Celebrate Independence Day
Did you know that Independence Day was Thomas Edison’s favorite holiday? According to historical documents, Edison woke up early each Independence Day to spend time with his children and set off a giant firecracker in his yard. The children dressed in holiday costumes and they all tossed Chinese firecrackers. Edison even made his own fireworks with TNT added and called them “incendiary torpedoes.” As part of the holiday celebration, the family enjoyed ice cream and watermelon, just as many American families do today.
An invoice from 1893 on the Thomas Edison National Historic Park website lists the purchases made for the holiday. It included “2 dozen packages Electric Torp., 1 Dragon’s Nest, 1 Devil Among the Tailor, 1 Surprise Box, 1 Floral Fountain, 1 dozen Rockets, 1 dozen B.R. Candles, 1 lb. Colored Fire, and 1 Firework Balloon 20 ft.”
On July 4, Edison and Ford Winter Estates will be open 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Guided tours will be offered every hour, on the hour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., weather permitting. Click here for tour information.
Father’s Day – Free Admission for Dad
To celebrate Father’s Day on June 16, dads are invited to visit Edison Ford for free! This is a great way for visitors to enjoy the day with their fathers. Free admission includes a self-guided audio tour of the winter estate homes, museum, laboratory and more than 20 acres of botanical gardens.
Memorial Day at Edison Ford with Free Admission for Veterans
To honor the men and women who have served our country, we are offering free admission to United States veterans on Memorial Day, May 27. Free admission includes a self-guided audio tour of the historic homes, gardens, laboratory and museum.
Veterans will also receive a 10% discount on retail items purchased in the Museum Store, Ford Cottage Shoppe, Garden Shoppe and Edison Ford Shoppe at Bell Tower Shops.
To receive free admission, veterans must present a VA identifcation card or their DD214 papers. In addition, Edison Ford is a Blue Star Museums member and ofers free admission from Armed Forces Day, May 18 through Labor Day, September 2 to active duty military in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines, National Guard and Reserve, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and NOAA Commissioned Corps when presenting a Geneva Convention Common Access card (CAC), a DD Form 1173 ID card (dependent ID), or a DD Form 1173-1 ID card.
Mother’s Day at Edison Ford
Spend Mother’s Day strolling the beautiful gardens of the Edison and Ford Winter Estates. Mom gets free admission all day to the estates and gardens, museum, and laboratory.
A contemporary of Mina Miller Edison and Clara Bryant Ford, Anna Jarvis of West Virginia is credited with establishing Mother’s Day in 1908. Several years later in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson declared the second Sunday in May the official Mother’s Day in the United States, and though it is not a legal holiday, it is the 3rd largest celebrated day in the country. Mina, a mother to six children and Clara, a mother to one, would have been 49 and 48 respectively, on that first official Mother’s Day. Today, there are many popular ways to honor one’s mother, but the original tradition was to give her a single, white carnation and with that, the color white became synonymous with celebrating Mother’s Day the world over.
Visitors strolling through the gardens of Mina Edison and Clara Ford at Edison and Ford Winter Estates during the month of May will be rewarded with many beautiful plants and shrubs sporting white flowers — some with a lovely fragrance. Appropriately, there is the white “Queen’s Wreath,” a tropical vine, which has large hanging panicles of white flowers that look like confetti when they fall to the ground. A perennial favorite is the gardenia and our Thai gardenia is a simple seven-petal, fragrant beauty set against rich green foliage. Near the Moonlight Garden are several crape jasmines – (variety: Flore Pleno) which are large shrubs with clusters of waxy and sweetly fragrant flowers. The compact white bougainvillea, “Miss Alice” can be seen alongside the fence adjacent to Clara Ford’s home, and finally, scattered throughout the Bulb and Tuber Garden and Mina Edison’s Moonlight Garden, the white Easter Lily and white Iris is interspersed. Many of these plants are available in our Garden Shoppe.
This is just a small sampling of the white flowers visitors will see in the Edison Ford gardens during the late spring and early summer season and we hope you have the opportunity to visit and find many more!
Grow Fort Myers
“Grow Fort Myers” is a part of National Public Gardens Week at Edison Ford. Help us celebrate all week long with special events:
- May 15 and 17, 2019 at 10:30am: $10 discount on Garden Tours
- May 17, 2019 at 7:30pm: Free Family Movie Night in the Gardens
- Membership Special: Purchase or renew your Membership during this week and receive one month FREE– it’s a perfect time to become an Edison Ford Member!
And on May 18, join us for a special plant sale, free workshops, and more:
- The following events will take place on the Museum Porch unless noted otherwise:
- 9:00 AM: Debbie Hughes – Director of Horticulture, Edison Ford Winter Estates, “Welcome”!
