If you’ve exhausted every episode of “How It’s Made” and your “Curious George” is still on the hunt for more details, consider one of these nearby factory tours, where you can learn the ins-and-outs of everything from the chocolate bars to dollar bills.
Photo: Turkey Hill
Turkey Hill Ice Cream
Be a Turkey Hill ice cream maker for a day on this unforgettable tour. You’ll learn all about dairy culture, sit in a milk truck, milk a mechanical cow and even star in a Turkey Hill commercial. Most importantly, you’ll visit the Turkey Hill taste lab to create your own flavor.
301 Linden St. (Columbia, Pa)
Snyder’s of Hanover
Pretzels, baby! Your kids have probably eaten hundreds of them, but here’s a chance to watch (and smell) them as they bake in a large pretzel oven. You’ll tour all the rooms where Snyder’s products are made and watch as they’re sorted and packaged. And there are plenty of free samples too!
1350 York St. (Hanover, Pa)
Learn how cocoa beans are cultivated and harvested, and then watch those beans transform into some of the tastiest chocolate around. See how chocolate is shaped into all of your favorite candies, from truffles to bonbons to bar. Yes, you can load up on samples!
Photo: Paul Reed Smith Guitars
Paul Reed Smith Guitars
Novices and experts alike will learn a lot from this detailed tour of guitar production. Walk through the production line for a sneak peak at how electric guitars, acoustic guitars and amplifiers are made and manufactured. At the end of the tour, you get to test an assortment of guitars. Don’t be surprised if your little Jimi Hendrix asks you to buy one
Your kids don’t have to be coffee drinkers (they will be soon enough) to enjoy touring Zeke’s roastery, where coffee beans are continuously agitated by a stream of hot air to create what looks like a coffee bean fountain. You’ll watch the the beans go from the roaster to the bag, and every step in between.
3003 Montebello Ter. (Baltimore, Md)
Photo: Harper Macaw Chocolate
Harper Macaw Chocolate
Get up-close-and-personal with Harper Macaw’s chocolate-making process at this in-depth tour from a conservation-minded chocolatier. Learn how Harper Macaw works to produce the finest chocolate flavor using pre-and-post-harvest practices that are environmentally and economically sustainable. You’ll get an in-depth look at the meticulous craft of turning cocoa into edible art.
Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Next time you say to your little one, “Hey, I’m not a money factory!” you can follow that with: “but I’ll take you to see one.” At the Bureau of Printing and Engraving you can walk along a gallery overlooking the production floor as millions upon millions of dollars are made. It’s mesmerizing for grown-ups and minis alike. Sorry, no samples to take home.
Route 11 Potato Chips
Take a chip trip to Route 11, where potato chips are hand-cooked right in front of you. While you aren’t able to walk through the factory itself, you can watch the chips in progress from large observation windows. Yes, there are plenty of yummy samples to try. Call in advance for a reservation.
11 Edwards Way (Mount Jackson, Va)
Do you know of any other cool factory tours open to the public? Tell us in the comments section below.