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“Kitschy but interesting”

International Swimming Hall of Fame
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Attraction details
Owner description: This museum features exhibits of swimming legends and the history of swimming as it evolved through different cultures and civilizations.
Wisconsin, USA
Level 4 Contributor
35 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Kitschy but interesting”
Reviewed April 19, 2014 via mobile

Who wouldn't like a museum where they show a clip of Rodney Dangerfield's famous dive from Back to School? From gold medals, to glitzy swimsuits to the history of flippers, this museum was a fun diversion! Huge competitive pools - I think we counted 24 lanes. Just fun.

Visited April 2014
1 Thank RobinLovesToTravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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184 reviews from our community

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Oakton, Virginia
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“pretty all the time”
Reviewed April 8, 2014

If you want a kid friendly place to go, Fort Lauderdale, Florida is just the place for you. There are very fun activity's for example, If your kid is a big swimmer the International Swimming Hall of Fame would be a great place to go.
When my family and I went to Fort Lauderdale we saw really cool things and animals. The animals we saw were: Iguanas, and at the beach we saw a Manowar, we also saw sea gulls. The hotel we stayed in was the Marriott resort and spa, it was a really nice hotel and we had two rooms my brother and sister and I stayed in one room and my mom and dad stayed in the other. The room the 3 of us stayed in had a not a big balcony but a good size, and in my parents room we thought that it had the same size balcony but there balcony was very big. We had a lot of fun there and I am hoping to go there again some time.
The thing that you should not miss is the beach it's so pretty all the time. But it when it is the most beautiful is at the sunset.

Visited March 2014
1 Thank Rachel H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rochester, New York
Level 5 Contributor
51 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
“Esther Williams!”
Reviewed April 7, 2014

Loved the outdoor swim… using a day pass. I swam my routine, thinking it was a standard yard measured pool. After my swim, I was told it was a meter pool. EXTRA CREDIT!! Did not have time to visit the museum or gift shop. The locker room is a disgrace. Keep shoes on your feet. The facility needs a major cleaning, painting and replacement of rusty lockers. Bring your own towel and a lock for your locker… I would rather leave my bag outside rather than use one of those lockers….

Visited April 2014
Thank platelet2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Amazing Historical Eye-Opener and Amazing Staff!”
Reviewed March 10, 2014

A coworker of mine who is a huge Michael Phelps fan would constantly talk about how great the International Swimming Hall of Fame was for years. This past May on our anniversary, my wife and I traveled to Ft. Lauderdale and decided to visit - sort of as a passing thought. We did NOT regret it!

First of all, we arrived later than we wanted and only had a short period of time to look at everything. We actually didn't realize there were two buildings to explore and spent the majority of our time in the main art building initially. The art gallery is not huge, but there is more than enough to see. I think it is great for anyone who is interested in historical art in general not just art specific to swimming. We learned quite a bit about the history of swimming from distant past to present just by reading the various displays (We are amateurs at all this by the way!). We literally looked at every painting and read every display so we got the most out of this experience.

On our way out of the art gallery building, the (amazing) lady at the bottom of the stairs informed us that a whole other building awaited us on the other side of the pool, and there wasn't much time left. So we trotted over there and started right away. Unfortunately, we were probably done with about a quarter of the bottom floor (two levels I believe) before it was time to go. At this point we were really starting to get into it and wondered why we hadn't arrived sooner. As we were leaving, a random gentleman who seemed to be in charge (more on this mystery gentleman later) asked us where we were from, etc etc, and gave us a private tour for the next hour to two hours! We were blown away. The bottom floor had more historical displays (many of them quite the eye-opener in regards to the origins of swimming in Africa and other Eastern countries), while (if I remember correctly) the top floor was more of an Olympiad-theme with a running video of the AMAZING comeback by Lezak at Beijing in 2008 and his back story leading up to it. Even knowing the outcome, it was still a great video.

So after we had seen absolutely everything (way past closing time), we stopped by the front desk to thank our hero for letting us stay. He said it was no problem and showered us with free books on African Swimming and swimming in general. At his point, he tells us his name, and we find out that he is Bruce Wigo himself (i.e. President and CEO of ISHOF)! What a day!

So in closing, I will go over why I gave this attraction four stars instead of five. First of all, personally our experience was anywhere between 7-10 stars, but it was probably a unique one because it is unlikely that Bruce Wigo will give you a personal tour for an hour or two. We were just in luck. Secondly, (I believe) this organization is non-profit, and it is telling. Some of the areas seem cluttered and a little outdated, but if you can look past that and enjoy the history and memorabilia, you will definitely leave a better person for it. Thirdly, I wish we had known there were two separate buildings before we had begun. It would have helped us manage time a little better. But of course, we are probably more to blame in this department because we didn't do our research and we didn't really inquire about all that.

So what are you waiting for?!

Visited May 2013
2 Thank Chris T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pueblo, Colorado
Level 6 Contributor
108 reviews
46 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“Wonderful collection but display needs serious updating”
Reviewed November 21, 2013

The history of swimming from ancient times to the present is on display here. The collection is amazingly complete partially through the generosity of some of the world's star swimmers who have items on loan here. Water polo and other aquatic pursuits are not forgotten. The building is old, however, and not designed to prevent fading and deterioration. That said, it's worth a visit, especially if you are a fan or participant in water sports.

Visited November 2013
Thank HappyHawk65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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