Want to see how your favorite ice cream is made? Or take a peek at a working motorcycle assembly line? Many U.S. manufacturers offer tours that give people behind-the-scenes access to their factories. Consider incorporating a stop to see where some of these iconic American products are made on your next vacation. We’ve highlighted 9 fan favorites for you to consider.
Producing crayons and other arts and crafts products since 1903, Crayola has been adding color and creativity to the lives of children for over 100 years. Easton, Pennsylvania is home to the Crayola Experience, a hands-on, interactive exhibit, offering four floors of crayon-making magic. Featuring 26 attractions, kids of all ages can learn about how crayons are made, create their own artistic masterpieces and spend the day exploring art and technology. Check out this website to learn more.
The mainstay of American motorcycle manufacturers, Harley-Davidson boasts an enormous following of loyal customers. With this in mind, the state-of-the-art company offers tours in three locations across the United States. The Kansas City, MO, Menomonee Falls, WI, and York, PA sites highlight different areas of production and types of motorcycles. Showcasing factory tours and unprecedented access to H-D’s manufacturing facilities, this is a must-see for any Harley enthusiast. Visit the website for information regarding tour features and schedules.
Chocolate and Hershey go hand in hand. Located in Hershey, PA (where else?), Hershey’s Chocolate World offers a glimpse into the candy-making process. Take a simulated factory tour, create your own chocolate bar, meet your favorite candy bar character and learn all about how Hershey candy is made. Chocolate World is just down the road from Hersheypark, a large-scale amusement park with rides for kids and adults of all ages. This link has all the information you need to plan your Hershey vacation.
If you are planning a trip down south this summer, be sure to take some time to visit the Tabasco Pepper Sauce factory. Avery Island, Louisiana has been home to this beloved hot sauce since 1868 and peppers used in the company’s sauces are still grown here. Visitors can tour the modern-day factory, explore the island’s 170 acre jungle botanical garden and dine in Restaurant 1868, where nearly every item on the menu contains Tabasco sauce. Click here for tour and restaurant hours and information.
Did you know that it takes over a week to make a single jelly bean? Find out why and get a behind-the-scenes look at the production of your favorite flavors of Jelly Belly jelly beans during their candy-making factory tour. Located an hour north of San Francisco in Fairfield, CA, the Jelly Belly factory is a whirlwind of smells, colors, and tastes. View this link to find out tour information and schedule your trip to find out all of the secrets behind the legendary sweet treats.
A stop on both the American Whiskey Trail and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, the Maker’s Mark distillery is located in Loretto, KY. The small batch bourbon whiskey is known for its distinctive square bottle, red wax seal and rich brown color. Learn about the six year aging process that each bottle goes through and taste a sample (if you’re 21 or older!) during your walking tour of the distillery. Tours are held year-long, and are given on a first-come, first-serve basis. Find out more on the company’s website.
Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream
Idyllic Waterbury, VT is home to the headquarters of this delicious dessert confection. The Ben and Jerry’s factory offers year-round tours that include information about the ice cream’s manufacturing process and, of course, free samples of the many flavors on hand. One fun and interesting attraction is the ‘Flavor Graveyard’, an actual cemetery that pays homage to the flavor concoctions that didn’t make the cut. Check out the Ben and Jerry’s website for more fun facts and tour information.
The Gibson Beale Street Showcase in Memphis, TN, is home to Gibson’s guitar factory tour. It is here that the iconic electric guitar company gives fans a rare glimpse behind the guitar-building process. Visitors will be given a history of Gibson and will get a chance to witness the process of binding, neck-fitting, painting, buffing, and tuning that goes into creating these beautiful instruments. The attached factory store is filled with a large selection of Gibson guitars and other Gibson merchandise. To get information about factory hours, visit this website.
Housing the world’s best collection of art and historical glass, the Corning Museum of Glass is a not-for-profit museum which showcases the 3,500 year history of glass. Offering a daily ‘Make Your Own Glass’ class, live Flame working demonstrations, and captivating year-round exhibits, the Corning Museum truly has something for everyone. Located halfway between New York City and Niagara Falls, in Corning, NY, this stop is the perfect addition to your family’s summer road trip. Learn more about the museum’s exhibits and activities on their website.
While we only touched on some of the tours being offered by American manufacturers, it is clear to see that there are many options available to people of all ages and interests. On your summer vacation, consider stopping at one to learn more about the history and inner-workings of these U.S. products.