June 27 2017

Memorial Day at Greenfield Village

greenfield village review

 

Greenfield Village is one of our favorite destinations in the Metro Detroit area! Chris has loved The Henry Ford since he was a child so we always try to go there several times a year. Since we both had Memorial Day off this year we decided to check out what was going on in the Village for the holiday. This year they were hosting a Civil War Remembrance event which included both military and civilian camps from the 1860s as well as various presentations throughout the day.

 

greenfield village review

The Experience:

Since it was a holiday, we fully expected Greenfield Village to be pretty busy because events such as this tend to be a big draw. The great thing about Greenfield Village is that it is so expansive so you never feel crowded even when visitation is at it’s peak. They don’t charge extra for these types of special events so admission was still $27 for a single admission or free for members (membership prices start at $65+). There were plenty of gates open to get in so we basically walked right in.

 

greenfield village review

Right off the bat we noticed that there were tents everywhere! There were literally hundreds covering every square inch of open space throughout the village. It was pretty amazing to see all of the volunteers sporting authentic fashions of the times passing the time as one would expect people from that era to behave. Sewing, cooking in fire pits, woodcarving… things of that sort. It really enhanced the typical Greenfield Village experience.

 

greenfield village review

We took our normal route around the village, starting at the Firestone Farm and making out way towards the center for lunch. This year we were pretty excited about lunch because they had announced a NEW MENU featuring authentic period style dishes that you would often find being prepared at various houses around the village. Our resident foodie and oldest of the children was especially excited for some real ‘down home cookin’. We always eat at the Taste of History restaurant because its clean, roomy, and has something for everyone. The new menu is good, however, they did away with some of our old favorites so that was a downer. None the less, everyone enjoyed their meal so that is always a win in our book.

 

greenfield village review

After lunch we walked right into a demonstration right outside the restaurant on the village green. It was some type of memorial service for fallen Civil War soldiers, however, we had arrived late so we didn’t have a good view and couldn’t hear what was being said. A little while later we caught a mounted cavalry demonstration where soldiers riding horses completed various training exercises… it was fascinating!

 

greenfield village review

Recently, they built a new kids play area near the carousel in the village that looks like an old 1940s (?) era construction site. We’ve seen it on previous visit but never stopped in with the kids until now. We have to say that they did an incredible job with this playground and it is a must stop for anyone with kids while visiting. There was so much to do from a rock climbing wall, to a water-squirting gadget. We were very impressed and all 3 kids had a great time!

 

greenfield village review

In the end we spent about 5 hours total in our visit… we could have spent the entire day but since we’ve visited many time before we often breeze through areas we’ve done so many times before. Of course Chris always insists we stop at the gift shop on the way out as he is always looking for a new souvenir lol.

 

Final Thoughts:

Betsy: It is a rarity to find something that all five of us can agree upon but it is true that Chris and I enjoy Greenfield Village as much as the kids do. The yearly membership was a great investment as the Village always have special events like these that we can check out. Of course, Greenfield Village is great even on a non-event day too.

 

Chris: I love that we have the membership card so we can go as often as we like. If it were up to me, we’d be here every weekend lol. Betsy has heard my stories from my childhood visits …literally every single time we go… and she still humors me and listens as if I’m telling her for the first time. That’s love for ya 🙂

 

January 7 2015

Holidays in Henry Ford Museum & Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village – Event Review 2014




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Holidays In Henry Ford Museum:

Beginning after Thanksgiving and continuing right on until Christmas, The Henry Ford gets all done up for Christmas. There are many activities for adults and kids alike and the best part is that there is no extra charge beyond the normal museum admission. $20 for adults, $15 for children, and 4 and under are free. If you live in the area, then a membership might be the way to go so you can have unlimited access all year round. The museum’s permanent exhibits are all open and accessible during this time but you get the bonus of some added attractions such as:

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Story time in an old train car. One of the many wonderful volunteers will read aloud from a selection of children’s holiday tales.

