crayola1Never realized crayons could be the vacation, not simply diversion on our way. That was before discovering Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley where Crayolas are manufactured. Disappointed the factory tour is not allowed, but enjoyed the mini version in a pseudo-science lab where wax is melted and shaped, wrapped in paper, sorted and packaged.

Easton is the town for experiencing iconic crayons and creating art for hours in a multitude of creative stations. Perfectly fun with or without the children or grandkids.

crayola2Transform this plain vehicle into an art car, then erase and share with someone else.I rather liked doodling in the dark with markers that showed my meager skills on a giant glowboard. Several of them fill a darkened room so I didn’t feel too rude taking up space a child might use.

Kids at my table did better than I making a safari satchel with snippets of paper, glue sticks and imagination so I moved on to the car. Dry E-Race, the Crayola Experience staff call it.

Blank, plain and available to turn into an art car. I recommend going with a big family or crowd of friends to collaborate on the design, coloring the car together.

Historian and archivist Richard Siegfried says Crayolas have been made the same way since 1903. That’s 145 billion crayons ago.

Could be that’s why a Yale University study shows they’re among the top 20 most recognizable smells in the world. Like coffee and peanut butter.

Smells great in the Meltdown experience gallery where crayons are liquid and everybody creates with drips.

Smell often means food, and favorites inspire some Crayola names. A six-year-old girl named what I might have called orange Macaroni and Cheese in 1993 for Crayola’s 90th birthday.

crayola3Dads can color as much as their kids all around the Crayola Experience.Surprise you that a 45-year-old woman named a green crayon Asparagus that same celebration year? Granny Smith Apple is another foodie crayon, named by an 11-year-old girl.

Who’s the oldest Crayola namer? Historian Siegfried tells me that was Mildred Sampson, age 89 in 1993. Purple Mountain Majesty was her choice.

Plenty more art activities on site in Easton; I’d say allow four hours for all the fun. You can do that for $12.00 each. Free if under 24 months.

Take the long route to the Crayola solar farm if you want to be impressed with manufacturing green-ness.

It’s 25 acres with about 30,000 solar panels producing some three mega watts of electricity — enough to produce a billion crayons and 500 million markers a year.

Christine Tibbetts, TibbettsTravel.com, is a university-trained journalist, approaching 35 years of marriage. She birthed two boys, each of whom is raising a daughter with his wife. She inherited four almost-grown children with her marriage and therefore now grandmothers a dozen of all ages. Tibbetts shares travel tales with TravelingMom as Blended Family Mom. @TibsTravel

PHOTOS AND CAPTIONS

Lead Image: Photo courtesy Crayola Experience: Drawing with light expands what children already know about crayons.