In full disclosure this is not a sponsored post
Get ready for sugary sweet fun!
Just off Route 95 in Connecticut, on your way home from Boston, or Vermont or other New England destinations there is a unique attraction you might not expect. Exit the highway at exit 41, and follow the Pez packages on the street signs to the Pez Visitor Center (their website)! Located in an unassuming office park in the doors next to the HUGE Pez package, is 4000 square feet of combination museum/factory/interactive fun that you won’t want to miss.
Inhale that sugar smell as soon as you walk in
When I heard about the Pez Visitor Center it reminded me of one of those quirky roadside attractions found more often in the midwest; it might be worthwhile and it might be a waste. Maybe you needed to have a real interest in Pez to make it worth it? On a recent ride home from Boston we decided to stretch our legs halfway through the drive and check it out. None of us is a Pez collector, or are even particularly fond of the candy, but from the moment we walked in and inhaled, we knew that wouldn’t be necessary.
Pez is an iconic brand that has inspired generations of collectors – urban legend even claims eBay began as a place to sell the cute Pez dispensers. Don’t let the existence of hardcore collectors scare you off though, everyone can appreciate the fun characters incorporated into Pez dispensers through the years. All guests receive a Pez lanyard and after being greeted by the two story moving Pez dispenser in the entry, you’re off to explore.
Displays are arranged by Pez type (character, category, holidays, etc), and to get yourself started, grab a Bingo card and start looking. It was a perfect interactive way to get my kids to engage. And when you’ve found Bingo – you get to trade your card for your own Pez dispenser. The interactive fun doesn’t end there. There’s a long timeline of Pez through the decades, with facts and trivia, and a trivia game where guests can earn a certificate of achievement.
While the kids will likely be drawn in by the fun colors and characters, there’s interesting facts for the adults too. The binder of past Pez eBay auctions is inspiring for those future thrift store visits! My artistic daughter enjoyed drawing and designing her own dispenser. Have a fun photo shoot with props on the life size Pez dispenser and see what you’d look like as a Pez!
The visitor center is not only a museum, but includes a real operating factory/production floor! We visited on a weekday and saw the assembly line in action. Groups can plan ahead for a more in depth demonstration of the candy making, but daily guests will only be able to watch candy packaging through windows.
Upstairs there’s more Pez history from across the world, and a one of a kind custom made Orange County Choppers Pez motorcycle. The detail will amaze you and fun fact – the creators are the only living persons to have their likeness on a Pez dispenser! Don’t miss the Pez uniforms on display. If you want some Pez gear of your own, there’s of course a gift shop available.
And the candy? We happily filled up a pail with each flavor and munched on them the whole way home. Your paid admission gets you $2 store credit per person with admission, so you can’t say no to getting something! Our children also decorated their own Pez dispensers for only $1.99 each. After about an hour we were ready to get back to our travels. We left with a new appreciation for the history of this company, and the fun it promotes.
Collector or not – put the Pez Visitor Center on your family travel to do list!
See more Pez Visitor Center photos from our visit in our Facebook Album. Here’s a preview.
The Pez Visitor Center is at 35 Prindle Hill Rd Orange, CT. Hours are Monday – Saturday: 10:00am – 6:00pm, Sunday: 12:00 – 5:00pm. Admission is $5/adult, $4/child (children under 3 free). Learn more here.