My wife and I really enjoy factory tours. Here are some of the factory tours we have done.

Vermont Teddy Bear Factory Tour: (located in Vergennes, VT) It’s been a while since we toured the Vermont Teddy Bear factory. The tour guide rattled off bad puns (bear feet, bear chested, etc, etc), and seemed to be enjoying himself, and the rest of us enjoyed ourselves along with him. His patter was well memorized so I am sure he had done it many many times. He knew the puns were bad. But he was still enjoying himself! That made it fun! We saw many people, mostly women, working at sewing machines making bears. We saw the bear hospital where they repair damaged bears that are sent in. They also had a little store where you could bear Vermont Teddy Bears. This is probably my favorite factory tour!

Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory Tour: Near the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory is the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream factory. The tour guides seemed bored, and my wife and I were bored along with them. They gaves us a small sample of a single flavor at the end, and that was it. This was one of my least favorite factory tours. Surprising. I would have thought the Ben & Jerry’s tour would have been much more fun.

Jelly Belly Factory Tour: (located in Fairfield, CA) We did this factory tour while on a trip to California. We saw machines processing the Jelly Bellys at each step. Big giant machines spitting out millions of Jelly Bellies. The tour guides seemed very good. At the end, we visited the store. Bought bought a bunch of bags of Belly Flops which are rejected Jelly Bellys. They were a real bargain! We gave some out as gifts, and ate the rest! Yum!

Louisville Slugger Factory Tour & Museum: (Located in Louisville, KY) The first thing you see here is a giant Louisville Slugger baseball bat outside the building. For the tour, they took us through the plant where we saw automated lathes turning out Louisville Slugger baseball bats. We also saw the other stages that the bats go through. There were other areas where custom baseball bats were being made for Major League Baseball stars.
The Louisville Slugger Factory also had a museum with a ton of stuff.

Maple Syrup Factory Tour: During a drive through Vermont, we saw a sign for a tour of a maple syrup factory, so we stopped. It looked the mostly made maple syrup candy. I don’t even know the name of the place, but there seem to be a bunch of places along the highway we were on. Since this was pre season they were really set up for the tour, but the lady took us around anyway. It was interesting. Nothing fancy, but then we weren’t expecting a lot either.

New Energy Works Factory Tour (Timberframe houses): (Located in Farmington, NY) This factory tour is geared more for people interested in having a timberframe house built. We own a post-and-beam house, and were interested in the process of building a timberframe house. The tour was very informal. We were shown the computer controlled milling machines cutting the frame pieces. We also saw craftsmen making tweaks to the pieces by hand. They also test fit all of the pieces. Next door is Pioneer Millworks, their sister company that reclaims old wood.

Books about factory tours:
Watch It Made in the U.S.A: A Visitor’s Guide to the Companies That Make Your Favorite Products by Karen Axelrod and Bruce Brumberg

Pennsylvania Snacks: A Guide to Food Factory Tours by Sharon Hernes Silverman