Visiting the PEZ Factory in Orange, CT

I love PEZ. Not many people know this about me, but I used to be rather obsessed with PEZ. Would it surprise you to know that I have a collection of 439 PEZ dispensers or that I own more PEZ memorabilia than most people even know exist? It’s been awhile since I was an active “PEZ Head” but there was a point in time where I owned every single PEZ dispenser currently released in the United States. What can I say? I’m not subtle with my hobbies.

I made it! The PEZ Visitor Center and Factory in Orange, CT

I made it! The PEZ Visitor Center and Factory in Orange, CT

Most of the PEZ distributed in the United States comes from the PEZ factory in Orange, CT. Orange is located just an hour and forty minutes from where I grew up but until recently, visitors were never allowed. I remember as a kid reading accounts of the lucky few that had somehow received a private tour. My years of plotting to achieve the same never yielded any results.

This is really it. The place where PEZ comes from!

This is really it. The place where PEZ comes from!

In December of 2011 PEZ opened the PEZ Visitor Center on the site of their Orange factory. Visitors were now not only welcome, but encouraged. While on site you can not only see PEZ being made right before your eyes, but also learn about the history of the iconic candy and browse some of the historical memorabilia. I needed to go but by this point the idea of stopping to spend time in Connecticut while driving between New York and Boston was not very appealing. Finally, we carved out some time and made a plan. I would finally get to see where PEZ comes from.

The PEZ Visitor Center and Shop from the Mezzanine Level

The PEZ Visitor Center and Shop from the Mezzanine Level

The PEZ Visitor Center is geared towards kids. Fortunately, I have one of those! So with my little girl in tow we went on a pilgrimage to this cathedral of candy excellence. The visitor center is attached to the factory and allows guests to watch PEZ being made while simultaneously browsing memorabilia. Unfortunately, it was a holiday weekend so the factory wasn’t running. This didn’t stop me from enjoying seeing the machines that churned out my childhood cavity makers.

She may not have ever had PEZ before, but she knows she wants it.

She may not have ever had PEZ before, but she knows she wants some

A comprehensive timeline of the history of the candy spans one large area of the visitor center. Of course, I knew most of the history by heart but this was an opportunity to obnoxiously parrot useless facts to Chandra that she cared little about – and I never miss such an opportunity. Our daughter, on the other hand, seemed to enjoy the pretty colors and spinning some wheels around.

A timeline of PEZ

A timeline of PEZ

Embarrassingly, I own nearly everything in this display case. Yes, really.

Embarrassingly, I own nearly everything in this display case. Yes, really.

Besides boasting an impressive collection of PEZ memorabilia, you can also buy nearly everything PEZ in the store. For me, the highlight was the PEZ “pick-and-mix” where you can fill a bucket of PEZ for just $4.99. Turns out, you should not buy PEZ by the bucket. This led to a stomach ache for the next several days and I’m sure yet-to-be-realized dentist bills.

This is entirely too much PEZ

This is entirely too much PEZ

The PEZ Visitor Center and factory is a welcome distraction in an otherwise excruciating state. Admission is only $5 for adults and free for kids under three. Each admission comes with a voucher worth $2 in the store which you will absolutely make use of. You also get a super-cool lanyard to wear around your neck. Kids can even have birthday parties on site. Click here for more information and be sure to stop in the next time you’re passing through.

Look how happy my daughter is to visit the place where something she's never heard of comes from!

Look how happy my daughter is to visit the place where something she’s never heard of comes from! This trip was all about her.

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