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1,000 Hot Wheels cars

 Posted: 2:00 AM August 20, 2010

If my two kids described their ultimate fantasy, it would go something like this:

There would be 1,000 Hot Wheels cars of all different makes and models. Kids could fit together 1,000 pieces of track and send those cars racing across straightaways, zipping around corners, whizzing through loops and flying off jumps.

The cars would face demolition derbies, flame pits, explosions, slime pits and mud slides.

Then a real Tyrannosaurus rex would come and eat everything!

Except for the last part about the dinosaur, that fantasy is coming true this weekend at ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum in Ashland.

The first annual Extreme Hot Wheels event takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Museum staff and volunteers have been collecting donations of cars and tracks with a goal of reaching 1,000 cars and 1,000 pieces of track.

They've also gathered pipe that cars can travel through, scrap wood and boxes, art supplies, glue, tape and tubs to hold mud pits, flame pits and lakes.

Kids will come up with the ideas for building a Hot Wheels world, and adults will help them create it.

"We're basically trying to do kid-directed play, " said ScienceWorks Executive Director Mark DiRienzo. "Kids can build ramps with adults helping them. They can learn how to create jumps and loops."

If kids want to build towers, or scenery such as city buildings to surround the courses, adults will help with that as well.

The event will take place outdoors at the museum.

"You want them to be able to build big," DiRienzo said.

While kids are having fun, they'll also be learning about scientific principles such as centrifugal force, he noted.

For anyone who thinks that the Extreme Hot Wheels event sounds like a boy-centric weekend, I would encourage you to take a girl to ScienceWorks this Saturday or Sunday.

As a kid, I would often get dolls for Christmas. One of my favorite parts of Christmas Day was going over to my cousin's house, where I could play with his new Hot Wheels cars and racetracks, or drive his remote control car, fresh out of its wrapping paper.

My son and daughter have amassed a collection of more than 100 Hot Wheels cars, 50 pieces of track and two booster engines. Yes, my daughter has a purse shaped like a chihuahua, complete with a pink strap, that she got from her grandma. But her favorite things to carry around in this girly accessory are — you guessed it — Hot Wheels cars. I'm hoping all this time spent playing with cars early in life will help her feel comfortable with technology, math and physics.

ScienceWorks is located at 1500 E. Main St. Admission is $5 for kids ages 2-12, $7.50 for teens and adults and $5 for seniors ages 65 and over.

Every kid attending the Hot Wheels event will get a new Hot Wheels car.

For more information, visit www.scienceworksmuseum.org or call 541-482-6767.

Reach reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-479-8199 or vlaldous@yahoo.com.


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