Have you ever looked at something and wondered how it’s made? Ever attend a stage production or sporting event and wish you could peek behind the scenes?
Ohio is home to a lot manufacturing companies and other cool venues. A few of them invite the public to visit for a more in-depth look at their history, technology, craft, or passion. Check out these fun and unique Factory tours in Columbus and around Ohio, plus some other fun public tours
Al’s Delicious Popcorn Factory Tour
Pop! Pop! Al’s Delicious Popcorn has been a local favorite since 1985. They pop, flavor, and hand pack all of their popcorn in-house. With more than 65 unique flavors to choose from, this might just be the best tasting tour around!
Tours last about 30 minutes. Each tour begins with a short video, followed by a visit to the kitchen and packaging area. The best part is the complementary tasting at the end.
Factory tours are scheduled Monday and Thursday at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Advanced reservations are required. The tour is suitable for all ages and groups are welcome. The cost is free.
Al’s Delicious Popcorn is located at 1500 Bethel Rd, Columbus, OH 43220.
Anthony-Thomas Candy Company
For five generations, Anthony-Thomas Candy Company has been producing fine chocolates in Columbus. It is the largest family-owned and operated candy company in the region, producing 60,000 lbs. of chocolate every day.
Take a sweet tour along a glass-enclosed suspended skywalk to see the candy making process from start to finish. All guests receive a free sample too!
Guided factory tours are Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Advanced reservations are required for parties of 4 (min) to 16 (max). The cost is $2 (age 13 – adult) and $1 (12 & under).
Anthony-Thomas Candy Company is located at 1777 Arlingate Ln, Columbus, OH 43228.
Brewery, Distillery, and Mead Tours
If you enjoy an occasional beer or cocktail, taking a behind-the-scenes tour of a local brewery, meadery or distillery is a fun way to spend a few hours. Gather some friends and try one, or all, of these tours around Columbus.
Brothers Drake on 3RD: Saturdays @ 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. $15 per person. (1025 W 3rd Ave, Columbus)
Middle West Spirits: Friday – Saturday, tour times vary. $10 per person. (1230 Courtland Ave, Columbus)
BrewDog Columbus: Monday – Friday @ 6 p.m. Cost varies per tour type. (96 Gender Rd, Canal Winchester)
Noble Cut Distillery: Saturdays @ 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. $10 per person. (750 Cross Point Rd, Suite K, Gahanna)
Watershed Distillery: Thursday – Sunday, tour times vary. $15 per person. (1145 Chesapeake Ave, Suite D, Columbus)
Wolf Ridge Brewery: Saturdays @ 1 p.m. $15 per person. (215 N 4th St, Columbus)
American Whistle Corporation Factory Tour
The American Whistle Corporation has been making old fashioned brass whistles since 1956. They are the only manufacturer of metal whistles in the United States.
Just how does that little ball get inside a whistle? Find out on a 45-minute guided tour of the manufacturing plant. Everyone on the tour receives a shiny new whistle to take home!
Tours are Monday – Thursday at 1 p.m. Advanced reservations are required. The tour is suitable for all ages and groups are welcome. The cost is $8 per person.
American Whistle Corporation is located at 6540 Huntley Rd, Columbus, OH 43229.
The Phoenix Bat Company Factory Tours
(Open Tour times have been suspended temporarily, but are expected to return this spring. Continue to check the website for updates.)
Charley “Lefty” Trudeau, a carpenter by trade, played 19th century vintage baseball for the Ohio Historical Society. It wasn’t long before he blended his skills and passion to make vintage wooden bats for the team. Today, Phoenix Bats produces wooden bats for all players from little league to the pros.
During a 1-hour tour, learn what goes into making a great wooden bat. Visit the manufacturing floor to see how bats are made. If you’re lucky, they might even be making one for your favorite pro player.
Stop in for a guided tour during Open Tour times on Monday and Friday at 1:30 p.m. Walk-in tours are available during this time. Custom tour times are available for groups (10 or more), if scheduled in advance. The tour is suitable for all ages and groups are welcome. The cost is $10 per person.
