The final escapade of our weekend trip was a pit stop tour at the Turkey Hill Experience. We were in two minds whether to go in or not since there was only an hour left before closing. However, the lady on the ticket desk offered us discounted entry because of one of the interactive machines being broken so we decided to be impulsive and go for it. The kids had had a whale of a time when we visited Hershey World in November 2014 so we thought they might enjoy learning about an American ice cream brand.
The first section of the tour focused on the history of Turkey Hill dairies. We learned that the business began in the Great Depression when a dairy farmer named Armor Frey (great name, right?) began selling milk from his car. They began selling ice cream in the 1950s when a market developed for buying ice cream to have at home and the business then gradually expanded from there, first across Pennsylvania, then the eastern seaboard and then across the US. Turkey Hill now produces millions of gallons of ice cream in over 60 flavours and millions of gallons of iced tea annually. My husband and kids have contributed to the consumption of ice cream gallons as I often buy Turkey Hill ice cream since it is often on special offer. The kids had fun milking model cows and driving a milk delivery truck.
We then moved on to the interactive exhibits. We were lucky that it was the close of the day and there were, therefore, few visitors left as there were not many of each type of screen and I imagine we would have been impatiently queuing at a busier time. There was a space invaders type game about the difference between good and bad bacteria and a section where levers could be pulled in order to impregnate pieces of card with different scents. There were no pieces of card left, which was a bit of a poor show, so we used our entry tickets. My older boys did not engage with that exhibit but my 6 year old absolutely loved pressing and sniffing and creating different combinations of odour. Then it was time to use touch screens to create a personalised ice cream flavour. It was virtual, of course. There is an option to pay extra to do the whole thing for real and then get a tub of your very own ice cream but we probably would not have stumped up the extra fee for that even had we had time – maybe if entry to the whole exhibit had been free as it was at Hershey World but not otherwise. Anyway, the kids had a blast making up weird and wonderful concoctions and then getting to name their ice cream flavour. They would have been able to then film a commercial for their ice cream but that happened to be the part of the exhibit that was broken on the day of our visit.
After that there was lots of running around, playing on a tube slide, making a turbine work to cool down the air, and climbing into a giant ice cream carton. Then it was time for free samples! I am lactose intolerant so I was restricted to sampling flavours of iced tea but Mr Pict and the Pictlings made the most of the ice cream. They tried all sorts of flavours I would not have risked buying in case they hated them so that was both fun and useful. My 9 year old especially enjoyed a salted caramel ice cream. They all ate a tub of some flavour – I do not know what its official title was – that was absurdly brightly coloured, like a tie-dye of technicolor. Mr Pict and I initially declared that they could each consume just one pot of ice cream each but then the pouty lips came out and the argument that they should try to consume their money’s worth so we relented and let them have two or three tubs.
The kids had fun at the Turkey Hill Experience but I don’t think it represents value for money. We all much preferred Hershey World as an exhibition about a brand. I think what we all would have much rather preferred, however, would be a tour of the actual ice cream factory, getting to see the ice cream being produced. The kids did not complain though because they were stuffed full of delicious ice cream.