Tillamook Cheese Factory Tour: This is What You Need to Know

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Video Tillamook ice cream factory

Cheese, please!

Several years ago, during an anniversary trip, John and I visited the Tillamook Cheese Factory without the kids. We’ve told them about it several times, and they’ve always wanted to go. And, really, can you blame them? You get to eat cheese (maybe even ice cream) and count it for school!

For a true glimpse of how the production of cheese happens, all the way from the dairy farm to your table, nothing is better than a tour of the Tillamook Cheese Factory in Tillamook, Oregon. We recently had the chance to visit the creamery with the kids and everyone loved learning about how cheese (and ice cream!) are made.

Recently, my parents were in town, and we were looking for things to do in Tillamook, on our way to Cape Lookout State Park. We decided that a Tillamook Creamery Tour was a perfect choice. It was pretty cool a few years ago, but let me tell you! They have made some serious upgrades since our last visit!

boy in a bright blue jacket walking into Tillamook Cheese Factory for a tour with blue cloudy skies and wet pavement
The newly revamped entrance to the Tillamook Creamery Vistors Center.

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Things to know before you visit the Tillamook Cheese Factory for a tour

view of workers in tillamook cheese factory at cheese cutter from viewing platform
The cheese cutter in action.

What are the Tillamook Cheese Factory Tour hours and days?

You can visit the Tillamook Creamery and get your cheese fix almost any day! They’re open from 8 am-6 pm Sunday-Thursday and 8 am-8 pm Friday and Saturday, except for a few major holidays. They do close early or open late on others (like New Years), so be sure to check before you head out if it’s a holiday.

What is the cost of the Tillamook Cheese Factory tour?

Here’s the best part when you’re on a budget. The Tillamook Cheese Factory tour will set you back exactly $0.

Yup, it’s totally free. And it includes cheese samples. 😋 Win-win!

Is the Tillamook Cheese Factory tour good for kids?

Yes! Kids of all ages will enjoy the opportunity to “feed” a calf, try their hand at milking, and watch the process of cheese being made from the viewing deck. Because the tour is self-guided, you can adjust the time at each station according to the interest and ages of your kids.

Is there a gift shop or ice cream shop?

Yes! There are actually both. After you’ve taken the Tillamook Cheese Factory tour, head back downstairs where you can browse the gift shop.

Then, if you like, head to the Dining Hall for food and ice cream!

How long does the Tillamook Creamery Tour take?

Because the Tillamook Cheese Factory tour is self-guided, it can take as little or as long as you’d like. However, I’d plan on spending an hour or two to enjoy your time fully.

What about visiting the Tillamook Creamery with food allergies?

If you have a food allergy, you’ll have to read their allergen statement and decide for yourself if you feel comfortable. In general, we steer clear of the ice cream because Garrett has a peanut allergy, and they do use the same equipment for all their flavors, although they do sanitize between. But, we totally feel comfortable with their cheeses and eat them all the time.

What do you learn during a Tillamook Cheese Factory Tour?

During a Tillamook Cheese Factory tour, you can expect to learn everything about how the creamery is run. You’ll find out how the cows are cared for, the process of making cheese and ice cream, and even get some hands-on learning in the Farm Exhibit.

What is there to see during a tour of the Tillamook Cheese Factory?

The Tillamook Creamery Tour starts with displays featuring their history as well as some interesting facts, such as the fact that they get about 1.6 million pounds of milk a day. And, that that milk is all made into cheese or ice cream within 24 hours. 🤯

father and two sons in front of sign on tillamook cheese factory tour learning about how farm fresh milk comes to the factory
Sharing one cool thing learned after reading the sign.

Farm Exhibit

At the Farm Exhibit, you’ll learn about how the farmers care for the cows, how much milk is obtained, and the technology they are using to improve the care of the cows.

boy in blue jacket checking out the calf display on the tillamook cheese factory tour
Checking out the calf in the Farm Exhibit.

