Woke up in an IKEA bed and headed straight to the airport in a Toyota, enjoying a packet full of Lay’s and a can of Coke while you headed to your favourite holiday destination in a Boeing 747? Some of us would say ‘Aye’ to having doing this more than once, but very few have witnessed these iconic brands from close quarters. These giant brands have risen to the heights that they have, and the mega factories where they are produced have an even bigger story to tell. Here, we bring to you the 5 best factories in the world that you ought to visit once!
1. Boeing Factory, Everett, Washington
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The Guinness Book of World Records lists the Boeing Everett Factory as the largest building in the world by volume at 472 million cubic feet (13.3 million cubic meters). This factory can easily fit 55 football pitches within itself! Employing close to 30,000 people at the factory, the Everett facility is a small city in itself, requiring its own fire department, electrical substations, security force and water treatment plants! While you’re at it, the Xfinity Arena and the Grand Avenue Park are two of the most popular tourist destinations in Everett, Washington – bringing in tons of tourists every year. The Evergreen Arboretum & Gardens is one of the most visited destinations, a natural highlight of Washington. With its numerous plants and flowers, it appeals across age groups. For those who love to taste fresh produce, the Everett Farmers Market is a popular locality offering unique local specialty produce of Washington. No trip to Everett is complete without visiting the Imagine Children’s Museum, one of the most highly rated children’s museum that is an absolute favourite with children. Founded in 1991, it is a space where children and families could enjoy with one another.
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2. Coca-Cola Factory, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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The Baton Rouge Coca-Cola Bottling Company was founded by Thomas Daigre in 1906. Today over 100 years later, this facility produces and markets over 400 different product and package combinations from its LEED-certified facility. Employing more than 500 people, the facility serves as the headquarters for the Gulf Coast Region, serving 14 counties in Mississippi. The bottling plant bottles an eye-popping 800 bottles per minute! The facility like all the other bottling plants, keeps the secret Coke recipe very close to its chest! Louisiana is also home to the famous LSU Tiger Stadium, where thousands of fans come together to watch their home team play against the best football colleges in the country. The LSU Museum of Art with its fourteen galleries is one of the top attractions in Louisiana. With a number of collections on display, the museum is an art lover’s paradise. For those who love history and architecture, Louisiana’s Old State Capitol is a sight to the eye with its gothic style of architecture. An educational resource, it contains art objects, artefacts and much more. One cannot come to Louisiana and not visit Mike the Tiger Habitat! The official mascot of LSU, the habitat has an interesting history – which one should definitely visit and experience!
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3. Frito-Lay Factory, Perry, Georgia
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An American subsidiary of PepsiCo, Frito-Lay manufactures, markets and sells potato chips and other snack foods. The facility is just under a million square feet with 12 production lines that manufacture close to 600,000 pounds of salty snack daily. Close to 1,500 people coordinate to produce Doritos, Fritos, Lay’s and other products in their portfolio. The facility is divided into four main areas, namely the bakery, the corn room, the potato chip production area and the distribution area. The facility pulls out all stops each day to attempt to have their products reach every store shelf globally. The award-winning Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter is home to trade shows, livestock events, horse shows, concerts and much more. While in Perry, one must definitely pay it a visit. Shopping in Downtown Perry is historic to say the least, which is a treat for locals and tourists. Downtown Perry is home to unique clothing boutiques, home décor stores, beauty salons and antique emporiums. They truly have something for everyone.
Find best airfares to Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International airport, from where you can drive down to Perry.
4. Toyota, Kentucky, Georgia
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With an annual production capacity of 550,000 vehicles and 600,000 engines, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky (TMMK) is Toyota’s largest vehicle manufacturing plant in the world. Since 1988, Toyota’s assembly lines in Georgetown have rolled off over 11 million vehicles. Spread across 1,300 acres, the TMMK plant employs more than 8000 people. The facility size is equivalent to the cumulative size of 156 football fields! The facility tour lasts for close to an hour, and is great for all audiences, from friends and families, to class field trips and business outings. Also home to the world’s longest known cave, the Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky is the perfect place to bring the entire family and enjoy the outdoors. Other places to visit around TMMK include The Dream Chase Farm and The Whispering Woods Rising Stable. For those who love a family hike, the Dog Slaughter Falls is one of Kentucky’s sought after natural sights. The Kentucky Derby is also the perfect place to enjoy a Sunday morning – enjoying an exciting day at the derby and then going shopping at the derby store.
5. IKEA, Zbaszynek, Poland
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Founded by Ingvar Komprad in 1943, IKEA is today the world’s largest furniture retailer, designing and selling ready-to-assemble furniture and home appliances. Now here’s a fun fact - with presence in over 300 stores across 36 countries, it is rumoured that 1 in every 10 European is conceived on an IKEA bed! Zbaszynek, Poland is home to the company’s largest wood furniture production plant. The employees or associates as they are called, create a mind-boggling 30 million tables, desks and wardrobes each year. While in Zbaszynek, Villa Cztery Pory Roku and The Artix are two hotels that definitely deserve a visit for their stunning spread and their cosy rooms! While in Poland, explore the famous Polish salt mine, which are believed to be as majestic as the Egyptian pyramids. Experience rowing a boat and feeding graceful swans in lake in Lazienki Park. Or camping and hiking in the Bieszczady National Park. For a royal experience, you can visit the Wawel Royal Castle.
While these brands form an interesting part of our daily lives, it’s even more interesting to know where they come from. The sight of seeing your favourite products come to life in front of your eyes is a feeling like no other. Immerse yourself in these mega factory experiences, and the next time you lay your hand on these products, recall the great places that produce them.