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The most photographed object inside the Henry Ford (the Allegheny Locomotive) get’s all done up for the occasion!

henry ford

There is a giant model train display and a VERY impressive Lego City display along side the trains on the far side of the building as well. But let’s not forget about Santa…

henry ford

Not many people know this… but Santa, the REAL Santa, comes to the Henry Ford every year to visit all the children of Metro-Detroit and beyond. SERIOUSLY! If you don’t believe me go see for yourself. Unlike other places that reportedly have Santa but actually have some guy in a fake beard in the middle of the mall this is the real deal! The other perk of seeing Santa at The Henry Ford is privacy. Santa is in his own little area away from all of the crowds where he has full conversations with each and every kid. This kind of quality experience takes time so expect to wait a good long while in line. It’s always good to be prepared with snacks and other activities to help pass the time… another good tip would be to take turns waiting in line so the kids can stay distracted elsewhere in the museum if they start to get antsy. In the end it is worth it!

So don’t just take our word for it, experience it for yourself! You will find that you will be coming back year after year.

 

 

greenfield village

Holiday Nights at Greenfield Village:

After hours, on select nights throughout December, you can walk the streets of Greenfield Village as it is done up like an old turn of the century Christmas town. Tickets for this event sell out well in advance so you need to plan your trip days or even weeks ahead of time. Prices are $22 for adults, $16 for children, and kids 4 and under are free. Members do not get in free for this event, however, they do get discounted tickets and the ability to purchase them a full month ahead of the general public. They also have special dining packages at the Eagle Tavern available at a somewhat premium price (we have never been but I’m sure the experience is worth it).

greenfield village

You will find the craftsmen working away in the various shops where you can watch them make actual items that get sold right there in the village. There are carolers singing, costumed townsfolk roaming the streets spreading cheer, and even a policeman or two directing traffic.

Greenfield Village

Take a ride on a Model T and go whizzing through the village as the driver honks the little horn at the people walking by. Or have a sing along on a horse-drawn wagon as you tour the streets. Even take a ride on the Carousel, all at no extra charge!

Greenfield Village

Unlike some of the other after hours events, most of the houses are open and done up for Christmas in a manner that was typical of that time period. You can shop at the street vendors for some classic ornaments or get a hot fresh batch of roasted chestnuts for a snack… yes you can even go ice skating!

Greenfield Village

To stay warm, they have small bonfires set up and one of the bonfires we stumbled across even had s’mores! The buildings are also heated but it is advisable to dress very warm for this event because you are spending the majority of the time outside. The event is very kid friendly, however, the weather might not be so keep that in mind when bringing the little ones.

Greenfield Village

Even Santa makes an appearance! After working all day inside the museum, Santa retires to his home-away-from-home where he sits out on the balcony greeting all the boys and girls. Naturally, a few days before Christmas he must return to the North Pole in order to prepare for his big journey …and then he probably goes on vacation after that …someplace warm. 😉

Greenfield Village

The evening ends with a stunning fireworks display while they hold a Christmas Carol sing-along in the square. The gift shops stay open an extra half hour so if you’ve had your eye on something but didn’t want to carry it… you can still run in and pick it up! Overall this was by far THE best event we have ever attended at the Henry Ford for any occasion! We will definitely be going back again every year from now on.

*Disclosure – We received free entry into the Holiday Nights event in exchange for our honest review. We are, however, members and frequent visitors of the Henry Ford and toured the museum on our own. 




Category: Detroit, Holiday Festivities, Michigan, museum | Comments Off on Holidays in Henry Ford Museum & Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village – Event Review 2014
January 7 2015

Wild Lights At The Detroit Zoo – Event Review




detroit zoo

The details:

Starting mid- November, The Detroit Zoo comes alive at night with the twinkling of over five million lights. It’s dubbed “Wild Lights at the Detroit Zoo” and it runs weekends and select nights from 530 – 9 pm through December 31st. Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the gate PLUS a $6 parking fee (both members and non-members pay the same prices). It is STRONGLY recommended that you purchase your tickets in advance because the event sells out most nights. It is also advised that if you have your tickets you should avoid arriving early… normally we suggest the opposite but in this case there are HUGE crowds of people trying to purchase tickets at the gate and things get very congested and backed up for a good hour. The “loop” around the zoo is said to take about an hour and a half if you include the 4D movie experience. (This year is the Polar Express but we are unsure if it will be the same every year).

wild lights

 

Our experience:

This was our first visit to Wild Lights even though we are long time visitors of the zoo itself. Our motto is always to arrive early to beat the crowds but little did we know that was a mistake for this particular event. The line of cars to get into the zoo was so long that it had stopped traffic in the streets outside. Once we got in we barely managed to get a parking spot way at the very top of the parking garage and when we got to the main gate we were greeted by a huge mob. It wasn’t a terrible wait, however, we noticed as we were leaving that there were NO lines at all just a short while later.

wild lights

Once inside, things were less hectic and the crowds thinned out as we moved along. You are directed down a specific path and not allowed to roam free throughout the park. The light displays were stunning and somewhat themed by the area you were walking through. You can not, however, see the majority of the animals… the trails avoid most of the enclosures or they are blocked from view.

wild lights

The carousel was open as was the 4D Theater which was playing a condensed version of the Polar Express (not included in the ticket price). We skipped both of these attractions and continued through the trails. There were many concession stands open along the way including the Arctic Café where people could get holiday-themed snacks like hot cocoa and such. There were also warming stations every so often with space heaters or small bonfires to thaw you out on the colder nights. The full loop took us roughly an hour to complete. We did not dally in one place for too long and kept walking for the most part.

wild lights

Overall we had a great time! Next year we will have learned our lesson and will arrive after the mad rush for the gate opening. The displays were incredible and it was a fun night out with the family. We will definitely be attending this again next year!




Category: Detroit, Holiday Festivities, Michigan, Zoos | Comments Off on Wild Lights At The Detroit Zoo – Event Review
December 2 2014

The Adventurers Holiday Gift Guide For Travelers – 2014

*Note* This post contains affiliate links and/or we may have received something of value in exchange for our review for certain items listed in this post. However, all opinions are our own 🙂

Travelers

It should come as no surprise to you that experiences are at the top of our holiday wish list this year. In fact, the two of us have set aside our traditional Christmas list in exchange for an extra-special trip to enrich our lives in ways a bunch of stuff just couldn’t match. We are taking a trip to Disneyland in California to run in the first ever Star Wars Half Marathon and we can not wait!

Despite our belief that experiences always trump things we would be remiss if we didn’t put together our own list of traveler must haves as we recognize that the right things can make those trips and experiences even more special. Whether they are things you need while on the go, or things to do when you get there, we have tried to cover all of the best things that any Adventurer would be happy to have! Be sure to bookmark this page for easy reference for later on when you are doing your holiday shopping!

 1- The Right Jacket

Grandpa Shorter's

For our next big trip, we will be traveling from the frozen state of Michigan to warm and sunny California in the middle of January. We are going to need something to keep us warm before we leave and after we return. A winter jacket would be WAY too bulky to fit in our precious luggage space so we need a warm alternative. This fleece-lined full zip jacket is both warm, and compact so it will be perfect for getting through airport security and  stowing it in our luggage. Not to mention, it pays homage to our home state with the embroidered design on the front of it so we can represent our “Mitten Love” even out in SoCAl. This awesome jacket is only $36.98 and is available online from one of our favorite places to shop in Northern Michigan, Grandpa Shorter’s!

2- A Good Camera

camera

There comes a time when you have to ask yourself, is my camera really good enough? Now some people without question have all kinds of expensive equipment to take professional photos… but the average every day “Joe” may still be toting that old point-and-shoot camera they picked up at the dawn of the digital age. You don’t have to spend a fortune on a camera in order to get a great picture. DSLR cameras are great but they also take up a lot of room. You may want to check out the latest in point-and-shoot technology and get yourself up to date. This particular camera is the one we use, it’s not the best there is but for the price it takes some incredible photos. All of the Adventurer’s pictures have been taken with this particular camera so you can see the quality. Right now it sells on Amazon for $189, you can find it by clicking here.

 

3- A Portable Battery Backup

+ Lifeguard

Nothing is worse than a dead cell phone while traveling in a strange city! It’s not always easy to find a plug to charge up and even when you do… you are now stuck there until you get enough of a charge to carry on. So why not carry your own backup power supply? They are lightweight and compact. We use the Lifeguard Mini 1 and have found it to be perfect for our needs. It has enough energy to fully charge a single device or it can be used to boost the charge on multiple devices so that everyone had enough juice to make it through the day. For Chris’s full review on the Lifeguard Mini 1, click here. The + Lifeguard Mini 1 sells for $24.97 and is available on Amazon.com

4- A Travel Journal

letterboxing

A journal is a great way to keep track of your adventurers. Sometimes those vivid memories fade and get foggy as you cram more and more experiences into your trip. Why not record the moment: what you did, how you felt, so that you can relive those memories for years to come. OR, as in our case… we are into Letterboxing and use our journal to collect stamps from hidden places along throughout our trips. We purchased a nice bound journal for around $5 at Target and it should serve us well for years to come.

