Outdoor Summer Ice Cream Making Tours Open!

Centrally located 2 hours to Yosemite, 2 hours to San Francisco and 90 minutes to Sacramento

Sign-up for your outdoor summer ice cream making tour time!

Free Public Visitor Center Tours



Due to COVID-19, our exhibits are currently closed. We are hoping to be able to have these offered again soon! Please check back or follow us on social media Instagram: @hilmarcheese Facebook: /hilmarcheesecompany.

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

Public Ice Cream Making Tour


Please book your summer ice cream making tour here!

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 28 , Every weekday 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

Stop For The Restrooms - Savor The Cheese!

Our upstairs is currently closed for seating and viewing, outdoor patio seating open.

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 2021 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

School Tours

Welcome to Cheese University! Experience STEM in Agriculture!

Free Public and Private School Tours

Start booking for the 2021-2022 school year!

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 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