I was fortunate to to attend a blogger tour for Visit Ypsi Now this past weekend and I have GREAT Ypsilanti experiences to share with you. Ypsi is a short drive from the Ann Arbor/Saline area (10-25 minutes) and has a super cool vibe, relaxed atmosphere and incredibly affordable dining and activities. If you have not explored the town yet, you must!
I was so glad that the Michigan Firehouse Museum was part of our tour. I can’t tell you how many times I have driven by and thought, “I should take my kids there.” Here is a little review to help you decide when you should plan your trip to the Michigan Firehouse Museum.
Decide on your experience. The Firehouse Museum is a an amazing space full of history, stories and culture. There are willing tour guides to take you through the museum and offer you as much information as you are interested in hearing. If you have very young children who want to mostly wander through on their own, that is okay, just let your tour guide know.
Plan your time. If you want to do the full 3 level tour, plan for at least 1 hour. If you are worried about time or only have a certain amount set aside, make that known.
Prepare children with the “no touch” rule. Because every item in the museum is a valuable historical artifact, you can’t climb on or touch most items. Prepare your kids before they rush in and try to drive a 100 year old fire truck.
Listen, listen listen. If your kids are school-age, they should thoroughly enjoy the tour of the Firehouse Museum. Not only do they get to see fire engines throughout the ages, but they also get to hear stories about what is was like to be a fire-fighter which brings the inanimate objects to life. It’s fun to experience old-school sirens, nets and bells and there is a portion of the tour dedicated to fire safety that would be especially interesting to most children.
Go as adults. While we sometimes set museums like this aside as “children’s activities,” I found it just as interesting, perhaps even more so, to attend as an adult. To tour is full of great information and there are really fantastic historical exhibits to peruse. I loved going through the actual 1898 fire station and seeing how the firemen lived and worked. We were able to tour their bunks, see the fire pole and walk through how they used to respond to a fire from the emergency phone call to rigging up the horses and taking off. It made for a very enjoyable afternoon.
|The museum houses a signed Norman Rockwell. What a fun addition to the 1898 fire station.
Visit the basement. In an effort to give the children some hands on activities, they have created a little preschool area where the kids can try on real fire fighter gear, do puzzles, play bean bag toss, color, and play with fire trucks. This is a great way to end the tour or keep the littles busy while the older kids or adults enjoy a more in depth visit.
|The museum houses fun for everyone. From top left: the firepole, the bunks, the garage area of the fire station, the old telephone system, the arcade games, bean bag toss, ride on toy, uniforms to try on and fire trucks to play with.
Bring your wallet. There are a few fire-fighter arcade games and a little ride on toy in the basement that all cost 50 cents-$1. There are also a bunch of fun firefighting toys and trinkets you can purchase at the end of your tour. If you are not planning on spending extra money, it may be good to prepare your kids before hand.
|This cool fire-engine print is for sale for only $5 at the museum. It would be darling framed in a little boy’s room.
Enjoy your loot. Each child walks away with a fun fire hat and a fire-fighter badge. Free stuff is always a hit!
If you go.
Address.110 West Cross Street Ypsilanti, MI
Hours. Tuesday-Saturday 10-4, Sunday 12-4, Closed Monday. The museum is usually not too busy, but you may want to call if you know when you will be stopping by to make sure there is not a school group scheduled.
Admission. Adults $5, Children 2-16 $3, Under 2 Free. The museum is a non-profit organization, so all of the money collected goes back into maintaining the museum and providing cultural events for the community. They take cash and credit.
Membership. Membership options are available.
Free. Free admission to the museum on July 4th and during the Heritage Festival.
Parking. There is no parking at the museum, but it is easy to find a metered space in a lot close by or on the street.
Groups. This is a great destination for scouting groups, school groups or summer outings. Don’t just limit it to kid groups either. Adults would love the experience! If you have 15 or more people, the admission is $3 for adults and $2 for kids…a fantastically affordable outing.