MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Football fans making a pilgrimage to Minneapolis for the Super Bowl will find more than their fill of sports, music and entertainment.

But the biggest event, outside the game itself, is nicknamed “the Disneyland of football.”

It was here in Minneapolis 26 years ago when the very first Super Bowl Experience began. Then it was called the NFL Experience, the name changed just this year. It’s only grown more popular, largely because it brings fans face to face with the game.

For most football fans without tickets to the game the Super Bowl Experience will be as good as it gets.

“We’re super excited to be back here,” Mary Pat Augenthaler said.

The interactive and historic displays of pro football’s best was first conceived here in 1992. It was a way to entertain fans in indoor comfort. The concept has only gotten better.

“We like to think they’re better than ever before. We’ve got so many things that are digital and so many things that can be shared on social media,” Augenthaler said.

Every inch of the massive Convention Center is being transformed into Super Bowl Experience, where fans can marvel at the artifacts from Canton’s Hall of Fame to matching skills against the games best, including competing against Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt’s 40 yard dash time.

If you don’t have the courage to match skills you can at least line up for free autographs. NFL players and legends will be here. But the centerpiece of your visit just might be posing for a picture with the Lombardi trophy.

“Our mission is whether you are a fan of football or not when you enter, that you are when you leave,” Augenthaler said.

The Super Bowl Experience begins Saturday. It will run through the stay of the Super Bowl next Saturday. And because it is so popular the tickets are time stamped to control the flow of crowds. I mean, who wouldn’t want to pose with the Lombardi trophy.

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