Pennsylvania has many reminders of its industrial heritage. A stroll through Pittsburgh’s Strip District – a once bustling steel manufacturing center – takes you by merchants selling poultry, popcorn and Steelers gear. A visit to the SteelStacks in Bethlehem is now the dramatic setting for music festivals and art exhibitions. And in Philadelphia, a neighborhood once dominated by the Reading Railroad and the Stetson Hat factory is now the site of Fly School Circus Arts, a trapeze-training center. But from money and motorcycles to chips and chocolate, Pennsylvania still has a rich industrial scene open to visitors to experience factory tours and purchase a Keystone State keepsake from your travels.
United States Mint - Philadelphia and the Countryside
It was no easy money for coiners in colonial Philadelphia to make our nation’s first currency. It took three years to produce the first batch of 1 million coins, but at the U.S. Mint, you can now watch from 40 feet above the factory floor as large coils of copper and nickel are fed through presses to produce 1 million coins in just 30 minutes.
Yuengling® Brewery - Upstate PA
At the oldest brewery in America, you can smell the beer in production, dodge drops of water in the damp, underground cave where kegs once cooled and grab a stool at the bar where your tour guide-turned barkeep pours a glass of the classic lager.
The Crayola Experience™ - Lehigh Valley
Cross the Crayola Experience™ off your kids’ travel wish list – preferably with shades of Marvelous or Electric Lime. This interactive discovery center allows you to see how Crayola makes its famous crayons. Here you can wrap up your own personalized crayon label, pose for your own coloring page, or roll, mold, swirl, sculpt (you get the idea) Crayola Model Magic at the Crayola Experience™, which reopened last year with 18 engaging stations across four floors.
Harley-Davidson® Motor Company, Vehicle Operations - Dutch Country Roads
Go hog wild on the free Harley-Davidson® Vehicle Operations tour, where you can walk the line and watch how quickly flat metal is pressed to form gas tanks, fenders and frames. And for $30, you can take the Steel Toe Tour, a deeper look at employee-only areas where they dress you up in a safety vest, glasses and steel-toed footwear, and grant you access to areas such as paint and polish.
Herr’s® Snack Factory Tours - Philadelphia and the Countryside
Should a few chips drop during the production cycle at Herr’s, they don’t go in the trash. On a behind-the-scenes Herr’s® Snack Factory Tour, you’ll find out they feed the dropped chips to cattle on the farm and reuse the water that comes from sliced potatoes to irrigate the fields. Follow the production line from slicing and frying to bagging and boxing. Ever tasted a chip hot from the fryer? Your tour guide will come out with a tray to sample, give you a free bag, and take you into the gift shop where you can buy discount “oops” products and experimental flavors.
Turkey Hill® Experience - Dutch Country Roads
Get the scoop on how ice cream – and Turkey Hill® Iced Tea – are made at the Turkey Hill® Experience, where you can design your own ice cream package, star in a TV commercial, develop your own virtual ice cream flavor and create your own creamy concoction at the reservations-only Taste Lab. Fluffernutter, mint cookie dough or black raspberry with cookies and fudge are just a few of the flavors. Did we mention there’s unlimited samples?
BWP Bats - PA Great Outdoors
Step up to the bat at BWP, where you can see the maple BWP bat Boston Red Sox player Johnny Damon used to score a 2004 World Series home run against the St. Louis Cardinals. The boutique bat maker harvests its own hard maple, ash and red oak to manufacture 35,000 bats a year that are used by some of the best ball players in Major League Baseball. Bring home a customized bat engraved with your own sporty sentiment.
Martin Guitar® - Lehigh Valley
Music fans looking for a spiritual experience should make the pilgrimage to Nazareth’s C.F. Martin & Co. ® guitar factory, where more than 200 guitars are made daily with spruce, mahogany and rosewood. Check out rare, vintage instruments on display and don’t miss the Pickin’ Parlow, where you can play high-end and limited-edition guitars.
Daffin’s Candies - Pennsylvania’s Great Lakes Region
It’s not like the “I Love Lucy” episode where Lucy can’t keep up with the conveyor belts spitting out chocolate, but on the Daffin’s Candies tour, you do get to size up copper kettles with buttercream, chocolate creatures for certain holidays and a 300-gallon vat filled with – you guessed it – chocolate. In nearby Sharon, chocolate reigns supreme at the retail shop, complete with Chocolate Kingdom, statues of animals and a Ferris wheel.
Byers’ Choice® Carolers - Philadelphia and the Countryside
Snips of her kids’ hair and an old fur coat gave way to Joyce Byers’ first Christmas caroler figurine collectibles. Now with a team of 180 artisans, this Chalfont company is full of cheer all year. Watch from the observation deck as artists paint the clay faces of future figurines, and then honor Christmas past with a stroll down a cobblestone street in Dickensian London.
Snowcat Rides - Laurel Highlands
If you can stay up late after a day of skiing or snowboarding, tag along with one of the groomers at Seven Springs for a Snowcat ride at 1 p.m., 12 a.m., or 1 a.m. Up to 10 passengers can sit in a cabin on the back and learn about the environmentally friendly snowmaking systems as you help smooth the terrain for the next day.