Next up, the kiddos can enjoy “feeding” a baby calf and trying their hand at milking a cow.

boy in blue jacket "feeding" the calf display during a Tillamook cheese factory tour
Time to “feed” the calf!
two boys taking turns "feeding" the calf during a tour of the Tillamook Creamery
Taking turns feeding the calf in the Farm Exhibit at Tillamook Creamery.

Did you know that it takes approximately 21 seconds for a professional to clean the udders of a dairy cow and attach a milking device? It doesn’t seem like it would be possible to do that fast, but our kids gave it a valiant try and proved that it is!

boys timing themselves putting the milking device on a cow display during a tour of the Tillamook cheese factory
Timing to see how fast they are.
a boy putting the milking device on a cow display during a tour of the Tillamook cheese factory
After a couple of tries, he successfully did it in less than 21 seconds!

Viewing Deck

Down the hall from the farm exhibit is the viewing gallery, where you can learn about the actual process of cheese production. From how the cheesemakers test the cheese for quality to how they weigh and seal them for transport to the store, you’ll see the entire process in action here.

boy looking out over the tillamook cheese factory floor during a tour
Watching the cheesemakers work.
father and son looking out over the tillamook cheese factory floor during a tour
Checking out the vats.
cheese being cut, weighed and patched during a tillamook cheese factory tour
The cheese is being cut, weighed, and patched to make the right size blocks.
cheese being sorted by a belt during a tillamook cheese factory tour
Blocks that aren’t the perfect weight get shifted to the side.
tillamook cheese factory tour floor from viewing deck
Then slices get added to blocks that are too light before heading down the line.

You can also take a few moments and watch two short videos, one on the production of cheese and one about ice cream, that share even more information.

two boys sitting on benches in front of a video screen during a tillamook cheese factory tour
You gotta learn about how ice cream is made, too!

Sample Area

After you’ve seen how cheese is made, why not try some free samples? Head to the cheese sample area before heading back downstairs to pick your favorite.

boy looking at the cheese sample options on a tillamook cheese factory tour
Time for the best part of the tour! Free cheese samples!
boy looking at family with hands up while next to cheese samples during a tillamook cheese factory tour
How can I possibly choose?!

Gift shop

Head down the stairs to the new gift shop to find yourself some treats to take home or just to ogle this custom Tillamook snowboard by Deviation.

father and sons looking at custom tillamook snowboard in gift shop
So cool that they have a custom board in the shop!g

Dining Hall

If everyone’s getting a little hangry or the thought of a fresh grilled cheese and ice cream is perfect, your next stop should be the Dining Hall. With everything from Tempura Battered Cheese Curds to Classic Tomato Soup and a Green Salad, chances are you can find something for everyone.

Car

two boys in yellow van at Tillamook cheese factory tour, one looking scared with hands up while the other is in the drivers seat
Oh no! What have I gotten myself into?!

Last but not least, you really can’t finish a Tillamook cheese factory tour without letting your kids pretend to drive away, can you? Our boys said they were headed to New York…I’m not sure they realize just how long that drive would be! 🤣

two boys in yellow Tillamook van during cheese factory tour
Whew! They survived!

There you have it! Our Tillamook Creamery tour review.

What do you think? Does it sound like something you would do?

5 Cheesy Reasons You Need to Tour the Tillamook Cheese Factory

If you still aren’t quite sure if you should do the Tillamook Cheese Factory tour, maybe these cheesy reasons will help you decide. 😉

  1. It’s a gouda field trip activity near Portland.
  2. You’ll have a grate day.
  3. Their new Visitors Center is looking mighty sharp.
  4. Don’t forget your cheddar at home! You’ll want it at The Dining Hall!
  5. Cheese Samples?! Yes, please!

Okay, okay, we’ll stop. Do you still wheely like us? 🤪

Seriously, though. The Tillamook Cheese Factory Tour is a great day trip to do with the family for a little bit of fun, some education, and a whole lot of tastiness!

Related Posts for Day Trips Near Portland

  • Awesome Educational Field Trips in Oregon
  • The Best Day Trips Near Portland
  • The Best Field Trips in Washington
  • Cape Lookout: A Must-See on the Oregon Coast
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