Disclosure: I was recently invited to visit Hershey Pennsylvania by Hershey Entertainment and Resorts. Accommodations and schedule of activities were provided by HE&R. All opinions are my own.
So… what do you do in Hershey, Pennsylvania with kids? Obviously, you go to Hershey Park. You kind of can’t take kids to Hershey without visiting Hershey Park. It’s what everyone talks about going to Hershey for. Kids and amusement parks… amusement parks and kids. Before my trip… I really thought Hershey Park was the only thing to do in Hershey. But… the biggest thing I learned while I was visiting? There is SOOO much more to do in Hershey! I spent all weekend thinking about the fact that I can’t wait to plan a family vacation. Zoe and Ana are going to LOVE it.
Hershey’s Chocolate World
While first glance into Chocolate World looks like a HUGE candy store with snack bars and ice cream shoppes… there really is so much to do. We didn’t get to spend very much time at Chocolate World (definitely not enough!). I believe you could easily spend the better part of a full day exploring and experiencing everything. Beyond shopping, a bakery, and food court… there is a chocolate tour, a chocolate mystery 4D movie, a chocolate tasting experience, create your own chocolate bar, and the trolley works tour. We didn’t get to do everything… but I can tell you that it was SO COOL to create my own candy bar, and the trolley tour of Hershey was so informative about the history of Milton S. Hershey, his wife Catherine, and the entire story of Hershey.
The Butterfly Atrium at Hershey Gardens was one of my favorite surprises in Hershey, PA. There’s something magical about being surrounded by greenery and seeing butterflies randomly fluttering around you.
Hershey Bears Hockey
Seeing the Hershey Bears play was so exciting. I hadn’t been to a hockey game in years (and years and years). I forgot how much I love live hockey. The feel in the arena is just electrified with fan excitement. There’s nothing quite like it. Our family isn’t really into sports… but I think the experience of it is something like nothing else.
Waterworks at Hershey Lodge
We stayed in the Hershey Lodge in the Hershey’s Kisses Tower rooms. When I take the kids, I’m totally planning on asking for a room in the Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar wing of rooms. These are more like “motel” entry rooms… and were part of the original Hershey Lodge (totally remodeled). But the best part about these rooms? Right by the entrance to Water Works! I easily can imagine my girls wanting to spend a part of every day in Water Works. Its such a great contained water park with game room and spots to relax. Zoe and Ana (now 11 & 8) can totally have time off on their own without my having to follow them around and worry. That means relaxing time for Mom & Dad too! (And the snack bar? Sangria is the first thing on the adult beverage menu. Sign me up!)
By far… my favorite part of my weekend in Hershey was visiting ZooAmerica. Now, we didn’t visit during normal operating hours (although I’m sure it’s a great zoo). We did an After-Hours Tour. I can’t express in words how happy parts of the evening made me… and we didn’t even get a full after-hours tour with our limited time. So even the short time we had is going to be an awesome memory. I held an owl! (Her name was Luna and I want to take her to Hogwarts.) I fed otters! And… a bear gave me a kiss!!! (Well, he licked my finger… and another one licked my camera lens.) How many people can say they’ve had those experiences? I can’t help but share bunches and bunches of photos.
ZooAmerica has a health center and does a lot of work with animal conservation. While experiencing our little “class” you could tell how much everyone LOVES their jobs with the zoo. Their enthusiasm was contagious. And when they told us we got to hold Luna, the screech owl… my heart just about exploded with joy.
Getting the behind the scenes look at the animal buildings… including evening time with the nocturnal animals… was awesome. With only a dozen of us we really had time to get up close looks
Coco the Ice Hockey bear was kinda cute… but he didn’t come close to the bears as ZooAmerica. The time spent with Chief and Murphy (the bears) was truly something I will never forget. Honestly… I spent all of the time we were at ZooAmerica completely giddy. Unforgettable. If you ever have the opportunity… don’t miss out on an After-Hours Tour.
We easily could plan a weeks vacation with the kids to visit Hershey, PA. While we squeezed all of these activities (and more) into our travel writers weekend, I wouldn’t recommend it. I know, personally, that the next time I head to Hershey it’s going to be for the better part of a week.
Have you been to Hershey, PA? What were your favorite things? What did I miss while I was there?