Factory Tours Feed Curious Minds


CHICAGO, Jan. 21, 2014 -- There are still many products bearing the "Made in the USA" label, with factories across the country, many of which are open to visitors. The travel experts at The GO Group, LLC, the nation's largest ground transportation company, suggests these educational tours for those who want to know how things are "made in America."

One of the remaining shoe factories in the U.S. is the SAS Shoe Factory in San Antonio, Tex., which offers visitors an opportunity to observe the craftsmanship needed to make SAS comfort shoes. Professional fitters are available to help find the best style and size for shopping visitors, who can also visit the turn-of-the-century General Store, the country kitchen or the 1920s soda fountain in the Woolworth's Five and Dime.

The Cunningham Piano Factory in Philadelphia is one of the largest and oldest piano restoration factories in existence. Visitors are invited to browse the selection of vintage Steinway, Bosendorfer, or Mason & Hamlin pianos and tour the restoration facility. The factory boasts of its international clients and frequent visits from artists, customers, and friends from around the globe.

Nautical enthusiasts should visit Regal Marine Industries, Inc. in Orlando, Fla. which features a factory showroom where 40 years of state-of-the-art boat craftsmanship continues each day. Regal is a 38-year-old, award-winning family owned business that builds pleasure boats from 19' to 52' encompassing everything from FasTrac runabouts to the world class Commodore express cruisers.

Nothing is more American than jeans, and Levi Strauss is the original. Levi Strauss & Co. (LS&CO.) in San Rafael, just 15 miles north of San Francisco, is one of the world's largest brand-name apparel marketers with sales in more than 100 countries. The headquarters offers a visitors' center, a permanent installation showcasing the history the company and six museum-quality pavilions, each highlighting a different aspect of the company and its business.

The Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee offers hands-on exhibits, workshops that appeal to people of all ages and even tours to its Powertrain Operations Facility. Visitors can learn about the history of the famous motorcycle company, sit on motorcycles and see various parts in the "Engine Room." The museum even lets visitors customize their own Harley via computer at the Build-a-Bike station, which is stored and displayed for others to see. Costs for events and programs vary; visit Harley for more information.

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