From meeting musk ox to sampling your favorite chocolate or jelly beans, factory tours can be a frugal way to fit in some extra activities this summer. Both fun and educational, their low-cost (in many cases, these factory tours are free!) makes them ideal for keeping the kids busy without negatively affecting your family finances.
Here are some of the best and most interesting factory tours that are available across the country. Visit factorytourusa.com for additional available tours.
Blue Bell Creameries
“Folks of all ages seem to like our plant tour, but it may be ’cause they get to eat some of our famous ice cream when it’s over. Since you can’t eat Blue Bell over the Internet, you might want to tour our facility and taste the fruits of our labor for yourself.
If you decide to visit us, here’s the scoop. We offer guided plant tours weekdays throughout the year, but we’re closed on weekends.”
Musk Ox Farm
“Situated in Palmer, Alaska, the Musk Ox Farm is a private non-profit organization dedicated to the development and domestication of the musk ox, Ovibos moschatus. Every year we host thousands of visitors who come to view the animals, learn about the project and take advantage of this unique opportunity to see and photograph one of the Arctic’s oldest living species. For a truly Alaskan experience, come visit the farm and take an informative tour led by a knowledgeable guide. See tame cows, powerful bulls, and newborn calves that will make your heart melt.”
“Step into our factory and smell the aroma of chocolate, apricot, cinnamon or pineapple, whatever is being cooked up that day. A visit to our candy making factory in Fairfield, Calif., located about an hour’s drive north of San Francisco, is a sugary delight.
During the 40-minute walking tour, Jelly Belly Guides will show you a real working factory where we cook up over 150 different sweet treats.”
“Take the Gibson guided tour with a knowledgeable “honest to goodness” musician. Learn how our talented crafts people combine their skills with the latest in guitar technology to hand shape a silent block of wood, and, as if by magic, turn it into a beautiful musical instrument with a voice all its own.”
Hershey’s Chocolate World
“Experience the free chocolate-making tour that includes a free sample. Visit the gift shops, food court and full-service restaurant.
Visitors can learn the fascinating process of chocolate-making on CHOCOLATE WORLD®’s simulated factory tour ride. First, guests walk through a tropical jungle where cocoa beans are harvested, then they follow the cocoa bean’s journey to a boat dock where beans are loaded onto ships headed for America. From there, visitors climb aboard the tour ride and enter the simulated factory tour. Tours are available continuously throughout the day. Guests receive a free sample of a HERSHEY®’S product”
Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream
“As visitors soon learn, it’s not just about ice cream–there’s a social mission behind Ben & Jerry’s. Thirty-minute tours are offered daily, beginning with a seven-minute video, continuing on to the tour mezzanine, where you watch ice cream production. If production is down, a narrated video will fill in the details. The tour ends at the Scoop Shop, where guests try old favorites like Cherry Garcia, and perhaps, test-drive a new flavor.”