Edison and Ford Winter Estates (EFWE) will be open on select nights this summer, so that visitors can enjoy the cooler evening air along the riverfront. On Tuesday, August 4 and September 1 from 6-9 p.m., the public is invited to take an evening stroll around the property. Guests will also get to listen to a talk in the Moonlight Garden about fragrant plants and the history of the garden.
These two evening openings for “Strolling in the Moonlight” coincide with dates that a full moon will be near. Visitors will be able to stroll the grounds at their own pace and can walk onto the porches of Thomas Edison’s and Henry Ford’s winter homes. Small groups of 10 people will be escorted into the Moonlight Garden for the presentation (masks are required). Guests may also watch a video about the Moonlight Garden in the historic Edison Caretaker’s House (masks are required in indoor spaces).
The gardens will also be open two additional nights during the summer months: Friday, August 14 and September 18 from 6-9 p.m. During “Summer Nights at Edison Ford,” visitors will be treated to music on the Ford lawn and have a chance to see a spectacular sunset over the Caloosahatchee River. Guests will also be able to stroll the grounds at their own pace, while practicing social distancing.
Discounted admission for the nighttime openings will be $20 for non-members and $15 for members. Artichoke and Company will be on site with a cash bar, and Coastal Dayz Brewery will have beer available for purchase. Guests may bring a lawn chair or blanket to relax and watch the sunset. Tickets are available online or in the museum ticket office. The museum, museum stores, and research laboratory will not be open.
Following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control, the organization is undertaking the following safety measures: staff are wearing protective masks and undergo temperature checks each day, surfaces are cleaned and sanitized daily, protective shields have been installed at the ticket counter, visitors are required to wear masks in indoor spaces and on guided tours, signs are posted throughout the site alerting visitors to practice social distancing, and hand sanitizer stations are available.
Today, historic preservation is the reason many guests decide to visit. The homes and other historic structures have been restored to the 1929 time period, which is evident throughout the site. Tourists from all around the globe visit to learn about the contributions of Edison and Ford. The riverside property includes not only the historic winter homes and guest house, but the caretaker’s houses, Edison’s study, and the swimming pool complex — all surrounded by 13 acres of botanical gardens.
As a nonprofit, EFWE relies on ticket sales, memberships and donations to maintain the historic structures and keep the gardens looking beautiful for visitors to enjoy throughout the year. “By becoming a member, or purchasing tickets, visitors have an opportunity to support the organization’s historic preservation efforts,” said Mike Flanders, President and CEO. “Edison’s and Ford’s inventions were key to the progression of business and technology. Our lives today would be very different if it weren’t for those two famous inventors.”
The site opened to the public in 1947, when Mina Edison deeded the property to the City of Fort Myers. Her goal was to leave a legacy of Thomas Edison and for people to continue to learn and be inspired by all that he accomplished. Today, the mission of the organization is to educate the public and inspire an inventive spirit by interpreting and preserving the innovations, legacies, artifacts, gardens, homes, laboratory, and other structures of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, emphasizing Florida history, science, horticulture and the arts. With support from members and the community, the organization will be able to fulfill this mission today and for future generations.