These are good times for Corvettes – and good times for the National Corvette Museum, too.
Officials at the NCM reported this week that attendance climbed 3.5 percent in 2016, with 228,363 visitors making their way to the Bowling Green attraction. That attendance number was second only to the sinkhole-aided 2014 figures.
“We are still feeling the effects of that unfortunate event, to where perhaps in many ways it was actually more of a positive for the Museum,” said Wendell Strode, Executive Director. “Last year, on the second anniversary of the sinkhole, we opened a new interactive exhibit called Corvette Cave-In. The display tells the story of what happened, why it happened, how the Museum recovered, as well as educational elements on caves and our karst landscape. The interactive and hands-on elements have been quite popular with our visitors. And, of course, we still have all eight ‘sinkhole Corvettes’ on display, six of them exactly how they were when they were pulled from the hole,” added Strode.
Strode also pointed out the Museum added a Maintenance and Preservation area where guests can watch museum-owned vehicles being worked on. He said sometimes the door is raised and visitors can interact with the staff while working.
And there’s plenty of work to be done, with another nine cars being donated to the Museum last year, making a total of 79 Museum-owned Corvettes.
We were excited to hear Strode say that the Museum is working on a program to offer rides in some of these classics starting in 2017. Having owned 10 Corvettes over the past 34 years, this writer has never had the pleasure of riding in a C1 or C2 Corvette. Sign us up for this program now!
Meanwhile,, across the interstate, the NCM Motorsports Park also continues to thrive, besting 2015’s attendance numbers last year, with more than 57,000 visitors dropping by in 2016.
The Motorsports Park also celebrated the opening of the Holley Control Tower and Winding Road Race Shop last July, with nearly 15,000 square feet of functional space, including meeting rooms and classrooms available for private rentals, a second-floor viewing deck to watch track activity, and new retail space selling everything from T-shirts to track gear.
“This summer, not only did all of our rental clients report increased participation in their high-performance driving schools and other recreational motorsports events, but we were also able to get involved with promoting the motorsports hobby to local high school and vo-tech students through the Bowling Green Area Chamber,” said Mitch Wright, General Manager. “The new ‘On-Track’ program saw two schools, the Warren County Advanced Technical Center (high school) and the Southern Kentucky Community and Technical College, each rebuild a car from the ground up and turn it into a track-worthy competitor. It was energizing to see what these kids could do, as well as the friendly competition between the two cars at the Holley LS Fest. We were happy to play a small role in spreading the love of motorsports,” added Wright.
If you’ve never been to the Museum or the Motorsports Park, we urge you to consider a trip to the beautiful countryside of Bowling Green and take in these great attractions soon.
National Corvette Museum
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