By Allie Alu
Looking to vacation somewhere far enough away from home, but not too far? Hershey, Pa., is a great vacation spot for adults, children, families and couples alike. With attractions such as Hersheypark, Hershey’s Chocolate World, ZooAmerica and much more, there is something to do for everyone.
Famous for being the birthplace of Milton S. Hershey, the town really lives up to its name. Lampposts are shaped like Hershey’s kisses, streets are paved brown like chocolate and the smell of chocolate fills the air since the Hershey Factory is right in town. However, the chocolate theme isn’t the only thing that attracts visitors.
One of the Hershey’s main attractions is the amusement park located in the heart of the city called Hersheypark. This amusement park has roller coasters of all heights; family rides, rides for kids, water rides and a water park. But this amusement park has a chocolaty twist. At the end of each ride, riders are rewarded with a sample of Hershey’s chocolate. There are also a variety of shows that go on throughout the summer at the park such as concerts and shows with the Hershey’s chocolate characters. A variety of restaurants and different dining experiences are available throughout the park as well. Hersheypark.com
Adjacent to Hersheypark is another attraction for all ages: ZooAmerica. This 11-acre walk-through zoo has all kinds of animals including, turtles, alligators, snakes, owls, wolves, black bears, a bobcat, otters and more. Different sections of the zoo range from the northlands all the way to the southern swamps. Educational programs and camps for school children are available at different times throughout the year. Other programs and events go on at the zoo as well, including a popular behind the scenes tour of the different sections. While visiting the zoo, you also can enjoy food and beverages located throughout the venue. Zooamerica.com
Right up the street from both ZooAmerica and Hersheypark is another one of the town’s popular attractions. Hershey’s Chocolate World is perfect for family fun while learning about Hershey’s chocolate. One of the main attractions is the Hershey’s Chocolate Tour, a tour and ride showing exactly how the chocolate is grown, delivered and made. Guests can also enjoy a free sample of Hershey’s chocolate after the ride is over. Another large attraction is the 4-D Chocolate Factory Mystery show. Guests of the show are in for a total, digital animation experience, including special effects and interaction with the characters to help them solve the mystery of who stole the chocolate. To fulfill all of your Hershey’s apparel needs, guests can visit the large gift shop. A variety of Hershey’s chocolates, other candies, apparel and much more is available for purchase. Also included in Hershey’s Chocolate World are other special experiences, such as creating your own chocolate bar, putting your photo on a candy wrapper, or creating your own dessert. hersheys.com/chocolateworld/
To explore the historic side of Hershey, visit The Hershey Story, a museum in town that shares the story of Milton S. Hershey, creator of Hershey’s chocolate and the town that is named after him. All ages are welcome at The Hershey Story and guests can learn through interactive, fun and engaging museum exhibits. The exhibits take visitors through the failures Hershey had to endure all the way to his successes with building the factory and creating his brand. There are even exhibits where guests can make their own chocolate. Hersheystory.org
Four different entertainment venues with all types of shows, concerts and theater are also located near Hersheypark and Hershey’s Chocolate World. Hersheypark Stadium, Giant Center, Hershey Theater and Hersheypark Arena have countless performances from talented musicians, actors/actresses and other performers. Artists such as James Taylor and Kelly Clarkson, as well as the musical Annie are just a few shows happening this summer.
For a more relaxing trip in Hershey, there is just as much for adults as there is for children and families. Hersheyentertainment.com
Hershey has two resorts where guests can stay during their visit: the Hotel Hershey and the Hershey Lodge. If visitors prefer the outdoors, there’s also a 55-acre campground with 46 cabins and more than 300 campsites. With all lodging located right in Hershey, there are lots things for guests to do inside the hotels and outside as well.
Each of the resorts has a pool, spa, golf, restaurants and shops. Both of the hotels are kid and family friendly as well. The resorts have dining experiences ranging from steak and seafood houses to family-friendly restaurants and cafés. The Hotel Hershey also has a one-of-a-kind “Chocolate Spa.” With chocolate infused massages, facials and more, adult guests can make an appointment during their stay and be taken to chocolate heaven. Guests also can enjoy the salon that is attached to the spa for any of their beauty needs. The Hotel Hershey, Hershey Lodge and campgrounds around town provide entertainment and something to do for all types of visitors.
For families, friends or anyone who just wants to get away on a vacation without traveling that far, Hershey, Pa., is the sweetest vacation destination. hersheypa.com