A must when you are in Detroit is the Henry Ford Museum and especially the Rouge Factory Tour. As a big car fan, you definitely have to swing by here. Another big highlight is the Greenfield Village, located right next to the Henry Ford Museum. For all the attractions here you need at least two days to fully enjoy them. The good news is that your ticket is valid until you use it for one of the attractions. If you buy the main attractions (Museum, Factory Tour, and Greenfield Village) you can visit the museum and factory in one day and scan your ticket and visit Greenfield Village the next day.
I recommend you the following itinerary.
Some advice for your visit.
I recommend you to take the factory tour fist and then do whichever other experience you booked. This gives you the chance to spend as much time as you want in the factory and after that, you can plan freely and visit the museum or village. Everything closes at 5 p.m. but the last bus for the factory tour leaves at 3 p.m. Buses run every 20 minutes to the factory and back. You can hop on any bus you want to or from the factory. There is no limit how much time you can spend where.
If you can visit during the week, means fewer people. If you can visit on a Monday or Tuesday because during the school year there are most of the time field trips to this places from local schools and then it gets crowded and sometimes loud. Depending on the age of the kids ;).
Besides the above-mentioned attractions, you can buy an add-on for the village which allows you to ride all the rides inside the village. This includes the Model T, steam train, and horse carriage.
Another feature is the Giant Screen Experience. You can watch different documentaries in the on-site movie theater.
As a car enthusiast, this is definitely a must. The bus to the factory leaves every 20 minutes just outside of the museum. Follow the signs for the Factory Tour and you can’t miss it. The buses are also labeled with Rouge Factory Tour and look like the one in the picture below.
The Rouge Factory was build to be self-sufficient and was able to produce all the materials needed for the car manufacturing itself. On the Rouge River, ships brought ore, lumber and other raw materials which would be processed in the factory to make metal, glass, and more.
The factory tour has five stations. (Overview Map)
- Legacy Theatre
- Manufacturing Innovation Theatre
- Observation Deck
- Legacy Gallery and Store
The first two movies give you background info about the history of Henry Ford, the factory and the current production process at the factory. Then take the lift up to the observation deck, 80 ft above ground. From here you can see the green roof, the factory grounds and lots of information about what you see. This is the first car factory I have seen with an observation deck of this kind.
When you are ready to head to the factory call the elevator and go to the “M” level. There is even a sign next to the elevator but most people pushed the button for the ground level.
From here you can walk across the bridge and get inside the actual factory. There you see the final assembly and testing of the Ford F 150 pickup trucks.
The employees work in two shifts (each 10 hours) from Monday through Friday and one shift on Saturday and Sunday. Workers have a four-day workweek. There are 7400 trucks build per week in this plant.
Unfortunately, there is no photography allowed inside the factory itself. The photo below is property and shared by “The Henry Ford”.
Once back from the factory head downstairs and explore the legacy gallery and the factory store.
The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation
Believe it or not, this museum does show more than only cars build by Ford. It gives you the whole spectrum of American innovation. Everything from agriculture, cars, railroad, weapons, furniture and much more.
Check out the overview map by clicking on the image below. There you can create your own map with your favorite must-sees.
It is like traveling back in time to the industrialization of the United States. I was pretty impressed when I saw the huge and impressive Allegheny locomotive 1601. According to the museum, this is the most photographed exhibit.
This is an amazing collection of American innovation throughout the time. There are numerous presidential vehicles on display as well. Under the theme “Driving America” the Henry Ford shows how people started to go on road trips and explore the country.
The village was founded in 1929 as an educational and historic landmark, maintaining the buildings and stories of America’s past for future generations. The village is basically divided into 7 districts.
Inside the village, there are numerous rides you can take (for an extra fee).
- Ford’s Model T
- Horse Carriage
- Steam Train
The Model T is probably a must as it was Ford’s first and most sold car in history. Below a small video of the rides…
Otherwise, it’s just great to stroll throughout the village and explore the buildings and the history behind it. The most impressive location for me was the roundhouse inside the Railroad Junction district. As a big train fan, this was just amazing to see an actually preserved roundhouse and be able to explore it.
Of course, the best time to visit the village is on a beautiful sunny day. It makes for even better pictures and feeling. However, you can not always pick the weather. Rainy days will give you a less crowded experience on the other side.
Peter has a passion for Traveling, Photography, and Geocaching. These are the best ingredients for amazing adventures all over the globe. “Traveling is fun, no matter if you stay in a luxury hotel or travel like a backpacker.” Peter shares his experiences on his Blog www.gatetoadventures.com
Some of Peter’s photos are published on corporate websites, in-flight magazines, travel guides, and much more.