Belly Flops and a Jelly Belly train are just one hour north of Chicago

A mere hour north of Chicago is Pleasant Prairie, WI – home to an outlet mall and the Jelly Belly warehouse for the entire eastern half of the country.

The tour is often billed as a factory tour, but unlike the Fairfield, CA plant, Pleasant Prairie only stores the beans. Inside the massive building is a Jelly Belly outlet store and a surprisingly entertaining train tour around the plant.

During the 20 minute ride, you are introduced to the history of the beans, the making of the original Jelly Belly, and some really cool historical candy making equipment.

At the end of the ride, all guests receive a free sample bag of beans, right before you leave the tour into the outlet store. Highlights of the store are a tasting counter (where you can taste every single flavor on the menu) and boxes of “belly flops”, the fun name given to the Jelly Belly beans that didn’t pass quality control. $9 gets you a large 2lb bag of these assorted beans.

The tour is located on 10100 Jelly Belly Lane in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin (about 10 minutes from the IL/WI border). Once in the area, head up north to Racine for some authentic Kringle, or back towards the highway for the Prime Outlets outlet mall. Fans of Wisconsin food can also head up the road towards Kenosha for the Mars Cheese Castle or the world famous Brat Stop. With a little planning, you can turn this into a full day event of Wisconsin fun for the entire family.


Jelly Belly now offering exclusive candy-making tours

If you’ve ever wondered exactly how Jelly Belly jelly beans are made, you can do more than just watch candy being made through observation windows. The Jelly Belly Candy Company in Fairfield, California has opened its doors for exclusive tours called Jelly Belly University Tours. The tours are reservation only and cost a pretty penny.

For $47 you’ll get to don a white coat, gloves and a hairnet for a personal tour through the actual factory. Reading about this reminded me a bit of Willy Wonka, except when you taste the good stuff and the experience won’t turn you into a blueberry, shrink you to a tiny size, or have you taken away by squirrels.

The reason why the tour is so expensive is that it’s exclusive. Only six people are taken through at a time so you’ll have an up close and personal experience while surrounded by the sweetness.

If you don’t want to pay this kind of cash, you can still take the company’s free factory tour but it doesn’t give you that personal touch. Here’s the link to factory tour information.

For anyone who loves Jelly Belly jelly beans, the store would be a blast. All those flavors. My son, though, would need some coaching beforehand, or he would go totally nuts with the excitement of seeing such splendor.