Hot Rods and Fast Cars at the California Automobile Museum

 DSC_0069By Heather Crivellone

What little boy doesn’t love “hot rods” and “fast cars”?  Well, my son is no exception…and with his daddy always talking about how he should have been a “race car driver” in a previous life, I knew I had to take him to the California Automobile Museum to check out the historical “hot rods” of the past.  Conveniently located at 2200 Front Street in Downtown Sacramento (near Old Sacramento) – it was easy for us to stop by before heading off to preschool for the day!dsc_0058

To be honest, I was a little skeptical in taking my wild and crazy 4-year-old boy to a museum with vehicles that I knew would be out on display….and possibly too tempting not to touch.  However, with the help of the very kind employees we had a fantastic time “cruising” the cars and even had some stops along the way where my son could hop in take one for a “test drive”.

“Visiting the California Automobile museum is a unique and interesting experience – and that is in large part due to the expansive collection of over 150 vehicles on display. Walking through the exhibits will take visitors past cars from 1885 and all the way through to 2011. It is walk through the history of cars and California culture!”

As you enter the museum, you can choose to take a self-guided tour through the exhibits, but I would highly recommend following the tour led by one of the knowledgeable docents.

Our docent was VERY well-informed and explained everything there was to know about each vehicle on display.  He even got down with the kids and explained how things work in a fun way so that the kids could understand and enjoy the tour!

Unfortunately, the building itself is not climate controlled. So while we were trying to “get out of the house and stay warm”, our plan backfired on us since the museum was quite cold! Knowing this now, next time we go we will dress appropriately (warmer clothes and layers in the winter and cooler clothes in the summer). The museum is open to the public 10:00 am-6:00 pm, 7 days a week. Admission is $8 for adults, $4 for students, ages 5 and younger are free.auto museum collage

The museum is always bringing in new displays, offering classes for the auto enthusiast and changing their exhibits. The current exhibit is It’s Electrifying!” Alternative Fuel Vehicles in California” presented by SMUD at the California Automobile Museum opened February 15 and runs through Father’s Day, June 15, 2014. This exhibit is a historical look at the progression of alternative fuel and electric cars produced with California’s trending market in mind.

Upcoming events for the museum include:

“Selling the Dream”- Stories from Northern California early car dealers.  This exhibit will be opening in June.

Third Thursday Nights Out at the Museums- the museum stays open late with free tours and beer and wine sales.  In the summer onths, local food trucks will be on site for dinner purchases.

Second Saturday Tour Series- visit the museum on these days to learn about specific topics and tour the museum.

If you have an automobile enthusiast I highly suggest visiting the museum.  Exhibits are always changing so if it’s been a while, this is a great time to revisit the museum.

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