5- Road Trip Entertainment

mad libs

Nothing passes the time like some good old fashioned Mad Libs! I mean, what could be funnier than inserting butt and fart jokes into a poor unsuspecting story?! With Chris being a huge geek we (naturally) go for this Star Wars themed book of Mad Libs from Think Geek. At only $4.99 it makes a great stocking stuffer for any kid, or in our case… a grown man lol.

6- A Good GPS

garmin

These days every smart phone has a GPS and navigation app available, but using it eats away at your data, drains your battery, and ties up your phone so you can’t do much else. That’s why every traveler should have a stand alone, portable GPS.While there are many on the market, in our experience, nothing beats a Garmin. The latest versions of these units even include real time traffic alerts which we have found to be indispensable. Finding you way around an unfamiliar city can put added stress onto what is supposed to be a relaxing trip. Anytime we travel, whether it is a road trip or a flight we are always sure to pack the Garmin. A decent unit will run you about $100 with unlimited lifetime maps and traffic and can always be found on sale on Amazon.

 

7- Photo Books For The Memories

photo book

We got one of these little books after our first trip together as a spur of the moment, sweet, romantic gesture from Chris. Little did he know that his gesture would start a new tradition. Now after every trip, we document the occasion with a matching photo book from Shutterfly. A 12 x 12 book runs $32.99 and they always run plenty of sales so you are bound to catch a good deal!

8- The Gift Of Experiences!

San FranciscoWhat better gift could you give than memories that will last a lifetime? Let’s face it, travel is expensive and sight seeing can eat up a lot of money very quickly! One of the first things we do after we choose a destination is to see if there are any discount packages available. Two of our favorites are the City Pass and the Smart Destinations Go Card. Between the two of these they have most of the biggest travel destinations covered and in some cases you have your choice between the two. So far we have made use of these awesome discounts four times in three cities (we did Chicago twice).

Chicago

Three out of the four times we have chosen the City Pass. In San Francisco, not only did our pass give us unlimited travel on the cities public transportation, but we were also able to see 2 museums, take a cruise, and go to an aquarium as well! The San Francisco City Pass is only $86 per person which is a savings of 50%! To learn more about the SF City Pass visit their website by clicking here. For Chicago, for $94 you can visit 5 of the city’s greatest attractions including the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum! Like San Francisco, this is also a savings of 50% off but the time you save with the line jumping privileges is priceless! To learn more about the Chicago City Pass visit their website by clicking here. There are 11 total cities that offer City Pass discounts so be sure to check them out to see what they have to offer.

miami

Smart Destinations Go Cards are a bit different than a City Pass. They offer unlimited free entry to a huge number of attractions in each of their cities and instead of a single charge they have a per-day pricing system. In Miami, we had 32 activities to choose from for just $65 for the first day. The 2 things we had planned on visiting, Zoo Miami and the Miami Seaquarium, had a cost equal to that of the Go Card so for the same price we were able to visit the Vizcaya Gardens and take a sight seeing cruise at sunset as well! They offer discounts in 9 major cities and you can learn more about them by visiting their website by clinking here.

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So there you have it! The Adventurers Holiday Gift Guide For Travelers! Our only hope is that this has inspired you to go out and have your own adventure this holiday.

November 17 2014

Wild Lights at the Detroit Zoo PLUS Valvoline Instant Oil Change Giveaway!

Disclosure: We received something of value from the Detroit Zoo and Valvoline. All opinions are our own.

detroit zoo

The holiday season is upon us and we can’t think of a better way to celebrate this magical season than by loading the entire family up for a visit to the Detroit Zoo for their Wild Lights event! Wild Lights presented by Bank of America occurs on select nights in November and December and it features 5 million LED lights and over 100 animal sculptures throughout the zoo. In addition to the amazing light displays and sculptures there are other activities including crafts, carolers, ice carvers and even an opportunity to write a letter to Santa! You can also rest your feet by taking in the The Polar Express 4-D Experience at the 4-D Theater.

