Lake Placid Olympic Museum Review: A Must-See?

When you’re in Lake Placid, there are numerous ways to immerse yourself in Olympic history.

You can take a thrilling ride on a mountain coaster down a bobsled track, witness ski jumpers defy gravity, and explore other iconic sites. However, a standout attraction that should not be overlooked on your Olympic journey is the Lake Placid Olympic Museum.

Below, I’ll provide you with a glimpse of what to anticipate at this museum and share some essential tips to ensure you don’t miss out on the must-see highlights. Don’t visit without giving this a read!

What is the Lake Placid Olympic Museum?

The Lake Placid Olympic Museum is a museum dedicated to preserving and showcasing the history and heritage of the Olympic Games, with a focus on the two Winter Olympics that were hosted in Lake Placid: the 1932 Winter Olympics and the 1980 Winter Olympics.

The museum houses a wide range of artifacts, memorabilia, and exhibits related to these Olympic Games, as well as the history of winter sports and the athletes who have competed in them.

Visitors can explore the Olympic history of Lake Placid, learn about the athletes who competed there, and gain insight into the cultural and sporting significance of the Winter Olympics.

Ticket prices are as follows:

  • $15 for Adults (20 and older)
  • $12 for Military, Youth (7 to 19), Students with I.D., and Seniors (65+)
  • $10 for Groups (20 or more) – 1 Free admission for every 20 tickets purchased
  • Free admission for children aged 6 and under

If you plan on seeing other sites in the Lake Placid area then I would recommend for you to purchase the Lake Placid Legacy Sites Passport which gives you the following benefits for $64:

  • One-time admission to the Veterans’ Memorial Highway
  • Ride on Whiteface Mountain’s Cloudsplitter gondola
  • Olympic Legacy Tour at Mt Van Hoevenberg
  • Skyride Experience at the Olympic Jumping Complex
  • Entry to the Lake Placid Olympic Museum
  • Sticker set to collect at each venue
  • 10% discount on purchases made at the various retail stores and food and beverage vendors located at the destination venues

Where is the Lake Placid Olympic Museum?

The Lake Placid Olympic Museum is located within the Olympic Center at 2634 Main St, Lake Placid, NY 12946.

Finding the museum is slightly tricky depending on where you enter the The Olympic Center.

But you will find the Lake Placid Olympic Museum on the lower floor of the Olympic Center and you should be able to just find signs pointing you in the right direction.

The desk for purchasing tickets is in the Miracle Plaza lobby and the entrance to the museum is right next to it.

You will know that you are on the correct floor if you see the large scoreboard for the miracle on ice with the two seats from the stadium just below it

Lake Placid Olympic Museum

Our experience exploring the Lake Placid Olympic Museum

To be completely upfront, I must admit that I didn’t have high hopes for the Lake Placid Olympic Museum. It wasn’t exactly buzzing with recommendations. However, what I wasn’t aware of was the recent revamp that had breathed new life into the museum.

Upon stepping inside, the first exhibit greets you with a dive into the rich history of the games. It provides an intriguing glimpse into the evolution of the Olympic Games and offers a comprehensive overview of Lake Placid’s own historical significance, including the 1932 Olympic Winter Games that graced this charming town.

Lake Placid Olympic Museum

In another room, you’ll discover a whole section wholly dedicated to unraveling the essence of what it takes to become an Olympian. This immersive experience lets you truly grasp the incredible courage and unwavering commitment that Olympians must possess to attain greatness.

The interactive exhibits in this area are a real highlight, putting you right in the heart of the action. Picture yourself hurtling down a bobsled run on a wraparound screen or experiencing the adrenaline rush of a ski jump. It’s all there.

Lake Placid Olympic Museum bobsled

Another captivating section of the museum delves into the artistry and design of the Olympics.

It’s a particularly thrilling stop for those who have fond memories of past Olympic events, as you’ll encounter a treasure trove of artifacts from bygone games. Marvel at the diverse medals from various eras and get up close with the Olympic torches that have been carried with pride.

Lake Placid Olympic Museum torches
Lake Placid Olympic Museum medals

If luck is on your side during your visit, you might even score the ultimate experience of holding an Olympic torch from the 1980 Olympic Games – trust me, it’s one of the coolest things I’ve done in a while.

I’m not sure if they publish a schedule of when the torch is there, but I was told that it only is brought out two or three times a week. If you really want to increase your odds of being able to hold it, then maybe call ahead of time and see if it will be on display. It will be worth the extra patience!

Lake Placid Olympic Museum man holding torch

For fashion enthusiasts, it’s a visual delight to explore the evolving wardrobes that Team USA has showcased over the decades. Always interesting to see how the athletes come out.

