Sunday, January 17, 2016

Chrysler debuts Pacifica Play Zone at Detroit Auto Show

As a leader in family-friendly transportation with the minivans it produces, Chrysler didn't want to see parents leaving children behind when it came to a trip to the auto show.  Understanding that a visit to these adult focused events could be a bit boring for little ones, the automobile manufacturer created a special kid-friendly area for families to enjoy at the Detroit's North American International Auto Show.  The inaugural Pacifica Play Zone ties into Chrysler debuting its sixth generation minivan, named the Pacifica, at the show.  Located on an upper level overlooking the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) booth allows visitors to engage in activities, games and immersive experiences that highlight the features of the new Pacifica minivan. A Geek Daddy was invited to a tour of the Pacifica Play Zone with Bruce Velisek, head of brand marketing for Chrysler products, on its opening day.

There are a variety of games people can participate in for a chance to win prizes.  The "Stow 'n Go Showdown" was one of the most popular. Players race against a clock trying to stow all the seats in a mock up of the interior of a Pacifica.  If participants can complete the challenge before the clock reaches zero they receive a complimentary pair of sunglasses.

After making your way pass the "Stow 'n Go Showdown", visitors pass through the side door of a Pacifica into the uconnect theater which demonstrates the minivan's enhanced entertainment system and lets kids play video games.

Chrysler has partnered with the Michigan Science Center to provide some educational activities within the Pacifica Play Zone too.  This area lets children participate in hands-on experiments like designing their own wind turbines and electronic building blocks/circuits using littleBits as they connect motors, wheels, lights and switches.  Did you know that you can generate electricity from a potato?  Learn some fun science facts while experimenting in this section of the Pacifica Play Zone.

Sit back in the seats on a green screen backed set in a unique 360-degree photo opp that shoots you to the moon in a Pacifica.  You'll witness yourself miraculously enveloped by a minivan within a video that Chrysler will email to you.  Have some fun with this memento of your trip to the auto show by acting out some funny poses for your video.

A video posted by @geekdad248 on
Chrysler is proud of the commercial grade vacuum they've included as a brand new minivan feature for their 2017 Pacifica and are highlighting that feature with their RIDGID Stow 'N Vac game.  Compete against three other players to be the first to vacuum up all the balls in your section of the game table to win a prize.

The room next to that allows visitors to experience the surround sound available for a Pacifica and try out some of the vehicles front console amenities.

Some other nice aspects include an area that features a larger-than-life interactive experience across multiple 65-inch touch screens, a design center which allows adults and children to color and stylize their own image of the new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica plus share their creation via social media, and a Recharge Lounge where parents can take advantage of comfortable seating and power up their mobile devices while their children explore the Pacifica Play Zone.

The whole area is decorated with artwork by local Detroit graffiti artist Shades who I had a chance to hang with a bit.  This endeavor took him five days to paint and a whole lot of spray cans.  Shades has gone from doing underground graffiti on the streets to making his art with an urban street flare a lucrative and legal career.  He is now commissioned by major corporations and other patrons to create graffiti projects around the world and has two pieces archived at the Detroit Institute of Arts.  This artist with a lot of Motor City street cred has played a big role in graffiti becoming recognized internationally as a legitimate art form.

Chrysler also treated visitors on the opening day of the Pacifica Play Zone with special performances by The BeatBuds.  This uptempo musical duo Jonathan Jonah and Matthew Shapiro (aka Jonny Jingles and Matty Maracas) have a focus on performing for families with young children.  There were quite a few children laughing and smiling as they sang, danced, and played along with The BeatBuds.

A Geek Daddy had a nice tour of this new kid friendly addition to the Detroit Auto Show.  This year's show is open to the public from January 16 - 24, 2016. For more information, visit

Don't live close enough to visit this year's show? Well you're not necessarily out of luck as Bruce also told us that elements of the #PacificaPlayZone will also be incorporated into FCA's displays at this year's Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York auto shows.  So if you live near one of those city's this may definitely be the year to take a family outing to the auto show.

Thank you to Bruce Velisek and FCA for their hospitality and the invite to join them at Detroit's North American International Auto Show.


  1. Looks like you had a lot of fun. I've only been to the auto show once, in 2008 with friends, and it was a good time.

  2. The Pacifica play zone looks like it was a fun area for kids. Very cool of Chrysler to sponsor that.

  3. Sounds like Chrysler definitely had a lot of fun things to do at the auto show. Sounds like a great time.

  4. Sounds like a lot of fun! Great event indeed.

  5. This is beyond awesome. The Auto show has really kicked it up a few notches these past couple of years.