Teen and tween party idea: Sweets tour
Birthday parties for teens
TripAdvisor®, the world's largest travel site, recently announced its editors' list of the top sweetest attractions in the U.S. The list is designed for travelers. However, we immediately thought about tween and teen party ideas when we saw their selections.
If you live near one of these attractions, your child and her friends might enjoy a party built around seeing how ice cream or candy are made--and enjoying a few treats, of course.
Here's the list of sweet factory destinations, adapted for party-planning rather than travel. We list only those attractions that offer a tour or activity, rather than just a quick peek:
Tantalizing Treats: Hershey's Chocolate World, Hershey, Pennsylvania
For the true chocoholic, a dazzling menu of sights and flavors awaits at Hershey's Chocolate World. Hop on a free tour ride for a simulated journey through Hershey's chocolate making process. Visitors can package their own Hershey's Kisses, or be immortalized on their very own chocolate bar at the Hershey's Photo Bar Wrapper. All participants who indulge in Hershey's Chocolate Tasting Adventure receive an "Official Masters Degree in Chocolate Tasting" from Hershey's University. General admission is free of charge, with varying fees for individual attractions.
Colorful Confectionary: Jelly Belly Factory Tour, Fairfield, California
Number one, Jelly Belly Lane, is home to the Jelly Belly factory. Free 40-minute walking tours offer visitors a taste of the candy-making process and reveal why it takes more than a week to make a single Jelly Belly jelly bean. Confectionary-enthusiasts can also enroll in Jelly Belly University and earn a degree in Beanology during the exclusive tour, which takes groups of just six participants to the very heart of the factory. Round off the experience with a pizza or hamburger — Jelly Belly-shaped, naturally — at the Jelly Belly café. Regular tours are free of charge, while tickets for Jelly Belly University are $47.
Goodies Galore: Food on Foot Tours, New York City, New York
"The World Famous Sweet Tooth Tour" may have the Big Apple as its backdrop, but it's a distinctly fruit-free experience. This three-hour guided expedition takes in some of the city's greatest spots for cookies, cupcakes, candy and more — and part of the fun lies in not knowing where the magical mystery tour of munching will move on to next. Those seeking a truly cool experience can also sign up for the two-hour "Ice Cream, You Scream" tour and satiate their appetites for the cold and creamy stuff. Advance booking is required; tickets for "The World Famous Sweet Tooth Tour" are $49 (or $35 in the current summer special), and $20 for the ice cream tour (currently available for $10).
Magical Munchies: M&M's World, Las Vegas, Nevada
Situated next to Las Vegas' MGM Hotel and Casino is this 28,000 square-foot, four-story retail-entertainment emporium. Candy fanatics can take in a free 3-D movie, "I Lost My 'M' in Vegas," starring Red and Yellow, before they shop 'til they drop and snack 'til they pop. One of a kind branded-souvenirs available for purchase include poker sets and snow globes, while candy dispensers containing every color of M&M's imaginable, from fuchsia to aqua, are an irresistible sight for sore eyes and hungry tums. Admission is free of charge.
Icy Indulgence: Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Factory, Waterbury, Vermont
Ice cream lovers will melt at the prospect of scooping a spot on a tour of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Factory. The 30-minute experience begins with a movie recounting the company's history, before progressing to a mezzanine with a bird's eye view across the production room, where a guide will share details of the ice cream manufacturing process. From late-May through October, party-goers can also visit the Flavor Graveyard in the factory grounds, and pay their respects to dearly de-pinted flavors such as Peanut Butter and Jelly, and Purple Passion Fruit. Tour tickets, available on a first come first served basis daily, are $3 for adults, $2 for seniors and free for kids aged 12 and under.
Decadent Delights: Gourmet Walks, San Francisco, California
For a guilt-free treat, work off the calories while walking the streets as part of "The San Francisco Gourmet Chocolate Tour." The city may be best known for its fog and steep hills, but it's also at the center of a new wave of artisan chocolatiers – and this three-hour guided tour will tantalize teens' taste-buds as they sample local flavors and receive tips on tasting. Stops are subject to change, but can include a Swiss chocolatier loved by Oprah Winfrey for its champagne truffles, a deluxe boutique featuring treats made by "the Dali of Chocolate Art" and even a newsstand that carries 225 chocolate bars from over 15 different countries. Advance booking is required; tickets are $49.
Fizzy Fun: New World of Coca-Cola, Atlanta, Georgia
This fizzy delight is situated in downtown Atlanta's Pemberton Place, which takes its name from John S. Pemberton — the local pharmacist who invented Coca-Cola in 1886. Visits last 90-minutes on average, during which time party guests can explore the history of the world's best-known brand, sample over 60 different products from around the globe, see the bottling line in action, and check out the world's largest collection of Coca-Cola memorabilia. Advance booking is recommended; admission is $15 for adults, $13 for seniors and $10 for youths (aged 3-12).
Scrumptious Sweets: Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory, Daytona Beach, Florida
Here's a short 20-minute tour only available on weekdays, but if your child's birthday happens to fall during a school vacation, a free tour of Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory might be part of party in the Daytona area. The local company, which has been operating since 1925, offers visitors the opportunity to see candy-makers doing things the old-fashioned way — and the sights, sounds, smells and tastes will overwhelm the senses.
Divine Desserts: Eli's Cheesecake World, Chicago, Illinois
For those with a penchant for wickedly decadent desserts, Eli's Cheesecake World will serve up a sensory-stimulating experience. The company's Chicago-style baked cheesecake has been making its mark across the U.S. and beyond for 30 years, and during the course of a short guided tour of the award-winning bakery, visitors can learn about the history of Eli's and its dessert-making process, in addition to seeing the decorating department at work. Tickets are $3 (production cannot be guaranteed for all tours).