Everyone know’s about Hershey Chocolate, but have you experienced HersheyPark yet? Located just east of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the town of Hershey is where Milton S. Hershey decided to build and grow his massive chocolate making factories and later opened HersheyPark as a place for his employees to enjoy themselves. This park has grown and grown over the decades and now is an 110-acre park full of fun, excitement, rollercoasters- and chocolate of course!
We had the pleasure of visiting HersheyPark last week and when I say it is a place of FUN, I mean it! After visiting Chocolate World (stay tuned to next week’s post about that!) we headed into the park and stayed basically from open to close. This amusement park has something for everyone and all aged kids, and kid-like adults, will love the rides, the excitement and attractions that HersheyPark has to offer. My kids never fall asleep in the car and guess what? After leaving HersheyPark they slept in the car home. Even driving across the country they didn’t sleep. Nope, but thanks to HersheyPark, they had so much fun they actually fell asleep! If that isn’t a testimonial to how fun this place is, I don’t know what is!
Before you go
Just like any major amusement park, HersheyPark is busy and the lines can get long. I suggest saving yourself some time by buying your tickets online first before you go so you just have to show them at the gate and not wait in the ticket line beforehand. We went on a Thursday and it was packed full of field trips from schools and camps. I hear the weekends are even busier, so keep that in mind when planning on what day, or days, to go. HersheyPark is HUGE and honestly was hard to do it all in one day. There were things we didn’t get to ride on since there just wasn’t enough time, so if you have older kids that want to ride every single ride, you may want to allow yourself for more than one day at the park if possible. HersheyPark has a huge and beautiful hotel that I know people have stayed at and have absolutely loved it, so consider that if you decide to make your visit a multi-day one. We just did one day but definitely want to come back again so we can ride a few favorites more than once.
What to bring
Just like when we visiting Dutch Wonderland, the rules are essentially the same: no outside food is allowed but water is ok. I suggest a stroller or wagon if you have one so you can carry tired kids and all that water you will need.
Other necessities to bring:
wagon/stroller/backpack- they also have a stroller rental if you prefer
If you planning on visiting the water park area, then remember:
dry clothes to change into
bag for wet clothes
water safe shoes
Where we went
Everywhere, of course! HersheyPark is really big, I suggest just getting some maps and starting on one side of the park and making your way around. When you arrive, you will first want to visit the official height checkers that will measure each of your kids and give them a bracelet that says which rides they can and cannot ride. This way, there will be no mystery on if your littles ones are actually tall enough for some of the more major rides. The park is divided into different sections with plenty to do, see and places to eat in each area.
We started off in the beginning at Founder’s Way and rode the original carousel and kiddie rides around it and then made our way onto The Hollow to start riding the bigger roller coasters like The Comet, Skyrush and Sooperdooperlooper. Sandwiched in between these huge rollercoasters are plenty of smaller kiddie rides, so if you have older kids who want to ride them, you can take younger ones on mini versions right next to them. On the day we went, there were longer lines for the roller coasters, like you’d expect, but almost none for the kiddie rides, which was great for impatient younger kids that just want to hop on and have fun!
If at all possible, I suggest going with another adult, especially if you are attending with multi-aged kids, since taller and shorter kids will be able to ride different rides. While my husband (the braver one) took our older two on the big coasters, I took our younger one on the tea cups, mini-scrambler and helicopters. This way, no one had to sit out and wait while other kids were having fun on rides.
Around every corner are more and more and more rides! Even if you aren’t a fan of those big coasters (like me!) it was so fun to walk in between the sections of the park and see all of the roller coasters dipping and twisting around. Once we left The Hollow, we crossed over the river onto Kissing Tower Hill, where our favorite ride was Coal Cracker. Our kids loved that little splash at the end!
Next up was ZooAmerica, which like a zoo in the middle of the park! This 11-acre area boasts more than 200 animals and is great for taking a little break from the fast paced roller coasters. This area we didn’t get to spend too much time in and is one area that we will be coming back to for sure.
After the zoo, we made our way into Pioneer Frontier where the kids rode rides like The Claw, The Howler and rode the Dry Gulch Railroad. There were a few rides in this area that my kids weren’t tall enough for, but there was still more than enough to do.
At this point we started to get HOT so we made our way into the water section of the park and visited The Boardwalk and The Shore. I would suggest doing all of the water stuff at once, since many of the regular rides won’t let you go on if you are wet.
The Boardwalk has a bunch of tube water rides and a huge wave pool. The wave pool has a big clock that starts the waves every ten minutes on and ten minutes off. It goes up to 6 feet deep an younger kids are required to use approved flotation devices or use one of the provided life jackets. The water was nice and warm and it was a welcome break from the heat and humidity.
After the wave pool, we made our way to The Shore, which is basically the biggest splash pad ever! (I am not sure if that is accurate but it was HUGE!!!) The kids loved climbing up and down and taking turns on the tube slides. They got soaking wet and had a blast. It was colorful, bright and gave the feel of a classic East Coast beach.
Before we finished with the water area,we got to see all of the chocolate characters come out and dance! They were so friendly and funny and it was definitely one of our kids favorite parts of the day.
Before you get changed, be sure to ride the Tidal Force which will get you absolutely soaking wet! If you are done with the water and have changed in one of the many changing areas, be sure to stay clear of the “splash zone” from this ride- or else you will get soaking wet all over again!
After the water area we visited the rest of the park and rode rides in Midway America Section. This section has a few more huge coasters and HersheyPark’s newest ride, LaffTrakk which is an all indoor black light filled roller coaster. The line for this ride was by far the longest but was worth it as it was our very favorite ride we rode all day. It was silly and still has dips and turns but nothing too scary (which was great for ME!).
Where we ate
We were at HersheyPark all day so we ate twice, but thankfully there are tons of options of foods for all tastes. For dinner we ate at Famiglia Pizzeria where we got a huge pizza and some salads for around $30, which was by far the best deal we saw around, especially for 5 of us. If you are wanting some sweets, stop by and get some funnel cake, ice cream or kettle corn. Oh, and chocolate- that’s everywhere too!
Ride, eat some chocolate and visit the water park! This park is full of must-do’s; there is one around every corner!! If you want a rest, stop by and see one of the many shows that have going on in varying areas of the park too.
Things to avoid
Not bringing enough water or sunblock
Like most amusement parks, the lines seem to dwindle down a bit as the sun sets, so if you want to ride a favorite again, try and hit them up once it’s darker. Also, if you like the Ferris Wheel, it looks beautiful at night!
HersheyPark is truly The Sweetest Place on Earth and will be a trip that your kids will never forget. It was by far, one of our most favorite amusement parks we have every visited!
Have you been to HersheyPark? What did you think of being in Chocolate Town, USA??
Disclosure: Thank you to HersheyPark for providing us tickets to attend your park in exchange for my review. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.