I want to thank Janice Richardson for another wonderful guest post about her experience at the Rouge Factory Tour. It was one of our favorites too!!
If you live near or visit Southeast Michigan, you have to stop at America's greatest manufacturing experience, The Ford Rouge Factory Tour.
The tour takes you to the historic Rouge factory where Henry Ford first began manufacturing automobiles from start (raw ore) to finish in one location. (The name Rouge comes from the Rouge River that the factory was built next to.)
Not only will you be able to see a video about these early beginnings, but you will have the opportunity to walk through the modern Ford Rouge Factory that produces Ford vehicles with the most current technology. Seeing robots in action was a big highlight for my kids!
The tour consists of two theater presentations (each less than 15 minutes long, everyone except the 1 year old in my family was interested in the first movie and we all enjoyed the multi-sensory theater), visiting the observation deck where you can look over the whole factory and see all of the eco-friendly renovations that Ford has implemented, walking through the assembly plant, seeing five examples of vehicles created at the Rouge over the years, and in the spring and summer months an outdoor portion of the tour allows you to see sustainable design in action with water run off.
Don't worry about bringing your stroller. Entrance to the Rouge Factory Tour starts in the Henry Ford Museum where a tour bus picks you up and drives you to the factory visitors' center and tour. Instead of lugging your own stroller on and off the bus, the nice people at the Rouge have made it easy with strollers you can borrow. (And it is easy to borrow them, no waver, form, or money necessary. They even let our family have two!)
It's going to get loud. The Art of Manufacturing Theater is a multi-sensory theater experience that explains how the new F150s came to be. My whole family loved it, but it gets loud. I looked down the row at one point and all of my children had smiles on their faces and their hands over their ears.
Try to visit when the factory is in operation. Be aware that daily vehicle production is contingent on many factors and may be interrupted at any time. We visited on a Thursday afternoon (rather than a Saturday outing) because we wanted to see the new F150s being made. Unfortunately, a winter storm had frozen the railroads making it impossible for some parts of the trucks to get to the factory and most of the machinery had been stopped that morning. If you do happen to find yourself in our shoes, touring a factory that isn't in production, there is still plenty to see. There are videos that show you what you would have seen had production been happening, and we were able to watch inspections of some of the trucks.
Leave your food at home. There is no eating or drinking in the theaters or plant walkways, but if you do need a snack there is a large room with tables and vending machines to save the day.
Plan at least 2-3 hours for the tour.
If you go.
Address. Park at the Henry Ford and buy your tickets there, the bus will pick you up and take you to the factory. 20900 Oakwood Blvd. Dearborn, MI 48124-5029
Hours. The first bus leaves The Henry Ford at 9:20am and the last at 3pm, running every 20 minutes open Monday-Saturday. Factory not in production on Saturdays and select other holidays available on their website: http://www.thehenryford.org/rouge/tickets.aspx
Labels: Ann Arbor, Culture, dearborn