Hershey Park is dubbed “The Sweetest Place on Earth”, and after visiting there is no doubt that this is true! Located in Hershey, Pennsylvania you will find this amazing family destination where there is something for everyone. Got a sweet tooth? This place is for you! Thrill seeker? This place is for you! Want to lounge in the lazy river? This place is for you! Have young children? This place is for you!
I know a lot of people make Hershey Park a day trip, but there is so much to do that I highly recommend two days for your visit. They also offer Hersheypark’s Preview Plan, dubbed the ‘Sweet Sneak Peek,’ which is included in your ticket price but you have to arrive the night before your big park day to take advantage of it. With your admission ticket you can arrive 2-3 hours before closing the night before and enjoy the park (there is no additional cost – it is included in every single ticket!). Pro tip – if it rains for 60 minutes straight on your visit, stop by customer service and get tickets to return to the park in the future. It rained on us both days we were there for a long time (didn’t stop the fun!).
We visited in the summer, and the park opened at 11AM. Hershey Chocolate World is located next to the park and opens at 9:30 AM – so we went here first to start our day. There is a fun ride explaining how chocolate is made, and you get a free mini Hershey bar after, yum! Indulge your sweet tooth and purchase the largest Hershey bar, or maybe you want something unique like key lime Kit-Kat bars…. either way there is something for all taste buds. It was a steamy 97 degrees on our visit, so we waited until leaving the park to purchase any chocolate.
Once the park opened we headed to the Boardwalk, which is their water park. On the way we rode many of the kids rides, because there was NO wait! We barely had a wait on any ride in the park while we were there, probably because everyone was at the water park (where the waits were long). Truthfully, the Boardwalk was so overcrowded that it was hard to enjoy, but the children loved splashing around.
My favorite thing about Hershey Park? The sheer amount of children’s rides they have. There are SO many rides for little ones, and they are scattered all over the park. There is not just one small section for kiddos, but many sections all over. I do not think we have ever ridden so many rides at a park before, and our kids were all smiles!
If you are celebrating any birthdays let the staff know, they treat you extra special. Our youngest celebrated her 4th birthday at the park and she has many memories of the characters singing to her and getting extra sweet treats!
The park is connected to ZooAmerica, and I would highly recommend walking through. It took us about one hour to walk through the 11 acres and visit with the 75 species they have on site.
Hershey has outsourced their food, and inside the park you can find Chick-Fil-A (hello!!), Moe’s Southwest Grill, Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs, and several others. We also had the pleasure of enjoying a massive milkshake that had a cupcake, chocolate cheesecake slice, and chocolate dipped pretzels inside. YUM.
We stayed 25 minutes away at Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Harrisburg West/Mechanicsburg. We enjoyed the close proximity to both Harrisburg and Hershey at this hotel. The hotel is new and the staff is very kind! Hotels in Hershey can be very expensive, so it is nice to have an alternative when booking your stay! They also had an indoor pool which we had to ourselves, a nice way to relax at night!
Troegs Brewery is located near Hershey Park, and is a good stop for some delicious craft beer in an impressive brewery. They had activities for the kids to play at the table and offer tours on the weekends.
Only a short 40 minutes from Hershey you will find Lancaster, home of the Pennsylvania Dutch. Lancaster has rolling farmland as far as the eye can see, and food that is out of this world. Kitchen Kettle Village has over 40 unique shop and restaurants, and is a unique place to find homemade food/canned items and for locally made items. Make sure you stop by the Jam & Relish Kitchen, where you can see canning happening live, we got some great souvenirs here!
Strasburg Rail Road is America’s oldest continuously operating railroad, and the best place to sit back and relax on an authentic steam train. I would highly recommend enjoying a meal in the dining car while learning about the history of the train and the location. I celebrated my birthday with lunch aboard the train and our whole family had a great time. The food was very good, and you could really feel the history while aboard.
One of our favorite parts of Lancaster was seeing first hand the farms and techniques of the Amish. You will see many horse and buggies on the road, and witnessing their lifestyle is an amazing educational experience.
Until next time…