Two weekends ago our family stayed at Hershey for the weekend with my sister and her family. Back in August we tried to think of a place to head to for just a weekend of fun that was suitable for all 7 of our children, ages 20 months up to 7.5 years, as well as fun for us grown ups! We came up with a list, and QUICKLY weeded places out, until all that we could think of was Hersheypark! What better place to go for fun, memories, and good eats?
We stayed in a local chain hotel, the Hersheypark Lodge was full by the time we booked. Silly us for underestimating the rush of people that would flock to Hershey for opening weekend! We took advantage of local restaurants like Hershey’s Pantry and Troeg’s Brewery. On Friday my sisters family went to Hershey Gardens for a stroll. It’s not only beautiful to look at the flowers there, but the views from the Gardens of Hershey are amazing! Still, what we really wanted was our FULL DAY OF FUN on Saturday, April 2nd!
Saturday’s forecast was for a chilly day, but we were pleasantly surprised by how nice it was when in the sun. Hershey is set up where there is shade anywhere you look, but you can also stand and catch some warm rays. It’s perfect for all seasons/weather.
We arrived at opening time and made a dash to the first ride of the day… the swings! We love how Hersheypark has adult and little kid rides all in the same area. This way everyone can watch others and then have their turn on a ride. No one felt impatient or jealous the entire time we were there. Granted, our longest line was driving the old fashioned cars, 30 minutes! It was a great day to visit the Park!
We ended up closing down the park at 9pm. And STILL, we didn’t do every ride in the park! But please note, we did manage to take our 7 year old’s on the Side Winder that goes forward and back! Their first upside and backwards coaster, all in one! SO impressed!!!! We made sure to leave with zero regrets, but next time we’ll definitely get tickets to visit two days in a row. It’s so fun and there’s so much to do even without the water rides!
New this year is an Aquatic Show with two Atlantic Seals: Mango and Bumper. It was a great chance to rest, drink some lemonade, eat a snack, and learn about these seals. The children were fully engrossed in the program!
We ended our day of super fun rides with an ice cream sundae, of course. Then headed home for bed. Sunday, after checking out of the hotel, we ventured back for the Chocolate World Tour (free parking up to 3 hours)! The tour is under construction, but still a fun experience. We can’t wait to come back and see what cool things they did. The classic singing cows were there, so my girls were delighted. We also got to see Ms. Twizzler and Ms. Hershey Kiss while there! Purchased some “essential” souvenirs, had another sundae (for lunch of course), and then headed back home.
My sisters family stayed to do the chocolate making experience. She said there was no rushing you out and the children enjoyed pushing their computer buttons to create their personalized chocolate bar.
We decided this would be a bi-annual tradition. As the kids get older their ability and tastes in rides will change. The weather is always going to change, and you can’t beat the price! Our whole weekend vacation (hotel, food, tickets) cost less than $500! More important though, the memories and bonds that were made are priceless.
*Download the app!!! Great for line estimates and food/bathroom checks.
*Get there early! If you need to buy tickets, go 20-30 minutes before they open.
*You can bring food into the park, take advantage and load up on snacks/water. But treat yourself to their delicious fries, lemonade, and ice cream, of course.
*Parking is $9 (this rate may change, so check), remember where you parked and take advantage of the tram if it’s a far walk back at the end of a long, fun, tiring day.
*Make time to visit Chocolate World! The tour is FREE and the parking is FREE and you learn so much. It’s a staple!
*ZooAmerica is included in your ticket to Hershey if you visit the same day from the entrance in the park (near the Falcon ride). You can also see many of the animals from up above when riding the Monorail.
*The park is very stroller friendly.
*Check out the ways to save before visiting!