Unique Kid Experiences

These are some unique experiences to be found on a Florida reunion – many unique to the Sunshine State. If you dare to be different, try these.

Pre-teen or teen animal lovers can be zookeeper for a day at Miami’s Metrozoo. Children under 18 can prepare animal meals, feed the animals and even help out with shows and talk like real zookeepers. Visit www.miamimetrozoo.com.

Astronaut training experience at Kennedy Space Center includes an orientation and mission briefing by a member of the US astronaut corps. For the “mission,” each crew member is assigned a specific role in the full-scale shuttle mock-up or realistically outfitted mission control room. Visit www.kennedyspacecenter.com.

Wannado City at Sawgrass Mills Mall near Fort Lauderdale calls itself the first interactive empowerment environment. Wannado City lets kids (ages four to 11) role-play in up to 250 careers like TV anchor, lawyer, doctor, firefighter, banker and police officer. Visit www.wannadocity.com.

Factory Tours

Factory tours rank high on summertime leisure activity lists. Visit Factory Tours USA (www.factorytoursusa.com) or go to your favorite product’s company website and search for tours.

Ben and Jerry’s

Waterbury VT; 866-258-6877; www.benjerry.com. Reservations recommended for groups of 10 or more. And most importantly, samples are available.

Binney & Smith Crayola

Easton, Pennsylvania, 610-250-8000; www.crayola.com. The manufacturing facility is not open to the public. Simulators demonstrate the process. Kids can play with modeling clay, draw on walls, and try out the latest Crayola. And you receive the crayon color du jour.


Everett, Washington, 800-464-1476; www.boeing.com. Where the 747, 767 and 777 airplanes are made and on display. Visitors see planes in testing and development. Reservations can be made.

Ford Motor Company

Dearborn, Michigan, 800-835-5237; www.hfmgv.org/rouge. A bus takes you through a narrated drive of famous landmarks and the manufacturing complex and a walking tour through the assembly plant where Ford F-150s are made.

Gibson Guitar Factory

Memphis, Tennessee, 901-205 2526; www.gibsonmemphis.com. Visitors watch guitars go through neck-fitting, buffing, tuning, binding and painting, by hand. Les Paul, Pete Townshend, Jimmy Page, B.B. King and Eric Clapton all have signature models. Visitors must be at least 12 years old.

Harley-Davidson Company

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 877-883-1450; www.harley-davidson.com. Tours also at Kansas City, Missouri, and York, Pennsylvania. Visitors 18 and over must present a valid photo ID.

Jelly Belly Candy Factory

Fairfield, California, 800-953-5592; www.jellybelly.com. Makes 150 varieties of Jelly Beans. The freshest sweets at the sampling bar or try a jellybean-shaped pizza.

Louisville Slugger Museum

Louisville, Kentucky, 877-7SLUGGER; www.sluggermuseum.org. The baseball bat of choice since 1884. Features include a batting cage, theater and ballfield. To watch bat production, tour before 3 PM.

US Department of Treasury, Bureau of Engraving and Printing

Washington, DC, 866-874-2330 and Western Currency facility in Fort Worth, Texas, 866-865-1194; www.moneyfactory.com. Watch currency being made. Tickets required at DC facility, March through August.