Saturday, June 13, 2015

A day at President Andrew Jackson's estate

A year ago I hoped that our family could wrap up Year 3 of the Tapestry of Grace history cycle with a trip out West. In April, my wish came true! Our first stop was the estate of our country's 7th president, Andrew Jackson.

At the end of this post I have included 7 tips for visiting The Hermitage with kids.

The museum is full of artifacts, and the big boys swooned over all the swords and coins.

The garden I enjoyed the most. There are signs posted throughout the property with numbers you can enter on the audio device (included with admission) to hear stories and facts. A4 was delighted to press the numbers himself and listen to the kids version, hosted by Poll the parrot.

C17 and N17 did the house tour without the little ones and me; I'm just not brave enough to take a wiggly toddler and preschooler inside the historic building. The little ones had plenty to explore while their big brothers participated in the guided house tour. 

7 Tips for visiting The Hermitage with kids:

Get there early (or buy online) and book the horse-drawn carriage ride right away. Otherwise, if your kids spot the wagon tour and want to ride, you'll have to walk back to the visitor center to buy tickets and probably wait a couple hours for the next available ride. We arrived about 30 minutes after the estate opened and booked the wagon tour when I bought admission tickets, and the first wagon tour available was at 11:30am, which worked perfect for us! The tour is $11, but kids under 5 ride free. 

Save your money on the upgraded "Presidents Tour" admission package. We didn't try the multimedia tour, so I can't comment on its value, but the audio tour included with the "Generals Tour" was plenty for us.

Pack lunch. There is an on-site dining option, which is probably a good choice as well, but the picnic tables were conveniently located next to the Visitor Center. 

Wear a hat or sunscreen if you go on the wagon ride. The wagon is uncovered and mostly in the sun. The breezy ride is pleasant, but sunburns, not so much. 

Use your AAA card to save on admission. 

Interact with the student interpreters. A school group was participating in a field trip, and pairs of costumed students were stationed throughout the grounds with scripted facts to share about Jackson and the estate. 

Plan to stay for 4 hours or more. 

Cool Andrew Jackson items from Amazon (affiliate links):