Factory tours may not be the first activity on your traveling list, but many are ideal for families and help provide unique, behind-the-scenes views of different businesses. Factory Tours can be budget friendly, informative, entertaining, and in some cases, downright delicious. Family friendly factory tours in Pennsylvania abound, and here is a sampling of some of the tours Pennsylvania has to offer.
Herr’s in Nottingham, offers a free, guided Snack Factory Tour that explains what makes a good chipping potato, how tortilla chips get their seasoning, and other fun facts. The tour takes about an hour and you can call ahead or schedule a tour time online. After the tour, stay and enjoy lunch at the Herr’s Snack Bar. Check out their special events throughout the year such as Halloween Happenings and Christmas Light Display.
In Hanover, the Utz Chip Trip is a free factory tour. Utz has built a glass-enclosed observation gallery that looks down onto the production floor where visitors can watch the production process from start to finish. Audio programs and TV monitors provide step by step guide.
Tour the original pretzel bakery, including the original ovens built by Julius Sturgis, at the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery in Lititz. During the tour, learn the history of pretzel baking in the United States and have the chance to twist your own pretzel. There is a nominal fee for this tour, but at the end you will receive a delicious pretzel to enjoy. Combine this tour with a stop into Wilbur Chocolate, which is right down the road. There is no admission fee to their chocolate museum or to peek in the kitchen window and watch the chocolate being made.
Harley Davidson in York offers a free factory tour with a viewing of the assembly line and machining areas on the factory floor. In the tour center, explore exhibits that detail the manufacturing and assembly process, and even have a chance to sit on a current production motorcycle. Kids will enjoy The Kids Corner which was designed for those family members under the age of 12.
In Nazareth, Martin Guitar boasts a museum that houses more than 200 rare and vintage instruments and showcases the heritage of the company and the history of music. On the factory floor, watch a craftsman turn a piece of rough lumber into exquisite artwork that transforms into a finished guitar. Both the museum and tour are free and offered on a first-come, first-served basis.
BWP Bats in Brookville make their bats from trees grown in Western Pennsylvania. Of all the trees harvested, only about 20% are deemed good enough quality to make a baseball bat. (No worries though, the rest of the wood is put to good use for other projects!) Take the free, guided tour to see exactly how some of the best bats in the game are made!
While in Philadelphia, see an inside view on how money is made at The United States Mint! This free, self-guided tour offers displays, exhibits, video, and audio stations throughout which provide a history of U.S. currency. The highlight of the tour is watching the coining operations from 40 feet above the factory floor. No reservations are needed, but since this is a government facility, take a little time to prepare before you go. All adults will need photo identification to enter. All visitors will enter through a metal detector and are subject to search. No large bags or packages, as well as cameras, are permitted in the building.
Byers’ Choice Ltd. in Chalfont, offers a free, self-guided tour of their museum and factory. Begin the tour by watching a video on the history and creation of the famous Byers’ caroler figurines. Stroll down the hall designed to be reminiscent of a town square on a cobblestone street passing displays featuring an extensive crèche collection, carolers, and Kindles. On the observation deck, peer down into the workroom and watch the artisans as they hand-make each figurine with care. While visiting, allow time to stroll the gardens on the grounds, and be sure to check the special events calendar.
Hershey’s Chocolate World in Hershey doesn’t exactly take you inside the factory, but visitors can board the free Hershey’s Great American Chocolate Tour Ride for a 10 minute tour of the chocolate making process. The kids will be delighted by the singing cows, the wafting scent of chocolate, and the free sample at the end. In the Hershey’s Kisses Packaging experience, become a factory worker for the day. The experience is free, but personalized photo and containers are available for purchase. There are also many paid attractions to enhance your visit. For a unique, hands-on experience, step inside the manufacturing facility of Hershey’s Create Your Own Candy Bar Attraction where you can custom design your own candy bar and wrapper. The Hershey’s Chocolate Tasting Adventure is a guided, interactive, educational journey into the world of chocolate and at the end you will receive a Master’s Degree in Chocolate Tasting from Hershey’s University. Outside, board the Hershey Trolley Works for a tour through Chocolate Town, USA.
Since the Crayola Experience (formerly known as the Crayola Factory) in Easton, was re-imagined and renovated in 2013, families will enjoy exploring the 18 brand-new attractions and interactive experiences. Learn how a crayon is made in the Crayon Factory, build a custom marker, animate your creations, personalize your own crayon label, paint a project, and so much more!
Located in Columbia, The Turkey Hill Experience is a paid, interactive attraction where visitors can learn how ice cream is made. Highlights include designing your own virtual ice cream flavor and then starring in your own commercial! Kids will also enjoy the chance to milk a mechanical cow and sit in a milk truck. But, the best part? Enjoy the unlimited samples of Turkey Hill iced tea and ice cream. A new experience is the Taste Lab where your virtual ice cream flavor is turned into reality. The Taste Lab requires advanced reservations which can conveniently be made online.
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