Henry Ford Museum

No visit to Detroit would be complete without an afternoon, or more likely, a full-day excursion to the Henry Ford Museum. Also referred to as the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, it is the largest indoor-outdoor museum complex dedicated to history in the nation. Greenfield Village refers to the spread of historic buildings that Henry Ford felt compelled to save after the move of his childhood home for conservation purposes spurred a large amount of press. The Henry Ford Museum Michigan is actually three institutions a bit different from the others. You have the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, The Ford Rouge Factory, and then the Benson Ford Research Center.

The Henry Ford Museum Michigan is an establishment in Americana. The collection of over 100 historic buildings, and the museum grounds overall, together house some of America's most notable relics, automobiles, machinery, locomotives, aircraft and, well...the list goes on. It is a testament to Ford's dedication, and his resulting legacy, to preserve the country's history. In his words, "I am collecting the history of our people as written into things their hands made and used...." Included among the many rare exhibits are the John F. Kennedy limousine, Abraham Lincoln's rocking chair from the Ford's Theater, the Rosa Park's Bus, the Wright Brothers' Bicycle Shop and Home from Dayton, Ohio, and Thomas Edison's New Jersey Menlo Park laboratory, where he developed the incandescent light bulb. Tickets for adults are $14, Seniors pay $13, Youth ages 5-12 are $10, and under 5 get in free. The Henry Ford Museum Michigan is open every day from 9:30-5:00. Parking is easy, and there seems to be no long lines to wait in.

The Ford Rouge Factory Tour, located along the banks of the Rouge River, focuses on a behind the scenes understanding of the modern automobile factory. It's an additional $14 for adults, $10 for youths, and free to ages 2 and under.

The Benson Ford Research Center takes advantage of the Henry Ford Museum collection of valued archival resources to educate visitors about some of America's most important people, places and things. It is open and free to the public. Rounding out the complex is the Henry Ford Imax Theater, where cinema classics, as well as current cinema releases and full-length documentaries focusing on pop culture and the American experience are featured in glorious surround sound on a giant screen 6 stories wide and 8 stories tall! Movie fees apply.

Various Henry Ford Museum Packages exist to help visitors maximize their overall experience. The Full Service Henry Ford Museum Packages include deluxe accommodations at a number of higher-end chain hotels, with breakfast and sometimes transportation to the museum grounds, depending on which package you choose. They can run anywhere from $110 to over $300, taking into consideration the size of your clan, and specific hotel amenities.

The Historical Package, is centered around staying at the The Dearborn Inn, built by Henry Ford in 1931, with 222 rooms, and colonial home suites. It includes tickets to two attractions, deluxe accommodations, and breakfast at the Ten Eyck Tavern, all for about $160 for the single package, and $280 for the double package. Limited Service Packages are basically a simpler version of the Full Service Packages, with mid-range accommodations, and go from about $80 to $280, depending on the number of tickets, and the duration of stay.

The Boutique Packages have you staying at either the Omni Detroit Hotel River Place, a luxurious four diamond spread, or The Inn on Ferry Street, with its four Victorian mansions and two carriage houses. The Omni, one of the nicer downtown Detroit hotels, costs $134 for the double package, and The Inn on Ferry Street will cost you $169 for the double package, and about $300 for the two nights double package.

Rounding out the Henry Ford Museum Packages are the Bed and Breakfast Package, and the Camping/RV Park Packages. There are four different Michigan bed and breakfasts to choose from for the former, and offer charming and comfortable settings, averaging between $130-$340, again depending on whether you choose one or two nights, and whether or not you want a suite or not. The York House Bed & Breakfast is your most affordable option at $85 for the one night double package. The latter is for campers or RV's who will set up their own accommodations at the Detroit — Greenfield KOA, which offers a private spring-fed lake and forest setting, with 30-amp full hookup sites. The price is $70, for the one-night package, and $104 for the two night affair.

You should note that for all options, the Double Package is defined as a room with two tickets to two attractions, while the Family Package is a room with two adult tickets and two child tickets to two attractions. The attractions to choose from are The Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village, and the Ford Rouge Factory Tour. Whichever package you choose, or however you decide to visit, the Henry Ford Museum Michigan experience will stay with you for a lifetime.

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