Last month, we took a field trip to Shamrock Farms.
You’ve probably seen their dairy products in grocery stores, and almost all children know from a young age that milk comes from cows. But do you know the process of getting that milk from the cow to the store? Taking a tour at Shamrock Farms will give you a firsthand look at how this is accomplished, in a fun and educational way that any child (and adult) will enjoy. They started in 1922 near Tucson with only 20 cows, and now boast over 10,000 in their herd!
The main building is where you start and end the tour. It has a gift shop, a snack shop (with extras like hot dogs), restrooms, and some great indoor exhibits and short activities. Friendly employees are available for any questions. We loaded onto the tractor train ride through a side door; there is plenty of seating and the roof covering was much appreciated. It can warm up quick, even in the early spring.
Our tour guide and driver took us all around the farm, giving fun facts and basic information along the way. We saw where the feed was stored, along with a comparison of just how much one cow consumes in one day. Multiple that by the 10,000 cows on the property and, well, that’s ALOT of feed. As was said many times, “happy cows produce the best milk”, and there is obviously a lot of care and precision that go into their livestock. There are even temperature regulated barns.
Our first official stop was by the playground and milking barn. Yes, playground! Our kids were pretty tickled to have time to climb and slide and we really appreciate this being offered after the hour drive. There is also an area where your fingers can feel suction from the milking tubes, much like a cow’s teat would feel.
The milking barn was fascinating, even for little kids. You get a high up view of the huge covered barn where 200 cows are lined up to be milked at one time. We also watched a short, funny video describing the process of getting the milk, and other dairy products, to the grocery store.
Next stop was at the calf nursery, and our 5 year old’s favorite because you could feed the friendly calves by hand! We stayed here for almost 20 minutes, and the kids loved saying hi, petting and feeding the half dozen little guys.
We ended back at the main building, where everyone got a snack (milk, a popsicle, or other treat), and we thanked our tour guide. Overall, we spent almost 2 hours, 1 hour being on the tour, and enjoyed every minute! We would definitely return, even with out of town guests that may not have an active dairy farm nearby.
Note: tours are by reservation only, so be sure to call and schedule, and then arrive 15 minutes before the tour begins.
Google Maps or MapQuest do not give accurate directions (as we experienced firsthand). Please see their website for detailed directions!