A Spicy Good Time at the TABASCO® Factory Tour & Jungle Gardens on Avery Island, Louisiana
By Meg Brunson
One of my favorite things to do on our extended road trip is to take factory tours! It's something I never knew would be so cool - but we love learning about the way that different things are made, as well as fun facts about each company's history and culture. About 90 minutes west of New Orleans is Avery Island where you'll find the TABASCO® factory, and right "next door" to the factory is Jungle Gardens - a subtropical gardens and wildlife refuge. If you're visiting one, you should definitely visit both... at least, that's what we decided to do!
The TABASCO® tour is self-guided and starts in the TABASCO® Museum. Within the museum we got a nice introduction to the company - we had no idea that since 1868, the company has been run by the same family - with the exception of 2 years when an "outsider" called the shots, but apparently that didn't go well - so in the family it will stay!
The remainder of the tour takes place in a few different buildings throughout the factory grounds. Everything was clearly labeled and easy to navigate. We loved seeing the Pepper Greenhouse (I had no idea the TABASCO® peppers were so small!) and learning that they are only picked with their shade of red is *just right*!
We also got to learn about the blending, barreling, and bottling processes - and loved identifying the similarities between some of the other factory tours we've been on (like Jack Daniels, Anheuser-Busch, and Ben & Jerry's). There are a lot of similarities among them! We also loved learning about the unique ecosystem on Avery Island - mainly, that it's formed on a huge Salt Mine!
The tour concludes at the TABASCO® Country Store, where there were a variety of souveniers to take home. They also offered a variety of unique samples - including TABASCO® sauses, veggies, TABASCO® ice cream, and TABASCO® Coca-Cola! The hard part is not filling up on the samples - because 1868! Restaurant is right next door! Of course, the restaurant is fully stocked with TABASCO® products and cajun food. There are also non-spicy options for those who prefer a more mild meal.
After a delicious meal at 1868! we drove over to Jungle Gardens. We took the RV-friendly route and loved seeing so much bamboo (over 64 varieties!) and the unique centuries old Buddha statue and shrine. All the big gorgous Oak trees draped with the eerily beautiful Spanish Moss. Bird City was closed for construction, but we saw a ton of uniqie birds throughout the park.
Tips for an amazing visit:
- Come hungry - there are tons of samples to enjoy in the country store - and you absolutely have to eat at 1868. It's a casual spot, with a variety of cajun (and non-spicey) food options.
- Parking - Parking is free and there is a bus/RV lot at the TABASCO® Factory. You can also take a bus/RV through Jungle Gardens, just stop by the gift shop for directions fir the bus/RV-friendly route.
- Picture Perfect - don't forget the camera! There are fun photo-ops at the TABASCO® factory - and so many gorgous places for photos at Jungle Gardens as well. Even in the winter (when we visited) it was beautiful - I cant even imagine how beautiful it'll be in the spring when all the florals are in bloom!
- Walking Shoes - the TABASCO® tour involves some walking, and you'll want to explore Jungle Gardens as well. To visit the Buddha statue (for example) you will have to park and walk a short trail. It's not difficult terrain, but sneakers are recommended.
Start planning your TABASCO® trip at https://www.tabasco.com/visit-avery-island/tabasco-tour/ and Jungle Gardens at https://www.junglegardens.org/ - then, read about some of the other adventures we're having on our Year-Long Road Trip!
© 2020 Meg Brunson
Thanks to TABASCO® for sponsoring this review! All opinions expressed are my own. See more on Instagram!
Meg is a mommy blogger, Facebook marketer, and much more. She is a mom to four kids who live full-time in an RV exploring the US! As a former Facebook employee, Meg remains a Facebook addict and handles KidsOutAndAbout.com's Social Media Marketing in addition to providing freelance services for other small businesses on how to best leverage Facebook as a part of their marketing strategy. Meg also hosts the FamilyPreneur Podcast, a podcast for parent entrepreneurs raising entrepreneurial children. Learn more about Meg at MegBrunson.com!