Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site was built for the astonishing price of $2.5 million dollars between 1896 and 1899. The mansion was the first house in Hyde Park to have electricity which was generated by a hydroelectric plant on site. You may find it surprising that the Vanderbilt Mansion was turned into a National Historic Site in 1940.
The park was created to show the lives of the immensely wealthy and to provide insight into the philosophy of the American country house, the lives of the domestic staff and the relationship with the surrounding community.
To visit the inside of the Vanderbilt Mansion you need to be on a guided tour. If you miss the tours you can tour the grounds and stroll along the estates carriage roads and view the Italian Gardens.
Top things to do at Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site
Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site Visitor Center
The visitor center has a few displays about the Vanderbilts and information on the mansion. I have to warn you that the gift shop is amazing! There is something for everyone and things you don’t plan to buy but they are so great you end up buying them. We almost bought multiple pieces of art for the house but realized they would not fit in our suitcases and we were only on day 1 of a 10 day trip.
Become a Junior Ranger
The Vanderbilt Mansion Junior Ranger program is intense! My wife completed the junior ranger pamphlet and had to ask a ranger multiple times for more information and use her phone to look up answers. The Junior Ranger program was just redone and is hopefully going to be adapted again soon so it works for all ages.
Be prepared if you are going to do the Junior Ranger program that you may not get all of the answers during the tour and may have to ask a ranger for help. They were very helpful and worked through the book with us so we could complete the book.
Vanderbilt Mansion Tour
You definitely want to take a tour of the Vanderbilt Mansion if you can! The tour starts on the main floor of the house so you can see where the Vanderbilt’s would have entertained guests. You also get to see the 2nd floor bedrooms along with the servants work space in the basement. There are stairs involved in the tour but the mansion does have a small elevator if you are not able to do the stairs.
Be prepared if you visit in the summer that the house can be quite warm. There is no air conditioning so the house has fans but it can be stuffy and warm. We visited on a rainy Fall day and the house was a bit warm but felt great after being in the rain.
Tours are limited to 50 people per tour.
Explore the grounds of the Vanderbilt Mansion
If you are visiting on a nice day the grounds of the Vanderbilt Mansion are stunning. You can wander through the gardens and explore the sprawling lawns.
Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site Info and Things to Know
81 Vanderbilt Park Road
Hyde Park, NY 12538
Pavilion Visitor Center is open every day from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Park hours – Sunrise to Sunset
Closed, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day
Vanderbilt Mansion Entrance Fee – $10.00
Provides the ticket holder a one hour guided tour of the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site
Your museum ticket does give you a discount in the gift shop so make sure and show it if you plan to buy anything.
National Parks near Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site
Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site – 2 miles
Martin Van Buren National Historic Site – 50 miles
Weir Farm National Historic Site – 60 miles
Check out all of the amazing National Parks in New York! Hint..there are a ton of them.