If you ever find yourself on vacation and in need of something fun to do with the family, head to the nearest factory. Some of America's most recognizable brands, like Livesavers and Oreo cookies, offer family-friendly factory tours that are both educational and fun. 10 Best dishes on our favorites.
Jelly Belly in Sacramento
Jelly Belly's sweet factory tour — Photo courtesy of Jelly Belly
The free 40-minute tour through Jelly Belly's Sacramento jelly bean facility is, quite literally, a sweet experience. You'll get to see the whimsical working factory, responsible for cooking up more than 150 candy varieties, and learn about their most famous product, the jelly bean. Did you know a single bean takes a full week to make? Find out why.
Harley-Davidson in Milwaukee
At the 849,000 square foot facility just outside of Milwaukee, motorcycle enthusiasts can watch engines and transmissions being made along the assembly line and in the machining areas. Free 30-minute tours happen each Monday, or for a more up-close-and-personal experience, sign up for a 90-minute Steel Toe Tour on Wednesdays and Fridays.
Slugger in Louisville
World's biggest bat outside the Slugger Museum — Photo courtesy of Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory
You'll know you've found the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory when you see the world's biggest bat, a 68,000-pound, 120-feet tall behemoth. Learn each step involved in crafting the essential tool for America's favorite pastime with the free factory tour. You'll walk out with your own miniature slugger.
BMW in Greenville
Whether or not you consider yourself a car person, a tour of the BMW manufacturing facility in Greenville is worth the hour of your time and the inexpensive ticket price. You'll be guided through the working facility while vehicles are actually being made. It's so noisy at times, you'll be asked to wear a headset to hear your guide.
Ben & Jerry's in Waterbury
Ben & Jerry's, the company behind quirky ice cream flavors like Cherry Garcia and Chunky Monkey, have turned the factory tour experience into a whole-day affair. After touring the production facility and tasting the flavor of the day, you can watch the cows at pasture, visit the Flavor Graveyard and picnic while the kids tackle the outdoor playground.
Celestial Seasonings in Boulder
From the leaf to your cup at the Celestial Seasonings Factory — Photo courtesy of Celestial Seasonings
Daily tours of the Celestial Seasonings tea facility in Boulder show you just how those little bits of tea make it into bags and on to your cup. During the 45-minute tour, you'll have the chance to sample every flavor of tea made. Come during a weekday when the factory is up and running.
E-ONE Firetrucks in Ocala
It takes more than 1,200 shades of red to achieve that perfect "Fire Engine Red" look, as you'll learn on a tour of the Emergency-One manufacturing facility in Ocala. You'll see firsthand how one of the most recognizable vehicles gets made from start to finish. Kids can get a closer look by climbing up into a fire engine cab.
Taylor in San Diego
Guitars in the making at Taylor — Photo courtesy of R_Savvy
If you've ever wondered how a piece of wood transforms into a Taylor guitar, this hour long tour of the San Diego factory will satiate your curiosity. When you're finished, you can pick up a new guitar (or just a t-shirt) at the factory shop.
Cape Cod in Hyannis
Potato chips, the quintessential summer barbecue side dish, are made in front of you in the Cape Cod Potato Chip factory in Hyannis. Watch the "Spudnik" load fresh potatoes onto a conveyor belt toward the slicer and kettle cooker, where the chips are hand-stirred as they have been for decades.
Tillamook in Tillamook, Oregon
Sampling some cheese at the Tillamook Factory — Photo courtesy of Tillamook Cheese
The self-guided tour of the Tillamook cheese factory in Tillamook will answer all your cheesey questions like, "what makes sharp cheddar sharp?" Sample some of Tillamook's signature cheese varieties while watching the team on the working factory floor as they pump out 167,000 pounds of cheese every day.