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Check out the new Disney/Pixar Cars Mechanical Institute at the redesigned Petersen Automotive Museum


The Petersen Automotive Museum re-opened it’s doors to the public December 7th, 2015 after a 14-month wait. The $90 million renovation makes it’s mark on “Museum Row” with it’s ribbon-like steel and aluminum exoskeleton. Petersen Automotive Museum‘s interior is also indistinguishable from its former self with the introduction of several new exhibits, including a brand-new, one-of-a-kind section created especially for kids.

The Disney/Pixar Cars Mechanical Institute is a brand-new interactive, educational experience for children and adults. This special section of the museum is enclosed (read: kids are free to explore) with several Cars themed activity stations especially created especially for the Petersen Automotive Museum by Disney/Pixar.

Here is what they can experience:

Take a photo with Lighting McQueen and give him a hug


A life-size Lighting McQueen is featured as soon as you enter the room! Everything in this room, including this car is available to touch and explore. The illustrations on the walls also make good photo ops, as they were created especially for the Petersen Automotive Museum.

Learn how a car works


There are several interactive stations containing parts from an actual 2007 NASCAR. The parts are broken down into functions (such as how brakes work, fuel and electrical, engines, etc.) which can be controlled by an app on the device attached. It’s not only educational, but lots of fun. Kids can also see differences between a race cars and a passenger cars by observing things such as the tread-less tires.

CARSpad “Build a Virtual Racecar” Game


Geared to guests ages five and above who would like to interact with the exhibit via iPad, visitors can design their own virtual race car through this app by exploring different galleries on the second floor. Voiced by the original film actors for the characters and animated especially for the Petersen Automotive Museum, this unique learning experience takes between 20 and 40 minutes and can be checked out upon entering the Disney/Pixar Cars Mechanical Institute.

Color and decorate a Cars character on a computer, or trace and color it with crayons or colored pencils



This is a great activity for your creative children! Kids can paint and decorate a virtual car using a variety of options in the touch-screen program, including color and sticker options. My daughter LOVED it. In addition, tracing stations are available to use with tracing paper and colored pencils. Parents enjoy this station with their children and have a keepsake to take home.

Cars Racetrack


This racetrack is a big hit with the youngest visitors! Kids can play on the inside or outside of the track using the Cars characters toys provided. The track may look simple from an adult standpoint, but from a kid’s point-of-view, it is bumpy, exciting and provides lots of entertainment.

Know Before You Go

  • The Disney/Pixar Cars Mechanical Institute requires a (free) timed ticket during peak periods such as weekends and holidays. This timed ticket is available at the front desk.
  • The CARSpad experience also requires a reservation which can be made at the same time as the gallery exhibit.
  • Timed tickets are available on a first come, first served basis
  • There are two other “touch-friendly” AKA “kid-friendly” exhibits in the museum:
    • The fourth bay of the “Design to Line” Maserati exhibit, which displays the seating, interior, and steering of a car;
    • An original Model T, redone to accommodate guests to sit in and pose for photos


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The Petersen Automotive Museum

Location: 6060 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA

Website: www.petersen.org
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twitter: @Petersen_Museum
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Hours: Daily from 10am – 6pm, closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day
Admission and parking: check website