How’s it made? Factory tours for innovative minds

Visitors to Hershey's Chocolate World can use real factory equipment to make their own candy. (Photo via Facebook)

The Science Channel’s popular show How It’s Made demonstrates to viewers at home how common objects and foods are prepared. (And leaves watchers saying “so that’s how jawbreakers are made?!” Or maybe that’s just me.)

Fans of this type of entertainment can get the How It’s Made experience in real life too. In the Philly area, many factories go through this exact process of explaining to visitors how their products are mixed, melted and constructed. From chocolate to motorcycles, innovative minds can get a real treat at these factory tours.

Since I mentioned chocolate, it would be rude to make you wait to get to the sweet stuff. Wolfgang Candy Company in York, PA offers an inside look into how they hand-make their candy and the history of the company. You’ll be able to hop in on one of these tours Monday through Thursday at 1 p.m., however if you’ve got a bigger group, alternate times can be arranged.

Another chocolate-y adventure resides in Hershey, PA. More of a ride than an official tour of the factory, Hershey's Chocolate World’s chocolate tour takes chocolate lovers on a ride through the course of chocolate’s life, from the raw products to the finished commodity. Other attractions include a 4D interactive movie, create your own candy bar—using real factory equipment—and a chocolate tasting experience. The factory is open daily (except Christmas) and opens at 9 a.m.

If your sweet tooth is a little out of control, Snyder’s of Hanover in Hanover, PA has something a little saltier. Their 30-minute tours, running Tuesday through Thursday at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. guide pretzel lovers ages 5 and up through the production facilities, packing room and oven.

For another crunchy snack, Nottingham, PA is home to Herr’s Snack Factory. These one-hour tours take you through the process of how potato chips are made, how they get their flavor and other little-known fact about Herr’s products.  

Wash it all down with a Troegs during the Troegs Brewery factory tours, which run at various times daily. The Hershey, PA brewery requires you wear closed toe shoes during the tour, where you’ll see the fermenting process and get to taste a few brews.

The Harley Davidson Factory in York, PA shows bikers what goes on in the assembly of a Harley. Free one-hour tours are offered Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. and gives guests a view of the assembly line. If you want to cough up a little cash, an extended two-hour tour is offered Monday through Thursday at 9:30 a.m. and noon. You’ll wear a protective gear and see how fuel tanks, fenders and more are constructed.

Color outside the lines at the Crayola Factory in Easton, PA, where every day during museum hours, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., crayon making demonstrations are held and visitors can personalize their own crayon. With four floors of fun, get the full Crayola experience in coloring, sculpting and doodling.

Free, self-guided tours of the U.S. Mint are perfect for those who see green. See real, United States currency being produced during the Independence Mall museum’s hours, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.