Aug 302015
 
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Tips For Visiting Hersheypark

Many years ago, I took a road trip with three friends.  We made several stops along the way and Hersheypark was one of them. That road trip was long before I had kids or was even married for that matter, so when the kids saw a commercial for Hersheypark recently and asked to go, I couldn’t say no.  I remember loving it when I went all those years ago, so I knew they’d have a great time there.

So, a few weeks ago, we took a road trip to Pennsylvania and Hersheypark was one of our first stops once we got there.

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With that being said, we are a Disney family.  We go every year and we are very familiar and comfortable in big amusement parks.  Hersheypark is smaller and quite a bit different from Disney, so navigating it was a bit different than bigger amusement parks. We spent two days at Hersheypark and we wanted to share our best tips for getting the most out of your day at the park.

Disclaimer: My family received complimentary passes to Hersheypark, but all opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way.

Before I get started with my tips, I wanted to mention that Hersheypark is really two parks in one: an amusement park and a water park called The Boardwalk.   Our entire first day was spent solely at the amusement park part of the park.  Day two was split between the water park and the amusement park.  Now, here’s pretty much everything you need to know to have a successful trip to Hersheypark with your family.

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1.  Start your day early!  I would suggest getting there before the park opens so that when the gates open, you can enjoy the most popular rides before the crowds arrive. In the summer, most days the park is open from 10-10.  We arrived both days at about 9:30 and there was already a line of people waiting to get in.

2. Have a plan.   Before you head to the park sit down and have a family meeting to figure out what rides everyone really wants to ride so that you can make sure everyone gets to do everything they want to do.  The website will tell you all about the rides, so you can plan out your day ahead of time.

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Plus, Hersheypark has a Kiddie Swap program so that if you and your partner would like to ride height-restricted rides but your child is not tall enough to ride, you can just let the attendant know that you would like to take advantage of the Kiddie Swap program. One parent can ride while the other stays with the child. At the conclusion of the initial ride, the parents may “swap” places. Similarly, if one parent has two children who meet the height restriction but must be accompanied by a responsible rider or who wish not to ride alone, the parent may ride with one child while the other child waits in an appropriate area of the ride. At the conclusion of the initial ride, the parent may remain on the ride while the children “swap” places.

3.  Get your kids measured BEFORE they ride.

Kids’ access to rides is  based on their height.  Kids under 36″ are called Miniatures and they move up the ranks of Hershey Kisses, Reese’s, Hershey Bars, Twizzlers all the way up to Jolly Ranchers.

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There is a measurement station just in front of the Carousel (near the entrance). They will measure your child ONCE and give them a wristband that corresponds to their height.  My little man was just a hair over Reese’s, so he ended up being a Hershey Bar.  My oldest was a Twizzler.  Each ride at Hersheypark is clearly marked as to who could ride with or without a parent, so the wristbands being done ahead of time made it easy for the kids to show the attendants and get on the rides.

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3. Bring a backpack with a change of clothes and towels if you plan on spending time at The Boardwalk.  You can rent lockers (small or large), or even rent a cabana if you feel like splurging a little, but we are cheap and preferred to carry our stuff with us.

On our second day at the park, we went to The Boardwalk first.  We spent our first half of the day there actually and when we were done, the boys changed into dry clothes and we were off to ride some rides.  Remember to pack wet bags for those wet bathing suits & towels and don’t forget the sunblock!

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4.  There is no outside food allowed inside the park, however we brought in a few bags of Goldfish and they never said a word to us about it when they checked our bags on the way in.  When you need a meal, there are a variety of food options available, including well-marked gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free, and kosher foods.  We ended up getting meal tickets and found it to be a good value. Meal tickets are affordable and flexible, plus it allows you to save up to 25% on food at 18 different locations throughout the park! All meals include an entrée, side, and a Souvenir Cup during the 2015 regular season and it’s only $14. You can buy them at Guest Services at the top of the hill just inside the main gate. The souvenir cup is normally $9, so when you buy the meal ticket, you are basically getting the cup for free.