- 9:15 AM – 10:00 AM: Stephen Brown, Lee County Extension Agent “Fertilizer – Is it really necessary?”
- 10:15 AM – 10:45 AM: Brady Vogt, Everglades Rare Books “History of Commercial Horticulture in Lee County”
- 11:00 AM – 11:15 AM: Green Leaf Worm Farm “The Lowdown on Worm (Castings) Poop”
- 11:15 AM – Noon: Rob Solomon – Edison Ford Winter Estates Rain Barrel Demonstration – To be held under the Pavilion.
- 1:00 PM – 1:30 PM: Lisa Wilson – Edison Ford Winter Estates “Attracting Butterflies to your Garden”
- 1:45 PM – 2:15 PM: Florida Yards and Neighborhoods (FYN) of Lee County “Florida Friendly Gardening”
On-going Demonstrations and Vendor Tables in and around the Garden Shoppe:
- Marie Dyer – Painting a Rain Barrel (Under the Pavilion)
- MW Horticulture – Working with Compost
- Green Leaf Worm Farm – Worm Castings
- Everglades Fine Books – Garden Books for Sale
- Fred Rubino – Creating Hypertufa – Demonstration using Edison’s Portland Cement in a mixture to form lightweight, custom planters
- Florida Yards and Neighborhoods, Lee County Master Gardeners “Ask the Expert” – Your gardening questions answered
- Garden Shoppe – Open 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM offering special discounts!
Sponsored in part by:
Fort Myers Film Festival
Join us for three incredible films shown on the Henry Ford estate lawn along the Caloosahatchee River, including:
- “The Great Train Robbery,” a silent film classic produced by Thomas Edison. The film will be scored live by local musician and film buff, Stephen Brittain! This unique presentation will demonstrate the importance of the score of silent films and touch on the history of the early film industry.
- “A Tale of Two Halgrims,” a documentary about the first directors at the Edison home produced by Ilene Safron of Main Sail Video Productions. For a total of 50 years, Robert Halgrim, Sr. and Robert Halgrim, Jr. managed the estate, building an incredible legacy in our community. Even the most knowledgeable historians will probably learn something from this story, while the rest of the audience – young and old – will enjoy taking a walk through time.
- “Coach,” a feature documentary about a soccer coach who breaks through the glass ceiling of a male-dominated sport. The film is directed by Jordan Axelrod, a New York City videographer who is originally from Fort Myers, and will be introduced by Eric Raddatz with the Fort Myers Film Festival. Axelrod will be in attendance and available for questions after the movie; some stars from the film may also be in attendance.
Refreshments and a cash bar will be available. A limited number of chairs will be available, so guests are encouraged to bring a folding chair. Tickets are $5 for Edison Ford members and $10 for non-members, and may be purchased online. (E-tickets do not have to be printed, simply bring your order number or show your tickets on your mobile device.)
Vintage Base Ball at Terry Park hosted by Edison Ford
Edison Ford will host a day of Vintage Base Ball at Terry Park with three vintage teams playing for top honors in a mini tournament exhibition featuring the Vintage Base Ball Club of Central Florida, Mudville Base Ball Club from Massachusetts, and the Springfield Long Nine from Illinois. The Boss Lady will be on hand in period costume to take charge and guide us through the rules of 1860’s Base Ball and provide colorful insights. Come and experience Base Ball the way it was intended– played for the love of the game, no stats, no stars, no shame. The “tournament” consists of three games, to be played consecutively, beginning at 10:00. Gates open at 9:30.
Admission: Adults $5, Teens $1, 12 and under free.
Special Bonus 1 – attend any of Ellie’s presentations on Friday or Saturday March 22 or 23 and receive a free wooden nickel pass to attend vintage base ball at Terry Park on Sunday March 24.
Special Bonus 2 – Purchase a $5 adult admission at the Terry Park gate and receive a wooden nickel good for $5 off one adult admission to Edison Ford Winter Estates.
Click here to purchase tickets.
Thomas Edison’s 172nd Birthday Celebration
Come celebrate Thomas Edison’s birthday on the museum west porch. Festivities include performances by Edison Park
Creative and Expressive Arts School students and birthday cake will be provided. The famous inventor is honored each
year for his contributions to society, including one of his most notable inventions; the incandescent lightbulb.
The party is sponsored in part by the Edison Pageant of Light, the organization founded in 1938 and began holding annual events to memorialize Thomas Edison. The birthday party is a free public event with limited seating and does not include admission to the site.
Edison Ford Closed in Observance of the Thanksgiving Holiday
Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!