Low Cost Family Fun Trips – Part 2

Being on a tight budget does not mean your family cannot go anywhere this summer. You may not be aware of how many interesting things there are to see and do on a day trips that are free or low cost.

If a factory tour is not on your list of fun destinations it should be. A factory is not always huge buildings that takes up acres of space, it can be any size building where a product is made. Every state has a factory where there is something interesting to see, to learn about and, in the right places, yummy samples to eat.

It may seem as if most manufactured goods come from another country but there are literally thousands of factories to tour in the United States. Plumbing, paper, bicycles, wagons, farm equipment, maple syrup, food and boat factories are just the beginning. And if you would like to know where things wind up, tour a recycling plant.

In Wyoming you will learn how you get electricity from a clean operating coal fired electric generating station. Or discover how those sensuous smelling candles are made in an Oklahoma Factory. It is fascinating to see how various powders and compounds are combined to make a vitamin pill or skin cream when you tour a pharmaceutical plant in Wisconsin. Or how food is sealed at a canning factory.

Kids are sure to enjoy learning how candy bars, potato chips or jelly beans are made considering there are bound to be free samples at the end of the tour. One of my favorite places to tour is a cookie factory about 30 miles from my house.

Do a computer search by typing in your state followed by factory tours. If you are close to a bordering state search their state too. Another source of information is the Chamber of Commerce. Ask about lakes and parks where the kids can play after the tour.

Most factories will not allow people to wander through their facility. Find out the days and times when they give tours. It has not been my experience to have to pay for a tour of a factory but there may be instances where there is a fee. Make sure to ask. Also, ask if the tours are first come, first serve, most often the case, or do you need to make a reservation.

Since factories usually have a guided tour, either walking or sitting on an open train, you can find out before hand how long the tour will last. There may be a souvenir shop after the tour where you are more than welcome to linger as long as you like. Decide before hand if you want to purchase something for the kids or by-pass it altogether.

On the day of your trip eat a big breakfast. Pack a picnic basket including snacks and beverages. Bring some toys or games for your children to play during the drive. After the tour go to the park or a lake where the kids can play and you can all have a leisurely picnic meal before heading home.

On the drive home have a discussion about the factory tour and the products they make. Do you use this product at home? If you saw a vehicle being made, such as a motorcycle, can they see someone riding one? It is good to see how things are made but it will be better remembered if you can relate the product to something in their life.