Even if you don’t go with the meal ticket option, I highly suggest getting a refillable cup.  When you buy a refillable cup, you get .99 cent refills all day.  Also if you have a water bottle you can refill them with water from the soda machines or refill your refillable cup for free with water and ice

You can get free ice water at every eatery in the park, but it’s usually in a small cup without a lid. Getting water in your souvenir cup gives you a nice big drink that will last a lot longer.

5.  Download the Hershey Park App from the App Store before you go.  It includes a Park map, rides, ride wait times, closed rides, food and beverages, shows, characters, first aid and most importantly – restrooms! The app really helped us maximize our time in the park and honestly, it was a lifesaver for us!

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6.  There is A TON of walking at Hersheypark, so wear comfortable shoes.  You might even want to pack flip flops if you plan on spending time at The Boardwalk, but the park itself is very hilly, so you’re going to get a good workout that day.

7.  If you can, plan your visit for midweek. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are the least busy days in the park, so if you go on one of those days, you will have considerably shorter lines.   Our first day there was a Sunday and our second day was on a Wednesday – there was a noticeable difference.

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8.  I would suggest skipping the preferred parking.  Regular parking will cost you $15 and preferred, which is just a little closer is $25.  If you are getting to the park early anyways, you will end up parking close to the entrance and even if you don’t, they have a tram service that makes several stops throughout the parking lot, so you can cut out walking if you want to.  Plus, the kids will love it.

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9 . ZooAmerica is part of Hersheypark and it is included in your park admission.  We were there for two full days and never even had a chance to make it over there, so if you want to see the animals, maybe plan a whole day for that?  I have heard great things about it and I am sorry we didn’t have a chance to check it out.

10. Take advantage of the Hersheypark Preview Night! If you arrive the night before your scheduled day at the park, you are able to spend 2 1/2 hours at Hersheypark prior to to the park closing – for FREE! (Meaning, if your tickets are for Saturday, you can enter the park Friday night at 7:30 pm because the regular park closing is 10 pm).

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I found that with a little planning ahead, we got more done in the two days we were there than if we had just winged it.  If you are planning on visiting Hersheypark, I hope you find these tips helpful.

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  124 Responses to “10 Tips For Visiting Hersheypark”

  1. This is great advice and we had free passes this past summer, but ended up not being able to use them, but will most definitely keep this article bookmarked if we go next year now. Thanks Robin 🙂

  2. This looks like a fun place and what our “little” elitch gardens is like here in Denver!

  3. I can’t believe I’ve never visited Hershey! I’m a chocoholic, for goodness sake!

  4. We were going to head out that way this summer, but ended up driving to Tennessee instead. We may hit up Hershey Park next summer though. It’s a place we have been wanting to go to for some time!

  5. I didn’t even know there was a Hershey Park! Looks like a lot of fun… especially the water park 🙂

  6. Woah in our side of the world, this is considered a BIG amusement park already!! Much bigger than our Universal Studios or Disneylands in Japan/ HK haha.. so much fun and I bet 2 days wasn’t enough right??!

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

  7. We went there last summer! What a blast. It was so busy when we went we did not get to use the water area.

  8. I have friends that went there. The best part is that their last name is Hershey. How fun! You have great tips.

  9. It is very important to do a research first and plan your trip, so you can maximize your vacation. I didn’t know that there is a preview night.

  10. We have never been to Hershey Park but it looks like they have a little something for everyone. I can’t wait to take my boys there.

  11. What a fun place to be! I have never been to Hershey Park before and I am sure I would enjoy it. Adding this to our list of “places to visit in 2016”

  12. This looks like a whole lot of fun! I have always wanted to visit there. I don’t even live that far away. Not sure why I haven’t made it there yet.

  13. Not a massive fan of Hershey chocolate over here in the UK. It definitely has a distinctive taste compared to all others!

