Get a taste of “family, fun and farming” that’s not too far away from metro Detroit. Flint is home to a free community resource – and farm-tastic way to bring history to life for your kids – called Applewood estate. From early May through late October, kids and parents can roam this sprawling Michigan Historic Landmark to discover how life was “way back when.”
More than 100 years old, Applewood was built in 1916 by Charles Stewart Mott as a family home and gentleman’s farm on a 34-acre patch of land. It included an apple orchard, flower-filled gardens, barn, chicken coop and greenhouse.
Today, the estate is owned by the Ruth Mott Foundation and still offers these amenities – along with a variety of engaging exhibits that focus on the Mott family and how they lived on the property for more than 80 years.
First, you and your kids can explore the “big apple tree” interactive exhibit that showcases some 30 different kinds of apples grown there. Next, head into the barn for an apple-sorting activity, which aims to teach kids where their food comes from. Then, take a stroll around the house and grounds to get the fuller picture.
There’s also an option to take a guided tour of the estate, which includes a “behind the scenes” peek at the basement bowling lanes (yep – it’s got ’em!). Plus, check ahead for festivals throughout the year, including the Savor the Summer Festival and the popular Fall Harvest Festival, along with children’s story times every Friday and daily scavenger hunts for kids.
And if you’re looking to make a day of it, you’re welcome to pack a picnic and eat it on the grounds.
“Whether you want to relax or get busy, Applewood has a range of activities for families with children,” Megan McAdow, director of collections and education for the Ruth Mott Foundation, says. “Our motto is ‘learn, play, grow,’ and children and adults alike get to do just that.”
Guests can visit Applewood 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursdays-Sundays. Admission if free, but if you choose to take a guided tour, remember that advance reservations are required for the “first floor” and “behind the scenes” tours, which both last approximately one hour.
Strolling house and walking guided tours do not require reservations, but the house tours are only available select days throughout the year. Be sure to check ahead to plan your family’s day at Applewood estate in Flint.