Featured Businesses Category: Family Activities + Attractions
Can you imagine what it would be like to live in the ’20s in an 88,000-square-foot home with 110 rooms? One step inside Meadow Brook Hall, located on the campus of Oakland University in Rochester, and that’s just the experience you’ll get.
“Meadow Brook Hall is the former home of Matilda Dodge Wilson. She is the widow of automotive pioneer John Dodge, and she is also the founder of Oakland University,” says Shannon O’Berski, the director of external relations for Meadow Brook Hall.
While the automaker passed away before the home was built, Dodge Wilson, along with Dodge’s two children, shared the home with Dodge Wilson’s second husband, Alfred Wilson, along with Richard and Barbara Wilson, the couple’s adopted children.
Today, the magnificent historic home welcomes families for a variety of tours and special programming to learn about the home’s history and get a glimpse of life back in the 1920s. Visitors can imagine what it’s like to be the Dodge Wilson family living in this home – with children running through the hallways and pets roaming the living quarters, too.
“It’s the fourth-largest historic house in the county, but it feels warm and welcoming,” O’Berski says. “We try really hard to make it feel very inviting for our visitors and our guests, and the majority of the furnishings are original, which makes the experience authentic.”
There are a few guided tours to choose from, she says. The House Tour allows visitors to enter the first three floors of the family’s living quarters.
The Behind-the-Scenes Tour, which is offered at different times throughout the year, allows families to see rooms that aren’t on the original tour, including bathrooms, children’s playrooms, staff wings and more.
“In the summertime and through the fall, we have our Walking Estate Tour, where people can tour the gardens and the playhouses,” she says.
The Walking Estate Tour welcomes visitors to stroll the grounds, learn about the history of the estate – and even gain access to Knole Cottage and Danny’s Cabin.
The Tudor-style brick cottage is three-quarter scale and was built for Frances Dodge’s 12th birthday. It was intended to help Dodge Wilson’s daughter learn about managing a home.
As for Danny’s pint-sized escape, the rustic cabin was perfect for the family’s outdoorsy son.
Max capacity for each tour is 20 guests. Each tour is $15 for adults, $12 for ages 62-plus, $7.50 for ages 6-12 and free for newborn to age 5. Tours are offered daily and times vary throughout the seasons. Please visit https://meadowbrookhall.org/tours/meadow-brook-daily-tours/ for current tour times.
During the holiday season, guests can conduct self-guided tours to marvel at more than 55 decorated trees, a 10-foot-tall Poinsettia tree and other attractions that are decked out for the holidays. Cleo’s Kid Adventure keeps kids engaged throughout the tour with a scavenger hunt. In 2019, the tours begin on Nov. 29 and run through Dec. 23. During the final weekend, families can visit with Santa and his reindeer, too.
Throughout the year, there are a variety of community programs offered at Meadow Brook Hall. Stay up-to-date by visiting the Community Programs section of its website.
In addition, Youth Programs are continuing to expand at Meadow Brook Hall. Visit the Youth Programs section for other details.
For more information on tours and special programming, visit the Meadow Brook Hall website.