Want an inner look at Toyota North America’s past, present and future? The five experience centers at Toyota vehicle plants across North America give visitors just that. Through visual and hands-on displays, visitors get a chance to better understand advanced manufacturing.
And they’re now all open to the public!
Read below to discover what makes each unique and consider signing up for a plant tour!
Opening date: June 7, 2022
Location: Blue Springs, Mississippi
What’s special about the Toyota Mississippi Experience Center?
Toyota Mississippi’s 15,000-square-foot Experience Center was designed and built with a collaborative learning/training environment in mind.
One cool feature? An interactive light display that’s projected onto a specially painted matte gray Corolla (above). Other exhibits allow guests to try their hands at actual dexterity exercises used in Toyota training processes. And the center’s patio overlooks the marshalling yard, where Corollas are parked, sorted and loaded every day before the vehicles are transported to their new homes.
The building is in the process of becoming LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified, the most widely used green building rating system in the world, which will make it the first building in Mississippi to have that distinction. The Mississippi site is also the only North America Manufacturing Center to have two indicator species, the northern bobwhite quail and wood duck, which are often visible from the Experience Center grounds and are a component of the education provided at the center. Partnering with the Wildlife Habitat Council, the indicator species help measure the health of an ecosystem.
The Toyota Mississippi Experience Center is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday.
Learn more: tourtoyota.com/Mississippi
Opening date: Originally opened in 2009; reopened on Sept. 26, 2022
Location: Princeton, Indiana
What’s special about the Toyota Indiana Experience Center?
The Floating Tundra display (above) is a hit with Toyota Indiana visitors and is the No. 1 location for selfies at the center. Putting the artwork together was an experience. The parts were delivered on large sheets of plywood, along with 323 photographs. Using the pictures as a guide, an in-house, six-person team worked for six months to reassemble and suspend the display. It’s held in place with stainless steel aircraft cable. The exhibition showcases the relationship of parts coming together to make the vehicle. This idea of coalescing is an artistic rendition of assembly, which is a perfect fit for a leader in advanced manufacturing.
The Experience Center also has a Type G Automatic Loom on display (above). The fully functional loom was invented by Toyota’s founder, Sakichi Toyoda, and is one of only two located outside Japan; the other is on display at Britain’s Science Museum. At the time of its creation, it was the world’s most sophisticated and economical loom. Toyoda used money from selling the Type G patent as an investment for his son Kiichiro to begin a new division of the company – the automotive division.
The Toyota Indiana Experience Center is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday.
Learn more: tourtoyota.com/Indiana
Opening date: Originally opened in 2009; reopened on Sept. 26, 2022.
Location: San Antonio, Texas
What’s special about this Experience Center?
Toyota Texas is the only place in the world where Tundras are built. And a new vehicle rolls off the line about every 60 seconds.
What makes its Experience Center special? There are informative hands-on exhibits on the fundamentals of building the Sequoia and Tundra vehicles. One of the more popular exhibits allows visitors to test a virtual paint sprayer (above). The display is a paint booth simulation where guests can experience what it’s like to paint a Tundra or Sequoia through VR technology.
The Toyota Texas Experience Center is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday.
Opening date: Started tours in 1990; the first visitor center opened in 1994; reopened in Nov. 2022.
Location: Georgetown, Kentucky
What is special about this Experience Center?
Toyota Kentucky is the oldest and largest facility in North America. Its Experience Center includes interactive displays and 3D projected maps that come to life to provide a look into Toyota’s advanced production processes.
Not only do visitors learn about the company’s history, but they’re also able to witness unique methods in Toyota’s manufacturing process and learn how Toyota is improving the local community through community partnerships and investments.
One special exhibit breaks down the manufacturing process into each step, which gives visitors an up-close look at how Toyotas are built (above). The display shares Toyota’s twists on manufacturing processes that differentiate the company from competitors.
Another exhibit allows visitors to see a historic Camry (above) — it’s the first vehicle assembled by a wholly-owned Toyota plant in North America.
The Toyota Kentucky Experience Center is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday.
Learn more: tourtoyota.com/Kentucky
Location: Ontario, Canada
Opening date: Started tours in 1997; reopened on Oct. 17, 2022.
What is special about this Experience Centre?
The Manufacturing Exhibit (above) allows guests to complete activities inspired by new team member training stations, which focus on dexterity, speed and accuracy. The exhibit is a simulation of what you find in an assembly shop. Pictured on display is the Lexus RX.
The Toyota Canada Experience Centre is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday.
Learn more: tourtoyota.com/Canada
Originally published January 5, 2023