Car aficionados come from miles around to enjoy the outstanding collection of automobiles on display at the Antique Automobile Club of America Museum (AACA) in Hershey, but you don't necessarily need to be a car enthusiast to enjoy the tour. I found it both interesting and enlightening.
The AACA welcomes nearly 70,000 guests per year, with rotating exhibits to keep visitors coming back. Volunteer John Marsh said, "We rotate our cars in and out, so people can see something new every time." The three-story,70,000 square foot building houses nearly 100 cars and visitors follow a timeline that progresses through the years starting with an Early Model T.
A permanent exhibit, which fascinates many visitors, features the world's largest collection of Tucker 48 automobiles built by Preston Tucker, a forward-thinking entrepreneur from Michigan. To learn more about Tucker's creativity and ingenuity, consider viewing Francis Ford Coppola's 1988 film, "Tucker: The Man and His Dream." The three vehicles on display at the AACA include the first 'production' prototype, along with number 1022 and 1026--the only Tucker built with an automatic transmission. Tucker crafted each stylish car by hand and touted them as "the car of tomorrow." Today only 27 are known to exist.
(Rare Tucker automobiles on display at the AACA)
The AACA is also home to the largest collection of antique buses under one roof. Located on the lower level, the collection includes a 1912 White SF 1038PA bus run by Martz Lines, a 1915 white 15-45 Fullington Autobus Co (Clearfield, Pa) and a 1924 Fageol Safety Coach 12-B.
Also on the lower level is a cute, compact diner, which dates back to the 1940s. The restored eatery, once known as the Flo-Inn Cafe, was transported from Wichita, Kansas and was in operation until the 1980s. You can read more about the Flo-Inn Cafe here.
If you're trying to think of something different to do with the family during the holidays, the AACA is a good choice. The annual "Cars and Christmas" celebration features a vintage Hess toy truck display, a Grinch scavenger hunt and Sammy the 29-ton Snow Plow greets children at the front of the museum. A perennial favorite for children of all ages is the popular 12-foot-fall, 26-foot long, custom-made Kissmobile cruiser which resembles three Hershey's Kisses and is parked at the main entrance. An interactive custom train display designed under the leadership of founder Ed Maloy, is also a hit with the little ones.