turned the corner my girls were delighted to find a mini locker room with lockers, Red’s jerseys, and baseball gear that was just their size. Here they got to pretend they were a baseball player while joyfully running around and enjoying the small slide and play area. The big catcher mitt seats were a great place to sit down and take five.
“The Reds are on the Radio” room was great. Here kids can sit in a broadcast booth and be an actual Red’s announcer. They can pick a game they’d like to announce and then the video screen comes alive. We saw the ol’ left hander, Joe Nuxhall & Marty Brennaman appear on the screen and then the controls were in your hands and you could call the game your way. Unbeknown to Mom, we were actually on video display for the other patrons waiting their turn. I’m sure they enjoyed me saying, “don’t put your mouth to close to the microphone”, “stop, you’re getting too close” (one suggestion for the museum, have some antibacterial wipes on hand to wipe down the controls).
Both girls actually took a breather when we entered the “Ulitmate Reds Room”. This is a great place to sit back in some old Riverfront seats and enjoy Red’s highlights on the big screen. There are plenty of Red’s items to enjoy.
The highlight of the museum has to be the indoor pitching cage. You get the opportunity to throw some fast balls and see how fast they are actually going. Some magical voice comes on and tells you if you’ve made a strike or a ball. I enjoyed watching my five year old get her pitching arm ready and wind up to throw. There’s also a mini field where you can practice fielding those fly balls.
We spent so much time on the second level that we didn’t get to really take in all that the displays on the main level. We didn’t even get to see the “Palace of the Fans Theatre” where they cycle a movie on one of the great Red’s, Pete Rose. I only learned about it after visiting their website.
I highly recommend visiting the Red’s Hall of Fame & Museum. You get to enjoy some interactive exhibits while learning more about the Red’s and all the great players and managers we’ve had. You can buy a 2010 admissions pass for only $15 and then you can enjoy the museum as many times as you’d like throughout the year but if you just want to buy a single admission then adults are $10 and students/seniors are $8. If you get a group of 15 or more to go you can get some great group rates especially if you go on game days.