10 Behinds the Scenes Tours Kids Will Love

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I’m “back” from all of our virtual tours from the past month- we figured it was safer to stay home and explore places online than in person. If you missed them, here are the links to our curated lists of virtual tours for National Parks; art museumschildren’s museums, zoos, and aquariums; and Disney related activities.

While my family is still staying home as the country slowly starts to reopen, we’ve been reminiscing about past trips and many themes have emerged. We’re written themed posts before, like our posts on Indoor Fun in New England, East Coast Cities with Nearby Neighbors, Private Homes We’ve Toured, Sports Halls of Fame, and Free Things to Do in New England. Some new themes have recently emerged and today we’re sharing a post on “inside scoops” of famous locations and companies. We love learning about how a place works and seeing the behind the scenes stuff that most people don’t get a chance to see. It has recently become more popular for places to share behind the scenes access, even if guests cannot physically go inside the manufacturing plant or production studio.

10 Behind the Scenes Tours that are Kid Friendly:

1. Hershey Chocolate World in Hershey, PA: Who wouldn’t want to see how chocolate is made and sample varieties of chocolate?!?! While the tour isn’t at the site of production, the complex does have plenty of background history of the company, a slow paced ride the toddler crew will love, a 4D film, a beautiful atrium and food court, and the most comprehensive, amazing gift shop with every type of Hershey candy in every possible size.
Our favorite part of the tour: For an additional fee, create your own candy bar in the Hershey Lab  and watch the entire process of chocolate making.
Read about our adventures in Hershey and travel tips here. (Hershey World is #3)

2. Turkey Hill Experience in Lancaster, PA: Again, all you can sample ice cream and iced tea?!?! Let’s go! Again, the ice cream and iced tea is not made on site, but the museum does take visitors through the process of how everything is made. There are also hands on activities, like how to milk a cow.
Our favorite part of the tour: Also for an additional fee, guests can take a class to create their own ice cream in the Taste Lab and film a commercial and email it to view later.
Read about our adventures and travel tips here.

3. Cape Pond Ice in Gloucester, MA: This is the place where you’ll find the “coolest guys around.” They have literally been making ice for thousands of businesses, fishermen, and individuals every day for the past 150+ years. The tour includes the ice making process. Bring a sweatshirt and be prepared to have a snow fight even in the middle of summer.
Our favorite part of the tour: Seeing the over 1,500 pounds of ice in their storage and watching clips of the movies Frozen and The Perfect Storm
Read about our adventures in Gloucester and travel tips here (Cape Pond Ice is #2)

4. US Mint in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Free, self guided tours are offered Monday through Friday.  The third floor exhibit takes visitors through the seven step process of coin production: artistic design, die making, blanking, annealing and upsetting, striking, inspecting, and bagging. There are tons of hands on ways for kids to understand all elements of coin production.
Our favorite part of the tour: A design-your-own coin opportunity on a touchscreen, the interactive touch screens that explains the machines on the production floor, and the treasure hunt at the end of the tour, where visitors must find images on enlarged coin replicas.
Read about our free things to do in Philadelphia here and our Philadelphia City Guide here.

5. Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, DC: Free, timed tickets are available each week day for a 30 minute tour that includes an aerial view looking down into the production floor. There is also a great gift shop with unique gifts and plenty of trivia and photo opts (especially since photos aren’t allowed on the tour).
Our favorite part of the tour: Waving to the staff down below, learning how quickly money can be made, and looking at photos of misprinted money.
Read about 10 FREE things to do in Washington DC, including the Bureau, and our travel tips here (#10)

6. Yankee Candle Village in Springfield, MA: This post continues to be the most popular post ever on my blog. The candles are officially made in factories nearby, but the complex does include daily workshops from a candle maker who explains each step of the process, and what makes yankee candles unique. There’s also opportunities to make your own, personalized candles, fill candle jars with candy, shop for houseware items (and candles, of course!), and visit with Santa, who comes to the workshop every day of the year!
Our favorite part of the tour: Making our own candles, walking through the Bavarian Village (it snows every 4 minutes!), and seeing Santa Claus.
Read about our adventures and travel tips here.

7. Boston Symphony Hall in Boston, MA: One of the most acoustically perfect halls in the world, our tour of the BSO was one of our favorites so far this year. The tour includes sitting in front row seats and going backstage, peeking through the same peepholes the musicians do, visiting the green room and recording studios.   We recommend this tour for kids 8+ years old. It will not be as engaging for the toddler crew.
Our favorite part of the tour: Hearing the once alive organ and seeing the backstage and seeing the instruments and where they are stored.
Read about our adventures and travel tips here.

8. Radio City Music Hall Backstage Tour in New York City: Home to the Rockettes, the tour includes a visit and photo opt with a Rockette and a peek inside the Hall from the top mezzanine floor. The hour long tour also includes stops in the grand lounge, elevator platforms, costume shop, screening room, rehearsal studio, and private reception room. We recommend this tour for kids 8+ years old. It will not be as engaging for the toddler crew.
Our favorite part of the tour: Seeing a Rockette and going down into the club lounge. There are also little popup stands showing some of the drawings for the costumes used in their shows.
Read about our adventures and travel tips here.

9. AT&T Stadium in Arlington,Texas:  As Giants fans, this was a hard place to visit at first. Once we promised to behave ourselves, our tour guide was super friendly and knowledgeable about the history of the team, the NFL, and the building of the world’s largest closed dome stadium, with almost 80,000 seats. The entire complex covers over 100 acres and you’ll definitely get your steps in for the day walking through the stadium. There are several tour options, but most of them include stops to the locker rooms, “The Perch”, private clubs and lounges, media interview rooms, and even on or next to the field.
Our favorite part of the tour: Checking out the locker room and cheerleader’s locker rooms. Seeing the largest stadium in the NFL and sometimes you can go on the field (unfortunately, we could not as they were prepping the field.)
Read about our adventures and travel tips here.

10. Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, New York: The track comes alive every July through Labor Day, with 9-13 races six days a week ( the track is dark on Tuesdays). The staff offers a free, early morning tram tour and walking tours later in the day for a nominal cost. Both tours include the opportunity to see various spots in the complex, including the horses’ barns, starting gate, winner’s circle, and jockey scale.
Our favorite part of the tour: Riding the tram (highly recommend over the walking tour if you have children) and the manure pit (yes, you read that right).
Read about out adventures and travel tips here.

If you’re getting ready to get out and explore again, be sure to check out the Travel Tips and City Guides sections of our blog. And follow along on our adventures on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

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3 Comments

  1. Once again your descriptions are exciting and bring enthusiasm to traveling again when we are able. So much look forward to. So much to learn. Thank you again for keeping this blog up during these challenging times.👍

  2. Once again your descriptions are exciting and bring enthusiasm to traveling again when we are able. So much look forward to. So much to learn. Thank you again for keeping this blog up during these challenging times.👍

  3. Once again your descriptions are exciting and bring enthusiasm to traveling again when we are able. So much look forward to. So much to learn. Thank you again for keeping this blog up during these challenging times.👍

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