The Mount/Edith Wharton Restoration LB Ed Pick 4-2018

Factory tours are a fun way for groups to learn “how it’s made.” These types of tours take groups behind-the-scenes while sharing history, giving demonstrations and often, offering free samples. Factory tours also give travelers interesting anecdotes to return home with. Consider these five tours for a future group itinerary. 

1. The Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour
Everett, Washington

Boeing 787 Dreamliner assembly line, Boeing Tour, Everett, Wash.
Boeing 787 Dreamliner assembly line, Boeing Tour, Everett, Wash.

Experience the future of flight in one of Seattle’s most popular attractions. The facility is home to the 747, 767, 777 and 787 Dreamliner lines of airplanes.

The center in Washington gives groups the opportunity to watch Dreamliner jets being assembled right before their eyes. While visiting, groups will get the opportunity to design their own airplane and have a picture taken with the Boeing factory as the background. Tours of the plant last 90 minutes. The center has a variety of exhibits to educate guests on airplanes and flight, including: “Flight Systems,” “Passenger Experience, ”“Future Concepts,” “Airplane Design,” and “Destiny” — the U.S. Laboratory Module.

2. Ben & Jerry’s Factory Tour
Waterbury, Vermont

Ben & Jerry’s factory tour, Waterbury, Vt.
Ben & Jerry’s factory tour, Waterbury, Vt.

Ben & Jerry’s offers a sweet experience for groups. Groups can take a 30-minute guided tour of the factory and see every step of the ice cream-making process.

“The Factory Tour is a chance for Ben & Jerry’s fans to see how their favorite ice cream is made,” said Sam Lacasse, factory tour manager. “Our fans eat pints of Ben & Jerry’s at home, but when they visit the factory, they get immersed in our brand and history. As they tour the factory, fans learn how two guys in a gas station started it all. Afterward, fans can grab a scoop of their favorite flavor at the Scoop Shop and find that perfect tie-dye shirt to take home. Our fans love the opportunity to visit Vermont and experience what peace, love and ice cream really means!”

3. Subaru of Indiana Automotive Factory Tours
Lafayette, Indiana

Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc., Lafayette, Ind.
Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc., Lafayette, Ind.

Take guided factory tours of an award-winning automotive assembly facility in Lafayette. Witness the production of a Subaru vehicle from beginning to end while walking 1 mile via an elevated catwalk.

Groups observe as giant presses turn coils of steel into the metal structure of vehicles in the stamping process. Then, they will get to witness more than 860 robots in the body assembly area followed by watching over 5,000 parts being added in the paint shop. And finally, visitors see the cars go through the testing phase that proves how important quality and safety is to Subaru.

4. Hershey’s Chocolate World
Hershey, Pennsylvania

Hershey’s Chocolate Tour, Hershey’s Chocolate World, Hershey, Pa.
Hershey’s Chocolate Tour, Hershey’s Chocolate World, Hershey, Pa.

Explore the wonders of chocolate and get surrounded by sweets at Hershey’s Chocolate World. Through free factory tours, witness how Hershey’s combines cocoa beans, fresh milk and sugar into that delightful chocolate bar people have enjoyed for decades.

Groups can create their own candy bar at the Create Your Own Candy Bar Factory by choosing their own ingredients and designing a wrapper. Or they can get immersed in the Chocolate Tasting Experience by learning how to engage all senses while tasting chocolate.

Save time to experience The 4-D Chocolate Mystery. Participants can interact with the characters through digital animation and special effects. Or, hop on a trolley ride for an in-depth look at the history of Hershey, Pennsylvania, and the story behind Milton S. Hershey.

5. Jelly Belly Factory Tour
Fairfield, California

Jelly Belly Factory Tour, Fairfield, Calif.
Jelly Belly Factory Tour, Fairfield, Calif.

Guided factory tours of the Jelly Belly factory are free and take groups along a ¼ mile stretch of the factory that is home to the well-known Jelly Belly jelly beans. Groups get a birds-eye view of the facility where the colorful treats are made. Visitors can, of course, expect to taste free samples during the tour.

“Visitors love being able to take a complimentary and self-guided tour around a working candy factory, and this is the only place where they can see Jelly Belly jelly beans being made,” said John Jamison, vice president of retail operations. “They have a birds-eye view of the whole operation from the elevated tour lane, and HD/4K videos offer an up-close-and-personal look at the activities that take place throughout the factory. There are also interactive games and exhibits along the way, and each guest will end the tour with a free bag of Jelly Belly beans.”