Thursday, May 5, 2011

Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame

So yesterday I went to the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Goshen, NY. I had no idea that such an historic and influential piece of Harness Racing history was only an hour from where I live. I don't intend for this post to go on and on about the entire history of Harness Racing. There is too much. What I will say is that you should go to the museum yourself and see all there is to see.
We went there on a weekday afternoon during the school year, so we had the place nearly to ourselves. Admission is free, but they do have a gift shop, so it is only polite to purchase at least a little something. The only other visitors were a camera crew shooting a documentary. There was no rush to hurry along, or annoying loud or bored children to be avoided. We spent 2 and 1/2 hours just browsing, taking pictures(allowed and encouraged) and reading the extensive placards along the exhibits.
The museum is also quite family friendly with many interactive features. There is a Standardbred auction game, where you "bid" on young horses, trying to match the price they actually sold for without going over. A 3D simulator ride, meant to make you feel like you were driving in a race. (But the perspective was off, or rather kept changing, sometimes you were the driver, sometimes the horse, and sometimes you were facing into the oncoming was a bit odd.) There is also a talking animatronic horse head. (He was a little creepy, I nicknamed him the Terminator Horse.) The horse head had several different speeches that he made when you walked close enough to set his motion sensors off.
There are also several fun photo ops. You can sit in an actual sulky. (And wear actual jockey silks according to the tour girl) Or you can put your head on top of some jockey cut outs. Very silly. The sulky one has a fake horse attached to it, which was nice. The seat on the sulky is actually very comfy.
The museum guide also gave us a brochure and told us that while the track doesn't hold regular meets any more they will be having racing 3 Sundays in June, and all of July 4th weekend. I will be definitely attending one day, so I will report back on that.

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