3 Nebraska Manufacturing Facilities That Also Happen to Be Tourist Destinations

dairy countryIn honor of the Nebraska Tourism Conference hosted this week in Columbus, NE., we’d like to showcase some spots throughout the state that work a double duty. They’re manufacturers and producers, as well as tourist destinations in themselves.

Tourism is the third-leading profiteer from outside the state after agriculture and manufacturing, says NBC Nebraska, so the businesses that can incorporate both industries into one location are certainly on to something.

Kathy McKillip, executive director of the Tourism Commission, tells the Columbus Telegram that “Nebraska isn’t a state like California or Florida, but it has its own draw. We’re not trying to be something we’re not. We’re not trying to build a Six Flags over the Great Plains.” Economically, though, it’s important that people are aware of what there is to see here in Nebraska, including destinations besides just Omaha and Lincoln (as much as we love them!).

“Just the scenery you see going from Omaha to western Nebraska is expansive. There is the beautiful Sandhills. We have some great attractions in Nebraska, says Deb Loseke, director of the Columbus/Platte County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

So, without further ado, here are a few spots that are pulling their weight in two different sectors, and using their manufacturing processes to increase tourism as well as production:

Prarieland Dairy: NBC says that although this farm was established in the 1920s, it wasn’t until 2009 that they began to bottle their own milk and open for tours: “We wanted to open our doors and bring the consumers down to the farm and show them what we are all about and how we get our milk to the store. It’s our way of embracing the community,” says dairy manager Jacob Hickey.

From whole milk to chocolate milk to cream and half-and-half, it’s practically worth a visit just to pick up some of their fresh dairy products from the on-farm store. Take a tour, see how it’s made and produced, and bring your own back home! Sounds like the ideal reason to be a tourist in your own state to us!

Baker’s Candies: It must be admitted that we do have a sweet spot for chocolate manufacturers. After all, they fill the very important role of satisfying sweet toothed-people all over the country. They’re on the Nebraska Passport program as one of the foodie destinations you must head to, since they manufacture their chocolates from scratch.

The company was founded in 1987 by Kevin Baker, originally a technician in the aerospace industry, who took his knowledge of automated production technology to the gourmet chocolate business. Today, the business is still family owned and operated, and manufacturers more than ½ million pounds of superlative quality meltaways each year out of their 25,000 square foot plant in Greenwood, NE.

Moonstruck Meadery: It only takes about one second of checking out their awards page to realize that we have a world-class, award winning meadery right here in Bellevue, NE! Stop by to take a tour and learn from meadmaker Brian and his wife Celina, mead aficionados who love giving presentations and promoting the ‘old’ medieval drink throughout the world. To learn more, sign up for their newsletter, or take a tour, click here!

Any other manufacturer tourist destinations we missed? If so, leave a comment in the section below anytime so that we can be sure to check them out!

photo credit: Dairy country via photopin (license)