Wells' Dairy opened in 1913 when Fred Wells purchased a small dairy equipped with a delivery wagon, some cans and jars, and a horse to pull the wagon. 12 years later, Wells and his sons began to make ice cream at their dairy. They branched out and began to distribute ice cream throughout northwestern Iowa eventually selling the rights to distribute Wells Dairy Ice Cream to another ice cream company.
Years later, Wells and his brother decided to make ice cream again. However, they couldn't use the Wells Dairy name, so they marketed the ice cream under the Blue Bunny label. (The name was picked from a number of entrees sent in to the Sioux City Journal for a "Name that Ice Cream" contest.) In the 50's, Fred Wells' sons and a nephew formed a family partnership that ultimately became the world's largest family owned dairy operation.
Today, the Wells Blue Bunny ice cream factory is the largest ice cream manufacturing facility in the world. The company manufactures over 2000 different varieties of ice cream, milk, frozen novelties and yogurt.
Their ice cream is OK, nothing special. It certainly isn't as good as Whitey's ice cream here in the Quad Cities. It's about what you'd expect for a high volume manufactured product.
The Wells Blue Bunny Visitors Center is pretty nice. It consists of a museum shaped like a barn that takes visitors through the years of developing Wells Blue Bunny ice cream into what it is today. I didn't go through the museum, but the lady did allow me to take a quick look when I told her that I was just there for the ice cream.
Inside, it's fashioned after an old time soda fountain complete with a soda bar, a wooden ceiling with antique light fixtures, wooden tables and chairs, and big wooden booths. It's actually pretty neat. There's a gift shop and a couple rooms in the place that can be used for private parties.
One other neat thing they have out in front of the visitor's center is a vintage Divco milk delivery truck. Made in Ohio beginning in 1926, the Divco milk trucks were the ones that many dairies used to deliver milk in the 30's, 40's and 50's.
I wouldn't say that the Wells Blue Bunny Visitor's Center is worth a long side trip, but if you're ever in Le Mars having dinner at Archie's Waeside or lunch at Bob's Drive Inn, stop in and have an ice cream cone for dessert.