Learn how cheese is made! Centrally located 2 hours to Yosemite, 2 hours to San Francisco and 90 minutes to Sacramento

Monthly Activities Offered and FREE prizes!

Occupational October

Although the visitor center is not able to host tours, we want students to learn about food and agriculture. As kids spend more time on screens, we wanted to offer an incentive to encourage students to think creatively and write.

It’s Occupational October!

  • What jobs do YOU think help make milk and cheese and draw a photo of the worker
  • Students draw a picture of workers
  • Each student who turns in their writing/drawing during the month of October to the Visitor Center will get a FREE Hilmar Cheese Company logo wristband. We are only open for curbside service, so please call the number on the door upon arrival and we will deliver to the parent’s car.
  • If the student wants to participate in a drawing to win a special prize at the end of the month they need to write their name, age and phone number on the back.
  • The video with the answer of what jobs are related to the dairy industry will be posted on social media on Friday, October  30

Follow @hilmarcheese on Instagram and /hilmarcheesecompany on Facebook to stay up-to-date with updates, specials, merchandise offerings and more!

Stay tuned for more fun educational prompts and prizes for  November to encourage students to write.

Free Public Visitor Center Tours



Learn how cheese is made and explore interactive, hands-on exhibits about cows, dairies and cheesemaking. Watch Daisy’s moooovie. See employees package the “big cheese” – 640-pound crates of cheese. All tours fully accessible.

Hilmar Cheese Theater

CANCELLED: Public Ice Cream Making Tour


Come create (and eat) your own ice cream. Take the tour followed by the ice cream activity. Join the fun as you “shake, rattle and roll” to create your own homemade individual ice cream. Fun for all ages, especially those “young at heart.”

  • Spring break – Monday through Friday, call to confirm dates
  • Summer tours – June 1- August 31 , Everyday as part of the 11 am tour
  • Holiday tours – the week of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day and Spring Break.

Groups of 10 paid participants or more may also schedule a special tour and ice cream time. Fun family reunion activity!

Bus and Group Tours- Currently closed to the public taking future date reservations

Stop For The Restrooms - Savor The Cheese!

The best stop along Highway 99 from San Francisco to Yosemite. Free cheese tasting and gourmet food samples, front door drop-off/pick up with ample bus and group parking and motor coach operator and tour director thank you gifts. A great comfort stop with a Café, Peet’s Coffee & Espresso Bar and an ice cream counter. Drop-by buses are welcome. Call ahead and we’ll set out extra samples. Your guests will love complimentary fresh cheese curds called “squeakers.”

For groups planning a tour, lunch and shopping time, allow about 1.5 hours or so.

Tour Group Meals by Hilmar Cheese Company Catering

Culinary Agri-tourism! Learn how cheese is made then enjoy a catered meal featuring our homemade Cheese Chowder Soup and famous Cream Cheese Brownie or Cheese Pie (better than any cheesecake!). We offer breakfast, lunch, dinner and a dessert sampler. Motor coach operator and tour director meals are complimentary with a catered meal for 25 paid guests or more. Pricing is inclusive of tax, service charge, and gratuity. If you don’t see what you would like, let us customize a meal for you. See the 2019 tour group menu to the right.

Behind The Scenes Motorcoach Tour

Only available to our motorcoach guests by reservation. Please call 209.656.1196. Our tour guide boards your coach to take a 15-minute drive through the world’s largest cheese and whey manufacturing facility. Only available if you come aboard a bus.

Holiday Gift Basket Making

Guests are provided a beautiful gift basket to shop and purchase items of their choice to fill the basket . Our expert staff assists each with the art of creating a gorgeous gift. Price includes basket, sizzle, cellophane wrap and ribbon. Items       to fill basket not included. Call for price, advanced reservation required.


School & Youth Tours-Currently closed to public but taking future date reservations

School Tours

Welcome to Cheese University! Experience STEM in Agriculture!

Free Public and Private School Tours

Join us for the most fun and educational field trip in the Central Valley! Free for all public schools, private schools and home schools associated with a school district. Organized and led by trained tour guides, safe and fully accessible. All students receive free cheese samples, a hairnet, Daisy’s Dairy “ABCs” and a souvenir pencil.  Learn about dairy with this Fact Sheet.

Pre-K to Adult Free Educational Tour, 30-45 minutes

Students see the Cheese Theatre show and watch employees package “the Big Cheese,” 640-pound crates of cheese. Interactive exhibits use multiple senses, activities and skills to learn about the technology on today’s dairy farms, how farmers care for cows, careers in agriculture, recycling and the health benefits of dairy.

K to 8th Tour and FREE Ice Cream Making Activity, 90 minutes

Educational tour plus actual hands-on ice cream making. Each student makes his/her own ice cream during a lesson that integrates science, math and reading while developing listening and direction following skills. A food safety theme is emphasized. Each student will enjoy his/her own personally created ice cream sample.

4th Grade to Adult Tour And FREE Cheesemaking Experience, 90 minutes

Educational tour plus actual hands-on cheesemaking. Student teams follow the scientific method to make cheese; measuring volume, weight, time and temperature. The lesson integrates reading, writing, critical thinking, teamwork and decision making to achieve results.  Food safety is emphasized along with nutrition concepts.

  • Free for all public and private schools and homeschools (minimum student group of 10) associated with a school district, reservations required.
  •  Six hands-on exhibit areas, educating movie and more
  • Organized and led by trained tour guides, safe and fully accessible.
  • All students receive free cheese samples, a hairnet, Daisy’s Dairy “ABCs” & souvenir pencil
  • School Tour Start Times – 9:30am, 11:00 am, 12:30 pm and afternoon times available, Monday through Friday.
  • School Tour Months – January through October (November and December is our Holiday Extravaganza and we do not offer schools tours then).
  • Group Size – Minimum 10 and Maximum of 180 students + chaperones rotating through the program. Groups fewer than 60 students may be combined with other small groups.

Scout Tours Earn a Patch $4 per scout 45-60 minutes

Tours available after school and on weekends by reservation. Choose between the tour and ice cream activity for all ages or tour and cheesemaking activity for scouts 9 years or older.

Virtual Tour

Too far away to visit?  Take our virtual tour:

Closed on Major Holidays

  • New Year’s Day
  • Easter Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day