Kids and the Biltmore House

kids-and-the-biltmoreThis week I was able to take the boys to the Biltmore House – the largest home in America – and it was fabulous! I was a bit unsure of how two young boys would do touring an old house but they thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

The audio tour was free during our visit, but I truly cannot imagine a first time visit without it – for child or adult guests! There are two audios available – one for adults and one for children. The adult one was engaging and educating. From the feedback I got from the boys, the child audio was incredible. The fact that it kept my 5.5 year old engaged through the 2 hours it took us to walk through the house attests to how good it was!

Each room through the tour has a number and as you walk in you enter the number on to your little hand held audio device and the recording tells you interesting details about the room. The children’s audio recording is told from the perspective of the family dog.
About half way through the tour their legs got tired and upon entering each room I would find a little corner for them to sit while they listened – our visit was on a week day and there was plenty of room for them to sit comfortably in an out of the way spot and still see the room.


A rather interesting part of the house {that is not included on the tour!} is the elevator that is original to the house. It is the oldest elevator in the Southeastern United States and is available for disabled and senior guests. Wesley was fascinated with it and politely asked a staff member if he might ride in it {when they show an interest in something we encourage them to ask about things themselves}. I got the impression that they don’t generally allow people to ride it just for fun, but they were happy to give us all a ride in it and it made an impression on Wesley.

Speaking of the staff, I was so impressed with the few that interacted with my boys! They seemed genuinely interested in teaching them interesting tidbits and were perfectly competent at engaging the attention of both boys {truly, an admirable quality! my youngest’s attention is not so easily kept.} I saw genuine patience and enjoyment of children – not a stiff, well-tempered tolerance.

There is a cute little candy shop and an ice cream parlor right near the exit of the tour – we didn’t do it, but either one would make a wonderful treat at the end of the tour!

Upon completing the tour we went back to our car and rested for a bit and ate food we had packed. Then we headed back to explore the gardens. I wish I had known that there was parking close to the gardens! We trekked a long way {I timed our trip back to the car and it took us 40 solid minutes of non stop walking!} Had I driven from the house tour parking lot and just followed the road a little ways I would have come to the garden parking lot and it would have saved a lot of walking!

The boys got a little antsy as we looked through the Greenhouse so I made up a game for them.
“Find 8 different leaves and note the differences.”

“Find 4 different pink flowers.”

“Find 3 different yellow flowers.”

“Find a blue flower.” {there were none, and this elicited laughter from others in the green house and kept the boys busy for a while!}

Had I thought ahead I would have packed their nature journals and pencils and had them draw some of the flowers they saw. Phones or ipods to take pictures themselves would have been another good option.

Once we got to the outdoor gardens they were perfectly happy to run, pick up sticks, toss stones in the creek, and explore side paths.

We spent three hours between the Greenhouse and the outdoor gardens – and we could have spent much longer exploring! There was so much beauty to see, and visiting the Biltmore house again is definitely on our list of things to do someday!

Pictures were not allowed inside the house, but here are some that I took of the outside building and gardens;

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