1281 Waterbury Stowe Rd, Waterbury Center, VT 05676 – Get Directions
Get there early to avoid a wait for "tour"
I went on this tour as a child years and years ago and I remember it being so much more to see. This time was 2 years ago and it was a video and a rushed tour where you can barely see the factory. It was a Saturday and no ice cream was being made - just some people cleaning in the factory... my girls weren't interested but they were <1 and 4 years old so I wasn't surprised. They did love eating the ice cream after tho - free sample at the end!
Quick Tour with Sample
I knew that my kids would love this tour - so I made sure to include it in our road trip itinerary.
We arrived within an hour of opening on a Monday morning in August. Tours were scheduled every 20 minutes and filled-up completely. There was about 40 people on our tour. About 10 minutes before our tour began, they started selling tickets for the next tour time.
There are three parts to the tour: a video, a view of the factory floor and a golf ball-sized sample. The entire factory is painted with cows and such - it's "utterly" charming.
On a Monday morning we were able to see production. The most interesting part was seeing factory workers dump in the add-ins, brownies.
The sample size was so large that we didn't feel the need to purchase any additional ice cream. My mom asked for a yogurt sample due to her dietary restrictions and they were happy to oblige.
We ran off our ice cream energy at the playground and then took a walk around the gravesite of the retired flavors. Surprisingly, my kids enjoyed reading about past flavors.
Overall, our stop at the Ben and Jerry's Factory was only about 1 hour before we hit the road again.
Fun Stop for the Ice Cream Lover
We love Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream and we love going on factory tours in general, so we decided that a stop to Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Factory was in order during our road trip to Vermont.
This "factory tour" is definitely more tourist-geared and "pretty" with a big 'ol gift shop selling merch and only a tiny look at a production floor, but we thought it was really neat nonetheless. The location is significant because the building is the original location of B&J's offices and factory.
Tours occur at different times depending on day of the week and time of year, so make sure you consult their calendar on the website before you arrive. We got there on a Friday morning in January and made it on the 2nd tour of the day. Our tour only had about 15 people on it total. The tour costs $4 per adult and is free for kids.
After your tour guide introduces himself/herself, you are led upstairs and watch a short movie that gives you background on how the company got its start. From the you are ushered into a hallway with glass walls that overlooks the production floor. Note: this is the only part of the tour where cameras and picture-taking are prohibited.
Next it's down to the tasting floor where everyone gets a sample cup of whatever flavor ice cream they are serving up that day. On our tour we got to try a seasonal flavor - Belgium Salted Caramel Brown-ie Ale (INCREDIBLE!).
So while this tour is entirely tourist trapp-y, it's in a good way. It's cute, entertaining and interesting. A great stop to make if you enjoy Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream.
A Delicious Time
The tour starts with a short movie telling the tale of how Ben and Jerry got their start and how they have vowed social good. The company still activiely supports the community. From there you proceed to a gallery where you can look down on the production tour. We were here on a Saturday when their was no production but there is a video and the guide explains step by step.
After all the learning, the best part comes...the tasting. The tours last stop is the test kitchen where everyone gets to taste a new flavor. Our flavor of the day was Milk and Cookies and it was delicious.
Afterwards you can order up your favorite flavor at the scoop window if you wish.
We don't have any Ben and Jerry's scoop shops near us and don't purchase it at the store much so this was my kids first introduction. They left here wondering why we've been holding out on them for so long.
I think this is just one of those places you need to experience while in the area.
Yummy Ice Cream and a tour
We went on our first Ben and Jerry’s tour over 20 years ago when Ben and Jerry were still around Waterbury. We had a memorable time then.
Knowing that Ben and Jerry now have a side role we were not sure what to expect on the tour. What we found was that their story of the American dream is still prominently featured during the tour. The employees take their jobs seriously and the ice cream is terrific and although the tour is decidedly more commercial, it is still well worth the free price for kids under 12.
There were tons of people milling about when we entered the queue. There are now activities on site to keep you busy while you wait. Think carnival options like sand-bottles and caricatures. When your tour time bell is rung you enter the hall with your group to watch a short video about the history of the ice cream guided by an employee. Then you are taken into a tour room where you watch the factory below as the employees create the ice cream magic.( I love chunks) The kids thought the oomp-loompas were going to come out at any moment.
When the tour was complete we were provided samples of a test flavor and there was even enough for seconds. If that is not enough to wet your whistle you can order from the regular shop outside or purchase a large container.
When you are done there are photo ops, a playground and the graveyard where old Ben and Jerry flavors are buried. We looked for my favorite, Fudge Central, but it did not make that cut. It was fun to read all of the tombstones and remember the old flavors though.
