Touring Guide

If you’re interested in visiting companies to see how things are done or made, a good reference is Watch It Made in the USA: A Visitor’s Guide to the Companies That Make Your Favorite Products by Karen Axelrod and Bruce Brumberg (1997, 368 pages, paperbound, $17.95. John Muir Publications, PO Box 613, Santa Fe NM 87504). The authors did something I would love to do! They traveled the country and visited many wonderful, interesting places to find out how things are made.

Choose your favorites and the book probably has the information you need to find and visit them. This is a perfect reunion activity, particularly if the tour is inside and you’re facing a rainy day. Who wouldn’t want to visit Microsoft? There it is, with a free tour, in Redmond, Washington, but you’ll need reservations. For big and little boys, Mack Truck in Macungie, Pennsylvania, has a free tour but no freebies (we hoped). However, Lionel Trains in Chesterfield, Michigan, gives free souvenir pins. If freebies are what you’re looking for, count on them if you visit breweries and candy factories/stores. In fact, sampling is required.

Information for listings include such practical items as cost, freebies (essential from tours!), hours, length of tours, whether a video is shown, minimum age, directions and more. Listings are presented according to state.

If you’re a person who ever stops to wonder how something is made, these tours are for you. And kids will be intrigued, too!