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Virtual | Ice Houses & Ice Cream

January 19 – February 10 (call for date extension): What did people do to keep their food cold before the invention of the refrigerator and freezer? When was everyone’s favorite summertime treat, ice cream, invented? Together we will explore Howell Farm’s ice harvesting operation and ice house, and learn how to make ice cream...including learning how to make it at home with a few simple tools you already have in your kitchen!

Virtual field trips feature fun hands-on activities designed to get your students engaged. Each program includes:

  • Pre-field trip warm-up questions or activities to get students thinking about the topic
  • 30-40 minute online lesson led by our naturalists, with engaging information and guidance to prepare the students for their hands-on activity
  • Hands-on activity for students to explore outdoors at their home or school
  • Post-field trip wrap-up questions to guide the teacher’s assessment

Program Objectives

After participating in an 1890-1910 ice harvest, making ice cream and sewing quilt squares together, students will understand:

  • How people take advantage of the seasons to meet their year-round needs
  • How simple machines make tasks easier
  • The unique properties of water
  • How milk is transformed into ice cream
  • That quilts not only keep us warm, they keep our memories and tell a story

Essential Questions

  • What was the process of procuring ice in the 1900s?
  • How do simple machines help in the process of harvesting ice?
  • How can insulation be used to keep things cold and to keep things warm?
  • How does melting ice help make cream freeze?

Relevant Curricula

Next Generation Science Standards: PS1.A Structure and Properties of Matter | PS2.A Forces and Motion | PS3.B Conservation of Energy and Energy Transfer | PS3.C Relationship Between Energy and Forces | PS3.D Energy in Chemical Processes and Everyday Life

NJ Science Standards: 5.1A Understand Scientific Explanations | 5.2B Changes in Matter | 5.2E Forces and Motion | 5.3B Matter and Energy Transformations | 5.4G Biogeochemical Cycles

NJ Social Studies Standards: 6.1B Geography, People and the Environment | 6.1C Economics, Innovation and Technology | 6.1D History, Culture and Perspectives

Cost & Scheduling

$60 for groups of up to 25 students (scholarships available for certain programs)

To register, email

To schedule a group 

please email our program coordinator with your name, phone number, and number of participants:

Book a Group via Email

Individuals and families

may register online through our CommunityPass portal:

Register Family or Individual

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Howell Farm is owned by the County of Mercer and operated by the Mercer County Park Commission

Brian M. Hughes, County Executive | Aaron T. Watson, Executive Director

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