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Indoor Fun: The Henry Ford Museum

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If there is one place you MUST visit when you come to Michigan, it is The Henry Ford Museum. I thought it would be just like other museums (which I love), but it was especially incredible! I found myself shedding tears during the movie, in awe as we watched them assemble a real truck, and drooling over the dreamy antiques and classic cars. If you have never been, GO!
And, HUGE news…we will be giving away 4 tickets to the museum and discount advice TOMORROW, so be sure to come back!
A big thanks to Jennifer Singer for the detailed write up and great images. She shares tips and tricks to make the most of your Ford experience, and I added a few of my favorites at the bottom of the article too! (all images by Jennifer Singer unless otherwise noted).
The Henry Ford Museum is a great way to explore American history and innovation as a family. It’s huge, with room to roam and explore and a museum for kids and adults of all ages. In fact, our almost 3 year old cries every time we have to leave.
If you go, you must see
TRAINS.  If you have a little boy, start here! After you enter the museum, on the far right you will see full sized trains inside the museum. Next to the trains, there is one of the largest model train sets I have ever seen! If you are real enthusiasts, you will love chatting with the knowledgeable staff. Behind the train set there is a large open area with train and Lego tables set up for kids to play and explore…the perfect place for a museum break!

 

DRIVING AMERICA. This exhibit is why people come to the museum! Check out how America has been on the move from Henry Ford’s first automobile to the eco-friendly Prius. You can study the old classics and enjoy some recent favorites. Don’t miss the collection of race cars, which my son exclaimed, “Are just like Lightening McQueen!” There is nothing quite like viewing history front the front seat of a car.
HEROES OF THE SKY. The 1939 Douglas DC-3 will catch your eye as you walk into the museum, and you should take some time to check out the large exhibit exploring the first 40 years of aviation history. You can even see a contemporary reproduction of The Spirit of St. Louis, the plane Charles Lindbergh took on the first nonstop flight from New York to Paris in 1927.

 

 

PRESIDENTIAL LIMOUSINES. Don’t leave without stopping to see the limousine John F. Kennedy was riding in during the assassination and Theodore Roosevelt’s horse-drawn carriage.

DRIVING AMERICA THE MOVIE. This is a movie in the Driving America theater (part of the Ford Rouge Factory Tour) that is so fantastic! I am usually one to skip the videos, but I was so happy we stayed to watch this 13 minute one. The story of Henry Ford and the automobile was so inspiring, I was glad my boys were watching. For me, this is a can’t miss and you should watch it before touring the rest of the museum and factory…it makes it so much more meaningful. Highly recommended.
FORD ROUGE FACTORY TOUR. This is an add-on to the regular museum, but if you are only going once, you should spend the extra $15 and take a tour of the Ford Factory. The children and adults in our group were completely fascinated as we watched a real Ford truck being assembled. If you have engineers or car enthusiasts in your group, stop here!
image via Ford Rouge Factory
Other Items of Interest:
 
      The chair Lincoln was assassinated in
      The camp bed George Washington used
      The actual bus Rosa Parks was in when she refused to give up her seat
         
11946 Dymaxion House, designed by R. Buckminster Fuller
If You Go
HOURS: Open 7 days a week from 9:30am-5pm, closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Rouge Factory Tour closed Sundays.
ADDRESS: 20900 Oakwood Boulevard Dearborn, MI (about a 40 minute drive from Ann Arbor)
ADMISSION:
Adults: $17.00
Seniors (62+): $15.00
Youth (5-12): $12.50
Children 4 & Under: FREE
*Admission to the Factory Tour is extra. They also offer membershipsranging from individual to family, which give you access to both the museum and Greenfield Village and discounts to other events and services.  If you plan on attending the museum and the Village more than once or twice as a family, then a membership is a great deal.
PARKING: Parking is a $5 fee and will be added onto your museum entrance. IMAX patrons and Members do not have to pay the parking fee.
FOOD: You may bring your own food and drinks to the museum. The museum also has three options for dining.
The Wienermobile Café– serves hot dogs, chips, drinks and snacks in a cafeteria setting. Prices range from $3 hot dogs to $11 combo meals. (Only open on F, Sat, Su from January 1st – March 31st, open daily from April 1st–December 31st)
Lamy’s Diner – an old dining car located in the Drive America exhibit, serves hamburgers, sandwiches, coffee and snacks. A Great way to experience some history! Sandwiches and entrees range from $5-$7.50. 
 
Michigan Café – a restaurant featuring regional cuisine in the form of salads, sandwiches, hamburgers, entrees, pizza, dessert and drinks. All items are under $7.50 and are served in a cafeteria style in a large dining room.
CHECK THE CALENDAR: Always check the Henry Ford’s calendar of events. They always seem to be hosting something interesting!
INSIDER TIPS:
*This is a great stroller-friendly museum. In fact, it is so large, I would recommend bringing one if you have a short-legged companion!
*The best time to hit the museum is during the weekdays, as the weekends and holidays tend to get busier. I took my toddler on a Monday morning just after they opened and it was not busy at all even with a few large school groups. Other days of the week have been crowded, though manageable, and not too overwhelming.
*The Ford Museum hosts four FREE days, hosted by Target. These days fall on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents Day, Labor Day and Election Day. This is a great way to see the museum without having to pay the high admission and parking fee. These days do tend to get crowded and you might have to wait in short lines to view certain items. Though, to be honest, it’s such a great deal that a little waiting won’t hurt!

 

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