Two years ago, when I turned 40, my mom surprised me with a birthday trip. We traveled to Asheville, NC and spent an entire day touring Biltmore House & Gardens. Before we went, I didn’t know much about the Estate so the whole experience was new to me.
This year, my youngest turned 13. I planned a fun girls’ weekend road trip for the two of us. I immediately thought about Biltmore. I had so much fun with my own mom, and I hoped Emma would enjoy touring with me.
Not only is it an amazing place to explore visually, but it makes for the ultimate field trip for homeschoolers, as well. There are so many academic areas that you can touch on in one place. Talk about the history of the home and the time period in which it was built. How about a little biology in the petting zoo! Do a little nature study in the gardens. It’s not hard to squeeze in a little art appreciation, as well, as you tour the home. Throw in a little geography, too, if you’re not from the area. We drove through four states on our trip from Ohio to NC! All of that from one field trip!
SUMMER SPECIAL: Kick your homeschool year off right! Kids 16 and younger are admitted free of charge with the purchase of an adult admission until September 5. Perfect for the first field trip of the year!
The Ultimate Field Trip to Biltmore Estates
We started our tour at the Farmyard. According to my animal-obsessed kiddo, it was the best spot on the grounds. In the Farmyard, kids can touch the animals. When we visited, there were goats in a pen that Em loved petting. There were chickens out in the yard that could be held. She was all over that! I had a hard time pulling her away from the animals to visit the rest of the estate.
From the Farmyard, we headed over to the barn area. There, we enjoyed watching the blacksmith. During our visit, he was making rose-shaped hooks and door handles. I love that the blacksmith was very talkative. He talked to the people watching him the whole time.
Then, we visited the woodworker. His wood shop was full of toys he made. I especially loved the climbing bear.
After visiting those areas, we enjoyed looking at the old tractors and farm equipment. The horse made out of straw or hay was a hit, as well. You can see it below. Isn’t it cute?
At that point, it started to rain so we ducked in to the little shops to have a look and get out of the rain for a bit before heading to the main house.
Once it quit raining, we headed back to the car. We drove a couple miles from the farm to the parking lot where you catch the shuttle to go to the house. That gave us an opportunity to grab a quick bite to eat since I didn’t research ahead of time to see if there is gluten-free food in the area. Instead, we ate from our cooler with plans to grab some dinner after our tour.
The entire Biltmore estate is astonishing. From the immaculately kept lawns to the amazing botanical gardens to the enormous chateau itself, there is so much to take in at every turn!
While Biltmore offers audio tours (the kids’ tour is even narrated by the family dog) in the home, we opted to skip it and read the room descriptions ourselves from the program we received when we entered.
It takes about two hours to walk through the largest home in America. While you won’t see all 250 rooms, the rooms you do see are simply amazing. From the architecture to the history to the tiny details in the tapestries and the artwork on the walls, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
I love the elaborate bedrooms, the indoor swimming pool, and the artwork in each room. Em’s favorite was the bowling alley! I also loved the servant’s quarters and imagined some of my favorite Downton Abbey servants living down there. 🙂
Since it is a pretty long tour and sometimes it can get a bit crowded, it’s a great idea to print out the scavenger hunt that is provided on the Biltmore website. This four-page scavenger hunt will keep younger kids engaged throughout the tour. Don’t forget to look for the little goodie on the last page of the scavenger hunt, as well.
I am a huge fan of botanical gardens, and I couldn’t wait to revisit the gardens at Biltmore. They have an huge variety of roses in all sizes and colors. More amazing that those, however, is the assortment of orchids they grow.
Emma tired out before we explored the entire garden area, but my mom and I spent hours there on our trip. We are both shutterbugs, and we may have photographed every kind of flower there is on the estate. If not, it sure felt that way!
There really is something for everyone at Biltmore – photography buffs, history lovers, naturalists, and more! There’s something for all ages, too, from the petting zoo for animal lovers to the blacksmith for those who enjoy live demonstrations, from the scavenger hunt for kids to the audio tour for the history buffs.
Have you been to Biltmore? What’s your favorite area to explore?