The most underrated theme park I’ve ever visited
Let me begin this post by saying that the Hubby is a Disney addict. We went to DisneyWorld for our honeymoon. Now you get what I’m talking about. While Disney is large, fun and a bit of magic, the increasing prices over the years are just like a punch in the gut. When you live in the middle of the country like we do, getting there (CA or FL) just adds to the cost even more.
Over the years we’ve had a few friends quietly suggest Hershey Park outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. So when Duke picked Philadelphia for his middle school graduation trip (a trip with mom and dad only) we decided this was our perfect opportunity to try it out. We were BLOWN AWAY by Hersheypark and we only spent 36 hours in Hershey, PA. Here are my top 5 reasons why Hershey is one of the most underrated theme parks in the country and should not be overlooked.
2. THEMING: My expectations were low because nobody does magic like Disney. But I was amazed at the candy themes and how persistent it was throughout the park and the adjoining Chocolate World. I had no idea that Hershey owned Twizzlers, Jolly Ranchers, and even Ice Breakers. Children could be measured once at the entrance and receive a wristband corresponding with a candy brand that would indicate what rides you could go on. We stayed at one of the Hershey hotels and the theming continued there. We enjoyed Hershey kisses printed sheets and chocolate themed toiletries in the bathroom. Even downtown Hershey is themed with the streetlights all being Hershey kisses. Cute overload!
3. RIDES: On this trip, we only took our 14 year old son, and I was a little worried that there wouldn’t be enough big kid rides to entertain us. Boy was I wrong. With 12 large rollercoasters that satisfy crazy teenagers, it was the perfect park for him. There were so many big ones we kept getting them confused when rehashing our favorite rides later in the day. They had lots of cute little kid rides too, but we concentrated on the big ones. In addition, there is a full waterpark right in the middle of Hershey Park. You know the kind with a wave pool, crazy toilet bowl rides and tube slides. There is no added fee to enjoy the waterpark and they had lockers and drying stations so you could enjoy both parts of the parks on hot days. I have to mention the best thing about the rides is the absence of major lines! Were there the first few days of August, peak time, and never waited in line longer than 20 minutes. Most of them were between 5 and 15 minutes wait. The evening hours were a big help with this, as well as a Hershey Park app that helps with wait times, but we barely needed it.
4. FOOD: Okay, if you aren’t a candy person you might not be crazy about all of the candy offerings at the park. We loved the variety and got lots of things to take home we’d never seen. When thinking about meals, I loved that there were 2 Subway sandwich places inside the park. Don’t get me wrong, Hershey Park has the standard funnel cakes, hot dogs, etc. that all theme parks have, but it seemed like there were A LOT of other options. Other chain restaurants include Moe’s Southwest Grill, Chickie and Pete’s, and a Chick-fil-a (coming 2017)!
5. VARIETY: The theme park itself is a great value. The waterpark is included in that ticket price. But I haven’t even mentioned Hershey’s Chocolate World that is across the sidewalk from the entrance of the park. It’s a giant shop with a short ride that walks you through the way chocolate is made. If you want even more activities, you can pay for a chocolate tasting and a make your own chocolate bar experience (which Duke highly recommends). We chose to do these inside things in the middle of the day to avoid the August heat. Although the weather during our visit was unseasonably mild for August. In case that isn’t enough, downtown you can visit the Hershey Museum and even the Hershey Gardens. We didn’t have enough time to get to those last 2 places on this trip.
Honestly, I could go on and on about Hershey Park. I was impressed by so many things. Just so you know, we paid every penny for our visit, so this is NOT a sponsored post. All opinions are my own, as they always will be. Well, I might be influenced by the smiles and awesome comments from my 14 year old, but his testimonial helps me make up my opinion too. While 36 hours was great to ride all the major coasters as many times as we wanted, and participate in some cool things at Chocolate World, I wish we’d stayed one more day. Just to visit the museum, the gardens, and downtown a little more. Although, I’m really glad we have an excuse to visit again, maybe with more kids in tow.