TAMPA, Fla. — We’re nearing the goal line for Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium, and in the days leading up to the spectacle, downtown Tampa is transforming into a one-of-a-kind NFL theme park geared toward people of all ages.
The Super Bowl Experience is open to those who were lucky enough to snag a ticket reservation on Friday. It will be open through the weekend before closing on Monday and Tuesday. It will reopen for the rest of the week leading up to Super Bowl Sunday.
So, what can fans look forward to?
First things first, expect to follow health and safety protocols at all times due to the pandemic. Make sure to mask up, keep your distance, and wash or sanitize your hands regularly.
“Face coverings are 100 percent required for all fans in the queue line to enter or interact with our activities,” Nicki Ewell, Director of NFL Events, said.
You can briefly remove your mask to enjoy a meal or ice-cold drink in the “food and beverage zones,” but otherwise, the mask needs to stay on. That includes during pictures, which you’ll surely want to take many of, and some of the high-intensity experiences such as the 40-yard-dash.
Speaking of the 40-yard-dash, now that we’ve got the pandemic-related business out of the way, let’s get to the fun part.
From the bright-eyed child who idolizes the likes of Tom Brady, to the casual fan who hasn’t thrown a football in years, there’s something for everyone to enjoy along the 2.7 mile stretch of the Riverwalk; including Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park, Curtis Hixon Park and Technology Village.
At Julian B. Lane, you can dust off those football skills and try your fate at kicking field goals, test your accuracy by throwing at targets, take part in an obstacle course, compare your high jump with real NFL players, and even compete virtually against Saquon Barkley of the Giants in the 40-yard-dash.
If physical activity isn’t so much your thing, don’t worry.
The NFL will have its illustrious history on display as well. Every single Super Bowl ring, locker room replicas, helmet displays, Hall of Fame busts, virtual autograph signings and a “Chronology of Pro Football” exhibit will greet fans underneath a giant tent in the middle of all the action.
And of course, no NFL experience would be complete without the coveted Lombardi Trophy, which will also be on hand.
Just a short walk away at Curtis Hixon Park, fans will get to take in live performances, snap only the most Instagram-worthy selfies at designated photo-op displays, and enjoy an adult beverage at one of the beer or cocktail tents.
Fans looking to freshen up their NFL wardrobe will also be able to purchase merchandise at the NFL Shop. And on Feb. 5 and 6, the downtown skyline will play backdrop to a firework show beginning at 9:30 p.m.
“People in Curtis Hixon will get a front-row seat to that, but if you’re also on the Riverwalk, north of Curtis Hixon, you’ll get that bonus, as you’re walking the Riverwalk,” Jenna Grooms, Director of Events for the Super Bowl Host Committee, said.
And for many, watching from the sidelines may be their only option.
Because of COVID-19, the events at Julian B. Lane Park had a capacity limit, which has already been reached. That means fans can no longer reserve tickets.
“Not surprisingly, once the Bucs advanced on Sunday, our reservation system filled up very rapidly,” Ewell explained. “We had a few more slots, but it sold out.
As for Curtis Hixon Park and nearby Technology Village, which will also feature a variety of interactive activities and entertainment, a reservation won’t be needed for fans to attend.
However, those wishing to go will have to download the One Pass mobile app. This app will explain the park’s health and safety protocols and will help organizers keep track of the capacity.
The capacity limit was guided by public health experts, according to Ewell, and once Curtis Hixon or Technology Village reaches capacity, it will turn into a “one in, one out” process.
“The app downloads and scans on the way in, and through our people counters as well, we’ll make sure we’re not overcrowding either of these parks,” Grooms said.
Below is a full schedule for the events happening at Julian B. Lane, Curtis Hixon and Technology Village:
- Friday, Jan. 29: 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.
- Saturday, Jan. 30: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
- Sunday, Jan. 31: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
- Monday, Feb. 1: CLOSED
- Tuesday, Feb. 2: CLOSED
- Wednesday, Feb. 3: 3 p.m. – 10 p.m.
- Kids Day is from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Julian B. Lane
- Thursday, Feb. 4: 3 p.m. – 10 p.m.
- Friday, Feb. 5: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
- Saturday, Feb. 6: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
- Sunday, Feb. 7: CLOSED
For even more about what to expect throughout Tampa and especially along the Riverwalk, click here.
And be sure to tune into the main event, Super Bowl LV between the Buccaneers and Chiefs, locally on 10 Tampa Bay on Feb. 7 at 6:30 p.m.
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