Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines! Little speed demons and budding engineers alike are sure to get a rush from the San Diego Air & Space Museum’s high-energy, exciting new exhibit: Speed: Science in Motion. Your co-pilots will love trying their hand at the pit stop, taking on a racing simulator and learning about the fastest vehicles ever made including space ships, rockets, planes, trains, race cars, motorcycles, jet boats and more! Read on to get all the details, then buckle up and race over for a day of full throttle fun.
Hot Wheels on Steroids
As you enter the exhibit you’ll see some pretty amazing vehicles on display––some of the fastest ever produced by mankind. But, alas! If your kids are like most, they’ll race toward the back of the exhibit where the real fun begins.
The station called “Which Car is Fastest?” will mesmerize the littlest car enthusiasts. Test different style cars on a variety of tracks and see how speed is affected. Line up 4 kids at a time to race. Bump, loop and jump your cars over and over again.
Test Your Reflexes
Your reflexes are put to the test at the station “Ready, Set, Stop.” Fast-moving lights zoom toward you. Can you hit the mark right on the nose? Will experienced drivers perform better, or do kid reflexes rule supreme? This exhibit will have your family cheering for each other!
Pump Those Muscles
You may not think of a museum as a good place to get a workout, but trust us, jump in a pedal car and pedal as fast as you can to race your kids––and your thighs will be burning. This exhilarating, high-octane station will keep competitive family members coming back for more.
Channel your inner Luigi at the “Pit Stop.” Race against the clock to try changing a wheel like a Formula One crew member.
Insider’s Tip: The wheels and equipment are surprisingly heavy. Little ones will need your help.
Hop on a life-sized motorcycle video game and race a friend. Kid-friendly instructions take riders step by step as you choose your bike, select your course and GO! You can even take a pre-game picture of each player.
Insider’s Tip: Little racers may do better sitting on your lap.
Does Dad dream of someday owning a hot sports car? He’ll get a thrill out of the Ferrari simulator. He’ll test his memory of driving stick, pop the clutch and shift gears as he races on one of several thrilling tracks from around the world. Feel the wheel rumble if you crash and try to clock your best time.
More Speed Demon Thrills
After you’ve had your fill of fast-paced fun, enjoy the museum’s permanent collection and keep an eye out for signs posting the top speeds of some popular exhibits. Can you guess which plane in the museum can reach the highest speed of all?
Car enthusiasts will want to visit more than once as an ever-changing collection of fast vehicles will grace the museum’s floors. Keep an eye out for new vehicles every month including drag racers in March, hot rods in July and motorcycles in August.
Insider’s Tip: Especially on weekends, the museum is filled with enthusiastic volunteers who love to share their knowledge of aircraft with kids. Don’t miss an opportunity to get your wings (a shiny flight sticker) from any volunteer.
photo: Balboa Park Visitors Center
Fuel Up at Flight Path Grill
Open only on Saturdays and Sundays, the museum’s cafe patio is the perfect place to plane watch, offering prime views of airport landings and takeoffs. Grab some nachos, a burger or a sweet root beer float. There’s a full kids menu available too.
San Diego Air & Space Museum
2001 Pan American Plaza
San Diego, Ca 92101
Hours: Mon.-Sun. 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Cost: $19.75/adults; $10.75/children 3-11 years; Free for children under 2.
Note: Speed: Science in Motion costs an additional $5/person on top of the regular admission fee.
Insider’s Tip: Don’t forget February is Macy’s Museum Month when admission to San Diego Air & Space Museum and most other museums is half off. Just bring your coupon, which is available at any Macy’s.
––Cherie Gough (photos too, except where noted)