  14. Hershey Park is really fun. The kids and us love it there. But then who doesn’t love everything chocolate!

  15. what a fun time you had and planning ahead is always a good idea when it comes to theme parks.

  16. I love the kiddie swap program (something that is always a challenge when tots are little) and that they have gluten-free options. We always are challenged by food at places like this since we are gluten-free. Fun time!

  17. Looks like your family had a great time at Hershey Park ….Did you get to eat some of the Hershey chocolate Great images.

  18. Hershey Park looks like so much fun!! I have been wanting to go. We might take our family on vacation there in a couple years.

  19. I have been to PA once and am kicking myself for not going here. I want to go to Hershey Park! I bet it smells like chocolate.

  20. I never knew that Hershey Park was this big or had this many rides! WOW! I just thought it was a chocolate factory! You all always find the best places to go! I want to go there now.

  21. Hershey Park sounds like a great place to visit and I’ve been wanting to bring the whole family there. These are great tips.

  22. What a fun sounding park! I have to admit I had no idea there was a HersheyPark! So cool. x

  23. These are such great tips. My girls want to go. Maybe one day.

  24. I have never visited Hershey Park, which is weird because I visit PA every now and again, more so when my Aunt lived out there. But that ‘kiddie swap’ thing is BRILLIANT more amusement parks should offer this! Thanks for the scoop!

    Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly

  25. Looks like a lot of fun! I haven’t been to Hershey in 10 years, I need to go back.

  26. That is so awesome! The park looks great, but honestly, I’d just be lurking around the chocolate the whole time.

  27. Roller coasters and chocolate! Sounds like my kind of vacation! 🙂

  28. That water park looks amazing. We’ve talked about going to Hershey Park, but haven’t made it there yet……maybe someday next year. 🙂

  29. I have always wanted to visit Hersheypark. It is near where my daughter’s in laws live.

  30. we really loved Hershey Park and chocolate world. Did not hit the water park

  31. Ah you’ve experienced it both ways, with and without kids. Very cool. I’d love to visit Hershey Park (with the kids, lol, since they’re here ;)). I think we’d all love it!

  32. An entire park devoted to Hershey’s Chocolate. Holy moly, that’s amazing.

  33. Holy wow. This looks amazing. I’ve never been to a Hershey park before and now I’m dying to go! This looks awesome!

  34. I didn’t know about the the Preview Night. That’s awesome if you’re driving during the day just to make it to a nearby hotel.

  35. We were thinking about visiting this place too with our kids. I really do appreciate these insights that will help factor in our next trip!

  36. These are great tips. Hersheypark looks like a lot of fun. I would love to go one day.

  37. Hershey Park is one of the greatest places ever! I love the park itself, and I love that it’s an entire park devoted to chocolate! YUM!

  38. We’ve always wanted to visit. I have this on my wishlist to take my son.

  39. We never do preferred parking there either. Love Hershey park.

  40. I remember going to Hershey Park for a class trip. It was called Senior All-Nighter Night. We got there and pulled an All-nighter at the park till the next morning. The downfall is that it rained all night!!!! Many of us slept in the movie theater they had there! I’d love to visit on a great sunny day because this blog article definitely opened my eyes as to how fun it really could be if planned right!

  41. Looks like you had an amazing time! I really like that they have a measurement station, so everything is organized and there is no confusion with who is allowed to the rides and who is not.

  42. I have never been to Hershey Park, but it looks super fun. I think the Kiddie Swap program is brilliant.

  43. My granddaughter went there a couple years ago. She had a lot of fun.

  44. My kids are both Hershey Kisses! (we have Six Flags passes and they were just measured)
    I’ve been to Hershey twice – once as a kid and once for my 25th birthday. I can’t wait to take my kids! It’s only two hours from my parent’s house. Road trip.

  45. I’ve always wanted to go there! I should plan a trip. It looks like a ton of fun!

  46. I was just saying the other day how I would love to go to Hersey Park! This looks like a great time!

  47. The only time I’ve been to Hershey Park was in the middle of winter. There were no lines whatsoever. We froze, but we had a blast!

