It probably wouldn't come as a surprise to learn that candy is prominently featured at Hersheypark. Characters dressed as Hershey Kisses, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, and other treats roam the park. Because the world-famous bars and other confections are manufactured in the nearby factory, the entire town even smells like chocolate. Begun as recreation center for the workers in Milton Hershey's factory in 1906, the park has a long history and a palpable sense of nostalgia.
Hersheypark has a huge assortment of rides and attractions, including a world-class array of roller coasters. In fact, it is a coaster-crazy park with one of the world's largest collection of thrill machines. The park also offers a good selection of rides for younger kids as well as shows for the whole family. ZOOAMERICA, which is included with admission, features animals native to North America. After the regular season ends, Hersheypark opens for Halloween and Christmas events.
With its hotels, amphitheater, sports arena, gardens, and Chocolate World, Hersheypark is more of a destination park than a regional amusement park. By adding a visit to nearby Pennsylvania Dutch Country, a trip to Hershey could be part of a multi-day vacation.
Featured Coasters and Other Attractions
- Hersheypark is home to the top-10 wooden coaster, Lightning Racer. The dual-track ride is a racing and dueling coaster.
- Perhaps the most thrilling ride in the park, Skyrush climbs 200 feet, accelerates to 75 mph, as it soars down an 85-degree first drop, and includes five moments of free-floating airtime.
- Great Bear is an inverted coaster, which means that the trains hang suspended from the traqk. It includes four inversions.
- Storm Runner, a rocket coaster, uses a hydraulic launch system to accelerate from 0 to 72 mph in two seconds. The launch is followed by three inversions.
- First opened in 1946, Comet is a classic wooden coaster.
- Among other thrilling attractions are the Hershey Triple Tower, which offers three different drop tower rides, and The Claw, a high-flying pendulum ride.
Unlike many theme parks, Hersheypark doesn't identify its water park attractions as an onsite water park. But The Boardwalk has an impressive collection of water slides and other wet attractions and is larger than most theme park/water park hybrids (and bigger even than some standalone water parks). Admission to the water park attractions is included with admission to Hersheypark.
- Breakers Edge, an uphill water coaster
- Waverider, a FlowRider surfing ride
- Coastline Plunge tube slides
- Intercoastal Waterway, a lazy river
- Whitgecap Racer, a multi-lane, mat-racing slide
- East Coast Waterworks, an interactive water play structure with multiple dump buckets
- The Shore, a wave pool
Hershey's Chocolate World
Located just outside the main entrance, Hershey’s Chocolate World includes a ride-through “tour” of a simulated chocolate factory, free candy bar samples, the 4D Chocolate Mystery, a digital animation presentation, a huge candy store, a bakery, and an ice cream shop.
Hersheypark offers pay-one-price all-day passes both at the gate and online. The water park rides are included with admission. Discount tickets are available for children and seniors. ZOOAMERICA is included with admission. The park offers reduced prices for two- and three-day admission tickets as well as "Sunset" specials for late-in-the-day entries.
Admission is free to Hershey’s Chocolate World, which is not part of Hersheypark. The “factory tour” ride is complimentary, but the 4D film and other attractions require additional charges.
What’s to Eat?
Surprisingly, Hershey's chocolate is not prominently featured inside the park. Even the stand, Simply Chocolate, features Turkey Hill ice cream. The usual park fare, including pizza, burgers, and fries is available. More intriguing options include a taco food truck, a second food truck offering barbecue dishes, the Spring Creek Smokehouse with ribs and turkey legs, and the Gourmet Grille, which has a wide variety of Southwest and Mediterranean fare.
From Baltimore: I83N to York and Harrisburg. Near Harrisburg, continue on I83N to 322E to Hershey. Exit at Hersheypark Drive/Route 39W.
From Central New Jersey: I95S to the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I76). I76W to Exit 266. Turn left onto 72N to 322W. Route 322 becomes Hersheypark Drive/Route 39W.
From NYC: I78W to I81S. Take Exit 77 and follow Route 39S to Hershey.
From Philadelpia: Schuykill Expressway (I76W) to the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I76). I76W to Exit 266. Follow NJ directions above.
Hershey operates three nearby resorts: the elegant Hotel Hershey, the Hershey Lodge, and the Hersheypark Camping Resort.