Lake Placid Olympic Museum wardrobes

After seeing those, it’s time to venture into the largest and, in my opinion, the most captivating exhibit – the one dedicated to the 1980 Winter Olympic Games.

Lake Placid Olympic Museum 1980 winter games

Here, you can immerse yourself in the stories of legendary performances that have etched themselves into Olympic history.

Among these incredible feats is the record-breaking performance of a speed skater, Eric Heiden, who clinched a remarkable five gold medals, sweeping every single event. This achievement remains unmatched even as we step into 2023 – -he was basically the Michael Phelps of the Winter Games.

What’s truly mind-blowing is that he not only claimed those medals but also set world and Olympic records in the process!

There are other solid performers from the games that you can learn more about and see some original artifacts like from the figure skater, Jinda Fratianne, who won silver.

Lake Placid Olympic Museum

Now, if you’re anything like me, the true gem of this place is anything and everything tied to the Miracle on Ice – probably the most iconic moments in sports history.

This electrifying event saw the underdog 1980 Olympic team defy all odds and send shockwaves across the world by defeating the formidable Soviets in a historic hockey match, ultimately paving their way to securing the gold medal.

The museum boasts a captivating documentary, screened in a dedicated theater room. It’s an absolute must-watch that will stir your emotions, leaving you brimming with pride in your American roots. Be sure to catch this cinematic masterpiece from start to finish, because I promise you won’t regret it.

Lake Placid Olympic Museum film room

Beyond the film, the museum also houses a treasure trove of artifacts from that historic game. You can lay your eyes on one of the actual goals used during that momentous match, alongside hockey sticks and gear worn by some of the players. It’s a remarkable opportunity to forge a deeper connection with that unforgettable game.

Lake Placid Olympic Museum miracle on ice artifacts

After that, you can head to the last exhibit which is all about Lake Placid’s Olympic Legacy.

Once you’ve explored the Olympic Museum to your heart’s content, I’d highly recommend taking a stroll through some of the other facilities in the center.

First up is the 1932 Olympic rink, the smaller of the two rinks in this vicinity. It’s a neat experience to behold, considering it served as the Olympic rink almost a century ago.

Lake Placid Olympic Museum 1932 rink

Following your visit to the rink, you can delve into two pivotal locations tied to the Miracle on Ice. The great news is that these spots aren’t part of the museum, so there’s no need for an admission ticket to check them out.

Your next stop should definitely be Locker Room Number 5, the very locker room where Team USA geared up for their legendary Miracle on Ice victory. It’s also where they received the iconic pregame speech from their legendary coach, Herb Brooks.

To find it, head to the Miracle Plaza level, which is the same level where you purchase your museum tickets. Look out for a set of doors adorned with hockey player imagery and make your way through them.

Take a left and follow the hallway until you spot Locker Room Number 5, complete with a commemorative plaque honoring Herb Brooks and featuring a portion of his famous speech.

You should be able to step right in and imagine the electric atmosphere the players must have experienced as they readied themselves to step onto the ice. It’s a pretty incredible moment to relive.

Lake Placid Olympic Museum 1980 rink lockerroom

After you’ve taken in the locker room experience, I’d suggest making your way into the rink itself. To get there, backtrack a bit and then ascend a set of stairs, following signs to lead you in the right direction.

Lake Placid Herb Brooks 1980 arena

If the rink happens to be empty, you might find yourself alone in this iconic arena. Standing there, soaking in the history, can send shivers down your spine. It’s a place where you can truly feel the weight of history, as if the magic of that moment still lingers in the air.

Lake Placid Herb Brooks 1980 arena

You can take a leisurely walk around the entire arena, gazing up at the banners hanging from the rafters, all while appreciating the sheer magnitude of that historic game.

While we did spot some tourists attempting to step onto the ice, please be aware that it’s not allowed. Such actions risk spoiling the experience for everyone else, so let’s all do our part to preserve this piece of history.

On another day during our visit, we lucked out as they were in the midst of a hockey practice session. It was quite a treat to witness the rink spring to life, with players sending thunderous shots echoing across the ice, accompanied by the authentic sights and sounds of live hockey action. It added a dynamic and energetic vibe to the place.

Lake Placid Herb Brooks 1980 arena

However, there’s an undeniable allure to the rink when it’s completely devoid of activity, enveloped in serene silence. It’s in those moments that you can truly soak in the unique aura and historical significance of the place.

Final word

All in all, the Lake Placid Olympics Museum is an absolute must-visit for any Olympic enthusiast. The recent enhancements to the museum have elevated the experience, and the chance to lay eyes on numerous artifacts from past games is truly captivating. Holding an authentic Olympic torch was undoubtedly one of the coolest experiences I’ve had in a while, and delving into everything connected to the Miracle on Ice was an absolute revelation.

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