I had originally introduced Hershey, PA in my post about Northeastern Pennsylvania amusement parks. This post will go into more detail about Hersheypark, Hershey’s Chocolate World, the Hershey Hotel and the Hershey Lodge.
Hersheypark was originally created by Milton S. Hershey as a leisure grounds for employees of the nearby Hershey’s Chocolate Factory. Since then, the theme park has expanded to include roller coasters, rides and other attractions, the boardwalk – a section of the park containing water rides, and Zoo America – an 11-acre walk-through zoo. The park also has themed events in the spring, during fall for Halloween, and during winter at Christmas.
Hersheypark is divided into six areas: Founders Way, The Hollow, Kissing Tower Hill, Pioneer Frontier, Midway America, and the Boardwalk. Zoo America can be seen on its own, or as part of your day at the amusement park. The layout makes navigating the park easy, although it is 121-acres, so be prepared to walk a lot. Before you enter the park you can determine your height category which is divided into six categories: Hershey Miniatures, Hershey Kisses, Reese’s, Hershey’s, Twizzlers, and Jolly Ranchers. All rides are coded based on what candy height is allowed to ride.
What I love most about Hersheypark is its variety of rides. They are always adding new attractions that will suit people of all thrill-seeking levels. I love roller coasters and Hershey has many to fill your day with, from traditional wooden coasters to newly built steel coasters. The park also has plenty of family and kid-focused rides. Hersheypark is also very clean, and has many food & beverage options. Most of the food is your traditional fast food, but they do have a sit-down restaurant located at the main entrance where you can also have breakfast with the Hershey characters.
You can easily spend a whole day at Hersheypark, and if you are staying at one of the official Hersheypark hotels, you may also be entitled to extra park hours. Be sure to ask about them when you are making your bookings.
Hershey’s Chocolate World
When you hear the name Hershey you automatically think of the delicious chocolate, and that is definitely the theme of this town. Chocolate is all around, and you can visit Hershey’s Chocolate World to find out how the famous chocolate is made. Chocolate World also has a Create Your Own Candy Bar, a Chocolate Tasting Room, a 4D interactive show, a trolley tour, a gift shop, and a food court. So if you aren’t spending the whole day at the park, Hershey’s Chocolate World is a great alternative, or addition to the day.
We recently spent the day at Chocolate World and pre-paid for a package that included three of the activities here. We started with a ride on the factory tour, which is not part of the package because it is free to ride, but it is a must-see if visiting Chocolate World. This slow-moving ride takes visitors on a tour of how chocolate is made in the nearby Hershey’s Factory. You will have an opportunity to buy a souvenir photo, but the chocolate sample at the end is complimentary! Next we ate lunch at the food court, which has a selection of soups, salads, sandwiches, pizza and other hot food items. There is also an area for ice cream, s’mores and other chocolate-based treats. The food here is average, but it is the only option within Chocolate World.
We then started our afternoon of activities with the 4D chocolate mystery movie. This 30-minute show requires guests to wear 3D glasses, and has interactive components that may frighten young children (like puffs of air and water sprayers). The show itself is cute and the characters interact with the audience along the way, which makes it more fun and personal to each group. We then made our way over to the chocolate tasting. During this activity, guests are taught how to properly taste chocolate and are given four different samples to test out their skills. The adults in our group appreciated the informative activity, but it was a little too sophisticated for my 4-year old nephew. It only lasted 30 minutes, and there was chocolate involved, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this for small children.
Finally, we ended the day with the Make Your Own Chocolate Bar activity. This was our favorite part of the day. You begin by putting on an apron and hair net before being let in to the laboratory. You then use a computer to choose the components of your chocolate bar. My bar was a white chocolate base with chocolate cookie pieces, rice crispy pieces and pretzels. The computer then told us that the bar would be covered in milk chocolate and asked if we wanted to add sprinkles. From here you proceed to the machinery and watch as your chocolate bar is put together. While you wait for it to cool, you can design your wrapper on another set of computers. At the end you are given your chocolate bar in a metal Hershey’s case complete with your self-designed wrapper. I just finished eating my bar, and it was delicious! If you are going to choose only one paid activity at Chocolate World, it should be this one.
The Hotel Hershey is a 276-room hotel that is also home to a world-class spa. For those looking to relax and leave smelling like a chocolate bar (really, all of their products smell like cocoa!), there is no better choice than the Hotel Hershey. The décor compliments the beautiful 1930’s reception, and does a nice job of mixing old-world charm with modern amenities. When you check in you will also get tickets to the Hershey Gardens and the Hershey Museum, and a complimentary bar of chocolate – because this is Hershey after all, and who doesn’t need more chocolate!
The spa is true luxury, with treatments ranging from manicures and pedicures, facials and massages, to unique offerings like the chocolate fondue wrap or chocolate immersion. Do not forget to try the hot chocolate in the quiet room while you are waiting for your treatments, it is the best hot chocolate I have ever had! There are also dining options located on site including the Circular, Harvest, and Trevi 5. Those indulging at the spa can also choose to eat in The Oasis, a buffet style restaurant where you can enjoy a meal in your robe. All of the food we had while staying at the Hotel Hershey was delicious, and with multiple restaurants to choose from you should have no problem finding something you like.
The Hotel Hershey is also conveniently located across the street from Hersheypark and Hershey’s Chocolate World. The hotel does provide a shuttle to get you to and from the park area conveniently.
The Hershey Lodge is a larger and more casual option that offers 665 rooms, along side a convention center. Like the Hotel Hershey you will receive tickets to the Hershey Gardens and the Hershey museum, along with a complimentary chocolate bar. They also have a kids check-in for your little ones which gives them something fun to do while waiting for your room to be ready.
The Hershey Lodge is also home to the Hershey Water Works, an indoor pool and waterpark for guests. We spent some time here after dinner during our stay, and while the waterpark is small and geared towards children, it had enough to keep us all busy for a couple hours. There are also multiple dining options at the Hershey Lodge, including the Hershey Grill, the Forebay, the Bear’s Den and Fire & Grain. Like the Hershey Hotel, there are many options for food, so you shouldn’t have a problem finding something tasty at mealtime.
The Hershey Lodge is located a little farther from Hershey Park and Hershey’s Chocolate World, but it also offers complimentary shuttles to the park daily.
Overall, Hershey is a great family getaway. It has first-class hotels and restaurants, as well as plenty of activities to keep you entertained for a few days. Aside from Hersheypark and Hershey’s Chocolate World, there is also outlet shopping, as well as a concert venue and sports arena. Downtown Hershey also offers shopping and dining opportunities, and the street lights are made to look like Hershey’s Kisses. There really is so much to do in Hershey, Pennsylvania, “The Sweetest Place on Earth”.