GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A West Michigan holiday tradition is back for another year. Once known as the Breton Village Mall train, the Gerald R. Ford Express has been located inside the Ford Presidential Museum in downtown Grand Rapids for the last five years.
“It’s family friendly. The Fords put a train up around their tree when the kids were little, so it’s just that nod to the multi-generation Christmas spirit,” said Kristin Phillips, public affairs specialist at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum.
On its journey around a miniature Grand Rapids, the Ford Express passes by several of the former president’s old stomping grounds.
“We have volunteers who help with all this creating. Larry Avery is the one who created the Gerald Ford Museum, and he did a wonderful job,” said Phillips.
There’s a miniature Quonset hut, used by Ford during his run for Congress, and the Ford Paint and Varnish Company, which was owned by the former president’s stepfather.
The newest addition this year is the presidential museum itself, complete with a fountain out front and mini statues of President and Betty Ford.
On the other side of town, there’s South High School and across the street, Bill’s Place Diner.
“During his lunch hours at school, he would run across and flip burgers and then come back,” said Phillips.
There’s a little bit of history while visitors explore all there is to see in this West Michigan holiday tradition.
“When we have lots of people come in and it’s grandparents and parents, it’s just ties that time together and it’s a fun indoor activity that you can do. It’s just exciting,” said Phillips.
There’s also a scavenger hunt visitors can take part in while visiting the train.
There will be discounted admission from Dec. 18 through Jan. 2 and story times held on a couple of Sundays in December. Visit the museum website for more information.