An Ice Cream Cone Fit for Lunch: UW Madison’s Babcock Hall Dairy Store

For better or worse, we are long past the stage of withholding certain sweets and treats from Bergen’s (2 years old) diet.  Given our affection toward ice cream (among other indulgences), it would be difficult to keep it away from him.  What would we say?  “This is only for grown-ups?” or “You wouldn’t like it?”

For a little guy who is willing to try nearly everything under the sun in terms of food, we just wouldn’t be able to put this one past him.  So, we don’t even try.  It’s not to the point where Bergen gets his very own cone, but he does his fair share of licks from ours.

In planning our recent trip to Wisconsin, a first time visit for both Bergen and I, we had a few expectations.  One of those expectations was good ice cream.  I should also mention that Slaed and I made a goal of consuming at least one ice cream per day, more than one was even better.  After all, Wisconsin is the dairy state, and naturally claims to be the best at whipping up creamy confections.

Ice Cream: University of Wisconsin-Madison | WildTalesof.com

On our first full day in Wisconsin, we wanted to go big.  As we began walking down Madison’s State Street and into the campus of the University of Wisconsin, we decided Babcock Hall Dairy Store was a necessary stop on our college tour.  After already logging over 3 miles on foot with the heat of the day getting to it’s peak, when we arrived all I wanted to do was order and get down to the business of enjoying my ice cream.

I knew better though and first took the time to learn a little bit about the their method.  First, we followed cow prints up and down a few hallways and stairs before arriving at the observation deck.  Here we got to view some of the machinery used in the ice cream making process.  Not a lot was happening during the time of our visit, but it was still fun to think about the huge amounts of ice cream produced here.  The plant was build in 1951 and is the oldest dairy building at a university in the country.  Along with ice cream, cheese and milk are also produced and bottled.

Babcock Hall Dairy-University of Wisconsin-Madison | WildTalesof.com

After our brief lesson, it was time to get serious.  Time to choose our flavors.  With so many good choices, I began to worry that I might not be able to decide, but then I noticed my old standby: Chocolate Peanut Butter. Slaed went with a favorite flavor combination of his: Orange Custard Chocolate Chip.  Needless to say, Bergen sampled tastes from each our cones though lucky for me, I think he preferred the orange custard.

Ice Cream: Babcock Dairy Store-University of Wisconsin-Madison | WildTalesof.com

Ice Cream: Babcock Hall Dairy-University of Wisconsin-Madison | WildTalesof.com

The students who dish out the scoops here are quite generous.  The cones you see us devouring are both single scoops, but by the looks of them, you’d think we ordered something much bigger.  Going along with the size of the cones we received, the ice cream itself is also quite filling.  I’m not one to veer off from my 3 meal-a-day schedule (with snacks also thrown in for good measure), but even after the 3 mile walk back to our apartment rental, lunch was still the furthest thing from my mind. It wasn’t until dinner later on that day that I actually realized I didn’t eat lunch that afternoon!

Where do you like to fill-up on ice cream?  We’d love for you to share your best spot in the comments below!

Info to Know:

  • Babcock Hall Dairy Store is located at the University of Wisconsin in Madison:
    • 1605 Linden Drive
      Madison, WI 53703
    • Hours: M-F 7:30 am-5:30 pm, Saturday 11am-4pm, Football Saturday 10am-5:30pm
  • If you have a group of 10 or more, you can pre-schedule a short guided tour of the ice cream, cheese & milk bottling process.
  • The dairy store is more than just ice cream.  Breakfast and lunch is also available, and they claim to have the best coffee on campus!

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8 thoughts on “An Ice Cream Cone Fit for Lunch: UW Madison’s Babcock Hall Dairy Store

  1. There’s a bit of a tradition in our community to visit the “ice cream caboose”…an old converted caboose in a small town north of our city. There’s not much selection, but there’s something special about it! We took our sons yesterday. (It was my youngest’s first time).

  2. Wow! Those are huge single scoops. Hubby and I have sometimes talk about doing an Ice Cream tour of America. There was a PBS special along those lines that inspired us. I think UW Madison was in it. Ice cream in Malaysia is either nasty (palm oil as a main ingredient) or expensive (US$10 for a pint of Ben & Jerry’s), so we usually just make our own.

    • Bummer on the ice cream in Malaysia, Michelle! I don’t know how I’d handle that. 😉 An ice cream tour sounds like a great idea to me, and I’ll have to see if I can find the PBS special–would love to watch it.

      I’m impressed that you make your own too.

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