Hot Wheels Garage events at the Automobile Driving Museum are fun for all ages.

That’s because the events showcase life-size replicas of toy cars, among other things, that brings out the kid in all of us.

For instance, I took my 22-month-old son and he didn’t want to leave.  And actually, I didn’t really want to leave either. :0)

So, in this post, I’m giving you an overview of Hot Wheels Garage events at the Automobile Driving Museum.  Plus why you should go and bring a couple of generations of the family with you!

Hot Wheels Garage at The Automobile Driving Museum banner

Hot Wheels Garage at the Automobile Driving Museum

How the Hot Wheels Garage Events Started

I learned of the Hot Wheels Garage Events while covering my first story on the Automobile Driving Museum.  And as soon as I did I knew I’d be taking my son, soon!

But my first thought after that was how?  How did something so cool come about?  Because corporate marketers usually find a way to mess-up stuff that makes perfect sense and is this cool.

Life-sized Hot Wheels Car, Green, Rally Car, 50th Anniversary

50th Anniversary Life-Sized Hot Wheels

And to be fair to corporate marketers it’s usually the almighty dollars that get in the way.  Well, those guys/gals/dollars didn’t initiate the Hot Wheels Garage Events!

So, it turns out that Hot Wheels parent company, Mattel resides very close to the Automobile Driving Museum.  In fact, they’re both in El Segundo, California.

Exterior of the Automobile Driving Museum entrance

The Automobile Driving Museum in El Segundo, CA

And back in 2015, the Hot Wheels folks were looking for a place to store their life-sized toy replicas.  So, Hot Wheels reaches out to the Automobile Driving Museum, one thing led to another and, shazaam!

A brilliant concept for a recurring, fun-for-all-ages event is born.

Hot Wheels Garage Events As Incredible Bonding Opportunities

In an interview about the History of Cars and Coffee events, Barry Meguiar from the former Car Crazy TV show offered this insight.  He said, “if you’re a kid growing up in a car guy family, there’s no question you’re going to be a better adult.”

My son and I signing into the Hot Wheels Garage

Marisol from the ADM signs us into the Hot Wheels Garage Event

To clarify, Barry was referring to sharing the car hobby for sure.  But more than that.  He was also referring to time shared between parent and child.  And that special bonding-time being created through a shared interest.

Father and son arm in arm at the Hot Wheels Garage Event

Daniel and Felix Germain and their Hot Wheels 50th Anniversary Edition Chevy Camaro

And with that in mind, I was excited to meet the father and son who pulled up in their 50th Anniversary Edition Hot Wheels Camaro!

Hot Wheels 50th logo

Hot Wheels celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2018

Daniel Germain lives in Big Bear but grew up in England.  And being from the other side of the pond he grew up with Matchbox cars.  (Mattel created Hot Wheels after Matchbox cars already existed.  Mattel also now owns Matchbox cars.)

Hot Wheels Camaro door jam

Hot Wheels branded Chevy Camaro

Daniel said, “anything to keep children interested in cars is a great thing.  I think cars are going to become electric soon anyway.  So as cars change it’s really a great time to be interested.”

And when his son Felix told him about the Hot Wheels Garage they knew they had to come.  And also show off both versions of their own car.  A 2018 Chevrolet Camaro 50th Anniversary Hot Wheels Edition.

Hot Wheels 50th Anniversary Edition Chevrolet Camaro

46-year-old Daniel Germain’s Hot Wheels Toy Car

Another display of marketing not messed-up.  Hot Wheels and Chevy – nice!

Hot Wheels Toy Car on the Dashboard of Life-Sized Replica

9-year-old Felix Germain’s Hot Wheels Toy Car

Before coming to the Hot Wheels Garage Event at the Automobile Driving Museum Felix had 452 Hot Wheels toy cars – and counting.

What Happens At Hot Wheels Garage Events

In addition to meeting great people at the Hot Wheels Garage events, there’s plenty to see and do.  And again, that’s for both adults and kids.

