This past weekend I was invited on a press trip to Hershey, PA to learn all about the town, history, and properties.
I was excited for a two reasons. First, I was going to have a bed all to myself for two whole nights. TWO nights! If you are a parent, you know that’s heaven. I slept diagonal because I could. I didn’t have little paws pushing on my back or stinky puppy breath waking me up in the morning. I didn’t have to handle the dreaded bedtime duties. Let’s just say I enjoyed those nights to the fullest.
Second, I’ve visited Hershey a few times with my family but we’ve only made it to the park. I had no idea that there was so much to do in area and I feel like I’ve been missing out all of these years.
My brain is overflowing with information from my trip. I am trying to still process it all and figure out how to organize my thoughts so I can share everything I learned with you.
I thought I’d start with outlining my favorite places to visit in Hershey because clearly I never knew you could do so much there! It’s a wonderful family trip that would be fun for everyone.
Bonus: I’m going to sprinkle some fun facts about Milton Hershey and the area below for all you history buffs!
1. Hershey Trolley Works
On Saturday morning, we took a trolley ride around Hershey. During our ride, the tour guide told us the inspiring story of Milton Hershey. I was never really a history type of girl but the older I get the more I want to learn. I found Milton’s story fascinating and it really gave me a new respect and appreciation for the town of Hershey.
History lesson: The biggest take away about Milton’s story is to never give up. Milton tried several times to develop his chocolate company and failed. He went bankrupted a few times and had to start all over again. Many of us would just throw in the towel but he never did. He kept going. And aren’t we glad he did? Can you imagine a world without Hershey chocolate?
I think my kids would probably be too young for this tour but if you have children that are in middle school and up, this would be a great history lesson for them. You visit Hershey’s birthplace, see the original chocolate factory, ride by the Highpoint Mansion where Mr. and Mrs. Hershey lived (see below), and see the school for orphan boys that Milton and his wife, Kitty, started together.
2. The Spa at the Hotel Hershey
The perfect girls’ weekend. It’s three-stories high and 40,000 square foot, it’s huge! The spa has an European feel that overlooks the Hotel’s formal gardens and pools. It’s absolutely gorgeous and you really feel like you are in another world. They even have “quiet” rooms so you can relax in your robe, read a magazine or take a nap.
History lesson: The spa is famous for it’s chocolate treatments, but it also offers traditional treatments as well as services that pay homage Cuba, where Milton Hershey owned sugar mills and plantations from 1916 – 1946.
3. Chocolate World
Oh this is a must to do with the family. At Chocolate World, you get to explore the many wonders of CHOCOLATE! And be prepared to hit the store and walk out with a bag full of Hershey goodies.
If you visit Chocolate World, you must go on the Hershey’s Great American Chocolate Tour ride (free). You see the delicious transformation from bean to Hershey’s famous chocolate, which is really cool and kids love this. And of course you end the ride with a free sample. Yum!
There are 70 rides and attractions, over 20 kiddie rides, and 13 roller coasters!
I rode the Fahrenheit Roller Coaster…I’m CRAZY and totally shut my eyes the entire time in fear I’d have a panic attack! But I did it, so I can cross that off my bucket list. Doesn’t it look scary?
But nothing beats the expressions on my boys’ faces when they rode the sooper dooper looper for the first time last year. This photo is priceless and is still on our fridge, I just can’t take it down.
Memorial Day weekend, Hersheypark will open their newest roller coaster, Laff Trakk. I have the inside scoop all about the new ride and what to expect.
History lesson: Opened in 1907 by Milton Hershey as a picnic and pleasure grounds for his employees until 1971 when it opened to the public.
I can’t believe I’ve been to Hersheypark several times and NEVER knew that ZooAmerica was inside. How crazy?! My boys would absolutely love this.
We took a 2 hour behind-the-scenes tour, which was a lot of fun. We got an insider’s look at the Animal Health Center and a flashlight tour through the animal building. We also fed otters, touched an alligator, held an owl, and fed a 500 pound bear named, Butch. Oddly enough I wanted to give him a hug, he was so sweet with his little brown eyes. Of course I kept a safe distance and fed him some grapes thorough the bars (I’m not a total nut), but look how gentle he was:
History lesson: ZooAmerica opened as Hershey Zoo in 1910, when Milton Hershey formally organized his park’s growing collection of wild animals into a public zoo.
6. Hershey Theatre
The Hershey Theatre has established itself as the area’s premier performing arts center, presenting the finest in touring Broadway shows, classical music and dance attractions, and world-renowned entertainers. We took a tour and the theatre is absolutely beautiful. If you love shows, make sure to check out their upcoming events.
History lesson: The Hershey Theatre was built between 1929 and 1933 as part of Mr. Hershey’s “Great Building Campaign” of the Great Depression, which also produced such Hershey landmarks as the Hotel Hershey, the Hersheypark Arena, and the Hershey Stadium.
7. Hersheypark Camping Resort
My family LOVES camping so I was super excited to check out this resort. It’s a year-round facility set on 55-acres! It has two swimming pools, parks, cabins, tent sites, games (volleyball, horseshoes, outdoor movies, and more), plus a picnic areas. I love the smell of a camp fire and sitting around with the family roasting marshmallows and telling stories.
They are opening 9 new deluxe cabins that are gorgeous! Here’s a quick little video tour:
Thank you to Hershey Entertainment & Resorts for sponsoring my weekend in Hershey, PA. I’ll be sharing more Hershey info soon!