Kids Take The Wheel!

A Fairytale Night at the Saratoga Automobile Museum

Amy Ryan

SARATOGA SPRINGS – On Saturday, January 25, our region’s youngest were invited to spend an evening adventuring within the Saratoga Automobile Museum’s (SAM) walls, and to explore all the treasures inside – while dressed up like princes and princesses going to the ball. “Mommy, do I get one of these?” My wide-eyed six-year old whispered pointing a sweet little finger towards the corsages, “What are they?” still in amazement.

In one fell swoop, I turned into a coat rack. “What’s that? A Photobooth?!”  I take a sideways glance at my dear friend, whom is simply laughing and shaking his head. Telling me through chuckles, to enjoy this moment. Which I very much did.

On this night, SAM turned itself into a magical palace, beautifully decorated in a carnival-like atmosphere, with its main showroom lit to perfection and adding just the right hue. Inviting the little-legged patrons to explore, from cupcake to candy bar station, whilst dancing to the kid-friendly tunes filling the air.

The Museum, already filled with glorious historical marvels of mechanical engineering, now invited its youngest Saratogians to experience these treasures. By entertaining children, who gazed excitedly at life-size models of toy cars, the Museum played homage to why the rear bench seat was ever designed – for children, of course. Tucked among transportation gems dating back to the early 20th century, were masterful balloon and facepaint artists and fun games. Children patiently waited, looking intently at meticulously preserved Model T Fords, or NASCARs Bridge Midget, once driven by racing greats Chris Dyson and Guy Smith.

Reading each plaque carefully (I’m a history buff), I turn to see a rainbow white tigress holding a squid balloon (which was amazing) giggling with school friends while my oldest was asking for us to go dance downstairs. Enjoying the night almost as much as them, I happily held their bags of candy, balloons, cotton candy and their beloved Stewarts Ice Cream, and smiled as they ventured from station to station holding hands and giggling excitedly. “What a fun idea,” I kept on thinking.

The First Annual Children’s Gala was a fundraiser to support the Museum’s Distracted Driver Awareness Program. Becoming a topic of national debate, Carly Connors, Executive Director of the Automobile Museum, opened her doors to cater to families of future drivers. Distracted Driving is a real concern and opening the conversation to youth is a wise investment. Maybe next year, this Kids Gala can display creative ways to discuss vehicular safety, or include the interactives on distracted driving. Judging by the Museum’s creativity with this inaugural event, I can hardly wait to see what they dream up next!

Gallery: Kids Take the Wheel!

Photos: Arthur Gonick
Contributor Amy Ryan is a mom and musician, ski bum at heart and a volunteer in the community. Originally from Glens Falls, NY, Amy has lived throughout the Eastern US for many years, before settling in Saratoga Springs where she resides with her husband, Jim, and two daughters, Zoe and Teagan. Dedicating her career to the protection of the land, and environment, Amy enjoys picking up a pen and paper once in a while.

One Reply to “Kids Take The Wheel!”

  1. Hi- Saratoga Photobooth Company was happy to provide one of our classic photobooths for this fun event at the Saratoga Auto Museum!


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