10:30 AM – SPAM® Museum Tour: Please don’t eat the exhibits. Yes, it’s real. The SPAM® Museum is stuffed with interactive exhibits that bring the iconic history of the SPAM® Brand to life like you’ve never seen it before! Go behind the scenes and behind the can for an experience adults and kids will savor. See what’s trending in our pork-filled world, email yourself delicious recipes and share your SPAM® brand story for a chance to become part of our exhibits. Explore the SPAM® brand across the globe. Travel to Japan, U.K., Philippines, South Korea, Latin America, China and Hawaii. Find out what 6 simple ingredients make SPAM® classic, then work the assembly line. Learn the history of Hormel Foods Corporation from its inception and stand behind the actual desk of company founder George A. Hormel. Following the tour we will have time to explore the gift shop.
11:30 AM – Sweet Reads: Is not your average book & candy store – it is truly a unique experience. You will find new and used books, local and regional authors, old-fashion candies, frozen treats and a selection of Minnesota and Austin novelty items. Plus, come and witness the world’s largest collection of Berenstain Bear memorabilia.
12:00 PM – Lunch at Gravity Storm catered by Piggy Blues: Gravity Storm Brewery brews their own beer right here in Austin, MN. The bar area is set up to look like a tiki bar from a tropical paradise, and most of the beers are inspired by Jimmy Buffet songs such as their Pencil Thin Mustache IPA or License to Kill Maibach. Piggy Blues BBQ can cater for groups as small as 5 and up to 2500. Their motto is “Where you can eat pig or eat like a pig!” Their signature dish is the Pulled Pork Lip Smackin’ Sandwich.
1:30 PM – Rydjor Bike Shop Museum: Each of the 84 bikes displayed on the 16 foot walls inside the store has its own story. You will witness the evolution of bicycles beginning with the 1868 “Boneshaker” up to one of the late actor Robin Williams’ personal bikes.
2:00 PM – ArtWorks Center: A space to learn, create, display, and perform in all artistic avenues. The space includes the county’s only public clay studio with kiln, three galleries, an artists’ lounge, and a retail space supporting local artwork. They offer classes for group tours of various artistic opportunities – painting, glass work, crafts, knitting, fabric art, and more.
3:30 PM – SuperFresh Garden and Produce Center: A family-owned business providing bakery goods, gifts galore, and a fabulous garden center. They are famous for serving the state’s largest donut. A nice relaxing stop for group tours to sample their cookies and sip on their flavor of the day tea.
4:00 PM – Check into the Hotel: Austin offers over 400 hotel rooms to relax and rejuvenate. Lodging options in Austin, MN include Holiday Inn, Days Inn, AmericInn, Cobblestone Hotel, Red Carpet Inn, Super 8 and RodeWay Inn & Suites.
5:30PM – Dinner at The Old Mill: This 1850’s former flour mill is located on the Cedar River and overlooks the Ramsey Dam. It is one of the most historic and well-regarded restaurants in Southern Minnesota. There is a very warm and casual atmosphere where you are able to wine, dine, and relax in the dining room. Group menus arranged through Discover Austin, Minnesota.
7:15 PM – Paramount Theatre: One of only four remaining atmospheric theatres remaining in Minnesota. The Paramount is designed to represent being in the courtyard of a quaint Spanish Village with twinkling stars and rolling clouds overheads. Group tours available to watch a short film while sipping a soda and munching on some popcorn.
9:00 PM – Arrive back at the hotel.
9:00 AM – Hormel Institute: Cancer has affected so many people and now you can tour The Hormel Institute, a world leader in cancer research focusing on the study of food agents and cell functions. Experience a 3D simulation of molecules, view into the research labs and see a microscope so large it has its own special space.
10:00 AM – Jay C Hormel Nature Center: Visit the new 7 million dollar interpretive center which includes exhibits such as Creatures of the Night, Renewable Energy, Climate Change, Forest Ecology, Live Birds of Prey, Soil is Habitat / Prairie Exhibit, Pond Ecology & Macroinvertebrates. A geological timeline wraps all the way around the main exhibit space, with images and information about the billions of years of Earth’s history.
11:00 AM – City Tour: Be introduced to local points of interest and lesser known or quirky sites around the city that may merit further attention! Your step-on guide for the City Tour will stay with you for the rest of your scheduled day PLUS you get a SPAM® cookbook!
12:00 PM – Hormel Historic Home lunch: Discover the stately 14-room home of the George A. Hormel family (founder of Hormel Foods Corp). Built in 1871, the home features stained glass windows, decorative woodwork, front pillars imported from Italy, Tiffany light fixtures and a Greek marble fireplace. Following the tour, a group lunch will be provided in the banquet center.
1:00 PM – Depart Austin
TIME TO TRAVEL FROM:
- Rochester MN to Austin MN = 42min (41.7 mi) via I 90 W
- Madison WI to Austin MN = 3hr 55min (240.0 mi) via I 90 W
- La Crosse WI to Austin MN = 1hr 37min (102.9 mi) via I 90 W
- Dubuque IA to Austin MN = 3hr 19min (195.5 mi) via US 20 W & US 218 N
- Rockford IL to Austin MN = 4hr 51min (304.9 mi) via I 90 W