Start Your Engines!

When my three boys found out that we were going somewhere that lets them drive their very own cars, they couldn’t contain their excitement. They weren’t disappointed with Tiny Towne, a huge facility that looks like a replica of a small city.

The boys were captivated by the large indoor tracks laden with colorful mini-cars and Tiny Towne Smart Cars that resemble golf carts. Tiny Towne has fun for all ages – we saw 1-year-olds holding their own in little stationary cars outside of the track. Pint-sized drivers like my 3-year-old also participated by driving small cars that moved slowly along the designated Tiny Track. Plenty of friendly Tiny Towne helpers were available to escort toddlers on their journey. My 7 and 8-year-olds felt empowered when they each took the wheel behind the slightly larger booster cars, and they loved being able to maneuver their cars on the two-lane track. They thoroughly enjoyed learning basic road safety by carefully passing other drivers and staying in their lanes.

On the other side of the town, we noticed that older tweens and teens, or “Senior Drivers,” were navigating the open road on the advanced Traffic Track. This area of Tiny Towne closely resembles a real-life driving experience, since it is equipped with road signs and traffic signals. Once my boys are older, I can see this area serving as a great intro to Driver’s Ed, since these drivers must obtain a Tiny Towne Driver’s Permit after passing the “Traffic 101” test.

Parents should know that Tiny Towne uses a “credits” system where $1 buys you one credit. The toddler and booster cars cost five credits per round, and each round lasts about five minutes. If you go on a weekend, young drivers should be prepared to wait in line, since only a handful of drivers can go on the track at a time.

When the line started getting long, my boys decided to hop aboard the Tiny Towne Express (three credits each), an entertaining train ride around the city. They passed the “Carcade” along the way, which is a room full of arcade games for all ages. After the train ride, the boys were eager to use more credits to explore the arcade games, which typically cost one credit each.11

After two hours of taking a few spins around the track, riding the train, and playing some arcade games, our visit to Tiny Towne came to an end. Families who have worked up an appetite after all the activities can stop at the onsite restaurant, The Grill, for sandwiches, pizza or dessert. Tiny Towne has a lot to offer, and parents will feel comfortable knowing that their kids can hit the open road in a safe environment.

– Felicia Barman

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