Pez Visitor’s Center
For a cheap food pop culture thrill, you can’t beat the Pez Factory and Visitor’s Center in Orange, Connecticut. Your five-dollar entry fee will be applied to any purchases in the gift shop – and after an hour in the museum, you’ll want to walk out with some exotic flavored Pez and a few cartoon-character shaped pieces of plastic for said Pez dispensation.
This is not a roadside tourist trap. The clean and colorful showroom is jam-packed with Pez dispensers of all types and from all eras – cartoon and pop culture icons through the decades. Historical items and signage for Pez adorn the walls. And some cool/fun gimmicks, like the Pez motorcycle, interactive touchscreen games (lookout below for Hugh Gallon’s second place score on the Pez matching game), a scavenger hunt, and the giant Pez dispenser upon which you place your own head for a photo-op (my three year old refused to do it for no particular reason, threw a fit at the suggestion and ruined what could have been a very cute family collage).
There is a window through which you can watch the creation and packaging of the candy in the factory. We were there on a Saturday, so production was shut down. But a nice documentary style video gave me a satisfying rundown of the process.
And the Pez candy itself – you can get some unique flavors as well as the regulars. Strawberry, Cherry, Raspberry, Lemon Orange, Grape, Birthday Cake, Sour Pineapple, Sour Watermelon, Sour Apple, Sour Blue Raspberry, Cola and Chocolate.
The kids loved it, and if I had any complaint, it’s that I brought my kids with me. They were so into it, wanting to look at everything – running around. I hardly got a chance to read all of the interesting museum cards, trivia, and information. I was able to spot the world’s largest Pez, presidential Pez, the tooling dies used to make individual Pez pieces and lots of other stuff. But I missed a lot. (check out the photos I was able to snap below). I might have to make a secret trip there by myself one of these days, so I can truly take it all in.
Thank you to Hungry Dads field correspondents Mr. and Mrs. Gary Costello for site research, travel arrangements, and esprit de corps in this pilgrimage to a candy mecca.
Pez as a cigarette alternative?
Lotta Pez Dispensers
World’s biggest Pez!
More of the Worlds Biggest Pez.
Pez from the 80s to Today
Visitors Center Pass
Favorite characters in Pez dispenser form
Disney’s Pluto Pez through the years
Disney’s Donald Duck Pez through the years
Disney’s Goofy Pez through the years
Disney’s Minnie Mouse Pez through the years
Pez Matching Game
Old Pez propaganda?
Darth Vader Pez
Pez spelled with Pez
A view of the museum from the second floor balcony
“Pez Girl” uniform
“Pez Girl” uniform
Disney Comics Legend Don Rosa signs a Pez Dispenser
Backside of a giant Pez
A Pez dispenser dispenser
Another Pez dispenser dispenser
The Pez match game
Superman Pez Empire State Building art
Mix and match bulk Pez
Inside the production area
More Inside the production area
Pez making in five easy steps
Tooling dies used to make the candy “sleeve” and candy button parts of a dispenser
Anniversary Gold Pez Dispensers
Headless Pez dispensers – no character
Wall o’ Pez Dispensers
Wall ‘o Pez dispensers. Green Lantern, Buzz Light Year, Thomas the Train, The Tin Man, Chicken Little
Giant Pez outside
Window coverings outside – big ‘ole Pez
The last of the Pez