Factory Tours in Southeast Michigan for Family Fun
Bring the kids to experience the Ford Rouge Factory in Detroit, teddy bears and the Jiffy Plant in Chelsea, and Morley/Sanders desserts in Macomb County
Here in the metro Detroit region, "the line" goes way back. This is the Motor City, after all. And, from amazing autos to tasty treats, we know a thing or two about kicking out quality products from respected, long-standing companies. Why not take your kids behind-the-scenes and see how the magic happens – with a factory tour? Watch the gears turn and crank out some hometown goods in person at four of the hottest tickets in town. Get a taste of history (and, in one case, chocolate!).
- Address: 400 N. Main St., Chelsea
- Phone: 734-433-5499
- Hours: public: 11 a.m. and 1 and 3 p.m. Saturdays; private: can be scheduled Monday-Saturday for groups of 10-plus (call ahead for details)
- Cost: free
It's a bonafide plushy lover's heaven. This 35,000-square-foot facility, set in the historic Clock Tower Complex, is a great place for kids to learn how stuffed pals are designed, developed, made and distributed. If you've ever wondered what 100,000 teddy bears looks like, this is a can't-miss experience. Stop by the retail store and take home a new BFF, too.
- Address: departs from The Henry Ford, 20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn
- Phone: 313-982-6001
- Hours: 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday (last tour leaves at 3 p.m.; check here for closure dates and plant non-production dates)
- Cost: $15/adults, $11/kids, $14/seniors, free/2 and under (note: prices are slightly less for members of The Henry Ford)
Where else can you see fresh Ford F-150 pickup trucks being built in a real auto factory? This five-part experience includes historic footage of Henry Ford and Co. at the Legacy Theatre, a multi-sensory experience at the Art of Manufacturing Theatre (with seven screens and seats that pivot 360 degrees), a trek to "the world's largest living roof," chance to see five iconic vehicles in the Legacy Gallery (like a 1929 Model A and 1965 Mustang) and, of course, an assembly plant walking tour (during production only).
- Address: Chelsea Milling Company, 201 W. North St., Chelsea
- Phone: 734-475-1361 (ask for the tour department)
- Hours: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday (by reservation only, same-day requests accommodated as space allows); closed holidays
- Cost: free
In 1930, the Chelsea Milling Co. debuted its "little blue boxes" of ready-made baking mixes. Today, the family-run brand still churns out 20 products, from cakes and muffins to pancakes. In this popular one-hour tour, you and your kids (those in first grade or older are welcome) will stroll a full city block. It includes an educational film, refreshments (read: product samples!) and a guide-led glimpse of the packing plant.
- Address: 23770 Hall Road (M-59), Clinton Township
- Phone: 800-682-2760, ext. 2218
- Hours: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Mondays-Fridays (call ahead for reservations)
- Cost: free
Remember Pecan Torties – featuring fresh southern pecans and that "copper kettle" recipe caramel – and Sanders Hot Fudge Cream Puffs? This is home to both. And, in what must be the sweetest 35-minute tour in town, you can peep at a brief video (including a free chocolate sample!), check out the line in action a 100-foot observation walkway (see candy made and packaged right before your eyes) and top it off at the candy and gift shop, featuring a full ice cream parlor and oodles of products to take home.