After paying our entry fee we dropped off a donation of dog food at the spcaLA booth.  The events usually have a charitable organization tied-in.

spcaLA booth

Each can of donated dog food received a raffle ticket for Hot Wheels tracks!  (My son spotted the go-karts in this pic.)

Then it was on to the Hot Wheels car selection booth.  All the kids get a free Hot Wheels toy car once you take them around to all the booths at the event.

Free Hot Wheels for Kids

Plenty of Hot Wheels to pick from.

Next, we had to check out the Hot Wheels Garage event prize table.

Hot Wheels Raffle Prize Table

Star Wars and Hot Wheels?!?!  Holy awesome!

Lots of Fun Activities for Kids

Before coming to the Hot Wheels Garage event we’d never seen such small go-karts.  And that didn’t get by my son – not even a little bit.  But he’s still a few years away from being old enough to ride.

Toddler Smith wanting a go-kart ride

Pretty sure kids had to be @ least 5-years-old to ride the go-karts.


Ken Vela preps the racers

Ken Vela from Wikd Kustoms preps racers


Checkered Flag at Hot Wheels Garage

Every race needs a checkered flag!

So after a little parental redirecting (many times), we were able to carry on to other activities.  And the toy race tracks proved to be a hit.

Toddler Smith runs to a toy race track

Two Hot Wheels and heading to the track!


Dad and son watching the toy car race

Big kids and little kids – not much different.

And with it being a Hot Wheels event, of course, there were multiple toy race tracks for kids to enjoy.

Kids playing with toy cars

Prepping for when they have kids… they just don’t know it yet.

They also had fun stuff like face painting, pop-a-shot and coloring booth for the kids.

Face painting at the Hot Wheels Garage

Kids stuff at the Hot Wheels Garage


Kids shooting baskets



Kids coloring

The artist’s side of cars!

The Garage Itself

And with so much to do and see, the actual garage storing life-size Hot Wheels, kind of gets drowned out.

Hot Wheels Garage w. special guest my finger

The Hot Wheels Garage – and my finger.

But everyone has to take a lap through the cars.

Hot Wheels Camaros

In the actual Hot Wheels Garage


Hot Wheels logo

Just… cool.

How can the driver even see the road in this one?

Hot Wheels Blue Car

My guess is not very fuel-efficient.

The Automobile Driving Museum Is Included

While the Hot Wheels Garage event takes place outside the museum.  The entry fee includes access to the museum itself.  And it’s awesome too.

Walkway painted like a winding road

Inside The Automobile Driving Museum

Besides cool cars everywhere you look The ADM also features an Ice Cream Parlor!

Soda jerk behind the counter of an old fashion ice cream parlor

The Ice Cream and Soda Parlor @ The Automobile Driving Museum

Events Throughout The Year

The Automobile Driving Museum hosts Hot Wheels Garage events throughout the year.  And each event is a little different.

Marisol Rios, the General Manager of the museum, says they’re planning 8 or 9 events each year.  And that each December they have one that includes Santa Claus!

Ken Vela, from Wikd Kustoms, is the master of ceremony for the events.  He says they provide a great opportunity to disconnect from smartphones and the internet while connecting with your kids.

Ken Vela the Voice of Car Culture

Ken Vela the Voice of Car Culture

He said, “the adults, what we had back in the day, we didn’t have all those electronics so we had to think of ways to have fun.”  And that “it’s really neat to see the generations” of families having fun together.

Cars Connect Everyone

As we were leaving we met one of the museum volunteers who also had his custom hot rod on display.

Custom Hot Rod

Custom Hot Rod owned by Museum Volunteer

And he was so nice that he even let my son crawl around in his sweet custom ride.

Toddler Smith in Custom Hot Rod with Docent

The small age range in car lovers.


Toddler Smith At the Wheel

Future racer? But only on the track!


Toddler Smith in Custom Hot Rod

Think he’s having fun? :0)  My Little Dude!

For more cool automotive and transportation stuff to do check out our events page!  And the Automobile Driving Museum.