  48. Hershey Park is so much fun! I loved the chocolate tour, which I’m sure is no surprise. I can’t wait to go back.

  49. I so want to go there. That is on my bucket list. I love Hershey chocolate!

  50. One of my best friends growing up, her mom lived in Penn. So whenever she went to visit her, she would often go to Hersheypark. And man, I was so jealous, I always wanted to go with her! She always had so much fun there! I’ve always wanted to visit Hersheypark!

  51. HersheyPark? I’ve never heard of it. Looks like a blast though. Might have to look it up next time I’m that way.

  52. Looks like a fun place! My kids just started their school today, can’t wait to travel again! Maybe next summer

  53. This looks like a fun place! I definitely want to take the kids one day.

  54. Boy would that be a fun day of rides and chocolate! You guys must have had a blast!

  55. I love their cute measuring system that they have there!

  56. I think the most important thing to keep in mind during a Hershey Park visit is to eat as much chocolate as possible. Looks like there is a ton of fun to be had for the whole family!

  57. What a fun place to visit. If I ever make it out that way I’ll be sure to check it out.

  58. Another place I’ve never been. Hope to take my grand nugget there someday. Looks fun!

  59. These are really good tips! I really want to go here with the family one day.

  60. That looks like a great amusement park. I love the parent swap idea and the measuring station. I can’t wait to take my kids there!

  61. I have never been to Hershey Park, but it sounds like so much fun! Thanks for the tip about skipping the preferred parking.

  62. Looks like a fun place to visit! I would love to take my family there!

  63. Great tips! I think a lot of those can be used at any park whether we have the little people with us or not 🙂
    Thanks and I enjoyed reading about the Hershey Park!

  64. I agree… going to amusement parks mid week. Always a great idea. I never think of shoes as I normally think of the best tan lines, but I should think comfort. LOL

  65. I love chocolate and would love to visit Hershey Park!

  66. I haven’t been to Hershey Park (YET!!) but it’s on my must-visit list!! I sure to love theme park apps. Thanks for these tips!

  67. Hershey Park looks like so much fun! My son would totally love to go there

  68. I’ve always wanted to go there! Looks like you had a great time!

  69. Hershey Park isn’t too far from us! I would love to take my family to visit. I love that the different sizes of kids are named after different candies. So cute!

  70. I have never been there…but my husband has. He knows i love chocolate so he brought me a sweatshirt back. Gee…thanks:). Someday i hope to go myself.

  71. I would love to go to Hershey Park .. it sounds like a great , cool , fun place. I especially liked the tip about starting the day early .. I feel you get so much more out of amusement parks when you go to bed early

  72. I have always heard so many great things about this park. I hope to visit one day with my kids.

  73. Hershey Park? I had no idea there was such a thing! I want to ride that coaster!

  74. I have heard this place is such a blast! I would love to visit one day!

  75. It has been a long time since we have been in Hershey PA but I do remember how wonderful the town smelled when we were there. I think that was back in 1978. Hershey Park sounds like a lot of fun. Thanks for the great tips.

  76. Hershey Park is a great place to visit. I like that idea of measuring the children once and having a bracelet that confirms their height for the rest of the day.

  77. Do they giveaway free chocolates there? lol I’d love to bring my boys to Hershey Park, I’m sure they’ll have a grand time.

  78. Great well laid tips. For sure this will come in handy for future visitors of the park.

  79. I’ve never been to Hershey Park. It looks like so much fun and I know my grandkids would love it. I need to plan a trip for next spring.

  80. I have never been to Hershey Park, but it looks like a lot of fun!! We would love the waterpark and all the rides 🙂

  81. Looks like a great day out – i love the idea of kid swaps!

  82. Great tips for visiting Hersheypark, it is one of my favorite places to visit with the family. One note: Zoo America isn’t that big so you don’t need a while day to do it. You can do the entire zoo in about 2 hours.

