It’s cheap, fun, educational and tastes good — it’s Ben & Jerry’s, the factory of Vermont’s friendliest ice cream makers. This special place features the brand’s memorabilia, a great gift shop and much more. Fortunately, the Ben & Jerrys Factory Tour in Waterbury has just reopened after its pandemic hiatus. That makes a visit not only yummy, but educational as well.
We’re not the only family who loves Ben & Jerry’s. Delicious treats come from this proud and active social justice company. Their all-natural ice cream with wildly imaginative mixings is constantly evolving to meet the times. You will grow your appreciation for this clever dessert provider if you take the informative factory tour. We promise.
A Ben & Jerry Factory Tour makes a nice day out, since it’s set in the scenic dairy farm country of Vermont’s Green Mountains. Base yourselves in nearby Stowe or choose one of Vermont’s campgrounds for a bargain weekend away you won’t soon forget.
Ben & Jerry’s Model Social Justice Activism
On any tour, first comes a short film introducing founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield. These college buddies turned a five-dollar correspondence course on ice cream making into a very successful, socially conscious business. Although it is now owned by Unilever, they continue their activism in meaningful yet playful ways.
In 2021, for example, NFL star Colin Kaepernick was honored for his pre-game Black rights protests with a new flavor and a mural in a Tampa, Florida neighborhood. Sales of the new ice cream, “Colin Kaepernick’s Change the Whirled,” support his non-profit Know Your Rights Camp.
Taste their passion with nostalgic flavors such as Cherry Garcia (vanilla whipped with nuts and cherries in honor of the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia) and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (first among many imitators.) Learn all about the Neflix & chilll’d series. These new flavors themed to streaming series use only non-GMO ingredients, cage-free eggs and fair trade certified ingredients. Look for the non-dairy option if your kids have any dietary issues.
How is Ice Cream Made?
Take your kids behind the scenes to see how ice cream is made. On the new factory tour, admission includes a 30-minute tour with an overview of the manufacturing floor. Following a guide, walk along a glassed-in mezzanine and look down on shiny steel vats churning away. Tubs of mixings like M&Ms and cookie dough blobs are standing by, as a guide explains how ice cream is produced.
Once upon a time, everyone who took the tour of Ben & Jerry’s Factory in Waterbury, Vermont got a free sample. And, it’s back. Tour participants get a chunk and ice cream sample, lots of photo opps and a chance to shop for retail items. If that sample just whet your familly’s appetites, additional ice cream can be purchased before or after outside from the Scoop Shop.
Book the factory tour up to a week in advance; it operates several times daily. Visit on Saturday or Sunday, but because there is no ice cream production, the weekend tours use a fun video instead of guides to explain the process. Because of that, the weekday visit is more informative.
Ben & Jerry’s Fun Stuff To Do
The friendly relaxed vibe makes this a great learning opportunity for any age. Young toddlers and the surliest of teens appreciate what this company stands for and the commitment they’ve made to producing a quality product.
Walk outside and meet the cows who made it possible. After you’ve stopped by the Ice Cream stand, visit the playground and the picnic area. Kids can color in a postcard and write home about their visit. Nostalgic adults cannot miss honoring the departed victims, felled by poor mixing, poor marketing or the bad economy, in the Flavor Graveyard. Each dearly beloved but departed ice cream flavor has its own tombstone and epitaph. Fans rejoice: in 2022, Dublin Mudslide was “rein-cone-ated” from the Flavor Graveyard and is being made with Whyward Spirit, a sustainable flavoring.
If you like peaceful country roads, begin an extended road trip in the region. There’s another sort-of factory tour in the Waterbury area at the Cold Hollow Cider Mill, where you can watch cider being pressed. In summer there are nearby public lakes and in fall, blue roads that slow to a crawl with leaf-peakers.
Many families dream of ice cream, even in cold snowy weather. In winter, the Ben & Jerry’s tour attracts many snowsports fans. Nearby there’s Stowe, a top notch mountain resort with a funky chic town and gourmet eateries. Okemo, a resort known for its superior kids ski and snowboard schools that appeals to families with younger kids, is not far either. Read our review of Stowe and Okemo.
Trip Planning Details for Ben & Jerry’s
Ben & Jerry’s Factory (802-337-1201 ) is located at 1281 Waterbury-Stowe Road, Waterbury, Vermont just off Interstate 89. Factory tour admission is $6 for adults, $1 for kids 12 and under, with senior and military discounts available.
Founded more than three decades ago, Ben & Jerry’s continue to operate based on their three-part Mission Statement. Their mission statement company emphasizes product quality, economic reward and a commitment to the community. How can you not buy a scoop from the company that says, “Our focus is on children and families, the environment and sustainable agriculture on family farms.”
Go Stowe is the area’s official tourist office and they have lots of information about local hotels and B&B if anyone in the family needs to recuperate from brain freeze!
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