10 Things to Do at the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory in Shelburne, Vermont


We just returned from a quick trip to Burlington, Vermont and enjoyed exploring many of the popular attractions. One of our first stops was to the Vermont Teddy Bear Company in nearby Shelburne, Vermont.

Vermont Teddy Bear Company founder John Sortino first stitched a bear for his son in 1980. That same year, he stitched more teddy bears and began selling them off a cart in downtown Church Street. The bears were so popular, and sold so quickly that Sortino started a mail order teddy bear company, calling the orders “Bear Grams”. The first Vermont Teddy Bear Company opened a factory in 1985 and quickly expanded it in 1995 in its current location.

Today, the Vermont Teddy Bear Company is one of the largest teddy bear companies in the world,  making up to 700 teddy bears, using 200+ yards of fur,  every day during peak holiday season. The factory is open for tours year round and has a massive gift shop and design studio where guests can make their own teddy bear souvenir. 

Vermont Teddy Bear factory display in Shelburne, Vermont

Travel Tips:

  • Check hours and tour fees here; children 12 and under are free!
  • Plenty of free parking in front of the factory.
  • Restrooms are located near the lobby; no dining facilities on site.
  • A large gift shop sells a variety of clothing and novelty items for bears. 
  • Check out special events like teddy bear picnics here
  • Tours last 30 minutes; plan on additional time in the gift shop or the Design Studio a personalized bear. 

10 Things to Do at the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory:

  1. Compare your height and size to various bears (are you a grizzly, black, panda, or cub bear?)
  2. See the first teddy bear, “Bearcho” Sortino stitched for his son in 1980, created to look like comedian Groucho Marx. “Buddy Bear”, the second bear he created, and “Chester”, the company’s signature bear, are also on display. 
  3. Learn about, and see company employees at work, the 20 parts to creating every bear, including a cutting station, sewing station, and assembling station.
  4. Push the button to see how a bear is stuffed (and feel the stuffing- it’s made of recycled water bottles!)
  5. Learn how to properly clean your Vermont Teddy Bear (they’re machine washable, but no dryer!)
  1. Read the glass eyes of a bear and see the special stamped message: Born in Vermont.
  2. Check out the limited edition bears made each year by hand (only 50!) and see upcoming (yet to be released) themes.
  3. See the chronological display of 40+ years of bears, each with unique features and themed outfits. 
  4. Observe the bear doctor at work in the Teddy Bear Hospital, repairing broken bears. All VTB are guaranteed for life, so if something happens to a bear, they can be shipped to the hospital for repairs. 
  5. Shop at the enormous gift shop that has everything from clothes and accessories to and for your VT Teddy Bear.

Bonus: Design your own Vermont Teddy Bear at the Design Studio. 

Looking for other nearby fun? Check out our posts featuring the Ben & Jerry’s Factory, the ECHO Leahy Center, the Vermont State House, our full Burlington City Guide and our feature of the Smugglers’ Notch Resort. And follow along on our adventures on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.

Vermont Teddy Bear factory display in Shelburne, Vermont

Disclosure: We were given a media pass for the tour; all opinions expressed are my own. 

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  1. This is such fun-who knew! Bear Grams and 200+ yards of fur every day, ad one of the largest teddy bear companies in the world!

  2. I have always wanted to visit a teddy bear store. And I love the idea of visiting the Vermont Teddy Bear Company and designing my own. We have friends and family with distinct interests and I am sure a custom teddy would be perfect. Fun to see how the design of the bears has changed over the year. Great family fun!

  3. Your post brought back memories! We used to live in Vermont and love that the Vermont Teddy Bear Shop is still thriving! I need to return!

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