You can do all the research in the world on how something is made, but nothing can compare to actively seeing it produced in person. While many production lines are closed to the public, many others offer tours of their facilities and do their best to entertain guests. If you’re looking for a fun yet educational trip, one of these factory tours may be just the destination you need.
THE CRAYOLA EXPERIENCE
In a 1982 study, Crayola crayons were determined to be one of the top 20 most identifiable smells in the world. And if you can’t get enough of that smell, the Crayola Experience has you covered. The Crayon Factory show is the main attraction, giving guests a front-row seat to the production process. Once the show is over, though, there are plenty more activities and attractions to enjoy. And with five locations across the United States, everyone can take part.
BEN & JERRY’S FACTORY TOUR
The science behind a pint of ice cream is equally as fun as eating it. During the Ben & Jerry’s Tour, you can experience both. Tours only last thirty minutes and include a stop at the full-service Scoop Shop. It’s also the only place in the world you can pay your respects to your favorite retired flavors at the Flavor Graveyard. Can we get a moment of silence for Wavy Gravy?
HARLEY-DAVIDSON FACTORY TOURS
The motorcycle company offers two tours, each unique. In York, PA is the Vehicle Operations Tour, offering a look at how models like Trike and CVO are produced. The Powertrain Operations Tour, which highlights the likes of the Big Twin and Sportster, is located in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. Both factories offer a basic free tour and a deluxe “Steel Toe” tour, with a few added goodies and experiences: a group photo, commemorative pin, safety vest, and coupon. Perfect for the Easy Rider in your life.
LOUISVILLE SLUGGER MUSEUM AND FACTORY
Batter up! The main attraction here is the factory tour, where guests are treated to baseball facts and stories while watching the bats being produced. Everyone leaves with a miniature Slugger bat, guaranteed. When the tour is over, visitors can enjoy the rest of the museum, including the Signature Wall and interactive batting and pitching machines. There are also daily events, ranging from Bat Vault Tours to short films.
HERSHEY’S CHOCOLATE WORLD
Some may consider this a stretch for a factory tour, as the tour on offer is instead a dark ride through the chocolate making process. However, the real factory is nearby, and the ride goes from harvest to wrapping in lavish detail, making it a must-see for chocolate fans. For a more hands-on experience, the “Create Your Own Candy Bar” activity gives guests a chance to craft their own chocolate creation for an additional charge.
UNITED STATES MINT TOUR
Both the Philadelphia and Denver mints offer free tours showing how coins are made. Guests are shown the history of the coin, from design to printing, and even the history of the mint itself. Unfortunately, the tour does not end with visitors leaving with their own freshly-minted money, but those in Philadelphia will be able to meet a real-life eagle!
JELLY BELLY FACTORY TOUR
Few can deny the wonder of a Jelly Belly jelly bean, especially when the self-guided tour includes interactive exhibits and free samples. For the true candy lover, you can “enroll” at the Jelly Belly University and earn a degree in “Beanology.” This entails seeing the entire process in action and getting discounts at the gift shop plus a souvenir photo.
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