Hot Wheels Historian, Author and Collector Mike Zarnock will be at the Utica Children’s Museum for a Special Event

On Saturday, December 21st, visitors can meet Mike Zarnock at a “Hot Drinks and Hot Wheels” event the Utica Children’s Museum at 311 Main Street from 11am-1pm.


The Museum will have a “prize wheel” kids can spin to win Hot Wheels cars and other fun items, Mike will be signing autographs, and of course all visitors can view Mike’s amazing collection on the 4th floor. The Museum is home to a portion of his 30,000+ item collection and has cars and pieces that range from 1968 to the present day.


We will also have hot chocolate and Utica Coffee Roasting coffee available for visitors.


Regular museum admission prices apply for the day: $6 for children 12 and under, $8 for adults and $7 for Veterans/seniors/students


Facebook event link:


Mike is, and has always been, a big advocate for the Utica Children’s Museum.


Mike’s collection has held two Guinness World Records (2003 & 2007). It has also been featured in two different “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!” Books (2008 & 2011). In February 2009, Zarnock was inducted into the Diecast Hall of Fame and later that year Mattel Hot Wheels reproduced his altered roadster racing car as part of their nostalgic “Drag Strip Demons” series. Mike has also been featured in many News Articles, Magazine Articles, TV Shows and Documentaries around the world.


Zarnock has appeared at schools, conventions, toy shows and Hot Wheels club functions across the United States and Canada, and has also appeared in movies.



Utica Children’s Museum to Hold 2nd Annual “Museum Idol” Singing Contest During School Break

On Saturday, December 28th, during school break, the Children’s Museum will be holding its second annual Museum Idol Kid’s Singing Contest at the museum at 311 Main Street in Utica.


Local young talent can compete in two categories:  youth (ages 12 and under) and teen (ages 13-18). The competition will begin at 11:00am with the youth category and the teens will follow at approx. 12 noon (dependent upon number of entrants). Competition will take place on the second floor of the Museum. The top three winners in each category will win cash or gift card prizes.


The panel of judges will include Katie Giacovelli from The Observer-Dispatch, local powerhouse singer Astena Smith of Ladies of Soul and “Big Poppa” Gary Spears from MIX 102.5.


The contest is brought to you by the Utica Children’s Museum along with Mix 102.5 and in partnership with the Levitt AMP Utica Music Series. A representative from the Levitt AMP team will be MCing the contest and if Utica is awarded the grant for 2020 (announcement is on December 20th), the winner in the teen category will also win a paid intermission spot at one of the summer concerts at Kopernik Park which includes a great promotional package and the chance to perform in front of hundreds of people.



Parents can submit a video of their child singing by MESSAGING it to the Children’s Museum’s Facebook page by Friday, December 20 at 5pm. They should include their child’s name and age along with their name, phone number and email. Contestants MUST sing over instrumental versions of songs and know the songs by heart.


Video can be taken on phones, one song only please. These will NOT be made public.


10 contestants in two categories (20 kids total) will be selected by ICAN and UCM staff and invited to compete in the live event on December 28th.


Museum staff will message or call parents on Sunday, December 22nd to let you know if your child is invited to compete.

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