At the mid-point of the summer vacation season, July is the best time for a family getaway. Only about two-and-a-half hours from the Somerset Hills, Hershey is more than a town in Pennsylvania built on chocolate. (Though that in itself is cause to celebrate.)
The town is also home to world-class roller coasters and water attractions at Hersheypark, ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park, three distinct Hershey resorts, live concerts and shows, delicious dining options and, of course, chocolate around every corner.
Admission includes all three parks, which offer more than 70 family-friendly and thrill attractions that are placed together so families never have to split up. Tickets also give you access to The Boardwalk At Hersheypark water park and the zoo.
The park has unveiled new attractions this year, including Wildcat’s Revenge, a wood-and-steel hybrid coaster. The addition makes a total of 15 coasters, ranking Hersheypark as home to the most coasters in the Northeast. It features a 140-foot hill, maximum speeds of 62 miles per hour and four inversions, including the World’s Largest Underflip, Inverted Stall, Zero-G Roll and Reversing Downhill Roll.
Have a budding food scientist or a curious kid who loves sweets? Visit the Chocolate Lab at The Hershey Story Museum where they can explore the distinctive qualities of chocolate through playful, hands-on experiences and interactive demonstrations. Guests can try their hand at chocolate pouring and decorating chocolates that they can take home.
Adults can indulge in the non-alcoholic “Flight of Warm Drinking Chocolates From Around the World,” which allows them to sample tastes from fruity African chocolate to Indonesian chocolate with caramel overtones. While the adults are sampling exotic warm drinking chocolate from around the world, kids can get their own mug of warm milk and a chocolate stirring lolly—perfect for transforming their milk into something delicious.
The Museum on Chocolate Avenue is home to galleries that depict phases of chocolate pioneer Milton S. Hershey’s life—his failures and fortunes, innovations, entrepreneurial initiatives, success with chocolate and philanthropy—as well as special exhibitions.
Children can engage with the exhibitions through the Apprentice Program, which uses a discovery guide that prompts kids to look for specific items, answer questions and solve short puzzles. At the end, they’ll get a commemorative Hershey coin.
Book a stay at The Hotel Hershey, which was opened in 1933 and is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year. The globetrotting chocolatier commissioned the hotel to resemble one he had enjoyed with his wife, Catherine, on the Mediterranean. Having kept notes of their travels abroad, Hershey instructed the architect to outfit the hotel with a Spanish patio, tiled floors, a fountain and a circular dining room with a good view from every table.
Situated high atop the town of Hershey, the resort is known for its refined elegance, signature service and abundant amenities and is a recipient of the Forbes Four-Star Award and the AAA Four-Diamond Award. Upon arrival, guests are welcomed with free chocolate bars at check-in for the whole family—certainly a foreshadowing of the magic to come.
The hotel features a number of dining options guaranteed to satisfy even the family’s most finicky eater: The Circular (breakfast and dinner), Harvest (farm-to-fork American cuisine), Trevi 5 (Italian grill), Iberian Lounge (cocktail lounge serving lite fare and signature chocolate cocktails), Chef’s Market (coffee, chef-prepared food and decadent chocolate treats) and Poolside (salads, sandwiches, ice cream, bar service). Off-site guests can enjoy The Chocolatier, a full-service restaurant, bar and patio open year-round in Hershey’s Chocolatetown at Hersheypark.
At The Hotel Hershey, your days will be filled with summery activities from chocolate bingo to s’mores roasts to Hershey character visits and crafts.
Families also can enjoy the outdoor pool complex, which features a family pool with zero-grade entry, two large slides and a kiddie spray deck; an infinity edge adult pool and whirlpool; and poolside cabanas. Additional recreation includes an outdoor sports complex with basketball, tennis and pickleball; an 18-hole putting course; disc golf; indoor pool; fitness center and spa.
A bonus: Hotel Hershey guests receive benefits such as the best price on Hersheypark tickets, free front-gate shuttle service to and from the exclusive resort drop-off location at Hersheypark, extra hours at the Park, free admission to Hershey Gardens and The Hershey Story’s Museum Experience.
As you wander the park and engage in the experiences, remember the words of Hershey, who sought to use his fortunes for the good of others: “One is only happy in proportion as he makes others feel happy and only useful as he contributes his influences for the finer callings in life.’”
Plan your vacation at HersheyPark.com.