Docent Steve DeWitt saves the best for last—the playing field—when leading families and die-hard fans on a behind-the-scenes tour of Broncos Stadium at Mile High. Even at 10 a.m. on a weekday, it’s easy to feel the game-day furor when you’re inside the tunnel Von Miller, Demaryius Thomas, and the rest of the Broncos pass through on Sundays.
There’s no treading on the Kentucky Bluegrass turf covering the Broncos gridiron, but you’ll get close enough to smell the grass when you’re walking the perimeter, seeing what your favorite players see when they look up at a packed stadium on a crisp November afternoon.
Broncos Stadium at Mile High is the highest stadium in the NFL—and one of the largest, too, with capacity for 76,125. These are a few of the many factoids to be gleaned during one of the 75- to 90-minute stadium tours offered by the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame. Group tours accommodate all ages, but because there’s a lot of stopping and talking, they’re best suited for older children, adolescents, or teens.
After parking in Lot C, on the southwest side of the stadium, scoot over to Gate 1, which opens to the Hall of Fame, a sports museum filled with permanent displays honoring Colorado’s athletes and athletic leadership. The Hall of Fame is interesting, but the real hook is a backstage walking tour taking families into sections of the arena rarely seen by the public.
On the tour, visitors get the full spiel on the Broncos’ $408 million dollar stadium, which opened in August of 2001 with a concert by the Eagles. You’ll learn answers to questions you never thought to ask, too, like why all the first-row seats are orange.
DeWitt comes ready with trivia questions designed to keep the younger audience engaged. While the first 20 minutes start slow, things pick up as the group moves through the carpeted corridors connecting the club lounges, media center, and instant replay booth, as well as the box where John Elway hangs—a few of the many stops.
You’ll get a bird’s eye view of the field before descending to the inner ring, which is “where everything happens,” says DeWitt. With 75 lockers, the bare-bones visitor’s locker room is big by NFL standards. The field, though, is electrifying, and walking toward it is every bit as thrilling as you’d imagine it would be. They’re painting a Bronco in the end zone when our group arrives. “How’s it look?” asks one of the painters. DeWitt gives him a thumbs-up. “Looks like a win,” he says.
- Check it Out:
- 1701 Mile High Stadium Cir., Suite 500, Denver
- Need to Know:
- Open Thursday to Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- There’s no fee to enter the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame. Stadium tours are $25 for teens and adults, $20 for children ages six to 12, and free for kids age five and under.
- Insider Secret:
- When you book a stadium tour, you’re giving back to the community. Eighty-three cents of every dollar earned on tours is donated directly to Colorado youth sports organizations, including Special Olympics Colorado, Sportswomen of Colorado, and the National Sports Center for the Disabled.