Disclosure: The Henry Ford Museum has provided my family with a pass for Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village. All opinions are my own.
Greenfield Village is a great option for a Wednesday Activity Review. The last few weeks of summer are a great time to visit. Firstly, the weather has definitely cooled down from the crazy temperatures this summer. Secondly, Greenfield Village is offering free kids admission (ages 11 & under) to Michigan residents through September 5 with the purchase of adult or senior admissions.
We last visited Greenfield Village over Memorial Day weekend with my in-laws who were visiting from Pennsylvania. The Civil War Remembrance celebration was happening that day. However, we focused on showing them some of our favorite spots in the Village. Even though we have visited Greenfield Village many times, we have yet to experience everything. Each time we visit, we try to have at least one new experience.
The best tip that I have for Greenfield Village is to stop and chat with the presenters. We have learned so much from some of these conversations.
We started and ended our visit at the Liberty Craftworks. Our second stop was in the Armington & Sims Machine Shop.
We never knew the Machine Shop existed, so we had our new experience right at the start of the trip. The Machine shop offers an opportunity to machine your own brass candlestick ($5 – minimum age 6). My daughter was ready to signup thinking it would be a nice complement to the candles she made a couple of years ago. Then, she found out the candlestick was for a birthday cake size candle and decided to pass. The candlesticks are adorable and would be great for a dollhouse!
In Liberty Craftworks we also visited the Glass Blowing shop (a perennial favorite of my daughter’s), the Tin Shop, Pottery Shop, and the Weaving Shop. After an initial great visit years ago, we have had a couple of disappointing visits to the Tin Shop. I was so glad that we had a great presenter at the Tin Shop.
The Printing Shop is behind the Tin Shop. It was our new discovery when we were at Greenfield Village for Holiday Nights in 2015. This summer, my daughter was recruited as an apprentice to help make prints of the passenger rules for the Wells Fargo Stage Coach line. After her help, she got to take the print she made home.
We haven’t visited the Roundhouse in a couple of years. Since our last visit, they have added a section about how steam engines work when you enter at the rear of the roundhouse.
From the second floor you get a great view of the roundhouse and can learn a little about the engines at the Henry Ford. When you return to the first floor, you also have the chance to go underneath their largest engine and see what the underside of the engine looks like.
We timed our visit to the Roundhouse to be close to a Turntable demonstrations. In the past, we’ve watched them use it to turn an engine. At the time, my daughter was too young to volunteer (age 6 minimum), so now at 10 we wanted to give her a chance to participate. My daughter volunteered to help out with moving the table. She moved it while empty and didn’t want to wait for the full 20 minute demonstration to see if they would load an engine on the table or not.
We ended our visit to the Railroad Junction area with a trip into the Power Plant. We have visited a few times over the years, but each time we have a new presenter we learn new historical facts. I did not know that Henry Ford got his start working at the Detroit Edison plant and that is how he first met Thomas Edison. In the Power Plant is Jumbo Number 9, the last remaining engine from the first electrical Power Plant in New York. It was given to Thomas Edison who gave it to Greenfield Village for display.
We had lunch at Taste of History, an indoor cafeteria style restaurant. We had lunch early (11:20) to beat the crowd. It turned out to be a great decision since the line had grown quite long by the time we finished eating at 12:10p. People were circling the dining area looking for tables with their food.
My favorite meal at Taste of History is the Beef Bread Bowl which is filled with gravy, beef, and topped with mashed potatoes and more gravy.
My husband had a Pulled Pork sandwich and my daughter had Macaroni and Cheese. Our portions were huge and could have been shared!
My husband gave our daughter some pork from his sandwich to top her Mac & Cheese. My only complaint is that none of our meals came with fruits or vegetables. We ordered two sides of green beans to share between the 3 of us. I was quite impressed with the beans. They were well cooked, lightly coated in butter, and quite tasty. They also offer Hobo Lunches for kids – either hot dogs or PB&J.
Porches & Parlors
The Porches & Parlors section features various homes from different regions and eras that have been transported or recreated at Greenfield Village. Our previous visit to Greenfield Village was for Holiday Nights. It was interesting to see how the homes look in their everyday decor this time. It also gave us a chance to visit Robert Frost’s home from his time in Ann Arbor as Poet in Residence at UM. At Christmas, Santa is on the porch and the house is closed.
Our one disappointment was that the Scotch Settlement School did not have a program running inside. We have had some great experiences there over the years.
Kids At Work Playground
One area that we did not visit on this trip was the Kids At Work Playground that was added a few years ago. My daughter had a chance to try it out last year with her cousins and loved it. Last year, I did not get any good pictures of the playground. This year I made sure to take some pictures from outside the fence.
Greenfield Village has a 1913 Herschell-Spillman carousel featuring a menagerie of animals that include goats, storks, zebras, and even a frog. Only Herschell-Spillman made frogs for carousels and they are the only American carousel animal to wear clothes. In our many visits to Greenfield Village, we have only been on the carousel twice. And both times my daughter got to ride the frog.
Visiting Greenfield Village
Greenfield Village is in Dearborn, less than 45 minutes from Ann Arbor. Greenfield Village is open from 9:30a-5p daily from April 15 through October 30. From October 30 through November 27 it will be open on Friday, Saturday, and Sundays only. From Thanksgiving Weekend through New Years, Greenfield Village is only open on select evenings for Holiday Nights.
Tickets for Greenfield Village are $26/adults, $23.50 for Seniors (62+), $19.50 for Youth (5-12), and Free for children 4 & under. For the remainder of the summer, Greenfield Village is offering free kids admission (ages 11 & under) to Michigan residents with the purchase of adult or senior admissions. You can save 10% off the adult or senior tickets by buying them in advance online. Don’t buy the kids admission tickets online, they will be handled at the gate. The website does not list restrictions on the free kids ticket (i.e. one or two kids tickets per adult ticket purchased).
Another great option for visiting the Henry Ford or Greenfield Village is purchasing a membership. Memberships start at $110 for a Companion pass which is the membership that I had when my daughter was 4. It allowed me to bring a guest on any visit – either my husband or a friend.