I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!
Turkey Hill mint chocolate chip ice cream is a staple in our house. So when I told the kids we were visiting the Turkey Hill Experience as part of our spring break trip to Pennsylvania, there was much screaming for ice cream. The idea of all-you-can-eat ice cream kept them excited for the last day of our visit to beautiful Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
At the Turkey Hill Experience, you can create your own ice cream flavor, sample unlimited iced tea and ice cream, make your own commercial, and learn about the process of making and packaging ice cream.
Before you go, you should know that Turkey Hill Experience is an interactive, entertainment exhibit rather than a factory tour. It is actually located in an old silk mill instead of a factory, which gives character to the experience. It feels more like an ice cream museum than a factory tour.
Nine interactive exhibit areas allow visitors to learn more about dairy culture, the story of Turkey Hill Dairy, and how the company's top-selling ice cream and iced tea flavors are selected and created.
Here are some tips for your visit to the Turkey Hill Experience.
Reserve a Spot in the Taste Lab
You can visit the gift shop and a few exhibits that focus on the history of Lancaster County at the Turkey Hill Experience at no cost. Your admission price gives you admission to the entire experience, and unlimited ice cream and iced tea. However, to complete your experience it is worth a few extra dollars to reserve a seat in the Taste Lab. You will need a reservation for the Taste Lab, which you can get online.
The Taste Lab is a hands-on experience where even the youngest can create their own ice cream flavor. This 45-minute experience was the highlight of the visit for my family. After some hand-washing and instruction, each person is given their own pint of vanilla ice cream to start with.
We each chose a flavor as the base for our ice cream and added drops until we got the flavor we wanted. We got tips on how to best stir our ice cream without melting it, and learned how many drops of extract to use.
When we got the base flavor we wanted, we visited the inclusion wall to add whatever mix-ins we wanted to the ice cream. Finally, we returned to our seats and swirled syrup throughout our creations. Our creations were put a deep freeze to firm up for a few minutes while we learned more about the ice cream making process, and at the end, we each ate our own creation. There was no way to keep it frozen, so we ate until we couldn't eat any more.
I was happy to pass on my son's cotton candy, gummy bear and cake icing creation, but my coconut cookies and cream was pretty delicious.
We ate a delicious buffet lunch at the Plain and Fancy Farm Restaurant before our visit to the Turkey Hill Experience. In retrospect, skipping lunch altogether would have been a better option for those of us who wanted to sample each of the 8 flavors they were handing out at the all-you-can-eat ice cream station. My kids still managed to enjoy several servings of ice cream before they tuckered out.
There was something for everyone at the Turkey Hill Experience. I loved the history of Lancaster County information and the informative displays on the ice cream making process. My teenagers loved the interactive displays and plenty of ice cream samples. My electronics-loving son had fun on the computer screens and making his own ice cream commercial. My youngest kids thought we were in a children's museum as they played on slides, climbed in dairy trucks, and milked cows. The Turkey Hill Experience kept us entertained for over two hours and was a delightful stop on our tour of Lancaster County.
I have a daughter with a severe allergy to tree nuts, and I was grateful to the Turkey Hill Experience for being allergy friendly and helping her have a good time. The Taste Lab has nuts on the inclusion wall and they cannot guarantee a nut-free experience. I called the Turkey Hill Experience in advance and made a plan for how my daughter could join us in the Taste Lab in a way that was comfortable for all of us.
Reservations are required to visit the Taste Lab, and on a busy day it will sell out in advance.
Where: 301 Linden St., Columbia, PA (Lancaster County)
When: Hours vary depending on the season, so check the hours on their website.
- Regular admission (ages 18-61): $9.95
- Junior admission (ages 5-17): $7.95
- Senior admission (ages 62 and up): $8.95
- Kids 4 and under are free
- Tour and group rates are also available.
- Taste Lab is an additional $4.55 per person and reservations are required.
How Long: 2 hours
You may also enjoy:
- Our Pennsylvania destination page
- Our Pennsylvania for Families Pinterest board
- Experience The Amish Village in Lancaster County
- Try a farm-to-table Amish meal at the Plain and Fancy Farm Restaurant