Newly Remodeled KidZone Opens at National Corvette Museum

State Farm Good Neighbor Grant Funds New Exhibits

If you ask any Corvette owner when they first fell in love with the iconic American sports car, almost every enthusiast has a story. Often it was a neighbor or relative who owned a Corvette and helped encourage the love or seeing a new model on the showroom floor that created a goal of future ownership. But today, that memory and story can be made at the National Corvette Museum in the newly remodeled KidZone. A ribbon cutting was held on Thursday, October 18 to celebrate the grand opening of the space designed to grow car enthusiasts from a very early age.

“We took a different approach when developing the activities for this space,” said Katie Ellison, Marketing and Communications Manager. “We wanted it to be both educational and fun, so we looked at the life cycle of a car, and what it takes to bring a vehicle from an idea to reality.”

The space starts off with stations for children to sketch their ideas for a car, referencing the steps that car builders use. Kids then use blocks and wheels to put together their own vehicle before giving it a test drive down a series of ramps. A tactile wavy path allows kids to pretend they are a car being driven over different surfaces before climbing in a ‘test car’ to perform their own crash test. The KidZone also features a service station with a car you can change the tires, exhaust and air filter on, and a driver’s license photo op. A mini street scene rounds out the exhibit complete with 1950s era Chevrolet pedal cars, with one being sponsored by Tri-City Corvette Club of Southeast Texas.

“We worked to incorporate aspects of the STEAM educational approach which focuses on science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics,” said Deb Howard, Education Coordinator. “The more hands-on activities we can offer, the better understanding kids will have of the concepts.”

State Farm Insurance has awarded a $10,000 Good Neighbor grant to the National Corvette Museum to provide financial support for the new KidZone as well as driving programs held at the Museum and NCM Motorsports Park.

“State Farm supports the communities where we live and work through Good Neighbor Citizenship company grants. We have a long history of promoting auto safety by partnering with a number of organizations on safety awareness initiatives,” said Judy McConkey, Public Affairs Specialist with State Farm. “We believe in promoting child passenger safety and seat belt safety, and the new KidZone exhibit is a great way to target both parents and kids with our message.”

“State Farm has been a proud sponsor of the National Corvette Museum’s driver safety efforts since 2012,” said Jonathan McDaniel, local State Farm agent. “Our grants to the Museum are nearing the $100,000 mark and today I presented a $10,000 check to the Museum, which brings our giving to $96,500 to be exact!”

State Farm Check Presentation
State Farm agent Jonathan McDaniel presents the National Corvette Museum with a $10,000 check to fund the remodel of the KidZone. Picture from left to right are Museum Executive Director Wendell Strode, Museum Educator Deb Howard, McDaniel, and Marketing Manager Katie Ellison.

The funding has provided support for programs including Tire Rack’s Street Survival school (a teen driving program offered at the NCM Motorsports Park), MEchanics clinics (teaching basic car care and maintenance) and other education programs. The State Farm Good Neighbor Grants are awarded in three areas: safety, community development and education. In addition to the State Farm grant, initial funding for the KidZone was provided by the Bowling Green Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, and National Corvette Museum Lifetime Member Eugene Nagowski in memory of his late wife Patricia.

The Museum is open daily, 8am-5pm CT and is located at I-65 Exit 28. Access to the KidZone is included with regular Museum admission. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for kids age 6-12, and free for children under 6.