Factory tours are a great way for your kids to learn about how some of their favorite foods and products they use everyday are made. Here are a few of the best factory tours worth checking out as a family.
- Ben & Jerry’s (Waterbury, VT): Watch a company history movie in the Cow Over the Moon theatre, then take a trip to their glassed-in mezzanine where you’ll get a bird’s eye view of the production room and learn how the ice cream is made.
- Crayola Factory (Easton, PA): Start your tour at the 15-minute crayon manufacturing exhibit, then pick up a sample four-pack and head over to the Crayola Wall of Fame. There’s also plenty for kids to do between the Chalk Walk, Crayola Meltdown and the Super Sculptures area. Before you leave, don’t forget to head upstairs to the National Canal Museum, which teaches kids about the important role canals played in early commerce. It’s included in your Crayola Factory tour admission.
- Hershey’s Chocolate World (Hershey, PA): Just steps away from the Hershey Park amusement park, Hershey’s Chocolate World offers a simulated factory tour ride complete with a walk through a tropical jungle where cocoa beans are harvested and boat docks where the beans are loaded onto ships headed for the United States. As a bonus, yes, you do get free chocolates at the end of this free tour.
- Jelly Belly (Fairfield, CA): About an hour north of San Francisco, you and your kids will see a real working factory where the 50 official jelly bean flavors are made during the 40-minute walking tour. You’ll also discover why it takes up to 20 days to create a jelly bean. Get free samples of any jelly bean you like, from bubble gum to toasted marshmallow. [Though not a working factory, you can also visit the Jelly Belly Visitor Center near Milwaukee, WI, complete with a Jelly Belly Express Train and “Candy Alley.”]
- Vermont Teddy Bear Factory (Shelburne, VT): Located just 30 miles from the Ben & Jerry’s factory, this tour lasts about 30 minutes as Bear Ambassadors share how teddy bears are put together from start to finish, as well as the evolution of the Vermont Teddy Bear Company. You’ll also get to check out the Bear Hospital. Keep in mind that there is no production on weekends or after 4:30 p.m. on weekdays.
Two more factory tours worth checking out include the Cape Cod Potato Chip Factory in Hyannis, MA and the American Whistle Corporation in Columbus, OH. Have you taken your kids on a factory tour? I’d love to hear about your experience.