Factory Tours in Southeast Michigan for Family Fun

Bring the kids to experience the Ford Rouge Factory in Detroit and the Jiffy Plant in Chelsea, and Morley/Sanders desserts in Macomb County

Factory Tours in Southeast Michigan for Family Fun

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, and get a taste of history (and, in one case, chocolate!).

Ford Rouge Factory Tour in Detroit

  • 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: $16/adults, $12/kids, $14.50/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 Theater, a multi-sensory experience at the Manufacturing Innovation Theater, a 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.

JIFFY Mix Plant Tour in Chelsea

  • Address: Chelsea Milling Company, 201 W. North St., Chelsea
  • Phone: 734-475-1361 (ask for the tour department)
  • Hours: 9 a.m.-2 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 one-hour tour, you and your kids (those in first grade or older welcome) stroll a full city block. It includes an educational film, refreshments (product samples!) and a guide-led glimpse of the packing plant.

Morley Candy Makers Tour in Clinton Township

  • Address: 23770 Hall Road (M-59), Clinton Township
  • Phone: 800-682-2760
  • Hours: Tour times vary Mondays-Fridays; excluding holidays (call ahead for reservations)
  • Cost: free

Ever wonder where Sanders’ delicious desserts are made? It’s right here in southeast Michigan! In what must be the sweetest tour in town, you can peep at a brief video all about the history of Sanders and Morley Candy Makers, check out the line in action a 100-foot observation walkway (see candy made right before your eyes), pick up a free chocolate sample, and top it off at the candy and gift shop, featuring oodles of products to take home.

Shinola Watch Factory in Detroit

  • Address: College for Creative Studies, 485 W. Milwaukee St., Suite 501, Detroit
  • Phone: 844-744-6652
  • Hours: Every other Friday (space is limited; email customerservice@shinola.com)
  • Cost: free

This Detroit watch manufacturer is known for its beautiful timepieces (built the old-fashioned way), as well as handcrafted bicycles and leather goods. At their College for Creative Studies factory, kids ages 12-plus can see watchmakers at work doing what they do best. Tour space is limited, so be sure to schedule ahead. Tours are all booked through the rest of this year, but reach out to start booking for 2016. For groups up to 10 people.

The Parade Company

  • Address: 9500 Mt. Elliott St., Studio A, Detroit
  • Phone: 313-923-7400
  • Hours: Open year round Monday-Saturday (by reservation only)
  • Cost: $12/adults, $8/ages 3-17 (tours available for groups of 10-plus)

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the magic of the Thanksgiving Parade at this Detroit gem. Visitors can check out the largest collection of antique papier-mâché heads, see the costume department and more during this tour.

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