Known for its cheese curds and Blue Bunny ice cream, Iowa boasts some of the largest dairy farms across the states–most of which offer family-friendly private tours to give locals an exclusive look into farm life, dairy production and the animals behind it. The following are the top dairy-based farms to visit in all of Iowa.
Cinnamon Ridge Farms
Two hours in length, the tour at Cinnamon Ridge Farm shows visitors every step of its dairy practice, from the milk coming from the cow to helping to prepare it for stores. The tour begins in the home of owners John and Joan Maxwell, where they explain their operations and lead you to the porch for equipment demonstrations. Along the tour at Cinnamon Ridge, visitors will find cows, chickens and rows of pigs. Tourists will also learn how robotics are used in farming, and how the modernization of technology has provided safer methods to dairy production.
To book a tour at Cinnamon Ridge Farms, visit tourmyfarm.com/visiting-our-farm.
Hansen Dairy Farms not only offers guests the opportunity to watch milk be processed from its farm to your table but has a tour featuring kangaroos, a petting zoo, the opportunity to bottle feed calves, get down and dirty and milk a cow, feed some horses and enjoy a hayride around the farm. In addition to its kid-friendly activities and sights, the farm also provides complimentary house-made ice cream and samples of its homemade butter.
To book a tour at Hansen Dairy, visit hansendairy.com/farm-tours.
Iowa’s Dairy and Agriculture Center
Offering both self-guided tours and guided tours, the Iowa Dairy and Agricultural Center showcase the life of a dairy farmer with the help of a Beef Education Center, Dairy Museum and first-hand experiences with the center’s animals. The self-guided tour offers all tour stops, like glances into the robotic milking parlor and hall of breeds, with the exception of viewing the inside of the barns and petting the animals.
To learn more about Iowa’s Dairy and Agricultural Center, visit iowadairycenter.com/tours-events/tours.
New Day Dairy
Ever tried sleeping next to a cow? At New Day Dairy guests are not only able to see cows, the work behind dairy farming and the opportunity to tour the farm, but also the unique option to graze and sleep in the fields with them too. How much more up and close and personal can a tour get?
To experience New Day Dairy, visit www.newdaydairy.com/extras.
Dan and Debbie’s Creamery
Most Iowans know Dan and Debbie’s Creamery for its rich, house-made ice creams. But what some locals might not know is the creamery offers more than its decadent flavors, but also hosts tours of its farm-to-table-style ranch and ice cream shop. The tour focuses on teaching younger generations about where their food comes from and the process behind its sweet treats.
To book a tour of Dan and Debbie’s Creamery, visit dananddebbies.com/creamery-tours/.
Iowa State University Department of Animal Science
Iowa State University’s Department of Animal Science offers a free, open to the public tours of its dairy farms. Although guests have to book an appointment a week in advance, the tour is an educational experience for the community that sheds light on caring for its animals, the process of milking and helping guests better understand the connection between their food and its farmers.
To tour the Iowa State University’s farm, visit .ans.iastate.edu/farms/visiting-farm.