Back in September, Jay and I spent a weekend in Lancaster, PA. Naturally, I requested a stop at the Turkey Hill Experience! Despite multiple protests from friends and family members that “it’s only for kids!” I convinced Jay to go. The Turkey Hill Experience is located in Columbia, PA and features a plethora of interactive exhibits that teach you about the process to create ice cream.
General admission to the Turkey Hill Experience – $9.95
This gives you access to all of the exhibits as well as UNLIMITED free samples of ice cream and tea!! If you choose to just stay all day and sample as many flavors as possible, I wouldn’t judge. However, the exhibits are informative and a lot of fun! You can learn about each step in the ice cream making process as well as star in your own TV commercial, create your own virtual ice cream flavor and packaging, and milk a mechanical cow. Granted, this is all designed with kids in mind, but it’s still entertaining as an adult!
If you want to enhance your visit, there are two add-on experiences:
Ice Cream Taste Lab – $5.45
Tea Discovery – $3.45
Triple Scoop (Includes admission, Taste Lab, and Tea Discovery) – $18
The Ice Cream Taste Lab is a thirty minute lab experiment where you create (and eat!) your own pint of ice cream, complete with flavorings, add-ins, and sauces. The Tea Discovery is a 20 minute guided tasting of a variety of iced teas. If you plan to participate in all the options, give yourself three hours to see it all.
Since our visit was on a Saturday, I booked our tickets online ahead of time. There is limited seating for the Taste Lab and Tea Discovery, so I’d recommend buying tickets online just in case it gets busy. We decided to go for the Triple Scoop, since I didn’t want to miss out on anything!
We arrived 45 minutes before our Taste Lab session, so we spent the time exploring the building. Well, first I made a bee-line for the ice cream sampling! Although not all the flavors are available, there is a rotating selection of 8-10 every day. I chose a summer favorite, Phillies Graham Slam! We also stopped by the tea sampling section and enjoyed an assortment of teas and lemonades.
I enjoyed reading about the history of the Turkey Hill company and how they have expanded their product lines over the years. We also took a tea personality quiz and somehow both got green tea? Not sure what that means, but it is my favorite!
Ice Cream Taste Lab
When our time rolled around for the Taste Lab, we lined up outside eagerly anticipating what was to come! Ok, maybe that was just me. Jay clearly wasn’t bouncing around like I was. As they led us inside the lab, we took our seats and stared in wonder at all the flavors, sauces, and the massive amount of inclusions! I couldn’t wait to get started.
Luckily, it’s not just a free for all. Two instructors walked us through the ice cream creation process. First up is flavoring. Since we all started with vanilla ice cream, we could choose from a wide variety of concentrated flavors to add. Next was the best part – the Inclusion Wall!! Every single ice cream topping you could imagine was featured along the sides of the room. We all jumped from our seats to begin adding everything from gummy bears to Oreos to sprinkles to peanut butter cups. I was in heaven! The instructors cautioned us against adding too much and we all completely ignored them.
By the time we got to the sauces, there wasn’t much room left! However, I still managed to sneak in some fudge and peanut butter sauce. As we continued eating, I realized there was no way I could finish my entire creation. I tried, but left a small mound of peanut butter cups and oreos behind in a pool of melted ice cream. You have the option to take it with you, but at that point I was so full I didn’t even want to think about ice cream again for a long time (or at least a few hours).
Afterward, while we waited for the Tea Discovery we explored a bit more of the Experience. We played a few games and came up with absurd virtual ice cream flavors and packaging. Once it was time, we filed into bright orange room for our guided tea tasting. Each seat had six samples and a few pretzels to cleanse our palate. Our instructor was energetic and full of fun facts about the different teas and drinks we tried! They even threw in a few teas that I’d never heard of before…some I liked and some I hated 🙂
After the Tea Discovery we called it a day and went on our way!
Nearby in Lancaster County
Lancaster County is a gorgeous place to spend a week or even a night or two. You can check out my Lancaster, PA travel guide if you’re planning to stick around! I’d highly recommend a stop at Mr. Sticky’s for the most delicious sticky buns you can find. We also enjoyed a quick homemade lunch at Bird in Hand Bakery and Cafe. Obviously a few whoopie pies made it into my purse for the ride home as well!
The Turkey Hill Experience is well worth a trip alone, but adding it as part of a weekend getaway to Lancaster County is even sweeter!