I am not what you might typically call a “car guy.” Whenever I am asked about anything to do with the mechanical aspects of my car I say, “It’s green and it has a sunroof.” That said, I am a history buff, so when a friend asked if I would like to go to America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, Washington to see the Le May Collection, I readily agreed. (You don’t have to say “Road Trip!” twice for me to be out the door and pulling on the car door.)
The 165,000 square-foot museum is on three levels, housing up to 350 vehicles at any one time. The levels are separated by long easy to maneuver ramps. Between the ramps are huge flat-surfaced rooms featuring a wide variety of cars, motorcycles and more. Each ramp houses a special part of the collection, such as the cars of the British invasion (MG’s, Triumphs, etc.) Currently there is the ramp celebrating the iconic Route 66 features American-built station wagons. Another ramp houses a display of NASCAR vehicles and their historic drivers. Another special display right now features the muscle cars of the 60’s and 70’s. With today’s interest in alternative fuels one ramp features cars ranging from the iconic Stanley Steamer to experimental solar driven vehicles. There even a Delorean. Unfortunately it didn’t have the time-travel options from Back To The Future.
Many of the cars date back to the early 1900’s. I particularly enjoyed seeing some of the cars my father had owned during my childhood. “Oh look! My brother and sister and I were car sick in the back seat of one of those!” “Hey! We threw up in one of these, too!” There is even the car that my sons believe was my first vehicle, the Flintstone prehistoric car.
I did not try the racing simulators or the slot car track. These are available for a small additional fee, but are very popular, so we decided not to wait for a turn. That slot car track sure did look like fun, though. There is also a car people can sit in or beside and have their photograph taken. You receive a complimentary copy of the photograph and you can have it emailed to you, as well.
There is plenty of accessible parking, a café, and accessible washrooms, and (of course) a large souvenir shop. A visitor must purchase a ticket for the museum and there is a fee for parking too. All in all, America’s Car Museum is a highly entertaining, and very accessible, place to spend a few hours.