With Asheville less than a two-hour drive from Knoxville, it’s the perfect short weekend trip for the whole family! Biltmore always changes exhibits with the seasons, and summer into late fall is no exception!
Do you have a train lover in your house? Currently the Biltmore is showcasing the Biltmore Gardens Railway exhibition through September 29th at two estate locations: the historic Conservatory and Antler Hill Village.
My family stayed at the Village Hotel at the Biltmore which is a perfect location for families. You can easily walk to food and fun, and use the shuttle to travel even further on the estate. The best news is Kids’ admission is FREE all summer for 16 years and younger; the rest of the year it’s FREE for 9 years and younger, and half the price of adult admission for 10-16 years.
In Antler Hill Village, a second railway display showcases the travels of Biltmore’s founder George Vanderbilt. Model trains travel on 250 feet of track, passing replicas of international landmarks including the Eiffel Tower in Paris and London’s Tower Bridge. The landscape is designed by Biltmore’s gardeners using shrubs, trees, and flowers.
Antler Hill Village was a family favorite as the kids participated in different craft demonstrations on both days that we visited. We caught a late lunch at The Smokehouse (BBQ place) while the kids played one of the many outdoor games they have setup in the grass. The boys also enjoyed talking with and watching the blacksmith in action.
The Farmyard was a fun experience as the boys visited with goats, chickens, and many other farm animals.
At the Farmyard, guests can enjoy engaging farm talks and demos that include sheep herding, goat milking, brushing, and hoof trimming.
- Craft Demonstrations: 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., & 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
- Kid’s Hands-On Crafts: 1:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
- Goat Milking: 11:00 a.m.
- Farm Talk: 11:30 a.m., 3:00 p.m., 5:00 p.m.
- Goat Brushing/Hoof Trimming: 4:00 p.m.
- Sheep Herding: 1:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m., 5:00 p.m. Saturdays through Oct. 26
- Saturdays & Sundays 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Grape Stomp at Antler Hill Village
- Grown-ups and kids alike are invited to take part in this ancient maceration (softening of the grape skin) practice, long an important part of winemaking. All “grape stompers” will receive a special souvenir to commemorate this unique experience.
We of course made a trip to The Biltmore House, and the boys just love listening to the audio tour and getting to every room, which has a number to keep you in sequence with the tour. At almost seven and nine, I thought the boys might get bored with all the history, but they actually really loved it all — from the house to the kid activities throughout the whole estate. This was our second trip to The Biltmore, and you can find all those tips and tricks for visiting the Biltmore with kids here.
In the Conservatory, nearly 800 feet of track carries G-scale locomotives and rail cars as they traverse bridges and trestles in multiple rooms at varied viewing levels. Adding to the charm, trains weave through exotic botanicals and miniature replicas of estate landmarks. The plant-based recreations of estate structures include replicas of Biltmore House, the Stable, the Conservatory, Lodge Gate, the Bass Pond Waterfall, the Gardener’s Cottage, plus All Souls Church and the train depot in Biltmore Village.
The Biltmore Garden Railways exhibit was quite impressive! The boys really enjoyed going through the Conservatory and seeing all the replicas of the Biltmore and following the train railway through all the flowers and plants.
We didn’t stay long enough to enjoy some of the other outdoor activities such as horseback riding, carriage rides, river float trips, and many other fun excursions, but it’s on our list for next time! We dined at almost every restaurant on property, and we truly had a great meal every time! I was really impressed with how much food actually comes straight from the Biltmore Estate. You can read more about their commitment to field to table here. Every visit we learn something new, and The Biltmore is truly a gem that’s just down the road from Knoxville!