Spangler Factory Tour (Dum-Dums)

Cabbage Patch Dolls, Rainbow Brite, the original My Little Pony & Strawberry Shortcake were all the rage with little girls, Cyndi Lauper, Prince (before the symbol), Madonna, & Michael Jackson cassettes filled Walkmans, and Razzles, Zotz Sours, Airheads, and the Watermelon flavored Dum-Dum made its grand appearance on the candy scene. It was 1980 something! That was my childhood, before responsibilities and obligations; bills, laundry, work, etc. were even on my radar. That was before one could even fathom the web, email, social media, tablets, IPhones, texting, instant messaging, etc. Those were simpler, slower, fabulous years! And every summer I so look forward to visiting a glimpse of my childhood on our annual trip to the Spangler Factory!!!




As you enter the store you are greeted by the sweet aroma of candy and charming Spangler employees who offer samples of Dum Dums and candy canes. spanglerfactory1Then it’s time for a stroll through history in the museum where they have displays of past products, molds, literature, etc.  Did you know that Spangler was founded in 1906 and that they make 10 million Dum Dums each day!? Now that is a lot of suckers!!






spanglerfactory14We perused the Museum for a few minutes and then it was time for the kiddos’ favorite part!! Sing along if ya know it…spanglerfactory11

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight

shlemiel, schlemazel, hasenpfeffer incorporated

We’re gonna do it


Give us any chance, we’ll take it

Read us any rule, we’ll break it

We’re gonna make our dreams come true

Doin’ it our way


Nothin’s gonna turn us back now

Straight ahead and on the track now

We’re gonna make our dreams come true

Doin’ it our way


After we had our hairnets on we boarded the trolley!!



While on the factory tour we learned about the seasonal Dum Dum flavors they will have in stores for Autumn/Christmas time. The flavor of the ‘love them or hate them…there is no in-between’ Circus Peanuts, and so much more!

As the trolley took us from one room to the next I couldn’t help but feel like I was on How it’s Made, remember that show? It was fascinating watching all the conveyor belts filled with Dum Dums and other various products…and to see the orange boxes piled high for Halloween and the numerous candy canes piled ceiling high for Christmas!spanglerfactory6


When the tour ended we headed for the store where kiddos could finally spend some of that tooth fairy and birthday money that was burning a hole in their pockets. And a bag of Circus Peanuts (FYI, the flavor is banana) for my dad (he loves them) and one for my little scientist who wanted to do candy experiments (book in gift shop).spanglerfactory3


As I went for the door to leave I hesitated, I didn’t want this visit back to childhood to end. I didn’t want to get in my car with the annoying touch screen, have to check my phone for missed calls, text, instant messages, etc. I just wanted to get back in my mom’s red Plymouth Dodge Caravan and open up that huge paper map in search of a local park to have lunch…and I want a Happy Meal, from the 80s…and while we are at it I want my banana clip too!! Though I couldn’t take my childhood home with me I could take the experience, the memory of enjoying a bit of my childhood with my children to cherish.

And knowing we will be back next summer always softens the blow a bit….see you summer 2018 Spangler Factory! As I looked in the rearview mirror I could practically see 6 year old me in a stripped romper, pigtails, & watermelon Dum Dum in hand.

Plan your visit today!


Address: 400 N Portland St, Bryan, OH 43506

Phone: (419) 636-4221


Hours: Summer: Monday thru Friday 10am – 4pm Last Trolley leaves at 3:30pm (Memorial Day – Labor Day)

Fall/Winter/Spring: Wednesday thru Friday 10am – 3pm Last Trolley leaves at 2:30pm (Starting September 4, 2017)

** CLOSED on: New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve Day

Admission: Adults $5, Children 6-18 years $3, Children 5 & Under Free with paid Adult, Seniors $4



Mule-Drawn Canal Boat Experience

Canal Experience, where education and fun collide! As a mom I am always on the lookout for events and activities that are educational. Meanwhile, the kiddos hunger for fun. The Canal Experience at Providence Metropark in Grand Rapids, Ohio is jammed pack full of educational fun! It is literally a floating history lesson!

