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
November 12 2014

Adler Planetarium Chicago – Travel Guide




adler planetarium chicago

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Just a quick hop, skip, and a jump from the Shedd Aquarium in Downtown Chicago, lies the Adler Planetarium. These two, along with the Field Museum, make this little corner of the Windy City a one-stop-shop for a full days worth of activities. Naturally, being a planetarium, the Adler hosts all things space related… from exhibits to shows you will find all of the wonders of the galaxy inside.

adler planetarium chicago

 

Whether you only have a few hours, or the whole day, the Adler Planetarium has an admission package to fit your needs. With a general admission ticket you have access to all of Adler’s basic exhibits. You can see a full size Mars rover replica or check out a collection of telescopes from the ages. The all-access pass is just that… all access! Check out unlimited shows in any of the three theaters and even see the stars as they were in 1913 inside the Atwood Sphere. However, for our money, we highly recommend purchasing the Chicago CityPass! This gives you all of the benefits of the all-access-pass plus admission to FOUR other Chicago attractions. On top of that you also receive discounts in the gift shop and cafe so it more than pays for itself in no time!

adler planetarium chicago

The planetarium is VERY kid-friendly and has a large space-themed play area for the kiddies to run around and go crazy. Within the exhibits there are also many hands-on activities geared towards children to keep them entertained and engaged. Our favorite was the space rocket launch simulator located at the very top of the play area in it’s very own space capsule.

adler planetarium chicago

On our visit there were 8 shows to choose from playing in the 3 theaters at various times throughout the day. We only had time to see one show so we picked the newest show called Destination Solar System. The show was decently entertaining with a live narrator taking you on a tour through space with the help of a futuristic computer pilot. Had we researched the shows ahead of time we probably would have picked a different one, only because this show was mostly a fictional story and I would have preferred seeing one that was more composed of facts. That is just completely based on personal tastes though.

adler planetarium chicago

Overall we really enjoyed the Adler Planetarium. Since we did not bring our children on this visit we ran out of things to do pretty quickly. Of course we could have stayed and played with all of the hands-on activities ourselves but we were on a tight schedule and had many other places to go in Chicago for the day. With our CityPass, we had to choose between this and the Art Institute. Since we had visited the Art Museum already we chose this one instead for the experience. We will probably flip back and forth between these 2 attractions on each subsequent visit as we plan on making it out to our favorite city at least once a year.

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If you are interested in getting the CityPass for yourself, we only ask that you click on our affiliate link when you decide to make your purchase. You will get the same great deal that we got, and they give us a little tip for helping to spread the word.




Category: Chicago, Illinois, museum | Comments Off on Adler Planetarium Chicago – Travel Guide
September 17 2014

Art Institute Of Chicago – Travel Guide *BackTrack*

 

 

art institute chicago

This post is part of our “BackTrack” series where we write about places we have visited pre-blog. We are focusing on Chicago in preparation for our upcoming return visit. Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links.

art institute chicago

The Art Institute Of Chicago is arguably THE greatest art museum in the United States. If you are a fan of the arts and have the means, we HIGHLY recommend you see this museum at least once in your lifetime. Located in the heart of the city, this unmistakable landmark building is a work of art all in itself. Inside you will find highly recognizable works from just about all of the great masters.

art institute chicago

General admission is $23 for non-residents or $33 for a “fast pass” admission which enables you to skip the entrance lines and get expedited access to special exhibits. We, however, purchased a CityPass which granted us all of the “fast pass” privileges PLUS entrance to 4 other major Chicago attractions. Another option is the Smart Destinations  GOChicago Card which we did not use but have purchased from this company in other cities. Both discount options have their strengths and weaknesses which you should weigh when visiting a city that offers a choice. If you plan on visiting multiple attractions these are a MUST HAVE! They save you both time and money and you may just visit something you wouldn’t have otherwise …creating a new and unique experience.

art institute chicago

One of the things we did on our trip to Chicago was take the “Ferris Bueller Tour” (created by Chris) which included a stop to the Art Institute in order to recreate such iconic scenes as the “stained glass window kiss”. Don’t remember it? It’s a thing …seriously …Google it! Anyways it was difficult because we did it selfie style and there were crowds of people so it was slightly awkward at the same time lol.

art institute chicago

The museum itself is HUGE! You could spend days in there studying all of the art. It’s separated into several wings that house different genres, styles, or art medium. You could easily get lost or miss an entire section if you’re not careful. While we enjoy looking at art… we are not ones to sit and study them all. We are more of the “ok seen it move on” types so we were able to knock out the entire place in only a few short hours.

art institute chicago

As much as we would like to visit the museum again on our return trip, we are buying the CityPass again and you must choose between this and the Adler Planetarium. Since neither of us have been to the planetarium we decided it would be worth the sacrifice in order to experience somewhere new. And subsequently be able to write about yet another great Chicago attraction. If you plan on visiting The Windy City, I highly recommend you purchase a CityPass… preferably from our site using one of the links provided as it helps offset our travel costs and it is GREATLY appreciated!
Buy Your Chicago CityPASS Here!

Category: Chicago, Illinois, museum, Sight Seeing | Comments Off on Art Institute Of Chicago – Travel Guide *BackTrack*