10 Fun Family Factory Tours
Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream
Watch as ice cream is made during a tour of this factory in Waterbury, Vermont. Even better: free samples! Open year round. Tickets are $3 for adults, free for kids 12 and younger (benjerry.com or 866-258-6877).
Big Wind Kite Factory
Make your own kite—and learn how to fly it—on this free tour of a factory in Molokai, Hawaii, where gorgeously colorful kites and wind socks are handcrafted. The folks there will happily direct you to the island’s best kite-flying spots. Phone ahead for hours (bigwindkites.com or 808-552-2364).
Though you can’t go into the Crayola manufacturing plant itself, you can learn how crayons are made (plus color and play to your heart’s content) at its Easton, Pennsylvania, visitor center. Almost like a trip inside a crayon box. Hours vary throughout the year; tickets are $9.75, free for children 2 and younger (crayola.com or 610-515-8000).
Williamsburg Doll Factory
Get a peek at how porcelain collector dolls are crafted and painted during a free tour of this Williamsburg, Virginia, factory, which started in an old farmhouse. The hours change seasonally, so be sure to call ahead (dollfactory.com or 800-609-5727).
Mack Truck Tour
Take the high road to the Macungie Assembly Operations Tour, in Macungie, Pennsylvania, where Mack trucks are assembled. The free tour is conducted on Tuesdays and Fridays through most of the year for visitors ages 10 and up, in groups of five or more. Reservations required (macktrucks.com or 610-351-8996).
Hershey’s Factory Works
Ogle vats of chocolate as you ride through a simulated version of the famed candy-making factory in Hershey, Pennsylvania. The free tour is sealed with a Kiss assembly line. Check the online calendar for hours on the day you wish to visit (hersheyschocolateworld.com or 717-534-4900).
Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory
Keep your eye on the, um, bat while touring this museum-and-factory combo in Louisville, Kentucky. The price of admission ($10 for adults, $5 for kids 6 to 12, free for those younger) includes a miniature souvenir bat (sluggermuseum.org or 877-775-8443).
Tom’s of Maine Factory
How does toothpaste get into the tube? Find out on a behind-the-scenes peek at eco-friendly Tom’s of Maine, in Sanford, Maine. Tours are free, but they’re conducted only in the summer, and reservations are required. Children must be 5 or older (tomsofmaine.com or 800-775-2388).
Jelly Belly Tour
About an hour north of San Francisco, in Fairfield, California, you’ll find the home of Jelly Belly jelly beans. Among the fun facts you’ll learn on its free 40-minute walking tour: why it takes about seven days to make a single candy (jellybelly.com or 800-953-5592).
Future of Flight & Boeing Tour
Take off to Mukilteo, Washington, to see how planes—747s, 777s, and 787s—are made. The 90-minute tour takes you into the actual Boeing plant, and there are interactive exhibits and displays to explore too. Tickets are $15.50 for adults and $8 for children 15 and under, but note that there is a four-foot height requirement (futureofflight.org or 888-467-4777).