Edison and Ford Winter Estates offers a unique combination of history and science unlike any other place. This National Register Historic Site is one of the top most visited historic home sites in the nation. There are many different options to explore the nine historic buildings, the 1929 historic landscape and the 15,000-square-foot museum filled with hundreds of inventions and artifacts, special exhibit galleries and documentaries about the famous inventors.
Groups can step back in time and imagine Fort Myers, Florida, as it was when Thomas Edison first arrived. They can learn how Edison changed Fort Myers from a cattle town of 350 residents without roads, electricity, or railroads into what it is today and see the largest Banyan tree in the continental United States. The 1920s-era botanic research laboratory is a National Historic Chemical Landmark where Edison, Ford and Firestone researched more than 17,000 plants to find a source of natural rubber that could be commercially produced for use in the automobile industry, factories, airplanes and other wartime needs.
The site itself is full of inventions and thoughtful utilization of natural resources with artesian wells, water cisterns and fire systems that show how the two inventors and their families used what was available to create their winter homes in southwest Florida more than a century ago.
Groups can enjoy a botanical garden tour with horticulturists, a guided tour with experienced site historians or a behind-the-scenes tour with Edison Ford curatorial staff. The new Smithsonian Spark!Lab with interactive stations is a welcomed addition for school groups. A visit to the Edison and Ford Winter Estates will inspire, refresh and show why Thomas Edison and Henry Ford are two of the most influential figures in American history.