Philadelphia Auto Show Back in Town Through February 4
The show is fun and very kid-friendly. Here's what they will enjoy.
The Philadelphia Auto Show is back at the Pennsylvania Convention Center from January 27 — February 4, with dazzling cars, from exotic to classic and everything in between.
Not only do kids age 6 and under get in free with their parents, but “now is the perfect time to start that tradition and start making memories,” said Ian Jeffery, chairman of the Auto Show, who fondly remembers attending the show every year as a child.
Indeed, no matter what your age, there’s so much to see, with 700,000 square feet of hundreds of cars from every major automotive manufacturer. Whether you’re there scoping out your next family car, or just to have a fun afternoon of show-stopping automotive fantasy, here’s what you definitely won’t want to miss during your visit to the Auto Show.
Even if your kids know absolutely nothing about cars, they will love this area, which features cars from pop culture like Mater and Lightning McQueen from Pixar’s Cars, and the Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo! Other cars in this section include K.I.T.T. from Knight Rider (that will randomly talk to you as you walk by), the van from The A-Team, and cars from The Fast and the Furious and xXx. This section also has the Halo Drop Pod and Master Chief. For an extra fee you can climb aboard one for a photo.
Philly Sports Appearances
So many current and former Philly sports icons will be in attendance throughout the Auto Show weekends for meet and greets. Athletes like former Philadelphia Eagles Brian Dawkins and Tra Thomas, retired Philadelphia Flyer Bob “The Hound” Kelly, retired 76er World B. Free, and Philadelphia Union Defender Ray Gaddis will all be there (see the whole schedule here). On Sunday, January 28, visit the Honda display for a chance to win a football signed by Eagles safety Rodney McLeod (he’ll be off in Minneapolis getting ready for the Super Bowl!) and snap a photo in the football-themed area. There will also be performances by the Sixers Dancers on opening weekend.
The indoor Camp Jeep course, which is an interactive adventure zone where professional drivers allow riders to experience how a Jeep performs both on- and off-road, is really something else. You and your kids (the ones older than car seat age, anyway) can climb in, and the Jeep goes on a course that includes stairs, rough terrain, inclines, and more. Outside the Convention Center, adults can participate in test drive experiences from Kia, BMW, Volkswagen, Toyota, and Mazda from the DUB Show.
Super Cars, Exotics, and Classic Cars
This year’s Auto Show will feature the largest collection of super cars and exotic vehicles in the country, and more than the Philadelphia Auto Show has ever had before, including two Bugattis. We especially loved the bright green Lamborghini! There are also so many classic and antique cars on display, both from the show and local auto clubs. They are beautifully restored, and span the decades since the beginning of automobiles! These cars are all incredible to observe—but sorry, you can’t get in these ones.
Just Go Sit in All the Consumer Cars
You know that one part of the Please Touch Museum with the real SUV you can sit in? Of course you do, you’ve stood in line on a Sunday morning while your toddler cries longingly and the parents in front of you try to convince their own toddler to give someone else a turn. Well this is like that, except every single car makes that old PTM car look like garbage! We don’t have to tell you how much shiny new cars spark the imagination just by existing — your kids will do that for you.
This is also a great opportunity to sit in the cars for yourself — according to Jeffrey, 47 percent of Auto Show attendees go on to buy a new car that year. And since every car manufacturer and all kinds of models, from fantasy sports car to practical SUVs, it’s a great time to get that conversation started without having to visit a bunch of different dealerships.
Surprises Throughout the Show
Do a virtual reality ride with a crash test dummy named Buster! Take a green screen picture playing hockey or surfboarding! Check out one of Diggerland’s newest rides, the Ventrac 3400Y, at their display. Pose with a Storm Trooper at Nissan’s awesome Star Wars display! See if you can find Superman among the Auto Club’s creations (clue: look under the hood). There are so many fun surprises throughout the show to keep it interesting for the entire family.
Know Before You Go
The Philadelphia Auto Show is at the Convention Center every day from Saturday, January 27, through Sunday, February 4. Tickets are $14 for adults, $7 for kids, and free for kids age 6 and under. There are various discounts for seniors and members for the military, as well as at select SEPTA stations and car dealerships.
Photographs by Laura Swartz.