Harry London Chocolates, Jones Potato Chips, the Great American Whistle Factory, Book Masters and the Tiffin Motor Homes Manufacturing Plant are just a sample of the fun and informative factory tours that my family has enjoyed over the years.
Often free or inexpensive, some manufacturers welcome the public and school groups with tours of their facilities and a glimpse of their assembly lines.
In the United States, we are able to walk into any grocery store, retail store or car dealership and purchase the items we want or need. We often give little thought as to the hours that have gone into the production process. Factory tours have allowed my children (and myself) to appreciate the work that goes into manufacturing a product.
A resource I have used on many occasions is Watch it Made in the USA. The author has listed many factory tours that are offered in a state by state format. You can easily search to see if there is a facility in your area that offers tours and read a review so you know what to expect.
It’s still a good idea to contact a company representative to confirm current details (hours, cost, etc) and to address any concerns that you may have. Keep in mind that many manufacturing plants may have age restrictions due to safety issues. You may also be required to sign a waiver or wear protective clothing including hard hats and goggles. Parents’ should keep a close eye on their children for the enjoyment and safety of other participants.
To stretch the learning experience beyond your field trip you may want to discuss what you can expect before you arrive for the tour. Create a K-W-L chart noting what your child knows, what they want to know and what they learned from the experience. Have you toured two chocolate making facilities? Graph the similarities and differences.
Do you have older children that are considering what they’d like to do in the future? Factory and facility tours can be a great way for them to learn about the different careers available.
Has your family ever taken a factory tour as a field trip? What did you learn from the experience?
Visit Tonya at The Traveling Praters for more fun, family friendly, educational travel ideas.