During our summer road trip on the East Coast, I was searching for fun outings for my bustling, energetic family. Generally, finding an outing that captivates the wide range of interests and ages in our household is no small feat. However, our trip to the PEZ Factory in Orange, Connecticut, ticked all the boxes for a memorable family day out, offering nostalgia, education, and fun that appealed to each one of us in its unique way.
PEZ Factory Tour
Nestled in the charming town of Orange, the PEZ Visitor Center might appear modest at first glance, but it houses a world of wonder that far exceeds its physical boundaries. Describing it as a small place with “GIANT PEZ” barely scratches the surface of the delightful experience that awaited us inside. The center is an enchanting amalgamation of a museum dedicated to all things PEZ, a vibrant store, and a peek into the operational heart of the factory where PEZ candies are packaged.
Walking into the center, we were immediately struck by the sheer scale of the PEZ collection on display. It felt like stepping into a colorful timeline of pop culture, tracing the evolution of these iconic dispensers from their inception to the present day. Lulu, our oldest, was wide-eyed with wonder, filled with excitement as she darted from one display to another, pointing out characters she recognized. Jay and I found ourselves swept up in a wave of nostalgia, each dispenser evoking memories of our childhoods. The center did not just showcase PEZ dispensers; it celebrated the shared memories they hold for generations of fans.
The self-guided tour format was perfect for our family, allowing us to explore at our own pace without the pressure of keeping up with a group. This casual approach meant we could linger over displays that caught our interest and skip ahead when the kids’ attention started to wane. However, it’s worth noting that to see the factory in full swing, a weekday visit is advisable. We learned that weekends and holidays mean the production areas are quiet, a tidbit for future planning.
One of the highlights of our visit was the PEZ-making demonstration. Watching the transformation of simple ingredients into the colorful candies we know and love was fascinating, not just for the kids but for Jay and me as well. It was a tangible connection to the product that transcended the final packaged good, adding depth to our appreciation of these little treats.
PEZ Factory Visitor Center
The PEZ Visitor Center is more than just a walk down memory lane or an educational excursion; it’s a place where you can actively participate in the PEZ experience. The opportunity to fill a souvenir tin with a variety of PEZ candies was a particular joy. The array of flavors was astonishing; we discovered PEZ flavors we never knew existed, broadening our PEZ horizons far beyond the familiar strawberry and lemon. The $2 credit towards store purchases with admission was a sweet bonus, pun intended, allowing us to bring home a piece of our day out.
There seems to be a PEZ for everyone. Whether you’re a collector, a candy aficionado, or someone simply seeking a unique family outing, the PEZ Visitor Center delivers. For us, it was more than just a visit to a candy factory; it was an opportunity to connect, share, and create new memories around the simple joy of PEZ. The kid’s excited chatter on the drive home, Jay’s contented smile as he sorted through our candy haul, and my sense of satisfaction at having found an activity that delighted us all are testament to the PEZ factory’s universal appeal.
As we left the PEZ Visitor Center behind, our car was filled with the sounds of rustling candy wrappers and animated discussions about our favorite parts of the day. It was a reminder that sometimes, the best family moments come from the most unexpected places. In our case, it was a small factory in Connecticut, where giant PEZ candy marked the entrance to a world of sweet discoveries. Our visit to the PEZ Factory Visitor Center wasn’t just a day out; it was a celebration of family, nostalgia, and the joy of discovery, wrapped up in the colorful paper of a PEZ candy package.