The Phoenix Bat Company is located at 7801 Corporate Blvd, Plain City, OH 43064.
Freshwater Farms of Ohio Hatchery Tours
As Ohio’s largest indoor fish hatchery, Freshwater Farms is a fun and unique place to visit.
Founded in 1983, this family owned, 5-acre sustainable farm grows over 100,000 lbs of rainbow trout, yellow perch, and bluegill each year. The summer season brings the addition of freshwater shrimp.
Visitors are welcomed and encouraged to take a self-guided tour of the farm during regular business hours. There are several outdoor ponds for trout, frogs, etc. The indoor fish barn is home to thousands of stocked pond fish and a hands-on educational area.
The education center offers plenty of informational signs and encourages visitors to TOUCH! The highlight is the Sturgeon Petting Zoo, featuring Flipper.
Freshwater Farms of Ohio is located at 2624 N. US Hwy. 68, Urbana, OH 43078.
Honda Auto Plant
The Honda Heritage Center® takes visitors on a self-guided journey from the company’s humble beginning to its present-day success in North America. Visitors will see historical, current, and future products on display, many of which were manufactured right here in Ohio.
Interested in seeing how cars are manufactured? Sign up (in advance) for a Honda plant tour as part of your visit.
Witness the production of automotive components in-house, watch large machines and intricate robots at work, and see how materials reach the assembly line where Honda associates work together as a team.
(Factory tours have been temporarily suspended . Continue to check the website for updates.)
The Honda Heritage Center is open on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Walk-in visitors are welcome for a 90-minute self-guided tour. A government issued photo ID (adults) is required to check-in. Heritage Center admission and factory tours (when available) are free.
The Honda Heritage Center is located at 24025 Honda Pkwy, Marysville, OH 43040.
Read more about visiting Honda Heritage Center and other fun things to do in the area.
Ohio State University Tours
OH-IO. Gameday isn’t the only time Buckeye fans can enjoy a visit to campus. Plan an exciting OSU family day with a private tour of Ohio Stadium or the Schottenstein Center.
Learn the history of Ohio Stadium and relive some of Buckeye Nation’s greatest gridiron moments in the “Shoe”. Guided tours take visitors through the band room, players lounges, hospitality suites, media box, and of course…a walk down the players tunnel for visit to the 50-yard line!
Tours last 1.5 hours and are available Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Advanced reservations are required. The tour is suitable for all ages and groups are welcome. The cost is $200 (minimum) for up to 10 guests, so bring some friends! Additional guests are welcome for $20/person.
Ohio Stadium is located at 411 Woody Hayes Dr, Columbus, OH 43210.
The “Schott” is home to Buckeye basketball and ice hockey teams. It also hosts other events from kids summer camps to star studded entertainment. Go behind the scenes to see backstage dressing rooms for the stars, Buckeye team areas (does not include locker rooms), hospitality spaces, and head to center court on the Arena Floor.
Tours last 1 hour and are available Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Advanced reservations are required. The tour is suitable for all ages and groups are welcome. The cost is $50 (minimum) for up to 10 guests, so bring some friends! Additional guests are welcome for $5/person.
The Schottenstein Center is located at 555 Borror Dr, Columbus, OH 43210.
Ohio Statehouse Tours
The Ohio Statehouse is part of the Capitol Square complex which also includes the Senate Building and Atrium. Completed in 1861, it is a beautiful Greek Revival building and one of the oldest working statehouses in America.
Take a tour of the Ohio Statehouse to learn about our government’s history, visit the legislative chambers, marvel at artwork in the impressive rotunda and stained-glass dome. Visit the interactive museum to learn about Ohio’s history and the democratic process.
Guided tours are Monday – Friday from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., and Saturday/Sunday from Noon – 3 p.m. (except State holidays) Walk-in tours occur on the hour and begin in the Map Room, just outside the gift shop. The tour is suitable for all ages. Groups of 10 or more require a reservation. All tours are free!
Self-guided tours are also available, but access to areas may be limited.
Read more about visiting the Ohio Statehouse and upcoming events.
