The PEZ Visitor Center in Orange, CT is definitely worth the detour off of U.S. Route 95.
Chances are, you had a favorite toy growing up. You might even have that one toy that you’d kill to go back in time and not take out of its box. Twenty years ago, I started collecting PEZ dispensers, and today, I have about 10,000 PEZ dispensers and PEZ related items, kept safe in a storage closet.
When I was an RA in the dorms, I used to set all of my PEZ up and allow the residents of Terry Hall to come check out my “PEZ convention.” I’d put change in a PEZ bank and buy older PEZ from the antique store in Pioneer Square. I even spent one summer sorting through every single box of Lucky Charms, Cocoa Puffs, Trix, and Honey Nut Cheerios in groceries stores all around the Puget Sound, looking for the marked boxes that contained the limited edition miniature PEZ dispensers inside.
Get inside The PEZ Visitor Center
And recently, I had the chance to do something that I’ve always wanted to do. I got inside of the PEZ Visitor Center in Orange, CT. When you walk inside of the PEZ Visitor Center, you’re greeted with candy shaped benches and a large wall of dispensers. For a $5.00 entry fee, you get a PEZ badge on a PEZ lanyard, $2.00 in store credit, and a game piece to participate in the scavenger hunt of the day.
Here is a look at the experience:
The large display cases hold the rarest PEZ known to exist. While the first PEZ did not have a head on it (it is flat, and known as “A Regular,” meant for adults to carry breath mints), PEZ uniqueness over time has ridden on the characters represented on the top of the dispenser. If you have a chance to visit, you’ll see the Make A Face PEZ that was quickly recalled for safety concerns. Other personal favorites for me, based on age and rarity, were the boxes of wrapped Uncle Sams, Disney’s oldest dispenser of Mary Poppins, the pineapple sporting sunglasses, and all of the PEZ pals.
Participate in the scavenger hunt
Nobody is too old to play the PEZ scavenger hunt. As you peruse the Visitor Center, you look for PEZ dispensers of The Seven Dwarfs from Snow White. Here’s a nudge to get you started.
When you complete the card and fill in the message, you win the PEZ dispenser of the day.
What was not in the museum
It goes without saying that the PEZ Visitor Center puts my personal collection to shame, but I definitely have many pieces that are not on display. To name just a few, my late grandmother bought me a set of hand forged PEZ pins, which are very rare. My cereal boxes were referenced on the reader board, but not presented in the flesh. My Seattle Supersonics basketball PEZ didn’t appear to be in the Sports section. I also didn’t see PEZ “mistakes,” which are a lot of fun for collectors to hunt. I have an old blue Batman on a discontinued Garfield display card, and once, I paid $1.00 for a sealed, empty PEZ package that had no dispenser at all.
Highly recommend checking out the PEZ Visitor Center
If you’re on I-95 and see the sign, pull off. Trust me, it’s highly worth it.
PEZ Visitor Center
35 Prindle Hill Rd
Orange, CT 06477