Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Turkey Hill Experience, Pennsylvania

The Turkey Hill Experience is a tourist attraction devoted to the story of a dairy which grew from a local farm into a major provider of ice cream and iced tea in the mid-Atlantic states. Naturally their central symbol is a cow.

The Turkey Hill Experience entrance

L udder the cow

Inside they have displays on the history of the company which were interesting, if only to adults.

The story of their success

Ye olde products

Ye olde deliverie truck

Of more interest to the younger set are the interactive exhibits, the first one being the truck!

Who's driving that thing?

J at the wheel

Team work

All done

Near to the truck is a display on milking cows using both the old hand method and the new machine method. Squeezing these particular udders actually releases a spray of water. J and L let out a lot of water here.

J the milk man

L learns to milk

A pathway leads through the experience and shows the various steps in making ice cream. The first step is collecting the milk and pasteurizing it. One display shows all the good and bad bacteria that can be found in milk and a bank of video games let players shoot the bad bacteria.

Bacteria in milk

J cleans up

The next step is selecting flavors, which includes fruits, nuts, and candies. A smell station lets visitors sample different additives without tasting them. The sense of taste is tied into that of smell, so it makes sense to do things this way.

Smell station

At this point, visitors have the chance to craft their own ice cream flavor. On a touch screen they choose the base mix (white or chocolate), a base flavor, a swirl flavor, and an additive (like chocolate chips or nuts).

J designs a flavor

Later on, cartons can be designed.

L designs her carton

The last interactive computer exhibit is a video studio where visitors can make a commercial for their newly crafted flavor. The line was too long so we didn't do that. We did submit email addresses so we could see our children's creations back at home.

L's ice cream is described this way: I created my own personal ice cream flavor called L'S ICE CREAM. It's White Mix ice cream with Cotton Candy and a swirl of Raspberry, loaded with marshmallows.

It sounds pretty good. Here's what it would look like:

L's ice cream

L's carton design

J's ice cream is described this way: I created my own personal ice cream flavor called OIHHGFFDCFGHYFERTYTGFRDRCDCFFF------HHHHHHHHGGGYYUHYDCDDCDDCD SNOT. It's White Mix ice cream with Mango and a swirl of Butterscotch, loaded with Mint Candies and Coconut Chips.

It sounds pretty...eclectic. Here's what it would look like:

J's ice cream

J's carton

Along the way are plenty of play areas that are sort of related to the ice cream-making process. A ball pit is supposed to represent the homogenizing process where large fat cells are broken into smaller bits so they will float among the other parts of the milk (rather than rising to the top).

L learns about homogenizing

Another room shows how they cool the mixed, creamy milk and add flavors.

Mixing room with the flavor chute

L chilling

Adding L flavoring

Adding J flavoring

One display let us see an actual dairy in action but we visited on a Saturday so nothing was going on at the farm.

Dairy cam

Another display tested our ability to guess the components in various flavors. Guessing correctly is not as easy as you'd think it would be.

Can you get the right mix?

Some of the promotional materials were interactive photo ops.

J pitches ice cream

Daddy grumpy at a photo bomber

Happy L

Oh no, who else is in here?!?

A pair of nuts

The best part of the experience is the all-you-can-eat ice cream bar with free samples.

We would stand in this line!

I tried several flavors over the hour and a half we were there.
  • Butter pecan--a classic that is yummy
  • Graham slam--graham crackers mixed in with white mix, a surprisingly tasty mixture
  • Salted caramel--another delightful yet sadly rare flavor

N doesn't get any graham slam, poor boy

The Turkey Hill Experience is a delightful place for young and old!

On our way out

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