Find a factory to tour for fun and learning!

Illinois factories to visit and tour

Illinois has factories to visit and tour. Below, first are the active, working factories. The next section has historical operations which often have demonstrations or renactments. These incluse both large and small operations, from several person chocolate factories and cheesemakers to large manufacturers making paper towels, wood products, beverage cans and bottles, are open to the public with real tours, exhibitions and fun education.

In some cases, such as a manufacturing process that is no longer in use, the only way to see it and learn about it is a museum or living history center. So, we also provide information about engineering facilities and museums, dinosaur digs, even government facilities, like NASA, astronomy oberservatories and more that are open to the public on certain days and times. And if there is some place that is just plain fun to visit, we add that, too!

These are perfect for homeschooling, for STEM and for fun! Kids love visiting these places! They're learning and getting an education without even realizing it. And most of these are either free or under $10! What's better then fun, entertaining, good for children and families, educational and free?

Here are some of the top factory tours in Illinois and contact information and tips about visiting them.

Factories, Engineering, Museums and other fun demonstrations and exhibits to visit in Illinois

  • Caterpillar Inc - manufacturer of construction equipment
    110 SW Washington St, Peoria, IL 61602. Phone: (309) 675-0606. Email: Open: Tuesday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. (last ticket / entry at 3:30 p.m.). Tickets are available at the ticket counter. In 2023, General admission: $7, Seniors (55+): $6, Veterans and active military: $6, Children (12 and under): Free (limit of 4 children per 1 adult ticket. Must be accompanied by an adult.). Group rate (25 or more): $6. This isn't your average museum! Your visit begins with a virtual ride in the bed of a massive two-and-a-half story Cat 797F Mining Truck. Learn how Caterpillar's story began as two companies came together to build Caterpillar on the foundation of innovation and customer focus. Unleash your inner engineer as you design your very own Cat machine. Test your skills on a simulator to see first-hand what it's like to operate equipment the way our operators do, and no visit is complete without climbing in a track-type tractor. See how heavy machinery and equipment are produced.
  • Fermilab - science lab, free tour
    Pine Street, Batavia, IL 60510. Email Address: Open: They have a variety of tour types, not all are always available; you MUST see their website to confirm:
    Virtual tours
    are currently offered as part of the Ask-a-Scientist event on the first Sunday of each month and on third Sundays during the summer.
    Free Tours: In 2023, it says Free Tours will resume shortly. Please check back regularly. When tours resume, learn about our tour options below.
    Get-to-Know Tours: Come learn why Fermilab is America's premier particle physics laboratory and the accelerator-based neutrino research capital of the world! Fermilab will soon be restarting "Get-to-Know" tours on Mondays (excluding holidays) at 1:00 PM for people ages 10 and older. Children ages 10 to 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Check this page for updates.
    Ask-a-Scientist Tours: Join us the first Sunday of the month for Ask-a-Scientist, a virtual talk, tour, and Q&A with scientists and engineers. View complete details, see recordings of past Ask-a-Scientist programs, and register posted on their website
    Self-guided Tours: The Lederman Science Center (LSC) offers a way to have a hands-on experience with Fermilab Science. The LSC is open Monday-Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM and Saturday from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. You also can explore the public-access portion of Fermilab's outdoor areas via car, bike and on foot from dawn to dusk daily. Wilson Hall can be visited as part of a scheduled tour. Please see above for guided tour options when tours resume. Please visit this page for information on hours and other site access requirements. See Fermilab's calendar for upcoming virtual public events and visit Fermilab's YouTube channel for past lectures and videos.
    Fee-based Tours: Private Tours by Appointment, Information on tours by appointment will be posted on their website when these tours resume.
    Contact: Lori Haseltine at (630) 840-5588 or
    Field trips; For information about virtual visits to Fermilab and classroom presentations for schools, please email
    Public events: Every month, Fermilab offers numerous Educational events for the public. Check the Calendar of public events on their website for upcoming events. The best way to stay informed about these events is to subscribe to Fermilab Frontiers, Fermilab's community newsletter.
    Also they have an Arts and Lecture Series , Fermilab Natural Areas, ecology events, and Pregunte a un Científico, Colloquium lecture series
  • Great American Popcorn Company - popcorn maker
    115 N Main St, Galena, IL 61036. Phone: (815) 777-4116. Email: or Open: this is a small company, and they moved in 2021. They have recently removed the tour information page from the their website, so CALL BEFORE YOU GO.
  • John Deere Harvester Works - Agricultural equipment manufacturing factory
    1100 13th Avenue, East Moline, IL 61265. Open: In 2023, their website says: John Deere Harvester Works is currently offering
    • Gold Key customer tours and John Deere dealer tours by appointment only. If you are one of those:
      Tour lasts 1.5 hours.
      All participants must be at least 13 years old.
      Minors (13-17) must be accompanied by an adult.
    For nearly two centuries, we’ve partnered with those who work the land and shape the earth. Celebrate the incredible heritage and exciting future we're creating together by visiting one of our Otherwise, if you are not a dealer or Gold Key, you can: explore the company through a digital app.
    In addition to providing unique experiences, our attractions offers convenient hours and FREE admission. Brand fans can also shop for merchandise and find activities for kids
    There is a John Deere Pavilion, a John Deere Historic Site, the John Deere Tractor & Engine Museum and of course, John Deere Factory Tours. On John Deere factory tours, you get a behind-the-scenes look at some of the most modern and efficient factories in the world. See how all the pieces come together on these interesting and informative factory tours.
  • Long Grove Confectionery Outlet and Chocolate Tour - Chocolate factory, cholatier
    333 Lexington Drive, Buffalo Grove, IL 60089. Phone: (847) 459-3875. Email: Open: see their page; Live production is not guaranteed. No tours on Weekends or Holidays. We invite you to come see our famous Chocolate Factory Tour! It’s a perfect tour for kids ages 5 to 105! Watch as we create a dazzling array of products, smell the sweet buttery caramel and taste the rich chocolate. Long Grove Confectionery is a leader in the candy industry, known for our quality products, attention to detail and creative packaging. The factory tour includes a video presentation, a view of production that all can see whether you’re small or tall and the opportunity to shop in our store filled with luscious, premium quality chocolates at refreshingly low prices.
    Reservations are required* (847) 459-3875.
    see their DOWNLOADABLE BROCHURE, Tour Our Factory Brochure (pdf)
    $5.00 Admission Fee
    Weekday tours accommodate groups of 8-50 people
    Handicapped Accessible
    FREE chocolate treat for each guest!
  • Stern Pinball - games manufacturer
    2001 Lunt Ave, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007. Phone: (708) 345-7700. Open: Free tours, but you must call company to schedule, there's nothing online. .
    Stern Pinball, Inc. (“SPI”) is the oldest and largest designer and manufacturer of arcade-quality pinball games on the planet!
    SPI offers a full line of commercial and consumer pinball games, merchandise, parts and accessories that are sold to pinball operators, enthusiasts and fans around the globe. The company traces its lineage to the early 1930s and the founding of modern pinball.

