Gas is going for 85 cents a gallon at the Kid's Town Garage. Unleaded is 90 cents.
It's a self-serve station. You've got your air, your water, your windsheild wiper replacements, your oil. Just select what you need and pay the cashier. Then hop in your car and roll away.Pretend to roll away, actually. Because the cars are big and the drivers are small, the Children's Museum of Utah has made sure the cars in their newest display won't really move.
The display opened on Friday. But Alex and Kate Dennehy and Daniel and Emilie Gayler got a preview last Wednesday, giving Deseret News and museum staff their first chance to see kids playing in Kid's Town Garage.
Mary Perry, chairwoman of the museum's board of directors, was quick to thank Chevron USA for sponsoring the display. "Lagoon donated the cars," she says, "and Chevron donated everything else - money, equipment, signs, paint, and even the services of their painting crew."
The result is authentic.
"Whoosh," said 4-year-old Alex as he pretended to fill the tires with air. Meanwhile his baby sister sat grinning in the driver's seat. She didn't know where she was going, but she certainly was enjoying playing with the big kids.
Eight-year-old Daniel pretended to pump gas, then took the wheel while his 11-year-old sister sat in the back seat. "It was fun," she said later, but confided that 11 is getting kind of old for pretending.
Pretending is what it's all about in this particular display, and in the adjoining bank and grocery store, says Perry. "The purpose is creative play."
The museum hired a designer to help them blend the three businesses into an exhibit which fosters "the flow of pretend." Now children can not only pretend to run errands - stopping at the store, bank and gas station - they can also pretend to work in the gas station and take their pretend paycheck to the bank then take the money to the store for pretend groceries.
Perry adds that "safe" is even more important than "fun" in children's museums. "You can have the most grandiose ideas in the world, but if children can get hurt or break it, the display's no good," she says. "We get 60,000 children a year through the museum. We tell them to touch, touch, and use, use."
As their visit to Kid's Town drew to a close, Alex was climbing from front to back seat - proving the display is safe and sturdy. And Emilie was inspecting the bank - proving that 11 might be to old to pretend to drive a car but perhaps not too old to pretend to withdraw cash.