Anyone who has ever had a car obsessed kid knows the symptoms. They point out random cars on the road and tell you what model they are, they know what changed from model year to model year, and they may even keep track of their “special” cars (my son can list off every Tesla he’s ever seen). When I was presented with the opportunity to tour the GM Plant in Arlington, Texas as part of a Travel and Tech partnership between TravelingMom and Techlicious I knew my son’s mind would be blown. There are plant tours available at many sites across the US so if you are thinking about taking your kids here are 7 tips on how to prepare them for the experience.
1) There will be no free car at the end.
As obvious as this sounds to you and I my kid thought it might be a possibility. I mean there’s free ice cream at the end of the Ben & Jerry’s tour, free cheese on the Cabot Tour, a mini baseball bat at the end of the Louisville Slugger tour, and a bag of jelly beans on the Jelly Belly Tour. Prepare them. No free car.
2) Do some research.
The tour will be more enjoyable for the kiddos if they are familiar with the cars being made. In the case of the GM Arlington plant they build the GMC Yukon and Yukon XL, the Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe, and the Cadillac Escalade. Knowing what vehicles are being made will help identify different parts as they become whole vehicles.
3) Let them take photos.
Give your little fanboy or fangirl the phone and let them take some souvenir photos. It will be fun for them and you to document their excitement.
4) Look for the details.
The small details like how they sort parts and number them, the moving conveyor belt above your heads, and the bikes that deliver parts around the factory.
5) Take in a little history.
Many car factories will have displays honoring their traditions and showcasing older vehicles. At GM Arlington there is a nice display of the factory through the years honoring each Millionth car. They are up to 10 million cars!
6) Tie in your Disney experience.
Have you been to Disney with the kids? Remember Test Track? Turns out the real life car factories have a testing area that closely resembles test track. My son was impressed both with the testing and with how well Disney captured it.
7) Snag a front seat.
Although each tram has a speaker, you will get the best show up front. Not only do you get the benefit of tour guides who “talk with their hands” but they will be describing what they are seeing and if you are in the back you may not be seeing it yet.
No matter where you head off to to see cars being made it is worth the trek with kids. Seeing something built from the ground up satisfies a natural curiosity for parents and kids alike.
To see the grown up review of the GM Arlington Plant visit go here.
Want to stay somewhere fun near the plant? Go here.