1-323-930-2277 Purchase Tickets


Mechanical Institute Discovery Center and Augmented Reality Tour

Through a ground-breaking partnership with Disney/Pixar, visitors of all ages can now be a part of an amazing experience found only at the Petersen. The Cars Mechanical Institute, inspired by the animated film, is a gallery that immerses visitors in different interactive stations where they learn about the mechanical systems that make cars work. Visitors can also paint and personalize virtual cars as well as trace and color their own Cars character to take home. And our littlest car enthusiasts can zoom toy cars around a racetrack.


CARSpad “Build a Virtual Racecar” Game

In the Cars Mechanical Institute visitors can participate in the CARSpad Experience, an iPad game where visitors design their own virtual racecar, with the help of the Cars characters, as they move throughout the galleries on the second floor. Once they are finished, visitors can race their own car to try and best Lightning McQueen’s race time. This experience allows visitors to learn about the science and technology behind designing an aerodynamic racecar, with characters from the Cars movie as their guides.

All ages are welcome to play this game. However adults must check out CARSpads for children under 12 and must supervise them at all times. The experience takes an average of 20 to 40 minutes.

The game was developed and created in partnership with Disney/Pixar, with all the characters voiced by the original film actors.


Public Programs provide focused and deeper learning about the content in our 25 new galleries. We offer gallery talks, special tours, film screenings, author presentations, hands-on workshops, seminars, and lectures to engage adult audiences in life-long learning and fun educational experiences. Visit our Calendar of Events for upcoming programs.

Group Visits and Gallery Learning

Groups are encouraged to visit the Petersen, and groups of ten or more people get $2 off any admission level, either when purchasing tickets in advance or on site. You will encounter our friendly and knowledgeable volunteer Gallery Attendants throughout all floors of the museum who are eager to talk with you. They can answer questions, show you around the galleries, help you access our touchscreens and technology, and share vast amounts of fascinating content about our new galleries and unique collection. They are excited to interact with visitors of all ages and backgrounds and they want to hear your car stories and answer your burning questions.


We offer guided and self-guided experiences for schools visiting the museum. Guided tours are targeted to individual grade levels, providing an experience that supports the class curriculum. During self-guided visits, students are free to explore the museum at their own pace. We offer a limited number of transportation scholarships through our Robert E. Petersen Free School Bus and Admission Program for qualifying Title 1 schools. For more information, or to inquire about scheduling a school visit, email [email protected] or call  (323) 964-6317.

To receive email updates from our Education Department about:

  • School Tours
  • Teacher Preview Days
  • Free Teacher Admission

please subscribe below or email us – [email protected]


Kids of all ages love the Petersen, and now more than ever with the new technology and hands-on experiences designed into our exhibits. We will offer programs throughout the year that will engage the whole family, from special Family Discovery Days, to guided tours, to workshops on car design, to summer and after school programs, there will be something to engage the entire family in the fun of learning and discovery. Visit our Calendar of Events for upcoming programs.

For more information on Children & Family Programs, contact the Education Department at 323-964-6386 or [email protected].

The Petersen Automotive Museum invites you to explore the history of the automobile and its impact on American life and culture through our diverse collection and engaging exhibits. Our Education Department seeks to deepen that exploration and inspire learners of all ages and abilities by offering a wide range of educational programs and hands-on experiences. We use interdisciplinary educational methods to integrate history, arts and culture, science, and technology into our programmatic offerings. From school field trips, to lectures and classes for adults and children, to family events, and more, you will find that the automobile can take you farther than you ever imagined!