our overnight stop in Frankenmuth to our morning destination in Dearborn, MI. We had set aside the entire morning to explore The Henry Ford Museum and we wanted to arrive right as it opened to maximize our time.
With kids ranging in age from 4 to 17, it can be hard (if not nearly impossible) to pick vacation stops that will please everyone in our crew. A lot of times, I find myself balancing stops for the little guys with stops for my daughter and stops for the older boys.
The Henry Ford seemed like a perfect pick for most of our family. My husband's father and grandfather were in the car business for many years, so needless to say he developed a passion for automobiles. Combine that with the fact that four of our five kids are boys (who also love anything on wheels) and it seemed like we could not go wrong. I was right, the boys all loved it! And I was also happily surprised by how much my daughter and I enjoyed our visit too.
I think the reason it appealed to everyone was the fact that the Henry Ford Museum is much more than just a display of cool vehicles, it is an American history destination housed in a absolutely gorgeous interior setting. We didn't just see beautiful planes, trains, cars, and trucks. We saw chunks of things out of our American history lessons like Rosa Park's bus, the presidential limo Reagan sought cover in when Hinkley attempted to assassinate him, and the actual chair President Lincoln was sitting in when he was assassinated on April 14, 1865 at Ford's Theatre. I could go on and on, the museum has hundreds of fascinating items with links to our past on display.
One could easily judge how fascinated the older kids were, by watching the use of their phones. They weren't wandering about texting distractedly, they were engaged in their surroundings and snapping up photos left and right in areas like the "Driving America Exhibit" and "Heroes of the Sky" to share on Instagram later. Our four year old twin boys were open books too, practically skipping from one "awesome amazing" car to another.
Our small window of time set aside for the Detroit / Dearborn area this trip, didn't allow for us to visit the special Titanic Exhibit right at the museum. We also had to pass on seeing the Greenfield Village or the Ford Rouge Factory Tour this time around. I'd definitely love to make a trip back there to see those items with the family. Maybe next year!
If you are planning a visit, my contact at the museum suggested devoting about 3 hours for the Factory Tour, a half a day for the Henry Ford Museum - more if visiting the Titanic Exhibit, and close to a day to cover all 80 acres of Greenfield Village. I can definitely confirm that the Museum itself can easily take half the day. If you have little ones, you'll be happy to hear that children five and under are free to their destinations, except for special daytime/evening programs.
We spent the remainder of our day driving to visit a few colleges in the Ohio area before arriving at our Sandusky, Ohio. More on that stop soon, in the meantime don't miss our post on our first day of family travel.
Disclosure: Please note, we were provided with admission by the museum. All opinions expressed are my own.