Illinois Historical Forts and Sites, Famous buildings, Active Federal facilities to tour, Geology: like fossils and volcanic areas

  1. Lincoln Home National Historical Site:, Springfield, IL.

    Abraham Lincoln believed in the ideal that everyone in America should have the opportunity to improve their economic and social condition. Lincoln’s life was the embodiment of that idea. We know him as the sixteenth president but he was also a spouse, parent, and neighbor who experienced the same hopes, dreams, and challenges of life that are still experienced by many people today.

    Inside the Lincoln Sitting Room
  2. Pullman National Monument, Chicago, IL.

    In a growing Chicago neighborhood, diverse people and stories intertwined. All were seeking opportunity. Some succeeded. Others were limited-by race, gender, or economic status. Their stories came together in Pullman, a planned industrial community famed for its urban design and architecture.

    Pullman row houses ca. 1890 from Library of Congress
  3. Trail Of Tears National Historic Trail, AL,AR,GA,IL,KY,MO,NC,OK,TN.

    Remember and commemorate the survival of the Cherokee people, forcefully removed from their homelands in Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee to live in Indian Territory, now Oklahoma. They traveled by foot, horse, wagon, or steamboat in 1838-1839.

    Trail of Tears artwork and trail walk

Illinois State historic sites and parks

These are state-run parks, museums and historic sites that present the history of some manufacturing process, industry, or living settlement

Illinois Seasons, bugs, topography and climate

Located in the midwest at the edge of the plains, Illinois has cold winters,hot summers, and frequent short fluctuations in temperature, humidity, cloudiness, and wind direction. Many consider the more moderate temperatures of spring and fall to be the most pleasant.

Camping in Illinois

If you're looking to save money on your trip, camping may be a fun alternative to hotels and motels, especially, if you already have the gear, or are looking to get some. BTW, this websites ( ) explains everything you need to know about camping gear and where to the best gear at the lowest prices.

Camping is available at many Illinois State Parks. The most-visited sites are listed below. For camping at other State Parks, consult the park listing page.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) does not charge an Entrance Fee to any state owned or operated land with the exception of Wildlife Prairie Park. Sites with Beaches charge a $1 a day per person for beach use only. The fee schedule listed on the right navigation bar is for all sites with camping.


Generally, throughout the state, camping is available year round weather permitting

  • Spring - Summer Camping (May 1 through September 30)
  • Fall - Winter Camping (October 1 through April 30)

As long as buildings, water and electrical service are available, regardless of the date, the regular camping fee will apply. When cold weather requires closing down buildings and shutting off water in Class AA,A, A-P, B/S or B/S-P campgrounds, the fee shall be reduced commensurate with the services and facilities available for use.

Please call ahead for available amenities especially for Class AA, A, A-P, B/S, B/S-P and C camping.

What is a "Premium Campground"?

A designated camping facility that has a preponderant history of consistently operating at capacity. The following sites have been designated as Premium Campgrounds:

  • Chain O'Lakes State Park
  • Illinois Beach State Park
  • Kankakee River State Park
  • Rock Cut State Park
  • Shabbona Lake State Recreation Area
  • Starved Rock State Park

There are both state parks and private campgrounds in Illinois.