I wouldn’t say the Albanese Candy Factory Tour is a stand alone destination if you are coming from the Chicago area, but paired with the Taltree Arboretum it makes for a fun day! Sarah, thank you for giving me the idea for this road trip. :)
We went to the arboretum first, ate a picnic lunch there and stopped by the candy factory on our way back to the highway. The great thing about this day trip is that it is possible to do it as a half day adventure. So if you decide to go in the fall with your younger kids and have older kids in school, it is completely doable inside their school day.
The sprawling grounds of Taltree Arboretum includes gardens, water features, animals and an amazing model railroad village. The gardens did not compare to those at The Morton Arboretum or Chicago Botanic Gardens, but the Railway Garden is definitely a main attraction.
These are all model trains with miniature houses, buildings, plants and people. It truly is amazing and extensive!
They also have some animals is a small farm setting.
The trains run daily April through October, 8am-7pm central time. The trains do not run in rain or snow, so please call before driving there.
Taltree Arboretum & Gardens
450 West 100 North
Valparaiso, IN 46385
I would suggest calling the morning you are planning on going. I had called the day before to ask them about coming the next day, if I needed to make a reservation/appointment (which you don’t for groups under 12 people) and they never said anything about the factory being closed. Unfortunately when we got there the next day all of the factory windows were closed and they said they weren’t doing tours. Really disappointing. One of the blinds on the windows was not down all the way so my kids and I were able to sneak a peak.
The other highlight of visiting the factory is buying fresh candy that was made at that facility. Fresh, soft and sweet gummies and chocolate, mmmm. I recommend asking them which candies are made at that location because you don’t want to miss the fresh offerings.
Taking the factory tour does not mean that you are able to enter into the factory. It is a self guided tour where you watch videos, look through the windows and then sample a gummy and a chocolate at the end. The website states that depending on attendance levels, the tour typically takes between 5-15 minutes.
5441 East Lincoln Highway
Merrillville, IN 46410
(855) 272-3227, ext. 241