Do you feel vibrations coming off your kid every time she sees a cool car? Your not alone. Summer is the time to indulge those car crazy kids. While some of our ideas are available year round, summer is NASCAR season, vintage car season and festival season – all great times to get up close with automobiles. Here are some of our favorite ways to indulge your car crazy kids this year.
The easiest way to get your fill of cars, visit one of these parks with cars to play on, climb and drive:
- I was told that North Mississippi Regional Park planned to remove the car shown in our featured image with their current remodel project. However, last I checked, much of the work had been done and the car was still a central part of the Carl Kroening Interpretive Center. Kids can “drive” down Highway 694 in this vintage cruiser.
- Wabun Picnic Area in Minnehaha Falls Regional Park has car-themed play equipment. According to the designers, the playground is a “step back in time with its thematic nod to its origins as an auto tourist camp”.
Car Crazy “Driving” Opportunities
When your kids wants to be the driver and you are not to keen on handing them the keys, we have a few other choices:
- Driving School! at Como Town • There are several car rides at Como Town, and if your car lover is under age 4, you’ll have to pick one of the others, but Driving School is the most exciting of the car rides. Kids get to drive their own cars navigating their way through the streets of the driving school. Just like with a real car, they steer, brake and accelerate their vehicles. •
Driving School costs 6 points, which translates to $3.00 per ride. 2021: Como Town opens for the 2021 Season on May 29th. Pre-purchased time-slots (1hr, 20 minutes) required $15/inclusive.
- Minnesota Children’s Museum • Kids can pretend to drive a Fire Truck or a City Bus in the Our World Exhibit. • 2021: Reservations and masks required. Admission is $14.95/pp.
- Minnesota History Center • The History Center actually has a few cars in the museum – some you can touch, some you can’t. But the Then Now Wow Exhibit has a Model T that your Car Crazy Kid can actually crank up. • 2021: Reservations and masks required. Admission is $8-$12/pp (
FREE on Tuesday nights).
Visit the Speedway
- Elko Speedway has NASCAR racing all summer. Some years they offer family events. • Adults tickets are $15.00; Kids are $5; and Kids 3 & under are Free.
- Deer Creek Speedway is kind of a road-trip 2 hours south of the Twin Cities, but the facility includes a campground, so it could be a fun weekend adventure.
Family-Friendly Car Crazy Events
- Cars and Caves • A monthly car show on the last Saturday of the month (May-September) | Chanhassen Autoplex. Families are welcome. • FREE
- North St. Paul History Cruze Car Show • Every Friday, July 2 – September 24, 2021; 6:00pm – 10:00pm • FREE
- Historic Hastings Car Show • Third Sunday of Every Month, May-September, 11am-4pm • FREE
- Back to the 80s Car Show • June 12, 2021 • Family-friendly event with hundreds of classic 1980s vehicles on display – including domestic, imported, trucks, bikes, showroom stock and modifieds • FREE
- Back to the 50s Weekend • June 18-20, 2021• Named the “Best Car Show” in the nation by USA Today. This event has a kids area and music • $12/adults & Teens; Kids FREE
- GSTA Rod & Custom Spectacular • April 9-10, 2022 • Think grown-up sized hot wheels. In the past, kids received a free hot wheel car while supplies last • $15/adults & Teens; Kids $5.
- Classics by the Lake Car Show • September 10, 2022 • A FREE car show on the shores of Buffalo Lake in Sturges Park, 505 2nd Ave S, Buffalo, MN 55313 • FREE.
- Also check out this article from Explore Minnesota for more car shows throughout the State.
- Don’t forget to check our Touch-A-Truck Calendar regularly. We add to it as events come in.
Museums With Cars (Just to Look At)
- Walker Art Center • When my teen was a tot, we had a Walker membership and they still offered the much missed Arty Pants program, so we would visit often. She had her favorite pieces that we had to visit each time, culminating with “Unpainted Sculpture” (the real name for the crashed car). • 2021: Advance tickets and masks required. Admission is $15/adults; children are FREE.
- Minneapolis Institute of Art • Now we tend to get to the MIA more often. Did you know that you can type any word into the MIA website’s search engine to design your own personal tour? This is what I found when I searched “Car”. If you have a kid how loves cars, you can take an art break the next time you visit the MIA Block Room and see how many of these cars you can find! • 2021: Timed tickets and masks are required. FREE Admission.
- Minnesota History Center • As I mentioned above, the Model-T is not the only car at the history center. You can also take a walk through the Greatest Generation Exhibit to See an M-8 armored vehicle and a 1955 Ford sedan, both produced at the St. Paul Ford plant. 2021: Advanced tickets and masks required. Adults $12; kids 5-12 $8; 4 and under Free.