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Here are some more details about the event:

When: November 22-24, 28-30 and December 5-7, 11-14, 18-23 and 26-31.

Time: 5:30 – 9 p.m.

Pricing: $8 per person in advance and $10 at the gate. Parking is an additional fee of $6 per car.

Tickets: To purchase your tickets in advance click here.

Another thing to note: If you purchase your tickets online before November 21st you will be entered into a drawing for a Family Four Pack of Tickets for Dinner with Santa at the Detroit Zoo!

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Valvoline Instant Oil Change is a huge supporter of the Detroit Zoo and the Wild Lights event and is encouraging everyone whether you have 500 miles or 5,000 miles on your car to stop in at one of their 14 Metro Detroit area locations to prepare your car for Winter. Detroit Zoo members can show their membership card to save 15% off their entire invoice by using the coupon below!

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In addition to the coupon for Detroit Zoo members, Valvoline also has a special giveaway for one FREE Oil Change for one of our readers. To enter the giveaway simply use the Rafflecopter widget below.

Good luck and we hope to see you at the Detroit Zoo Wild Lights Event!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

October 20 2014

Hallowe’en in Greenfield Village – Review




Hallowe'en at Greenfield Village

Hallowe'en at Greenfield Village

Introduction: Every October, Greenfield Village at The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan gets a spooktacular, turn-of-the-century Hallowe’en makeover. No I am not spelling Halloween incorrectly because in the early 1900s the evening was known as All Hallows’ Even and abbreviated as Hallowe’en. Now that you’ve had your history lesson for the day let me tell you about this great event!

Hallowe'en at Greenfield Village

Details: Greenfield Village opens their doors after hours starting at 6:30 pm Friday through Sunday for 3 weeks in October for this event. Ticket prices are the same for adults and children, however, children under 2 are admitted free. (There is also a $5 parking fee per vehicle) Tickets are sold in half-hour increments through 9pm Friday and Saturday, and until 8pm on Sunday. It is highly recommended that you purchase your tickets in advance because these events sell out long before the evening begins. We can’t stress that enough: BUY YOUR TICKETS EARLY! There were countless people at the ticket booth being turned away because they simply assumed they could buy their tickets at the door.

Hallowe'en at Greenfield Village

Activities: You will not be allowed to enter the village until your scheduled time. This is to keep the crowds spaced out and allows everyone more enjoyment and less hassle as they venture around. The gift shop is open for shopping if you arrive early and need to kill some time before entry, otherwise most people just hung around the fountain near the entrance. Once inside, you will follow a path of over 1000 hand carved jack-o’-lanturns around the village where you will see spooky decorations in themed areas and several places to stop and trick-or-treat. You may bring your own bag, however, they had some available for free at the entrance. There were several small performances going on throughout the village with plenty of seating for those who wished to stay and watch. There were several food stands open as well, our favorite was one with classic cartoons playing near Menlo Park.

Hallowe'en at Greenfield Village

Our Visit: This was our first visit to the Hallowe’en event at Greenfield Village so we didn’t know exactly what to expect. We dressed up as the 4 Ninja Turtles and April O’Neil to get into the spirit of things. We opted for a 7pm start time and figured we should arrive a half-hour early in order to get our tickets from “will-call”, stop at the bathrooms, and get situated before going in. We got a pretty good parking spot at that time and would definitely recommend an early start time because parking was a mess when we were leaving.

Hallowe'en at Greenfield Village

Once inside you were in a pretty decent sized mob and everyone was crowding around each of the displays for a good view. People began to spread out fairly quickly and only got bunched up around the trick-or-treat spots. Each was preceded by a costumed character alerting us of the upcoming candy so you could fall into line and be ready without much trouble. There weren’t as many candy stations as we had figured… not that the kids need tons of candy but we were over-prepared with our ginormous-sized bags when a small one would have sufficed.

Hallowe'en at Greenfield Village

It took us a little over an hour to walk the village in it’s entirety without stopping to eat or catch a show. I would have liked to stay and watch one of the performances but the kids were eager to press on. Overall this was a great experience and the kids had a blast! This is definitely an event we will attend for years to come!

hallowe'en

Disclaimer: We were given free entry to this event in exchange for our honest opinions. However, we are huge fans of the Henry Ford and probably would have went regardless.