At the Volo Auto Museum, we don’t disappoint
A NOTE TO OUR FANS
Here at the Volo Auto Museum, we pride ourselves on offering our visitors a second-to-none experience.
Anything less is unacceptable.
So, while Illinois appears to be on track to enter Phase 4 of its pandemic-prompted Restore Illinois plan in late June or early July, we won’t finalize our strategic reopening plan until we know more about the limitations Phase 4 would impose on a business like ours.
Trust us. We’d like nothing more than to welcome back our many longtime and loyal fans, as well as those new to the astonishing sights and thrills to be found at the Volo Auto Museum. We simply are not prepared to do so if the restrictions in place will diminish the awe-inspiring visitor experience we’ve worked so hard to establish.
So, what exactly does that mean, and how will it affect the timing of our reopening? The short and most honest answer is, we’re not sure yet.
The Grams family has been committed to continually re-investing in the museum’s future ever since opening our doors in 1960. COVID-19 has not changed that. While closures and economic conditions surrounding the novel coronavirus have harshly affected many enterprises, our classic car sales division has been going strong.
We are in no danger of closing our doors for good.
In fact, we’ve recently purchased the 63 acres north of the current museum grounds to keep future expansion options open on our now 80-acre site. And we’ve been using our down time to make rapid progress on numerous projects that will make the Volo Auto Museum an even more remarkable place to see down the road.
What’s on the horizon?
• Expanded train tours that will include a journey through an “Ice Age” forest, where passengers will see a life-sized wooly mammoth, saber-toothed tiger and more. Tour guides will discuss our region’s glacial formation.
• A new entryway with more space for guests to be out of the weather as they queue for tickets. Three lines will mean less wait time — and more fun — on our busier days.
• A revised traffic pattern throughout the facility that will improve flow and help to ensure that guests are able to thoroughly enjoy all that there is to see at the Volo Auto Museum.
• An all-new, indoor dinosaur park with amazingly life-like, animatronic exhibits. From the Jurassic Park-like entrance to the interactive fossil dig, your children won’t believe their eyes! And just outside, see four towering dinosaurs, some standing as tall as 40 feet, casting their shadows over our new dinosaur-themed playground. See the brontosaurus, the T-Rex and more!
• New ticketing options for guests to choose a visit to the dinosaur park, the auto museum, or both.
• An expanded Showbiz Pizza Place with seating for 180 guests and an added animatronic show to enjoy — the last remaining, fully functional Four Little Shavers barbershop quartet from Chuck E. Cheese fame.
• A Showroom 4 renovation that positions our awesome Disney parade vehicles as well as our giant skate and Liberace piano cars for easy exit so that guests can more frequently enjoy seeing these vehicles on the move parading through the grounds.
• A fully restored, century-old carousel that is truly a sight to behold, from its ornately carved, lighted and mirrored crown to its teal, gold and pink-painted galloping stallions.
That’s not all, but those are some of the chief highlights.
So when will the museum reopen?
We’re closely monitoring the changing business guidelines under today’s pandemic protocols.
While we likely could reopen soon with social distancing, capacity limitation and sanitation measures in place, the prohibitions still in place during Phase 4 could eliminate some of the very experiences that set us apart and make a visit here so memorable. Things like reopening our in-house restaurant, operating our train tours or inviting young guests to climb aboard the carousel would not be feasible if we are severely limited on the number of guests permitted.
Nor could we safely permit people to congregate to enjoy an animatronics show, line up for signatures during a celebrity appearance or gather around costume-clad superheroes and princesses at one of our special events.
“We want people, when they leave here, to rave about the fun that they had,” said Brian Grams, museum director. “We’re not prepared to open if opening would mean a diminished experience.”
As soon as we’re sure we can offer our guests an experience that is in keeping with our standards of excitement — as well as safe — we’ll sound the horn.
Meanwhile, know that we’re busy making sure that your wait will be worth it.