on May 15, 2013
While not in Milwaukee, it is located close enough to be considered as a day trip since it is about an hour south of the city. I have been going to Volo Auto Museum for about 15 years, but this was my first visit in probably eight. A lot had changed at Volo Village, mostly for the good.First about Volo Village. This shopping area is comprised of a number of old barns set up with consignment antique shops. You can find all sorts of things as you wander from building to building . . . farm tools, clothing, household items, beanie babies, and on and on. For those visiting to shop, there is no admission fee. Where they get you, however, is if you want to tour the four buildings and the back-lot of old cars and military vehicles. Back when I first started going to Volo, the admission fee was around $3 or $4. For my visit on May 13th a whopping $11.95 for adults . . . with prices going up on May 25th of this year to $13.95.The first thing that past visitors will note that has changed is the entrance area into the auto museum. Back around 2000, folks entered through a small gift shop where they paid their fee and received a ticket and a token coin to get into building four. Now the admission entrance is a large snack bar area set up largely like a "Mel's Drive-in" knockoff. The Betty Boop Burger Bar is open daily 11a to 4p and features . . . well of course, burgers plus hot dogs, nachos, pizza and chicken nuggets. They also have milk shakes, soft drinks, beer and wine. With both indoor and outdoor seating areas, it is a nice addition to the Volo Village.Inside the auto museum, visitors can take a leisurely stroll though the four indoor displays of cars dating back to the turn of the 20th century (building 4) as well as a number of original autos/vehicles used in some well known blockbuster movies . . . including Ghostbusters, Terminator III, Back to the Future and Pretty Woman. Buildings 1, 2 and 3 contain a mix of old vintage cars (1950's through the 1970's) as well as some from Hollywood. Not only cars used in movies, but also owned (or driven) by movie stars. The classic yellow Lamborghini owned and driven in NYC by Angelina Jolie is one such car.The real attraction for me, however, is simply the vast assortment of vehicles on consignment for sale at Volo. Reportedly with more than 300 autos on display, it is possible for baby boomers to cruise the aisles and lust for that dream car of their fantasies or perhaps even a classic they once owned before knowing it would be a classic some 25-40 years later. As I walked through the buildings on this visit, I was reminded of the 1969 (Dodge) Super Bee I owned, as well as the '68 Camaro R/S my college sweetheart drove when we first met. What I wouldn't give to have either of those cars today in restored condition.In today's economy, I'm guessing there aren't a lot of people out buying restored antique autos. In fact, it's probably safe to assume with some folks hitting tough times, such luxuries as these may be finding themselves at antique auto museums such as Volo.For me, the midweek visit was on the way to my friend's house down in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg, Illinois. Volo Village is located about an hour from downtown Chicago or the City of Milwaukee. It is in the weekend resort area of Fox Lakes and not far from the state line and Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.They are open seven days a week, 10am to 5pm. They do offer special discounts to kids, seniors and members of the military. They have several special exhibits opening later this month so you'll want to check out their website (www.volocars.com) to see what's coming this year.
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