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Behind the Scenes

By John Kelly and Craig Stoltz
From the book "Kid-O-Rama"
Copyright 1998


Factories | Fish Hatcheries | Mail Call | The Media | Food For Thought

Children have a commendable interest in learning How Things Are Made and How Things Work. Since Washington is not a center for manufacturing much other than policies and pronouncements (and leaving aside whether anything works very well), you'll have to drive outside our general 40-miles-beyond-the-Beltway radius to get to most plant tours here. Also covered are fish hatcheries, postal facilities and grocery stores open to the public. They don't actually make anything at the Newseum, the neat interactive media museum, but it does offer a behind-the-scenes look at how news is reported. Several local newspapers also invite visitors to take a look.

Factories | Fish Hatcheries | Mail Call | The Media


Hershey's Chocolate World Crayola Factory
Herr's Foods Harley-Davidson Factory

Fish Hatcheries

Take eggs, add milt, and mix. Before you know it, you've got some small fry. These hatcheries raise fish to be released in area rivers, streams and lakes. If you visit, you'll probably see ponds or "raceways" teaming with hungry finned beasts. While this isn't quite fish in their natural habitat, kids will get a close look at something that may end up at the end of their hooks. They doubtless will be impressed by the way the fish churn the water white. (Some hatcheries let kids feed breadcrumbs or unsalted canned corn to the fish. Call to make reservations before going. All visits are free.)

Maryland Virginia
Albert Powell Trout Hatchery Front Royal Fish Cultural Station
Cedarville Hatchery/Joseph Manning Hatchery  

Mail Call

Let's hope that e-mail never replaces "snail mail." If it did, our kids wouldn't be able to tour the places where all the cards, letters and packages are sorted. Visiting a room full of modems just doesn't sound all that interesting. The postal processing centers here welcome visitors. Call ahead, and also ask your local post office about tours.

The District Maryland Virginia
Washington Processing and Distribution Center Suburban Maryland Processing and Distribution Plant Merrifield Processing and Distribution Center
  Southern Maryland Processing and Distribution Center Dulles International Mail Facility Processing and Distribution Center

The Media

The Newseum


If you think your kids would enjoy visiting a real newsroom, try one of these area papers (even if reservations aren't required, it's wise to call to make an appointment). And if you visit The Washington Post, be sure to wave to us.

The District Maryland Virginia
The Washington Post The Capital Loudoun Times-Mirror
The Washington Informer Maryland Independent  


The District

Food For Thought

Giant and Safeway have seen the value in instilling brand loyalty in future customers. They, along with most Shoppers Food Warehouse, Magruder's, Super Fresh and Fresh Fields stores, offer tours. Your best bet is to call the store of your choice (probably the one you frequent most often) and ask to speak with the manager. (Set up tours for groups of 10 or more at Shoppers Food Warehouse by calling the main office: 301/306-8608.) Stores require about a week's notice. You'll be asked the size of your group and the ages of the children. Most stores prefer that visitors come in groups of at least six, though some will add smaller groups to other tours.

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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