UPDATE: You can go aboard the docked boat, The Volunteer for FREE but the actual experience is not available at this time (as of, 6-18-2021)



Canal1We arrived at Providence Metropark and enjoyed the modern amenities (plumbing, flushing toilets, running fresh water, etc.) and then made our way across the bridge where we were taken back to the year 1876. Canal2The flux capacitor could not have done a more superior job! As we strolled up to purchase our ticket for The Volunteer, the mule-drawn canal boat, the attendant was dressed in 1876 period costume with a long prairie dress, apron, bonnet,…the works!Canal3

Canal4Before boarding The Volunteer, we received some background information on the time period from one of the crew members who was also dressed in a period costume circa 1870s. As we boarded the canal boat we were officially submersed in 1876, just as Marty McFly was asked about his “life preserver” I feared I might be questioned about my pants! Lol! The canal crew stayed 100% in character, it was fascinating!!Canalex15


Canal5We learned so much about canal life while aboard the 60 foot replica of a “state-packet” boat. First and foremost the pace of life back then was extremely slow compared to our modern day Wi-Fi speeds and instant gratification addictions. The two-mule team pulled The Volunteer at a whopping 4 MPH. I must admit there was something inviting, comforting, and even enjoyable about slowing down our speed and soaking in a glimpse of what life was like back in the 1870s.Canal8


The children enjoyed learning about canal life particularly the fascinating amenities like the “thunder bucket”, meals of Muskrat, and how one would sleep aboard the boat, but by far their favorite part of our 1 hour tour, the restored lock. Canalex1Lock #44 is one of the last functioning 19th century limestone locks!! It was fascinating watching the crew spring to action to open and close the lock. To be able to literally view and feel The Volunteer, being lifted 4 feet and then lowered was amazing. Canal10And to think, these 19th century canal boats carrying passengers and freight from Toledo to Cincinnati were where it all began, was the modern day means for transporting materials for commerce back then…that is until those “metal monstrosities” (railroads/trains) which eventually replaced the 4MPH canal boats.  Canal11

We were sad to see our canal boat experience end but super excited to pet the mules that towed the boat on the tow path and to tour the Ludwig Mill!Canalex


The Isaac Ludwig Mill is an authentic, functioning, turn-of-the-century grist and flourmill. It has a turbine-powered, functioning sawmill. It is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. Canalex11Canalex6The staff/ volunteers manning the mill were also in period costumes and did a remarkable job illustrating how the antique milling equipment operates. Canalex8Canalex5The gentleman expressed the process so fluently that even my kindergartner was fascinated. Canalex2 Canalex4We were able to witness the mechanics involved with the process of milling used in the 1800’s and there was products produced at the mill available for purchase.  Canalex7Kiddos can’t wait to go back and see artisan demonstrate crafts like tinsmithing, candlemaking, blacksmithing, etc.Canalex9


Canalex14Plan your trip today….go back to the future!!


Address: 13801 S River Rd, Grand Rapids, OH 43522

Phone: 419-407-9741

Website: For Boat & Mill Schedule Click on link

Hours: Vary (see website)

Admission: $7 adults, $6 seniors (60 and over) and Metroparks members, $4 children (3 to 12); ages two and under free.

OVO Cirque du Soleil, a performance unlike any other!

“How can a show that doesn’t have any “real” spoken words be so awesome?” was the observation made by my husband on the drive home from the most amazing performance ever, OVO Cirque du Soleil.  I almost corrected him, but then I took a moment to reflect on the show and he was totally right! Oh my gosh…there were no real, comprehendible words spoken during the entire performance. And yet, I understood and followed the show effortlessly, and what’s more, so did my husband and kids, how was that possible?  The emotion, tone, visuals, music, and amazing performers provided a cohesive experience that transcended verbal language and spoke directly to the soul.


The fluid movement of the performers, the visual effects that literally pulled the audience in with movement, paired with the synchronized lights and sound effects provided such a lifelike experience, for a moment I had to remind myself that those performers were not real insects. However, our 6 year old was totally immersed in the imaginary, so much so that she even yelled out a couple times to the performers in excitement.

And as I looked down the aisle at my tween, 9 year old, & husband each with their eyes opened wide and faces lit up in awe I realized that OVO Cirque du Soleil managed to do something that no other show or performance we have attended as a family has ever done, it fully absorbed each of our attention and that is no easy task!  The narrative of the insects and the mysterious egg pulled us in but it was the agility, fluidity, and beauty illustrated by the acrobats, gymnasts, and performers that kept us on the edge of our seats.

It was so exceptional that a standing ovation didn’t seem qualitative to such an outstanding performance but alas, it was all we had….so we stood and frantically clapped in utter delight. Though I must admit a part of me was a little sad that it was over. The experience was not just beautiful and awe inspiring but it was darn right relaxing and as a mom I appreciate any experience that can arouse a peaceful feeling within. Thankfully there is a soundtrack so I can try to channel that relaxing experience on otherwise crazy and chaotic days.

This is one performance you don’t want to pass up; it literally captivates ALL audience members. So grab your tickets today and be prepared to experience one of the most impressive, relaxing, captivating, awe inspiring performances.


June 1st – 7:30 p.m.

June 2nd – 7:30 p.m.

June 3rd – 4 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.

June 4th – 1:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.


Huntington Center 401 Jefferson Ave Toledo, OH 43604, United States


Box office:


Ticketmaster Charge by Phone: