Edison Ford Winter Estates – Fort Myers, Florida
The Edison & Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers is 20 acres of historical buildings, historic gardens, the Edison Botanic Research Lab and the Edison Ford Museum. The buildings are restored and include the Edison Main House, Guest House, and Caretaker’s House and the Ford House. The landscaping is amazing giving you that 1929 historic feeling as you throughout the property. You’ll love strolling through the amazing gardens that include the Moonlight Garden. The Edison Ford has hundreds of inventions, artifacts and special exhibits in it’s museum.
This is a must-see Florida attraction if you are in the Fort Myers area. Tourists can see their homes, botanical gardens, museums and laboratories. You can really take in a lot of history as you explore the winter retreats of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford and their labs. It is ope year
This site is National Register Historic Site, Florida Historic Landmark and Winner of the National Trust for Historic Preservation Restoration Award offers visitors of all ages a chance to step back into “old Florida” .
The Banyan Trees
When you first arrive in the parking lot, you will see some huge banyan trees. They are an amazing sight to see, with the branches of the tree grow horizontally and re-rooting they get very large. They have four banyan trees that were given to them by Harvey Firestone, the largest tree is one acre in diameter! There is a statue of Thomas Edison in front of it. Firestone liked these trees because their sap was used to make the tires that he produced.
The Edison and Ford Winter Homes
Both the Edison and Ford winter homes were modest and quaint houses. The Edison’s lived there until 1947, when Mina deeded the property to the city of Fort Myers. The Edison home still has the original furnishings. Henry Ford purchased the home next to him in 1906. Ford last visited his estate in 1934. The homes are right on the riverfront of the Caloosahatchee, they had a nice view of the river and Edison’s pier from their back porches. The estates have a number of buildings that you can see, including caretaker’s cottages. The front and rear of the homes are lined with majestic royal palm trees.
The Botanical Gardens
The estates have a botanical garden and the flowers were in full bloom. You’ll see some large bamboo’s growing, a fountain, a swimming pool and a Lily pond. Edison used the filaments from the bamboo on some of his first light bulbs. There is a statue of his wife Mina in the gardens behind the gift shop and museum entry. There is also a water garden with colorful flowering plants behind it. There is a double row of mango trees along the road. The Estate’s Garden Shoppe offers a wide variety of unusual plants including heritage plants, orchids, bamboo, bromeliads, fruits, vegetables, roses, edibles and gift items for sale. We bought an avocado tree to grow at our home in Florida.
The Museums – Edison Inventions
It is mind numbing when you see and read about all the inventions and patents that Thomas Edison created. There are seven gallery rooms filled with his inventions and many videos and educational exhibits. You can also tour the Botanic research lab which Edison, Ford and Firestone worked on developing quick growing plants and natural rubber.
Ford Auto exhibit
You get to see some historic Ford vehicles like Model T’s and Model A’s. They even have a canteen vehicle that they used on hunting trips. It’s really amazing to see these old vehicles and how different they are compared to the cars we drive today.
The Estate offers both self-guided audio tours and tours with historians who will tell you about the history as you walk the grounds. We chose the self-guided tour, where the give you a hand set that you press the button at certain locations. You also have the choice of just seeing the museum or doing the full tour.
The Edison Ford Estate also offer special events, weddings, corporate functions and meetings, exhibits and ongoing education programming. and the opportunity to learn more about the world through unique historical, scientific and cultural experiences.
The attraction is open Daily 9:00 am to 5:30 pm. The last Guided Tour starts at 4:00 pm. Self-guided audio tours available in English & German. Maps available in English, German, French and Spanish.
The Museum Store, Ford Cottage Shoppe and Garden Shoppe are open year round.