Get the Scoop!
I took our 8 & 11 yr old kids on this short tour. It begins in the main lobby, adjacent to the gift shop. As soon as you hear the cow bell ring follow your tour guide upstairs for a 6 and 1/2 minute movie explaining the history of the company and what it's mission is today. Both of my children commented they learned alot about the company's founders - Ben and Jerry. Next stop is view from the top. You are over the actual factory where you can watch them make the ice cream. On any given day, at any given moment what is going on in that room can be different. On the day we were there they were packaging.
As a parent I loved that the tour is only $3 for adults and free for the kids. Plus at the end they do nice sized samples. They were super accommodating for my tree nut allergy kid and had an alternate sample of sorbet available for him.
Love Ben and Jerry's!
When my family and I went to Stowe, VT for Thanksgiving we were thrilled to hear that the B&J Factory was so close! We decided we couldn't pass it up. When you first get in there you can buy your tickets for the tour. Over the counter they have a clock that lets you know when the next tour is. Each tour is about 20 minutes from the next. The next tour was coming up, but since we didn't go to the counter right away we knew we were going to get on the following tour (the people ahead of us were). However, when our turn came the guy behind the counter was so great, and because we had 3 kids in tow he gave us tickets for that first tour. He even took the time to interact with the kids. He was an older gentleman, and he asked the kids the old joke, "Why do cows have bells? Because their horns don't work." I loved that he took even that small amount of time to joke with them and talk with them after that.
When the tour begins the guide rings the bell and everybody lines up to go through the door with the ice cream cone handle. Then it's a walk up the stairs (but they do offer an elevator for those with strollers, wheelchairs, or those who just can't make it up the stairs). In the first room we were shown a video about how B&J came into being, etc. I don't think the kids really cared about that part, but the next part had their attention.
The next part was the factory itself. Because of when we went, no one was working in the factory, so we were unable to see it in action, but they do accommodate for that. You are taken into a room right over the production room itself that has windows on two sides so you can see everything (or most everything). Then as our guide explained everything to us the stations he was talking about would light up, and we got to see a video of what would be going on. The kids loved pressing their noses up against the large windows and seeing how everything was done.
Of course the favorite part of everyone's tour was the free sample at the end. This time we were able to sample their newest flavor, Peppermint Schtick. Yum! They dole that out in nice sized portions (perfect for the kids! mine are 7, 6 and 3), and tell you to PLEASE eat more! They want to finish it up, so they encourage seconds (we stuck with one each).
When we went it was cold, but we still made the walk up to the Flavor Graveyard. It was fun to see all the flavors that either didn't make it (and why), and the ones that they just decided to retire. It was fun reading the tombstones to the kids, and there were some flavors that my husband and I had completely forgotten about until then such as Rainforest Crunch. If you do go to the factory (which I highly recommend if you're in the area), you HAVE to make the trip up the hill to the graveyard. It's not scary! If you're there in the warmer weather they do have a playground near it as well.
Definitely don't pass this one up if you're in town!
Delicious tourist trap
We HAD to stop at the Ben & Jerry's factory while visiting Vermont. In fact, we went twice just because we love the ice cream. The tour, however, was not all that exciting. The guide was a little over-the-top cheesy, and the tour itself was not very interesting. The saving grace is the ice cream sample at the end! We did this without children, and I think my preschoolers would have been bored had they been with us.
Love Ben & Jerry's!
Although it's not the healthiest vacation, it is SO fun! After a trek up lots of stairs from the parking lot, you will need some extra calories! Once you get there, there is a gift shop, rest room, factory, and a place to order ice cream in a cup or cone, even a milk shake and more! There is a funny board set up where you pose as Ben & Jerry by sticking your head through the empty space. A tour of the factory is available. I don't think it was too expensive, however when I got there so did three tour buses. So I didn't get a chance to go. The place was completely packed, so much that it was hard to move. As long as no tour buses show up when you're there, I think your whole family will really enjoy it. I had a great time even though it was raining.
Ben & Jerry's is the best ice cream. They are so creative and fun. This is a definite for stopping by when in Vermont. You can order any flavor that they make and also get a free sample when you take the tour. Even toddlers will enjoy the visit! There are cows to see, a flavor graveyard and activities to take part in.
Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Factory
Who doesn't love ice cream? Come see where the best ice cream is made! Enjoy a great factory tour and taste test ice cream being manufactured the day you are there. Waterbury is a beautiful area of Vermont and there are additional destinations available close by. Check out the website for special events like movies during the summer.