The Ohio Statehouse is located at 1 Capitol Sq, Columbus, OH 43215 .
Ohio Theatre Tours
Whether hosting silent movies of the past or elaborate stage productions of the present, the Ohio Theatre is a local treasure. Opened in 1928, the theater represents nearly a century of film and stage history.
Today the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, BalletMet, and Broadway Series, all call Ohio Theatre home.
The Spanish-Baroque architecture and design details are spectacular, especially the 21 foot high chandelier. Anyone attending a performance at the Ohio Theatre will be wowed by the lush interior and excellent acoustics.
Each summer, guests can tour the theatre to learn about its construction, storied history, and hear about those who have performed on its stage. Take a seat in the theatre for a thrilling demonstration of the “Mighty Morton”, the original organ installed in 1928.
Guided tours are available during the summer. CAPA (Columbus Assoc for the Performing Arts) The 2023 schedule will be available in late spring. The tour is suitable for all ages, but does require a lot of walking, including stairs. All tours are free!
Alum Creek Dam Tours
Alum Creek Reservoir sits in the middle of Alum Creek State Park and provides year round recreation, but ever wonder why it was really created? Join the US Army Corps of Engineers for a behind-the-scenes Dam Tour to learn the history, how it was constructed, and its purpose.
Tours are May – September, Saturday and Sunday at Noon – 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. – 6 p.m. Bonus tours are available on Memorial Day and Independence Day. Tours require climbing 100+ steps. Recommended for ages 6+. The cost is free!
Alum Creek Dam is located at 4189 Lewis Center Rd, Lewis Center, OH 43035. (Meet in the Below the Dam Recreation area)
Franklin County Sanitary Landfill (SWACO)
There’s no denying it. The average person creates about 5 pounds of waste daily. Even with recycling, more than 1 million tons of trash ends up at the Franklin County Sanitary Landfill each year.
Learn how the city manages and monitors the landfill, along with the positive impact of improved recycling and waste reduction. The tour begins with a classroom presentation, followed by a guided in-vehicle tour of the working landfill.
There are public tours several times per year. The next tour date is June 17, 2023 at 10 a.m. Tours are 90 minutes long (ages 6 & up). Advanced registration is required. The cost is free. To schedule a tour of the Franklin County Sanitary Landfill, please contact SWACO.
The landfill is located at 4239 London Groveport Rd, Grove City, OH 43123.
Rumpke Recycling Center Tours
Taking care of our environment is critical, not only for ourselves, but for future generations. We all see and use recycling bins everywhere from public places to our private homes. Ever wonder what really happens to all those items?
Find out with a guided tour of the Rumpke Recycling Center in Columbus. Learn how items are sorted, and which items can be recycled. It’s an eye-opening experience!
Walking tours are scheduled March – November, Tuesdays from 10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Tours are 1-hour and limited to 10 participants. Smaller groups can be combined. Advanced reservations are required. Tours may not be suitable for all ages or those with medical conditions, so call to confirm. The cost is free.
The Rumpke Recycling Center is located at 321 Dering Ave, Columbus, OH 43207. (Tours also available in Cincinnati location.)
Factory Tours Around Ohio
If you’re willing to travel a bit, here’s a list of interesting and fun factory tours located around Ohio.
Airstream (Jackson Center, OH)
Travel Trailer or Touring Coach manufacturing tours. Monday – Friday, times vary. Cost is free. Reservations required. Guided.
Alan Cotrill Studio (Zanesville, OH)
Watch a living sculptor create bronze statues. Cost is free. Walk-ins are welcome Monday – Saturday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Self-guided.
Bucyrus Copper Kettle Works (Bucyrus, OH)
The only hammered copper shop in America. Call 419-562-6891 to schedule a free guided tour.
Bunker Hill Cheese (Millersburg, OH)
Follow the cheesemaking process from farm to table. Monday/Tuesday and Thursday/Friday from 8 a.m. – Noon. Cost is free. Walk-ins welcome. Self-guided.
