No one does ice cream better than Ben & Jerry's. They have a worldwide reputation for excellence, quality, and flavors that are, quite frankly, unparalleled by any other ice cream maker in the world. While their operations are international, that hasn't stopped their original location from being one of the most-visited tourist attractions in the state of Vermont. In the town of Waterbury, the Ben & Jerry's factory has been operating since 1985 and it continues to create just as many delicious ice cream flavors as it did when it first opened.


The history of Ben & Jerry's ice cream is an interesting one, and fans can rest assured that it was, indeed, started by two guys named Ben and Jerry. However, the two weren't from Vermont and instead grew up in Merrick on Long Island, New York. After attending Penn State together (and taking a $5 ice cream-making course), they eventually invested in a renovated gas station in Burlington, Vermont, where their ice cream empire truly began. This scoop shop became the iconic gateway that led to the ice cream known as 'Ben & Jerry's' and thus, things such as Free Cone Day, 'the world's largest ice cream sundae,' and a mission to build a better world through ice cream had begun.

So, What's It Like To Get An Inside Look (Or Rather, An Inside Scoop) On The Waterbury Factory?

Upon walking up to the Waterbury location, ice cream fans will be greeted with signs detailing where to head for what they're seeking. If you want to grab a scoop prior to entering the factory, head to the right and you'll find an outdoor scoop shop window, offering all of the current 'on tap' ice cream flavors (including some new and recent additions, if you can time it right!). Upon entering the front doors - which are basically the equivalent to paradise for an ice cream lover - visitors are greeted with artwork that adorns the walls detailing the history of Ben & Jerry's. In addition, historical items (such as ice cream scoops) also line the walls, making for an interesting browse prior to entering the lobby.

Once the lobby threshold has been crossed, it's pure euphoria. Visitors are immediately greeted with the sweet scents of cream and sugar, and sounds of the tour bell clanging to alert the next group of anxious ice cream fans. While tours and the gift shop are currently closed until 2021, these are definitely two things to look forward to upon their reopening. The Ben & Jerry's gift shop is filled with anything a fan could want, from vibrant and inspiring t-shirts to every ice cream gadget one could ever need. Ice cream pints and ice cream-flavored foods are found throughout the shop, along with some Vermont-specific souvenirs. It's a great place to walk around in and just explore, especially if visitors have some time to waste.

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While waiting on line for a tour to start, visitors can peruse the flavor map that's on the wall in the lobby and read about all of the flavors that have come out, as well as the international flavors that aren't found in the US. When the bell rings, a tour guide will appear seemingly out of nowhere and lead the group on what will undoubtedly be the cheeriest (and pun-filled) tour you've ever had in your life.

The first stop is the theater room where fans will watch a short video on the creation and mission of Ben & Jerry's. Then, the excitement really begins - the factory. Visitors are led to a room where they can peer through a glass overlook and look down on the operation below. The ice cream-making process is usually ongoing but there are certain days when the factory is closed for routine cleaning and maintenance, but it's always an exciting experience nonetheless.

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After this, visitors are led to the room where the magic happens. The flavor-building is an integral part of creating a new Ben & Jerry's flavor and if visitors are lucky, this is where they'll have the chance to try new flavors before they've even been released. If there are no new flavors on-hand, then visitors will be treated to a flavor that's recent or an old favorite. There's something truly special about trying ice cream straight from the source and while the pints are incredible, trying fresh ice cream from the factory is nothing short of perfection. After this, visitors are free to peruse the shop if they haven't already or walk around outside, visiting things such as the flavor graveyard and enjoying the outdoor seating area and the surrounding Green Mountains.

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