Ben & Jerry's factory tour in Vermont
Photo by Rick Levinson courtesy Ben & Jerry’s

My family loves a good adventure. We’re always looking for new and interesting activities the whole family can enjoy, no matter our kids’ ages. A few years ago, we discovered factory tours! Who doesn’t love a behind-the-scenes view of your favorite snacks or products being made? Tours have been such a great part of our family trips. Although many factories haven’t reopened to the public post-pandemic, there are still a number of local Boston and New England factories that offer tours and behind-the-scenes viewings. Here are some great options for your family’s next adventure!

Ben & Jerry’s

1281 Waterbury-Stowe Road, Waterbury, VT

I have to start with a family favorite! Ben & Jerry’s is one of the few larger companies in New England that brought factory tours back after closing in 2020. Be sure to make a reservation online to secure your tour time. Tours are not expensive — $6 for adults and $1 for children — and they include a sizable sample at the end. Stay and visit the awesome playground, take a tour of the Flavor Graveyard, and check out the cows on your way back to the car.

Ben & Jerry's factory tour in Vermont
Photo courtesy Josh Grenier

BONUS: Just up the street from Ben & Jerry’s is the Cabot Creamery Store, which is a great place to sample some amazing cheese! And just a few minutes from there is Cold Hollow Cider Mill, a general store with a behind-the-scenes view (and samples) of their apple cider factory. They make cider a few days a week, so check for updated manufacturing times!

Taza Chocolate

561 Windsor Street, Somerville, MA

I drive by Taza Chocolate often, but I had no idea they did tours until recently. We headed there for their Cacao Scout Scavenger Hunt, which is a child-focused tour geared to the under-10 crowd. It was a fun, hands-on way to learn how chocolate is made! The scavenger hunt is $8 per child, and Taza also runs traditional tours for $12 per person regardless of age. The tour guides were very knowledgeable, and we had a great experience (even though we didn’t attend on a day that chocolate was actually being made).

Looking for more chocolate tours? Check out Harbor Sweets in Salem and give them a call to schedule a tour. If you find yourself in Maine, try Wilbur’s Chocolate in Freeport for tours and other fun events!

Vermont Teddy Bear

6655 Shelburne Road, Shelburne, VT
When I heard Vermont Teddy Bear Company was starting tours again after the pandemic, I was so excited — it had been one of my family’s favorite New England factory tours! It is really interesting to get some of the history behind the company — and teddy bears in general — while watching the machines that make it happen. The Teddy Bear Hospital was the cutest part, according to my (then) 8-year-old. Tours are really reasonably priced and run daily, but they are first come, first served, so plan to get there early to secure tickets.  
BONUS: If you are staying in the Shelburne area, check out Shelburne Farms. It is a wonderful working farm with a ton of hands-on activities. There is an area where you can watch cheese being made (and grab a sample), and there are other wonderful learning opportunities for any farm-interested child. When we went a few years ago, my kids each took turns milking a cow! They are open year round, but visit between May and October for full farm fun!

Avery’s Beverages

520 Corbin Avenue, New Britain, CT

As soon as my tween and teenage kids heard about Avery’s, we HAD to set a date to go. Avery’s Beverages in New Britain, Connecticut, is an old school soda factory. Kids can see how soda is made and then experiment with flavors and make their very own concoction. In this factory tour, there’s a minimum of five people in a group (with a max of 20), and price per person is dependent on a few factors — so call to set up an appointment before you go.

Avery's Soda's factory tour New England

Pairpoint Glass Company

851 Sandwich Road, Sagamore, MA

This one is a bit of a different experience — check out some glass blowing first hand! A better option for families with older children, Pairpoint Glass Company offers behind-the-scenes tours of how their beautiful glass works of art are made. Located in Sagamore, Massachusetts, this is the oldest glass company in America — and it’s worth a visit for anyone who loves the series “Blown Away.” If your visit gives you the glass blowing bug, check out North Shore Glass School and take a class. It’s another really cool way to learn how things are made!

Michelle Mady
Michelle is a lifelong New Englander who lives in Stoneham and works in Charlestown. She is a preschool teacher and Assistant Director at a small private preschool and holds a master’s degree in early childhood education, which has come in useful at both work and home. She has a supportive stay-at-home-dad for a husband and is a mom of five children. She has three boys born in 2005, 2007 and 2008, plus two girls born in 2012 and 2015. Michelle teaches infant and toddler classes for early education teachers and is an adjunct professor for The School Of Mom. She also runs her own business, The Parenting Survival Expert, offering parenting tips and support. In her spare time, she can be found reading a murder mystery novel, sipping far too much coffee, and dreaming of a home in the mountains.


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