No one knows exactly why, but one thing is certain, kids are absolutely enamored with airplanes, trains and cars. If it flies or rolls, there’s a good chance your kid is ape for it. Whether you have an aspiring pilot, conductor or Indy 500 driver on your hands, we’ve rounded-up the best places in Los Angeles for your wee ones to oooh and aaah over planes, trains and cars.


The Museum of Flying
The Museum of Flying in Santa Monica just celebrated its grand opening on February 25th, and kids’ imaginations will surely soar with a visit to this exciting new locale. Children will be wowed by the hands-on interactive area geared especially for them. Watch their eyes widen at the education center which features a T-33 cockpit trainer, a Convair 240 nose, and the K-3 mini flight simulator that will teach children about pitch, yaw, and roll. Additional exhibits include the history of the Douglas Aircraft Company and the Santa Monica airport, as well as a theatre for screening historic test footage and aviation related films and an outdoor aircraft display plaza.

3100 Airport Avenue
Santa Monica, Ca
Cost: $10/adults, $8 for seniors and students, $6 for children 6-12, children 5 and under are free.

California Science Center
Show kids the type of aircraft that first took flight by letting them marvel at the 1902 Wright Brothers’ Glider on exhibit at the California Science Center. Also on display, an F-20 Tigershark fighter plane, a Velie Monocoupe Model 70, which is one of the first planes ever built for private fliers, and more. If your wee one is interested in blasting off to outer space, be sure to visit the Mission to the Planets exhibit as well.

700 Exposition Park Drive
Los Angeles, Ca
Cost: Admission to the Science Center’s permanent exhibitions is free. Parking is $10.


Thomas the Tank
The infamous Thomas the Tank Engine is coming to Los Angeles, and you can take your tykes for a day out with the beloved blue train this April 20, 21, 22, 27, 28th and 29th at the Fillmore and Western Railway Company for the 2012 “Day out with Thomas, Mystery on the Rails Tour.” Give little engineers something to look forward to down the line at this special event which includes a 25-minute ride on a full-size Thomas the Tank Engine, Thomas themed storytelling, live music, an imagination station with arts and crafts and the opportunity to meet Sir Topham Hatt, the Controller of the Railway on the Island of Sodor.

364 Main St.
Fillmore, Ca
Cost: $18/ticket to event, lap children under age 2 are free.

For more choo-chooing fun with the little ones, don’t miss our guide to 5 great places in Los Angeles to take your train crazy kid.


Metropolis II
L.A. kids are all too familiar with intense amounts of car traffic, but Metropolis II, an art installation by Chris Burden that’s currently on exhibit at LACMA, puts a fun and artistic spin on the concept having tons of cars on the road. 1,100 custom-made toy cars speed through the elaborately designed modern city that took Burden four years to build. Watch the tiny cars zoom across 18 roadways and a 6 lane freeway at 240 scale miles per hour — meaning every hour approximately 100,000 cars speed through the system! Burden offers, “The noise, the continuous flow of the trains, and the speeding toy cars, produces in the viewer the stress of living in a dynamic, active and bustling 21st Century city.” But kids will just see the moving sculpture as “cooool.”

Note: Metropolis II runs at the following specific times:

Fridays: 12:30–1:30 pm; 2:30–3:30 pm; 4:30–5:30 pm; 6:30–7:30 pm
Weekends: 11:30 am–12:30 pm; 1:30–2:30 pm; 3:30–4:30 pm; 5:30–6:30 pm
Cost: Kids under 18, free, Adults, $15, Seniors and Students, $10

5905 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, Ca

Hot Wheels Hall of Fame Exhibit
There’s plenty of fun to be had at the Hot Wheels Hall of Fame Exhibit at Petersen Automotive Museum. This rotating series of exhibits is enchanting for kids and Hot Wheels enthusiasts. To be marveled at are both miniature and full-sized versions Hot Wheels® cars, including the most famous and popular models ever created, displayed on a signature Hot Wheels® orange track. You can walk through a life-sized Rally Case resembling a loop with track, vehicles, lights and sounds. And behold over 1,000 1:64 scale Hot Wheels® vehicles. Be sure to check out the design studio to see original models, drawings of original vehicle designs, wooden patterns and injection molds to see the creative beginnings of these iconic toys.

6060 Wilshire Blvd.(at Fairfax,)
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Cost: Adults: $12, Seniors (62 +): 8, Students with ID: $5, Children (5-12): $3, Children (under 5): Free, Members: Free, Active Military with ID: Free

–Beth Shea

Photo credit to the Museum of Flying, Santa Monica