The Gettysburg battlefield site is huge, so with this in mind, we almost didn’t go to the adjoining Eisenhower Farm. In hindsight, we’re glad to have taken a couple of hours and made the short bus ride.
The Eisenhower National Historic Site is the only home that Dwight Eisenhower ever owned. The home and farm are adjacent to the Gettysburg National Park and can only be accessed by shuttle bus from the Gettysburg Visitors Center.
When we stepped off of the shuttle there was a Park Ranger waiting to tell us about the home and begin our tour. This was a guided tour through the only house that Dwight Eisenhower ever owned. When asked later my 12 year old son said that was the fact that impressed him most from the tour. It was a lovely house but not grand or magnificent. It felt very family oriented and ‘down to earth’. The decorating style was very typical of the 50s and reminded me very much of my grandmothers home. There were lovely porcelain figurines in the formal living room and pink tile in one of the bathrooms. My daughter was surprised to learn that he only had one television set (though we also only have one in our home).
Once you completed the tour of the home you were free to do a self guided tour of the grounds and visit the gift shop. We did not have a lot of time and were unable to see most of the farm but the areas that we saw were beautiful. My son really appreciated that he had his own skeet range. At the gift shop and visitors center you can watch a short film about Eisenhower, see some displays about his career and get the materials to complete a Junior Secret Service agent badge program. This is a cute program similar to the Junior Park Ranger program that is available at many sites. Each child gets a free workbook and upon completion of a set number of activities receives a badge and certificate.
This was a great way to start our study of the Cold War. The guide in the house even told us a story of how Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev had actually visited with Eisenhower and his three ‘secret weapons’ (his grandkids) at the home. My children found that story so interesting that it was the part most retold to people when they asked about our visit.
We were only able to spend about two hours at the Eisenhower National Historic Site but if I were planning a trip and had the time available I’d say you really need 3 or 4 hours to see everything and get the most out of the trip. It is free for fourth graders and their families with the ‘Every Kid in a Park’ pass but otherwise costs $9 for adults and $5 for children.
If this sounds interesting but you can’t make it to Pennsylvania to see it in person they also offer this free virtual tour for kids. There is also an online version of the Junior Secret Service Program.
Where: 1195 Baltimore Street Gettysburg, PA 17325 (This site is adjacent to Gettysburg National park and only accessible via a shuttle from Gettysburg National Park)
Hours of Operation:
The Eiesenhower Shuttle Bus will depart from the Gettysburg National Military Park bus station at 10 am, 11 am, 1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm, 4 pm.MAY 26 – OCTOBER 28:
9:00 am – 4:00 pm
The Eiesenhower Shuttle Bus will depart from the Gettysburg National Military Park bus station every hour.
Adults (ages 13+): $9.00
Youth (ages 6-12): $5.00
Kids (ages 5 and under): Free
Groups of 16+ (ages 6-12): $5.00 per person
Groups of 16+ (ages 13+): $7.00 per person
Homeschool Discount: Included with your 4th graders Free National Parks Pass
There are drinks available for sale in the gift shop on site and there is a restaurant and snack bar back at the Gettysburg Visitors Center.
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