Monday, May 18, 2015

Michigan: The Henry Ford - Greenfield Village

The Henry Ford:  This is a place that I had never heard of and I now have no idea how that was possible!  One of the teachers at my children's school visited The Henry Ford during a class field trip that her child's school went on.  She was so impressed that she recommended it.  So, I took my family there for an end of the summer mini vacation in 2014 and we will surely go back!

First:  There are a few areas of The Henry Ford.  The main 3 options that I heard about were the Ford Museum, Greenfield Village, and the Ford Rouge Factory Tour.  The factory tours were closed for the week that we were there so we will have to return another time for that.  We were able to visit the village and the museum.  Our visit to The Henry Ford Museum is here.  

While exploring The Henry Ford website I discovered that they offer a variety of "vacation" package options.  We decided to go with a package through the Comfort Inn - Dearborn.  That provided us with two nights stay and two Henry Ford options.  We decided on the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village.  Our decision was easy since, as I mentioned, the Ford Rouge Factory Tour was closed during our mini-vacation.  The Comfort Inn Dearborn is pretty close to The Henry Ford and the rooms were pretty good for the price.

Map of the area.  They bus you to another area for the factory tour.  

We were given these temporary tickets when we checked into the hotel.  

We received these ticket at The Henry Ford ticket booth.
We got these in August of 2014 and had until the end of January 2015 to use them.  

They also waived our $5 parking fee.
Now for our Greenfield Village experience:

You can bring strollers, wagons, coolers...  There are some areas that you would have to leave them outside (ex: when going into some of the buildings) but most of the village is very "wagon friendly".

Some of the additional costs.

I thought the village was pretty amazing!  There is so much to see and experience from so long ago!  Plus, Henry Ford had a huge vision when he started this.  He wanted authentic building, trains, cars, statues, ...  So he had things moved all the way to Greenfield Village.  I was even told that one of the buildings from Abraham Lincoln's life was fragile to move.  So, they ground down the "plaster" walls, moved everything to the village, and then re-applied the plaster.  Now that is a commitment to authenticity!

Of course we had to ride!  TWICE!  We heard that the Model-T's often have long lines so we wanted to make sure we were able to ride the cars once.  We were 2nd in line for the cars but it was a lot longer for our second ride later in the day. Also, some of the cars are different so you get what car is next in line when it is your turn.  We got our car of choice the first time.  We would have had it again the 2nd time but the ladies behind us were crossing their fingers for it during their long wait in line.  You could imagine how thankful and excited they were when we told them they could have the car and we'd take the next one!  It was actually nice to ride in a different model.
We purchased the Unlimited Village Ride Pass for each of us so we could control our cost and explore more of the ride options.
Depending on the day, the village offers a variety of hands on activities.  A friend of mine visited the village about a month before us and her kiddos were able to make candles for $5 each.  You know, take a wick and dip it in hot wax many times until you have a decent size candle.  How cool is that?!?!  I believe that the options are more abundant on weekends but we opted for a week day to avoid some of the crowds.

On the day we visited the village they were not offering candle making.  However, for $5 per person you could make a brass candle holder at the machine shop.  So we did it!

Armington and Sims Machine Shop
Small brass candle holder.

My little man creating a masterpiece!
My little lady with her finished product and a certificate!

For the older guests, you have the option to do glass blowing!  It looked pretty cool!   There were also plenty of staff blowing glass so, if this portion is open, you will be able to see some work in process. 

Create your own glass flower in 30 minutes for $35 (pricing based on our 2014 visit).
Includes instruction, production, and shipping. 
Some of the blown glass art that you can buy at Liberty Craftworks store.
There are many free activities that you can participate in.  I have heard that they get busy but we were pretty lucky with most things the day we went!

That's my kiddos helping with the turntable!

Here is a demonstration on tin work prior to modern tools.

My little man working the print press.

What my little man printed on the print press.

I liked seeing all the work that goes into creating pottery!  There were many phases of this going on.  I liked that because, during one quick stop, we could see the process from start to finish.

The train is actually the first thing you encounter in the village.  But, we passed it to head to the Model-T cars.    The line did get long but it went by fast.

The train has a lot of history!  It also goes around the village with 3 stops (near the entrance, Walnut Grove and Main Street)  to get on and off at different points in the village.  It's approximately a 30 minute round trip ride.

A stop at the Phoenixville Post Office.
For a super low rate (I think it was a dollar) we were able to pick out a postcard and help the postal staff process our postcard to be mailed.  Yes - it is a real working post office so our postcard made it home shortly.
Time to learn about Thomas Edison's work:

The laboratory where the incandescent light bulb was invented.

It amazes me that people thought this kind of electrical hook-up was a good idea!

Live "theatre" - watch a meal taking place between three women as they discuss their day.
Oh, the things we take for granted these days!

There were plenty food options through out the village or you could bring your own.  

This place was really cute, and busy, but we were starving so we moved on to some more hearty options.

Looked good!

We ended up eating here - A Taste of History.
They have a ton of food options that are set-up in stations and are kind-of a-la-cart.

We saw kids with these around and they looked cool!
It's literally packed up in a handkerchief and tied up on the end of a long stick!
It fit right in with the theme of the village.

Some of the menu options to choose from.

Some of the menu options to choose from.

Some of the menu options to choose from.

Some of the menu options to choose from.

My husband got the beef in a bread bowl ;-)
It was huge!!

Another place that we found near the carousel and kids play area.
State Street Lunch Stand.
This is where you can eat your picnic lunch (if you bring your own.)

The menu.
Refillable drink cups!!!  Of course we had to pay extra for this but it was worth it!

Kids play area with some pretty cool stuff!

Kids play area with some pretty cool stuff!
Kids play area with some pretty cool stuff!
Kids play area with some pretty cool stuff!
This was actually crazy.  You spin it around and it can go pretty fast.
One time I saw a couple of kids holding on for dear life as their legs flew out away from the ropes!
Kids play area with some pretty cool stuff!

Kids play area with some pretty cool stuff!
This spins around as you walk on it!

Kids play area with some pretty cool stuff!
There is so much more to this village but I want to leave you with an option to discover!  
Plan on a whole day visit!

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