Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Visitor Center
Keanu, Big Island, Hawaii
A long time ago, someone figured out that Macadamia trees thrive in parts of Hawaii -- benefiting from sunshine, rain, and rich lava soil on the slope of a volcano. The Mauna Loa Macadamia Nuts company grows 10,000 acres of macadamia trees on the eastern side of the Big Island. Acquired by Hershey in 2004, Mauna Loa still runs a visitor center at the plantation.
The Visitor Center includes a gift shop offering free nut candy samples. There are many permutations of boxed candy suitable as souvenirs.
The self-guided factory tour runs along outside windows on the second floor of the factory. A video at each station plays at the touch of a button, narrated in one of six languages. Observers look down from a distance to see nut sorting, husking, drying, chocolate enrobing, packaging, and other exciting candy manufacturing processes.
The windows kick back a lot of glare, and you can't actually hear anything down on the factory floor. Not spectacular, but it is a real candy-making operation on display -- unlike the one its parent corporation runs for tourists.