The Pez visitor center in Orange Connecticut took us back to our childhood as we had fun learning about the famous candies. A museum, factory, toys and obviously the dispensers make the visit complete!
The first Pez candy dispensers I remember were from when I was very little. The one I recall was the head of Superman who lifted up to reveal a pill shaped sugar candy that tasted like strawberry and automatically dispensed from the rectangular holder. The dispensers are clearly the best part of the Pez candy experience, since they are not only fun to use, but also unique and collectable items. We happened to see a billboard advertising the Pez Visitor Center in Orange, Connecticut as we drove up I-95 to Boston and we couldn’t resist pulling off the highway to find out more about these unique candies. After all, what better to begin a road trip than a classic American roadside attraction?
Entrance to the Pez Visitor Center costs 5 dollars, but you are given a Pez lanyard and “name tag” which you get to keep as a souvenir and a coupon for two dollars off at the Pez gift store. In other words, it is a bargain to access this small world of Pez. We paid our money and made our way inside. The first thing you see is an enormous pez dispenser measuring almost two floors tall with a gigantic pez candy coming in and out of the “mouth” of the dispenser. Around the perimeter of the Pez Visitor Center you will find the history of this unique candy. There are also cases filled with collectible Pez dispensers and old Pez memorabilia.
It turns out that Pez candies were first made in the year 1927 in Vienna, Austria. They were supposed to be breath mints, and the name comes from the german word “pfefferminz” (peppermint) which was shortened to “pez.” In the 1950s and 60s, Pez introduced character dispensers in the United States, which fueled sales in terms of collectors and children who wanted their favorite cartoon characters in this combination candy and toy.
Pez candy is still popular with the public, as proven by the group of summer campers who were lined up to buy their favorite dispensers, and the grown ups who, like us, had pulled off the road to check out the history and memorabilia associated with Pez. There was even a bingo game where you were to find the dates that different dispensers on display around the visitors center had originally come onto the market. If you found the dates for a “bingo” you were allowed to spin a wheel and you got a free dispenser and candy.
The whole visit to the Pez Visitor Center took no more than half an hour, however it was a great way to feel like a kid again. We ruskommend you stop on your way up the interstate, as this is a much better rest stop than you are likely to find for miles! For anyone who has fond childhood memories, or a sweet tooth, we ruskommend the Pez Visitor Center with 4 boquerones.