In the heart of Amish country, just outside Lancaster, Penn., is a place where kids of all ages can enjoy unlimited ice cream and iced tea samples, learn how ice cream is made and packaged, make a commercial, and even create their own signature flavor. It’s the Turkey Hill Experience.
My family calls the Experience the “ice cream museum.” It combines the fun of a please-touch museum with education and a frosty treat – what could be better?
What you’ll learn at Turkey Hill Experience
We started our Experience learning about the history and culture of western Lancaster County and the Susquehanna River Valley. Displays chronicle the history of Turkey Hill Dairy from its inception in 1931. Next we milked the mechanical cow and sat in the old milk delivery truck.
“What’s in the Milk” mixes learning and fun. Looking through a microscope, you can discover the different kinds of bacteria in milk, then use the “Clean Up!” blaster game to eradicate the bad bacteria. There are several other ingredient games, giving visitors the chance to measure, mix and match. We had a little family competition going and played the games again and again.
Tasting and Creating
Then my kids caught site of the tasting bar and made a beeline to the free ice cream! There are also samples of Turkey Hill’s iced tea.
After the free treats, we had a blast dreaming up our very own ice cream flavors and marketing them! First, create your own flavor and get a code that you type in at each subsequent station. Next you’ll give your ice cream a name and design the packaging.
Finally, stand in front of an actual green screen and record your commercial, which can be emailed to you. My daughter loved it so much, she did it twice.
At the end of our visit, we sat in the tea room and sampled iced tea. My daughter loves quizzes, so she enjoyed answering questions to determine her perfect “tea personality.” Other parts of the Experience include the Homogenization Ball Pit, a small slide, the Diary Cam (live from the factory), and a walk-through model freezer.
The Taste Lab and Tea Discovery
The Taste Lab is an add-on activity at the Turkey Hill Experience. Participants are given vanilla ice cream, then choose from a plethora of flavorings, mix-ins and syrups. This is not any make-your-own sundae bar – your creation is mixed and taken to the freezer to harden. During that time, the learning continues with an “Ice Cream 101” class. Once your ice cream is firmed up, you get to eat it of course! Reservations and a small additional fee are required. The Taste Lab was not open when we visited, but we’ll surely be checking it out soon!
Another add-on is the Tea Discovery. When you visit the Tea Discovery, their Tea Experts will teach you about all things tea. You’ll learn about different types of tea leaves, where in the world the teas come from, their health benefits, and more. It’s a fun and educational 30 minutes. And of course you get to sample a bunch of Turkey Hill iced teas.
As you can see, the Turkey Hill Experience is all hands-on. It’s small enough that it doesn’t feel overwhelming, yet there’s enough to feel you got your money’s worth. Ticket prices range from $10 to $20 depending on the experiences you purchase. Allow 2-3 hours to enjoy the Experience, the Taste Lab, and the Tea Discovery.