It’s February. Love is in the air… for cars.
The 2012 Chicago Auto Show starts this week, Friday February 10th and runs through Sunday, February 19th at McCormick Place in Chicago. A time for gearheads, would-be car buyers, and lovers of shiny things that go vroom to check out the latest and greatest in auto technology.
This will be our third year at the auto show, this time with a 3-year old and a 1-year old. A true family event can be a rare thing, and by that I mean an event where both parents AND kids can have an equal amount of fun. No sitting on the sidelines with your smart phone for this one! Sure it can be crowded, loud, overstimulating, with expensive parking, and flooded with messages to buy, buy, BUY, but I did mention the shiny things that go vroom right? For us, shiny things win.
Now not to fall into a gender stereotype, but unless I’m in the market for a new car, going to look at them just ain’t my thing. Personally, I know little about cars and keeping up on the latest models and technology would just cut into my Pinterest…, oops, I mean family time. But even I can find something to appreciate at the auto show. Watching my kids “ooh and ahh” while fiddling with knobs and levers that are normally off limits is entertainment enough for me. With the proximity to Chinatown, I’m pretty much guaranteed a delicious Chinese dinner for my sacrifice.
Admission and parking can add up so if you are able to take advantage of weekday discounts do so, which will give you the added benefit of smaller crowds. The most popular interactive displays will naturally have long lines, and expect to have to give out contact information for marketing purposes to participate in some of them.
Here’s a short list of some of the show highlights for parents and kids from the past (for a full list of interactive displays, click here):
- Child Seat Safety Booth
- Professional Athlete appearances
- Four test tracks, including the Jeep obstacle course and Kids Jeep Course
- Driving video games
- Hockey Shootout
- Kids Jeep course
- online photos with Cars characters
- Pop and Shoot basketball competition
- Humvee simulator
- Guitar Hero Station
- Rock Climbing Wall
- Interactive robot