Children fill LeMay museum's interactive Family Zone during its grand opening

Staff writerDecember 16, 2013 

Family Zone CLO

While other dads watched the Seattle Seahawks rout the New York Giants on the team's East Coast road trip, Michael Crow of Tacoma and his son Peter enjoyed their own road trip at the new Family Zone at LeMay-America's Car Museum on Sunday. Crow playfully tried to lure Peter into the pop-up holes in the museum's road trip map of America. They also raced pinewood derby cars on the "build for speed" track and play-drove a 1924 Dodge Royal.

DEAN J. KOEPFLER — Staff photographer Buy Photo

The bottom floor of LeMay-America's Car Museum was not quiet Sunday.

Cries of: "Yeah! Mine's the fastest!"

"Vroom, vroom!"

And the occasional car horn certainly made sure of that.

"It's good noise, that's for sure, " education coordinator Carolyn Dunand said.

Saturday was the grand opening of the interactive Family Zone at the Tacoma museum, at 2702 East D St. The zone has a pinewood derby track and a 1924 Dodge kids can sit in (and honk the horn of), among other activities.

Dunand didn't know exactly how many had visited the zone since the opening, but said the 50 grab bags the museum made for the event were gone in the first half hour Saturday and the play area hadn't been empty during museum hours (10 a.m.-5 p.m.) since.

"I don't want to leave yet!" 4-year-old Raylene Davis proclaimed Sunday, as she drew her pink and purple "car of the future, " which she said drives really fast.

Kids can draw a car and make a postcard in the family space to take home.

Mom Jaclyn Davis said she drove from South Seattle with her Raylene and restless 2-year-old.

For her, the kid zone was a relief.

"Love it, " she said. "We would have had to leave if they didn't have an area to play in."

On the other side of the room, 8-year-old Daniel Pook, no pinewood derby novice, was checking out the new track.

He raced in his first derby in March with his Milton-area Cub Scout pack, and brought his own small car to race at the museum. He raced his dad's 1980 gold pinewood car at the LeMay - the first time its wheels had turned in 33 years.

The museum also provides cars and visitors can play with weight distribution by putting blocks on top, to see which combination might be fastest.

The best part, Daniel said, is "when you see what place you take."

He often took first Sunday, racing against his brother and other kids.

An LED screen at the bottom of the track ranks the cars as they finish.

"This is pretty cool, " said mom Karen Pook. "It's hands-on."

Alexis Krell: 253-597-8268

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