Disclosure: The Henry Ford Museum has provided my family with a pass for Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village. All opinions are my own.
Today we visited Greenfield Village with my in-laws who are visiting from Pennsylvania. Since it is Memorial Day weekend, they are holding Civil War Remembrance celebrating the end of the Civil War. However, since it was my in-laws first trip to Greenfield Village we focused on showing them some of our favorite spots in the Village. Even though my family has been to Greenfield Village at least 10 times, we have yet to visit everything they have to offer. Each time we visit, we try to have at least one new experience.
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 visited the Glass Blowing shop (a perennial favorite of my daughter’s), the Tin Shop, pottery, 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 located behind the Tin Shop and was a new discovery when we were at Greenfield Village for Holiday Nights. This time, 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 was given the print she created to take 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 in the back. 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 near one of the 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.
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We ended our visit to the Railroad Junction 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 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 left at 12:10 and 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, and 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 not overcooked, lightly coated in butter, and quite tasty. They also offer Hobo Lunches for kids – either hot dogs or PB&J.
I have heard that Taste of History has a new menu for 2017. I hope they kept some of my favorites.
Porches & Parlors
The Porches & Parlors section features various homes from different regions and eras that have been transported or recreated at Greenfield Village. We typically visit for Holiday Nights, so it was interesting to see how the homes look in their everyday decor. It also gave us a chance to visit Robert Frost’s home from Ann Arbor when he was poet in residence at UM. At Christmas, Santa is on the porch and the house is closed.
Along the Porches & Parlors section, my daughter made a Tussie-Mussie – a floral posey. The flowers in the posey each have different meanings.
Civil War Remembrance
With the Civil War Remembrance, re-enactors have tents set up throughout Greenfield Village. Troops were marching in the streets, preparing cannons, and running drills on the Village Green. Several of the houses, like the Susquehanna Plantation were also representing the Civil War era when the house would have been occupied by Union soldiers in exchange for protection for the women there alone while the men were either in the army or jailed for their southern sympathies.
The 2017 Civil War Remembrance runs from May 27-29. There will be a national moment of silence celebrated at 3p on Monday.
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, so I made sure to take some today from outside the fence.
We had a great time at Greenfield Village today. I am hoping that it works in our schedule (and with the weather) to return to Greenfield Village later this summer to watch one of the historic baseball games. My daughter’s class has been learning about baseball this spring. Her teacher has been teaching them to play, and also about baseball history. Games begin June 11 and are every Saturday and Sunday at 1:30p through August 21.
The Civil War Remembrance increases the crowds at Greenfield Village. Despite the number of people there, I never felt overly crowded in any of the historic buildings. We arrived at 9:45a shortly after opening. With the Village opening at 9:30a, it was a great time to find parking without having to wait in the initial rush at the ticket line. I do recommend buying tickets online and printing at home. You will be able to skip the ticket window which is where we saw a line when we arrived and will also save 10%.
When visiting various buildings, 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.
Visiting Greenfield Village
Greenfield Village is located in Dearborn, less than 45 minutes from Ann Arbor. Greenfield Village is open from 9:30a-5p daily from April 15 through October 29. From October 30 through November 26 it will be open on Friday, Saturday, and Sundays only. From Thanksgiving Weekend through New Years Eve, Greenfield Village is only open on select evenings for Holiday Nights.
For 2017, admission ages have changed for Greenfield Village and Henry Ford. Previously, admission was free through age 4 and Youth tickets included teens. Now, only children 2 and under are free and the youth ticket ends at age 11. Tickets for Greenfield Village are $27/adults, $24.50 for Seniors (62+), $20.25 for Youth (3-11), and Free for children 2 & under. Memberships start at $125 for a Companion pass which is the membership that I had when my daughter was 4 (at the time admission was free until age 5). It allowed me to bring a guest on any visit – either my husband or a friend. The Companion Flex or Family are also great options.