  83. I like your suggestion of the non-busy days. This sounds like such a great place to visit. That waterpark especially looks fun.

  84. Seriously! I love Hershey Park! We live only half an hour away so we can go often. But confession. My husband and I go without the kids. Cause, well, we’re big kids. LOL!

  85. This looks like such a fun time! I would love to visit there!

  86. It looks like you all had a fantastic time at Hersheypark for sure. This is awesome tips for visiting the Hersheypark. I didn’t know it was both an amusement and water park. I so love the candy characters which are adorable.

  87. How fun! I didnt know that they had a park. I want to go!

  88. Great tips, I LOVE Hershey Park! It’s been years since I’ve been!

  89. Sounds like heaven for any kid! Love the rolo dude hehe. We have something similar here but not that big!

  90. How did I not know there was a Hershey park?? I need to go back to Pennsylvania and hit it up!!

  91. We just visited there too and the kids had a blast! Lots of things to do out there but my kids are drawn to the water park of course.

  92. I haven’t been to Hershey Park, but it seems like there’s really a lot to do there in a day. Planning ahead really helps if that’s the case.

  93. I went so long ago with some friends, but I’d love to go back with family! These are great tips for us

  94. OMG I love that measurement station. Why can’t they do that with every amusement park? Its so convenient.

  95. I really want to visit Hershey Park someday. A friend of mine went a few years ago and had a great time.

  96. I haven’t ever heard of Hershey Park. It looks incredible. My kids would be in heaven!

  97. I haven’t been to Hershey park yet. It sounds like a ton of fun. I like that there is a splash pad to cool off in too.

  98. We all enjoy Hershey Park. Just arriving in the area and smelling the chocolate gets me going. We always visit Chocolate World when we arrive. It’s a great start to a great day.

  99. I just love Hershey park! It’s afew hours away so we are thinking maybe next summer will be the summer to take my daughter 🙂

  100. These are great tips. We just went for the first time a few weeks ago and can’t wait to go back. I didn’t know about some of these so they’ll definitely help next time!

  101. Thanks so much for sharing your tips! This is close to us and we’ve talked about taking a trip.

  102. I think I’ve been to this place when I was young!! It looks amazing.

  103. This is such a great idea for a family vacation. Thanks for your glimpse into the park.

  104. I have been hearing a lot about this park lately, and I believe it would be such a fun place to visit. Maybe within in the next year or so!

  105. LOL, I love that the characters are Hershey products. Who wouldn’t want their picture with a bottle of chocolate syrup? I know my 5 yr old would love that. I had no idea they had a water park, too. And, I love that they get measured just once and wear a wristband. It can always be confusing to keep measuring them at different rides.

  106. I had heard of Hersey Park before but didn’t realize there was so much to do and see! Looks like you had a fun time.

  107. Roadtrip with friends is always a great memory to cherish anytime. Hersheypark looks beautiful & it is great to hear that it is a 2 in 1 park having both amusement park and a water park. Sounds like you had a great time out there. Your tips aree going to be so helpful when I take my kids there.

  108. I love how they incorporated the candy into the height measurement chart. I think that is so cute.

  109. Hersey’s is really a fun park. We love chocolate and Hersey’s definitely has chocolate.

  110. Hersheypark looks like an amazing place to go with the whole family. My kids would be so excited to go there for the day.

  111. That water park portion looks the most fun. I’d love to visit one day – I need spend more time up north.

  112. Wow! That water park looks amazing and so much fun. I love the 10th tip. I had no clue you could come back!

  113. I’ve heard of it and was always curious about it. That looks like so much fun!

  114. we went there before and quite prepared ..kids loved it and it is not too far from NYC 🙂

  115. Looks like a fun place to visit! I really like the Kiddie Swap program concept.

  116. I’ve always wanted to go there! It combines two of my biggest loves: chocolate and theme parks!

  117. This is definitely on my list of must do places 🙂

  118. The Stow Kids have to get here. Looks like such a fun family getaway! Glad you guys had such a good time!