By: Heather L.
My husband and I both grew up in different parts of Michigan and have our own favorite places we try to visit when we are in the area. Our trip this summer was different though, because this time we got to share it with our daughter. The top three places on our list to visit this trip were; The Henry Ford Museum of Innovation and Greenfield Village, Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park and the city of Frankenmuth. These three places have always been at the top of our list when making recommendations; however, are even more so now that we have first hand experience with a little one.
The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation and Greenfield Village
Both Greenfield Village and The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation are located in Dearborn, Michigan on the same grounds, which is why I am putting them together as one pick for our Top 3 Michigan Travel Destinations. However, they do each have their own admission and, as we learned, are quiet large in size. For that reason, I’m separating them into their own articles but you can find the link to the other half at the bottom of the articles.
My husband always told me about his visits to The Henry Ford, but we have never had a chance to go together, until now. From the moment we walked through the main entrance I was in awe. Surrounding us were quotes, images and a stunning architecture that immediately drew us into the experience on which we were about to embark.
The first half of our day was spent outside in Greenfield Village. As soon as we entered through the main gates were were transported back in time to something more of a colonial feel. Old houses that had been relocated and preserved from around the country surrounded us. A train was boarding its final set of passengers before taking off on another trip around the park giving patrons a unique touring experience. This was a favorite of our little one, as she marveled at the monstrous steam engine that had been fully restored to working order. After the train left the station it unveiled a whole world of possibilities.
Our first stop was the full working farm, complete with all the animals you would expect. When we first arrived the workers had just begun bailing a field of hay. By the time we left to visit the museum, they had already finished bailing the entire field and had moved onto their next project.
From the farm we traveled down Liberty Craftworks where we enjoyed watching the skilled artisans as they explained the historic process and progress through the ages, as well as sharing anecdotes as the characters they portray within the village. From blowing glass and shaping metal to weaving on a loom and pottery throwing, there was something for everyone. A lucky few patrons are invited to join the villagers and get a hands on experience working with (some of) these crafts. For specific times and events, see their website, www.TheHenryFord.org.
Next up was Railroad Junction where you will not only get to see a full sized locomotive, up close and personal, but you may also be lucky enough to see a demonstration of the railroad turntable in action, which is performed a few times a day. The entrance to the roundhouse also featured some hands-on learning activities for the little ones. By this time our little ones were also given a special treat as one of the tour trains had stopped behind the roundhouse at a watering station before finishing the last half of their adventure.
The last major stop for our time in the village was at the finely crafted Donald F. Kosch Village Playground. This playground is located right in the middle of the Main Street district. Located near a series of eateries and pavilions, this is a great lunch spot and activity for the little ones. Equipped with climbing structures, a real crane, an old fashioned truck, multiple water attractions for the kids to play in and more; little ones would be content spending their entire trip to the village in just this area.
Because we were visiting the village and museum in one day, we were only able to see about a third of the village. We highly recommend planning a full day for each if possible. On our next trip to Michigan we will definitely be going back to see everything else there is to see: the home and lab of Thomas Edison, an entire section devoted to the life and legacy of Henry Ford, homes, shoppes and more.
After we spent the morning in Greenfield Village, we made our way inside to the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation. Although the size of the museum is only a fraction of the village, there is no less to see and do during your visit. Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation Link
A few tips before moving inside:
- Bring sunscreen for the village!
- Bring spare clothes if you plan on letting the kids play in the water features at the playground.
- Picnicking is allowed, so feel free to pack some yummy snacks.
- If you forget your stroller or wagon, both can be rented for the day.
- Sensible shoes are a must as there is no shortage of dirt and gravel roads and pathways.
Hours: Open 7 Days a Week: 9:30am – 5:00pm (Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Days)
Address: 20900 Oakwood Boulevard, Dearborn, MI 48124‑5029
***A special thank you to the Henry Ford Museum for inviting The Playful Parent. The Playful Parent is not paid to write articles. All pictures and information presented are based on an unbiased opinion. It is an honor to share tips and suggestions to help make vacationing fun and easy for families.***