Does your kid go “Vroom, vroom” with anything even remotely resembling a car? Do you find yourself tripping over mountains of Matchbox cars or trying to make room in your home for yet another Hot Wheels track? Well, it’s time you hit the road and take your budding racecar driver someplace where the cars are bigger than boxes and where he can learn the history behind his favorite set of wheels. Inspire your little auto aficionados at one of these car-themed destinations.

Petersen Museum – Los Angeles, Ca

More than 150 cars are parked throughout this sleek and freshly-renovated exhibit space dedicated to the automobile industry in Southern California and beyond. Kids can check out the real-life Batmobile (as it appeared in Batman and “Batman Returns”) and get their picture beside a glistening Lightning McQueen. Zip over to the Disney/Pixar’s Cars Mechanical Institute, where little ones can race toy cars, crank motors, or try their auto animation skills by tracing cars on a light table. From there, racers can grab a “CARSPad” (a super-padded and customized iPad), which will lead them on a digital scavenger hunt through the second floor of the museum with the help of Lightning McQueen and Mater.

Insider’s tip: The Cars Mechanical Institute requires a timed reservation; get yours upon entry to the museum.)


photo: Melissa Heckscher 


Where do you take kids who like to go “Vroom!?” Share with us in a Comment below. 

— Melissa Heckscher