August 24, 2006


 
 

 Gearhead heaven Auto museum is perfect for the post-car show season

Even before my sons were able to speak, they demonstrated a huge interest in automobiles. One of their first words was "car." While the children were in diapers, my husband and I took them to car shows just to watch their excited faces. 

Their car collection numbers in the hundreds, they read Auto Trader and they sleep in a muscle car-themed bedroom. These boys have been able to identify a car's make and model with 90 percent accuracy since they were younger than 4. 

So once the local car shows shut down for the summer, what is a parent of such "gearheads" to do? The answer is the Volo Auto Museum, 50 miles north of Chicago. With its five climate-controlled showrooms, it is an ideal place to spend the day admiring vehicles from famous Hollywood cars and antique Fords to sporty muscle cars and military vehicles.

The Hollywood cars showroom was my children's favorite, featuring vehicles such as Scooby Doo's Mystery Machine, Herbie the Love Bug, the Batmobile, the Grinch Mobile and the Flintstones family car, as well as a Cinderella "carriage" for my daughter to admire. Volo's muscle car showroom was vast and impressive, and the antique showroom led us to discuss the differences between various "old-time" cars, as the boys refer to them. The military showroom features battle dioramas and weapons, but the sound effects could frighten younger children. Across the way, an antique mall hosts more than 350 dealers, with a large section devoted to die-cast vehicles.

Before entering the museum, parents should discuss that the vehicles are not for climbing or touching. It's tempting for young aficionados to want to reach out for these shiny vehicles or clamber inside to turn a steering wheel.

The museum is completely stroller friendly, with a few kiddie rides that cost a quarter or two. The 1950s-style food court is handy for a snack or ice cream once your tour is complete. It is surrounded by car memorabilia and souvenirs for purchase-perfect for decorating a muscle car bedroom.

The museum hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including The Twilight Zone: Haunted Battlefield, scheduled for Oct. 7-31. For information, call (815) 385-3644 or visit www.volocars.com.

Lisa Stiegman

Volo Auto Museum. 27582 Volo Village Rd. (about one-half mile west of Route 12 on Highway 120), Volo, Ill. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Admission is $8.95, $6.95 seniors, $5.95 kids 6-13, free kids 5 and under.

 Potty Mitts miss the mark

The Potty Mitts are disposable hand covers that stop germs away from home. The design on the product is cute and wearing the mitts does protect a child's hands from germs when worn. The idea as a whole, however, is silly. In order to make sure I was not missing something, I showed the product to several friends, especially when we were out in public, in hopes that they would share with me the value of such a product. Everyone thought it was silly.

Initially, I thought I would be getting some type of mitt that would fit onto the potty, not something for my 4-year-old daughter's hands. The idea is that the product will protect your child's hands while using a public bathroom. However, how do you explain to a child the difference between needing to wash your hands at home in the bathroom but not needing to in public when wearing the mitts?

We personally have worked very hard on the concept of always washing your hands when you go to the bathroom either in public or at home and it has been a struggle. The mitts (if you can get them on the child) come off very easily (the fit is similar to other mitts), so there is no guarantee they will stay on at all if you have to use the bathroom as well. Further, they are not flushable.

Now among keeping track of the purse/kid bag of stuff and the children, I have to make sure that the mitts make it into the garbage (not always available in the stall) and not the toilet. I really could not come up with a good thing to say about them other than they might be able to be used as kid-size dust mitts around the house.

Ann Marie Lehmann, La Grange Park

Potty Mitts by Tudy's Inc., $4.59 per pouch of 12 mitts; www.pottymitts.com

 
 





 
 
 
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