Kansas City Auto Show
Location: Bartle Hall Convention Center, 301 West 13st, KC MO 64105
Cost: Adult Tickets: $10, although some coupons are out there. Kids: Free for under 7. Parking is additional as well so budget accordingly. I believe it is about 10 bucks.
Age appropriate: all
Things at Bartle Hall can be pretty cool if you get just a bit adventurous and go. Sure, you would think that a bunch of toddlers wouldn't want to go to an auto show but you would be wrong. If you put some serious thought into it, then it is clear that an auto show is practically an amusement park to anyone under 6. Big motors, race cars on display and the chance to push the buttons on over 1000 vehicles without anyone telling you to stop. It's practically Disney.
And as cool as it was to see the newer models of cars getting ready to roll off the line and into our hearts, the true greatness of this event were the oddities that surrounded it. Well, that and the corvettes because those things are still bitching. I made the kids get out so I could sit in it alone and dream that one day, I would own one. And have hair. Both would be awesome.
But the things that surrounded the auto show is what I think made it a truly great experience for both the kids and the adults. Let's start with the U.S. Army that had a section of the floor. Look, I know that they are trying to recruit my youngsters and I'm fine with that. I'm fine with that because they had a life sized video game where my 5 year old held a life sized M-16. You want awesome, there is your awesome. And for the record those things are heavy. It turns out that my daughter is a pretty good shot as well. The Army section was well done and geared probably toward the young teen, but we enjoyed it as well. Along with the shooting gallery they had a football toss station, free golf towels for dad and at the end of it they gave the kids dog tags. We called them all patriotic necklaces.
There was also a museum of sorts of past Army vehicles that included a hummer, a racing motorcycle and various WWII vehicles. We do love our history at KCDADS. One of the kids did get stuck in a tanker truck whose cab was 6 feet off the ground. Entertainment followed when said father had to get up in there and get her.
Of all the exhibits for cars though, one of the best done was the Jeep section. They actually had an obstacle course. You would ride in one of the Jeep models (they drive) and then proceed to see all that the jeep could do. From going over logs to driving up a 30 degree incline to simulate a mountain. I found it very well designed and promoted. The kids loved it although there is a height requirement on it. However the younger kids did enjoy just watching the older kids go on it.
I also want to give a big thumbs up to the Kansas City Royals who set up an exhibit that included the worlds biggest baseball as certified by Guinness World Book of Records. I didn't get the stats on this thing, but it's probably over 13 feet high. We did get yelled at a bit when one of the kids disregarded the vaunted red ropes and touched the baseball. But let me just say this: the kid is less than 2 feet tall, what kind of damage is she going to do to a baseball? Seriously? I'm not saying that we should have touched it but I am saying that I could understand how a 2 year old would want to. It's a huge baseball, how could you not want to touch it.
Now for a few words of caution though for those who are thinking they might want to go. I would head down on one of the off days, which means not a Saturday. We had fun because it wasn't that crowded and it was easy to keep track of our kids running from one car to another. Second, bring a sack lunch and do not eat there. The only place to eat at the actually show was a Quizno's and I found that 23 bucks for a couple of sandwiches, drinks and chips was a bit to much for not that much food. So save some money and just brown bag it. There are tables to the side where you can sit and enjoy your food.
Also, bring some extra water. The space is large and there aren't many fountains around so be smart and just bring your own. Finally, beware the red velvet ropes and your kids. Easy to bypass and it's easy for dad to get distracted while drooling over the brand new minivan that he has his eye on. The price is a bit high for what we usually go to with the 10 buck ticket and then parking on top of that. I hate paying parking but we had fun despite that.