Looking for something colorful to do on a gray day?
When you’re stuck with a day that’s gray and lonely, just stick up your chin, and grin, and visit the Crayola Factory. It’ll get rid of the grays and replace them with Razzle Dazzle Rose and Unmellow Yellow and Fuzzy Wuzzy Brown — an infusion of color and crayons. Ordinarily perhaps the idea of taking a factory tour might seem a little more like a dreaded school field trip rather than a one take getaway, but think along the lines of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, and you’ll have an idea of the fun that can be paralleled at The Crayola Factory (“There is no life I know that compares to pure imagination.”) We’re not talking about standing around in hairnets watching conveyer belts move on down a line. We’re talking about a tour that includes areas like “Inside Out” and “Dreamscapes.”
The Crayola Factory is about as factory-like as the Museum of Scientific Discovery is museum–like; there are no “Do Not Touch” signs and visitors are repeatedly encouraged to draw — and think — outside the lines. And there are plenty of opportunities to do that here. Of course, as expected, you’ll see the how and what of Crayola making, from hot wax and color pigments to molding and packing. But The Factory Floor is pretty much just an introduction — you’ll learn how crayons and markers are made, sure, but more importantly you’ll learn what you can do with them … by doing it yourself.
Listen closely now: you are making a mistake if you think the Crayola Factory is just for children. It seems like every family entertainment outlet boasts that they’re for “kids of all ages,” and usually it’s a farce — a ploy to get parents to plan a family outing. The thing is, at the Crayola Factory, adults might have even more to gain from the experience than kids. After all, kids are used to being allowed to play and create and have fun. With adults, it sometimes takes a little refreshing. Check it out — there’s a psychedelic kaleidoscope in “Cool Moves” which captures your body movement, transforming your motions into patterns of color and projecting it onto a giant screen. In “Super Sculptures” you can bring your drawings into the three–dimensional world and in “Dreamscapes,” well, let’s just say your dreams will go digital.
There are online data ports for cyber creations, old–school play stations in the “Puppet Theater” and a garden where the very young can harvest and pick apples from Velcro trees. And, for those wishing to steal my job, there’s the “Easton Press and Bindery,” an actual print studio where you can make and bind a book and pick up a few lessons in printmaking.
Ready for another pun? While a visit to the Crayola Factory may be fun, it’s not off the marker so to speak. Over 1.5 million people have toured the factory since it’s opening in 1996. During summer months, reservations are recommended. Call 610-515-8000 for reservations and information, or visit crayola.com.
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN MODE MAGAZINE IN FERBUARY, 2005.
PLEASE CHECK DESTINATIONS BEFORE TRAVELING
The Crayola Factory
at Two Rivers Landing
30 Centre Square
Easton, PA 18042-7744
You’ll have as much fun as your kids at the Factory and getting them there is so simple the kids could drive. Take I–81 N. to I–78 E. towards Allentown. Follow I–78 E. about 50 miles to US 22 E. (Exit 15). Follow US 22 E. for about 22 miles, exit on Fourth Street in downtown Easton. Left off ramp, first traffic light make a right onto Third Street. Follow Third Street halfway around traffic circle and make a right onto Pine Street. A parking garage is on the left; the unmistakable Two Rivers Landing building is on your right. The Crayola Factory is on the second floor. Allow two hours (although it took me only an hour, forty minutes).
There’s a parking garage right behind Two Rivers Landing, which I’d recommend, although there’s also metered street parking.
Group (15 or more): $6.50
Children under two are free.
Summer (Memorial Day to Labor Day):
Monday — Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
September through May:
Tuesday — Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday, noon to 5:00 p.m.
A STONE’S THROW AWAY:
In the same building as the Crayola Factory, there’s also The National Canal Museum and a McDonald’s restaurant.
WHILE ON YOUR GETAWAY:
During the summer months, consider adding an authentic Canal boat ride to your list of things to do. This 30–minute mule-drawn ride on the Josiah White II is narrated by costumed actors. Conveniently enough, a combination ticket to both the Crayola Factory and the boat ride may be purchased. (610) 515-8000 for info.
Besides the McDonald’s located in the same building, there’s also the following nearby:
14 N. 4th St. (610) 252-6956
114 S. 3rd. St (610) 253-9977
D.J.’s Restaurant and Sports Bar
235 Ferry St. (610) 250-9720
Easton Sweet Shop Diner
251 Centre Square (610) 252-3672
Josie’s New York Deli
14 Centre Square (610) 252-5081
123 S. 3rd Street (610) 258-5206
Originally published in MODE Magazine in May, 2001.