Just off a narrow, winding street in Bloomfield Hills hides one of the great manor style houses of America's early twentieth century. Cranbrook House and Gardens is situated on over 100 acres of rolling hills, formal flower gardens, wooded trails and streams, in addition to the science center, art museum and educational campuses.
A family seeing a respite from the weariness of travel or just the stresses of daily life would surely find rejuvenation in the natural beauty of Cranbrook Gardens. Thanks to the generosity of several major donors, families visiting during the 2016 season are treated to free admission.
Begin your visit by parking in the lot off of Lone Pine and acquiring a map at the visitors center where restrooms are also located. Although the admission is free this season, visitors are still encouraged to donate to help maintain these lovely gardens, as they are maintained by a non-profit garden society. Additionally, please note the gardens are open only during the hours of 9-5 so please don't plan a late evening stroll after the day's activities!
While it would be quite difficult to truly become lost, the trails and paths do meander a bit and there are many lovely sites tucked back into the woods or in an unexpected location, so using the map is highly advisable.
Some of the highlights for us including walking across the small bridge and heading to the amphitheater. Once you get to the amphitheater be sure to stand on the stage and look out at your imaginary audience and perhaps sing a verse or two of your favorite song, or recite a Shakespeare soliloquy- you would not be the first to do so and the kids will have a great time.
Many people also head to one of the smaller gardens on the west side of the house and sit as the water in the fountain provides a lovely focus for reflection and peace.
Be sure to stand in the garden on the east side of the house and look at the lovely formal garden below you ending in a trail up a hill and through an archway to the art museum grounds.. If you are lucky and no one is standing in the arch, it appears as if the arch leads to the sky itself.
This garden is a popular site for senior pictures, engagement pictures and the like, but any family would be sure to want to be prepared to take many photos of their children and family on these gorgeous grounds.
If one is planning a visit, please be sure to check out the website to be sure there are no special events on the day of your visit and know that admission to the gardens is free in 2016 but admission to the house, science center and art institute still require a fee.
Family Travel Questions to Discover
1. What is the history of the Cranbrook House and Gardens-when was it built, for whom?
2. How many statues are located within the gardens?
3. What style house is the Cranbrook House?
4. How does a sundial work?
5. How many fountains are there in the gardens?
6. Do some flowers attract more bees than others? Why is that?
7. What type of mammals, birds and insects did you observe during your visit?