I have been a fan of Hersheypark since I was in elementary school. The Super Douper Looper was a right of passage for me on my journey as a roller coaster enthusiast and we visited with both my Girl Scout troop and various groups for field trips. There is something about the fragrance of chocolate hanging in the air, the roar of roller coasters and the friendly Hershey characters walking around that brings back feelings of nostalgia. Now I am able to create memories with my children at Hersheypark, recount experiences and have a wonderful time with them.
Debuting this Memorial day weekend will be Hershey’s 13th roller coaster, Laff Trakk. I was able to hear first hand from Laura Woodburn, Director of Ride Operations, about the ride and all the awesome features it will have. Here is a portion of what she had to say:
As much as I love Hersheypark there is SO MUCH MORE to do in addition to the park. Here are some activities and locations to visit if you happen to have a rain day while you are visiting Hershey or are looking to fill your schedule on your vacation. If you are a local these activities are great for making a day trip with out having to visit the park.
Take a ride with Hershey Trolley Works in the spring and fall and listen to the conductor give you an entertaining and informative history tour of Chocolate Town, USA!
There are different tours you can take and each one is a unique experience and I can assure you there is chocolate involved!
Summer: From Memorial Day to Labor Day, two actors bring the story of Hershey to life in a uniquely entertaining way.
Halloween: During Halloween in Hershey, enjoy a fall themed Trolley with plenty of treats, but nothing spooky.
Holiday: A family tradition! Celebrate Christmas in Hershey with Christmas Trolley Adventure that includes a special visit from Santa!
This 75 minute tour takes place in a climate controlled trolley car. The seats are wooden slatted and are not cushioned, so if you are not able to sit on a wooden bench for over an hour, bring a cushion! Kids under 2 are free and tickets go fast so be sure to reserve your tickets early. Pssst…if you purchase your tickets on line there is a discount!
Once again I am always looking up where ever I go. The details on this trolley are so beautiful! This is one of the lighting fixtures hanging from the ceiling of the trolley. Pay attention to the little details like this one because they are everywhere in Hershey.
ZooAmerica is the 11 acre zoo that is part of Hersheypark and is included with your admission ticket to the park! This zoo is dedicated to showcasing different animals that are native to North America. The zoo started when Mr. Hershey was gifted with a few prairie dogs for his new park. The prairie dogs are considered ‘heritage animals’ because they were among the first animals featured in the zoo. Also considered heritage animals are the Black Bears and Elk.
All animals featured in the zoo were animals that were injured and then rescued or they were born in a Zoo. The animals are used in education programs and are ambassadors for conservation.
After Hours Tour
I was delighted to learn that ZooAmerica has extra programs and experiences for their guests. I got to expereince the After Hours Tour. Tours are held Wednesday and Saturday nights year round. Starting times vary with the zoo closing times. This 2 hour behind-the-scenes adventure is perfect for families with children ages 3 and up!
ZooAmerica naturalists tour you through the Zoo, including an insider’s look at the Animal Health Center and a flashlight tour through the animal buildings. Feed the otters, touch a reptile, or hold a bird of prey. Plus, all participants will receive a flashlight, and items to complete your adventure through the Zoo!
I had an opportunity to hold Luna a screech owl who has an injured eye and is not able to be released back to the wild. She weighed about 6 ounces and was very patient as she was passed from blogger to blogger on this tour. It is amazing how strong of an urge I had to pet her but she does not like to be petted. So to respect her personal space we had to restrain from petting her fluffiness!
One of the coolest experiences we had was feeding Butch the Black Bear. Butch is about 18 years old and was found as a cub in the basement of a home in West Virginia. Black bears don’t belong in basements. (duh) so he and his sister were rescued and brought to ZooAmerica.
If you are not a night owl but more of a morning person Zoo America also has an Early Morning Tour! On Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays from 8:00 – 10:00 AM, observe the animals as they start their day. Join a Zoo educator to get an up close and personal look at select Zoo species, enjoy an enrichment activity, help feed the animals, and more!
I would love to take the new Photography Tour. Participants will take a tour of non-public spaces of select exhibits for a special opportunity to take upclose pictures of our animals. Participants may select from three exhibit animals and two education animals. View list of animals available for the tour. Tour time is 8:00 – 10:00 AM on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Circular Dining Room
If you are in Hershey you MUST partake on a meal at the Circular. We were able to have breakfast at the Circular and it was beyond fabulous! Overlong the breathtaking Hershey gardens, this room is curved most of the way around the room. I learned that Mr. Hershey traveled a lot and when you travel by yourself in his day, you are put in the corner at a small table by yourself. Mr. Hershey didn’t want any of his guests to feel isolated while they dined at his restaurant so the room is designed in the round.
Also ask to see Mr. Hershey’s table. There is one!
We were given this little room lined in bottles of wine. It was a lovely, intimate space that I would love to have a dinner party. Who can’t not have a good time in a room lined in bottles of wine?! If you would like to eat in this room be sure to ask ahead of time. It requires a special request reservation.
Fancy bottles of maple syrup with The Hotel Hershey on them.
Part of breakfast was an omelet station.
Everyone loves omelets made to order!
Omelets not for you?
Not a problem. They have so many varities of breakfast meats to fill your plate and your belly!
Plus there are pastries and fresh juices. If you leave breakfast hungry, it is your fault.
Be sure to see all of my Instagram photos from the trip in this post. There are even more food photos there!
Camping at Hershey? What can be sweeter?
If you are looking for a different experience from a hotel stay you are going to want to stay at the Hersehypark Camping Resort. It features more than 300 sites including 46 cabins (think indoor plumbing, showers, heat/AC, kitchenette, wifi, cable, etc.), basic tent sites, and RV sites featuring partial to full hook ups!
Here is a 15 second tour of the inside of one of the deluxe cabins:
Another building that Milton Hershey built during his ‘Great Building Campaign’ during the Great Depression is the Hershey Theatre. Read all about the history here.
The building is just breathtaking.
I am going to let the photos speak for themselves.
Stained glass that was created in York, Pennsylvania. I love that Mr. Hershey used the resources and talents of the local artisans to outfit this beautiful theatre.
That painted scene is actually a fire wall. It was dropped in case of a fire on stage and once the oxygen was depleted the fire would go out and not spread. The scene was painted by an artisan and inspired by the trips Mr. and Mrs. Hershey took to Italy.
These alcoves are thought to be the place where Mr. & Mrs. Hershey would sit for performances. But it is not true. No one ever sat here and there is no access to this alcove unless you put a ladder up to the railing. I am pretty sure Mrs. Hershey was not about to climb up a ladder in her gown to sit here.
Mr. & Mrs. Hershey sat on the first level near the exit.
Once again I am looking up! How beautiful is this mosaic tile artwork!?
Take The Tour
Experience the tour that takes you behind the scenes of “The Most Impressive Theatre in Pennsylvania”. From balcony to basement, Hershey Theatre has undergone a three-year, three-million dollar dazzling restoration – bringing back the opulence of opening night in 1933.
Learn the details of this historic project and the inside story of Milton Hershey’s Entertainment Showplace.
Fridays: 11 AM Year Round (No tours on Christmas and New Year’s Day)
Sundays: 1 PM (Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day)
Once you have toured the theatre you will be sure to come back for a performance.
I am a fan of Broadway so I might be getting a few tickets to the Broadway Series that kicks off this fall. The series will bring Once, Matilda, Cinderella and Ragtime to the theatre. I assure you there is not a bad seat in the house!