Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Destination: Hershey Park


For the last three years we have met my husband's parents in Pennsylvania for Memorial Day weekend. We celebrate Kyle's birthday, camp, and do some sight seeing. This year we met in Hershey and went to Hershey Park. With Amanda being 8 1/2 and Kyle just turning 3, it was perfect (actually, really perfect because we went the day before his third birthday, so he was still free!). The crowds were not overwhelming, and the park had a lot to offer for younger kids as well as older kids and teens.

Tickets: You can purchase discount tickets at Pennsylvania Giant and at many other places around the area (we bought them at our campground). We ended up buying two-day tickets, which were significantly cheaper (I think it ended up around $28 a day). The other discount that they have if you are not sure if you want to return for a second day is a two day consecutive ticket. If you show your ticket stub from the day before, you get a discount on that day's ticket. Another appealing discount option is the preview option. You can enter the park three hours before closing and buy a ticket for the next day, while enjoying the evening at the park for free. Whether you buy the tickets at your hotel, at the Giant supermarket near the park, or online, buy your tickets before you get to the park and you will save yourself a nice long wait in the ticket line outside.

Rides: You can search on their website for the rides by height so that you can see which rides that your children will be able to enjoy. The map that you get when you enter the park is also clearly marked by the candy brands eligible. As you walk into the park, take a moment to stop at the measuring station. Not only will you know what height category your child falls into (which are cleverly named after Hershey's candies), but your child will get their first sample of chocolate as well! Most rides are open to Reese's on up (42 inches), and all but two are open to Hershey's (48 inches).



While there are plenty of rides for older kids (and non-rollercoaster-fearing adults) to enjoy, it really is a wonderful place for young kids. Kyle had a ball. I will also say that going with your children's grandparents is a great way to experience a theme park. They were perfectly content to stay with Kyle while Terry and I rode a big coaster or took Amanda to do one that she wanted to try.



We went on the most thrilling ride ever! The Storm Runner is one that you must try. It is scary, and very fast, but it's smooth. Amanda wasn't willing to try it, although since she is 54 inches tall (just barely), she could have. It looks daunting and if my husband had not really wanted to ride it, I would not have volunteered, but I would ride it again. In fact, I think that she would have liked it if she had tried it.



We finally convinced her to ride the Sooperdooperlooper, which she wanted to avoid because it goes upside down, and she loved it. Because it's an older ride, there was no line at all. Another old classic that we had trouble finding was the log ride (it's called the Coal Cracker). Kyle and Amanda enjoyed it so much that they rode it a second time immediately. The longest line that we encountered was The Comet, which is the first coaster that you come to upon entering the park. I would recommend passing it by, and perhaps riding it later in the day on the way out. It is a typical wooden coaster, but there are two others at the back of the park that didn't have long lines when we rode them. A great starter coaster is the Trailblazer. It will give wary children a taste of the excitement and perhaps a willingness to try some others.

There is an entrance to ZooAmerica at the back of the park and if you enter through those doors, admission is included in your park. This was a nice shady walk and a good break from the park the second day.

New this year is the Boardwalk, a water park within Hershey Park. In addition to the typical sprayers and water slides, there are some extreme slides and an inventive water coaster. We did not go this year, but it could easily fill one of your days, and I think that the older kids enjoy spending their time there after they ride the two or three big coasters.

We had a great time, and I'm sure we'll be back. If you've never been to the area, you could easily spend a week by adding on visits to coal mines and the Amish country, all within an hour of Hershey.

14 comments:

Katrina said...

Sounds great! This is something I really want to do with the kids in a couple years...

And your post brought back memories. When I was in elementary school, living just a couple hours from Hershey, many kids would show up at school in September with "I survived the SooperDooperLooper" T-shirts. So it's at least that old. :)

Laura said...

You had me at Hershey!

Sounds like a lot of fun,

Laura

At A Hen's Pace said...

What great memories for your kids...

Jeanne

T with Honey said...

We used to visit Hershey park every summer when I was a kid. I could never skip The Comet... since its the very first roller coaster I ever went on.
Did you visit Chocolate World while you were there? I heard they updated the Chocolate Tour ride.

Tina said...

It looks so fun! Never been there, but last weekend took our kids to the "North Pole" in Colorado Springs. It had rides and stuff too. It was a blast.

Aidan said...

Hey Jennifer! I didn't know how else to try to get in touch with you! E-mailed you a couple of times, and Angela said that you'd e-mailed me (but I never got anything). Hope to hear from you soon!!!!! I love keeping up with you through your blog. :)

Susanne said...

Looks like great fun! I've heard they have a restraunt there that has chocolate in every single item on the menu.

Beck said...

And I want to meet the big chocolate bar, too.

kailani said...

Looks like you all had such a wonderful time! I hear you about the grandparents. We took them with us to Disneyland one year. If it wasn't for them, we'd be riding Dumbo all day! LOL!

Kailani
An Island Life

L.L. Barkat said...

You know, those big figures walking around always give me the creeps. A bigger than life chocolate bar! Yet, the kids seem to be enthralled.

So glad to hear you had fun.

Kathleen Marie said...

This place looks like a blast. How fun! I have always wanted to see many of Pennsylvania's sites but have not made it yet.

Have a great day!

Lori said...

I sent this link to a friend of mine that will be visiting Hershey Park this weekend. I would love to go someday with Perry - I know he would love it!

A great travel guide for anyone who is thinking of going.

Biby Cletus said...

Cool blog, i just randomly surfed in, but it sure was worth my time, will be back

Deep Regards from the other side of the Moon

Biby Cletus

Jenny said...

We just purchased a Children's atlas and it details Hershey, PA. Both of my girls are now very eager to visit the town that has lights in the shape of Hershey kisses.

Jenny