Columbus Washboard Company (Logan, OH)
Tour the only manufacturer of old fashioned wash boards in America. Monday – Friday @ 11 am., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Call 740-380-3828 to schedule in advance. Cost is $8/$6/$5. Guided.
Conns Potato Chips (Zanesville, OH)
Potatoes are good in any form, but there’s nothing like a crunchy flavored chips! See how potato chips are made. Tuesdays @ 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. Cost is free. Reservations required. Call 740-452-4615 to schedule. Guided.
Fannie May Factory Store (Akron, OH)
Explore the Fannie May factory with a behind the scenes look at how they craft gourmet chocolates. The Chocolate factory is now open to in-person tours. During your guided tour you will learn about how chocolate is made, Fannie May history and of course taste and experience delicious chocolate.
Tours are Monday-Thursday from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at the top of each hour. Reservations are preferred to accommodate your tour group.
Consider visiting Akron’s Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens while you’re in the area!
Guggisberg Cheese Factory (Charm, OH)
Follow the cheesemaking processfrom farm to table. Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. – Noon. Cost is free. Walk-ins welcome. Self-guided.
Harry London Chocolates (North Canton, OH)
Behind-the-scenes look at production of fine chocolates. Tours Monday – Thursday from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Cost is free. Reservations required. Call 800-321-0444, Ext. 119 to schedule. Masks are mandatory. Guided.
Hawkes Crystal (Tiffin, OH)
Watch as artisans create beautiful hand-cut crystal pieces. Call (419) 448-4286 to schedule a free guided tour.
Indian Creek Distillery (New Carlisle, OH)
Ohio’s oldest working (pre-prohibition) distillery. Distillery Tour & Tasting on Saturdays @ 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Cost is $20 per person. Reservations required. Guided.
KitchenAid (Greenville, OH)
Tour the KitchenAid mixer manufacturing plant. Tuesday – Friday @ Noon. Walk-ins welcome. Reservations required for groups of 8 or more. Call 800-961-0959 for more info. Guided.
Mosser Glass (Cambridge, OH)
Watch the craft of decorative glass making. Monday – Friday @ 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. Cost is free. Walk-ins welcome. Call 740-439-1827 to confirm the tour schedule. Guided.
Rockwood Pottery (Cincinnati, OH)
Visit the factory where artisans create hand crafted pottery and architectural tile. Saturdays @ 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Cost is $10 per person (can be redeemed for credit in retail store). Reservations required. Guided.
Find more fun things to do in Cincinnati!
Spangler Candy Company (Bryan, OH)
More than 10 million Dum-Dum lollipops are produced every day. Factory tours are currently closed, making way for a new Spangler Candy World is coming in 2023!
Wilson Football Factory (Ada, OH)
The world’s only exclusive manufacturer of footballs, including 100% of those used by the NFL. Factory tours are currently closed, but scheduled to return in the spring of 2023. Call 419-634-9901 to confirm the tour schedule. Guided.
Winans Chocolates & Coffees (Piqua, OH)
Chocolate and coffee, what could be better? Check out this “2 for 1” tour. Start with a tour of the chocolate factory and finish across the street at the roastery! Tuesdays @ 1 p.m. and Thursdays @10 a.m. Cost is $5 per person. Reservations required. Guided.
Have other fun tour ideas?
Leave us a comment, or find our contact details here.
Looking for more fun travel ideas??
Subscribe to Columbus on the Cheap's email list
- Chasing Waterfalls in Northeast Ohio
- All Aboard! Best Displays and Train Spots in Columbus
- 42+ Best Spots with Trains in Ohio: Museums, Riding, Dining, and even sleeping!
- Things to do in Urbana, Ohio
- Visiting Akron’s Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens
- OH-“I”O: Indian mounds, iron, and more incredible places to visit in SE Ohio
- Tuscawaras County: Exploring Ohio’s Firsts in Dover and New Philadelphia
- Mansfield – Where History Meets Hollywood
- New Richmond to Ripley via Ohio River Scenic Byway
- Exploring Kelleys Island
- Fun things to do in Lancaster and Fairfield County
- Town Center, Fun Finds, and more in Columbiana, Ohio
Leave a Reply