Cars, not just for grownups at Chicago Auto Show

A toddler climbs on the display of the 2013 Toyota NS4 Hybrid Concept at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show, located at McCormick Place in Chicago on Monday, Feb. 13, 2012. (Joanna Wesoly, ABC 7 Chicago)

January 23, 2013 1:22:39 PM PST
Cars are often considered toys for grownups -- but plenty of children climb into the driver's seat at the Chicago Auto Show.

Many car companies cater to kids, with designated spots where children can play video games, run around and test-drive their own vehicles.

"Bringing the kids is good bonding experience," said Stefani Kladis. "What are you gonna do? Leave them with the babysitter so you can look at cars? No, it's kid-friendly here."

Besides a rugged course for drivers 18 years and older, Jeep also set up a mini-track where toddlers could drive their own motorized Jeep Wrangler. While toddlers enjoyed their Big Wheels, the older kids waited in line to climb the rock wall.

The Family Fun Zone, located in the South Building had more to offer kids. With a wider space, radio stations like B96 set up a bags game and played word games that offered prizes for the right answers. A Blackhawks booth set up in another corner of the Fun Zone was lined up with kids waiting for a chance to play a hockey game.

But for some families, the real fun is in the cars- whether finding out if the minivan fits the whole family, or just letting kids get behind the wheel of a concept car.

"This is cool," said four-year-old Aiden Johnson, jumping into a Dodge concept car.

The 2012 Chicago Auto Show runs Friday, February 10 to Sunday, February 19 at McCormick Place, located along Lake Shore Drive at 23rd Street, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day -- except for an earlier close at 8 p.m. on February 19.

Admission is $11 for adults, $7 for children 7 to 12 years of age, and children 6 and under are free with an accompanying parent. Senior citizens 62 and older pay $7. Weekday discount vouchers ($4 off the regular adult admission) are available at area new-car dealers and from participating banks.