Attractions and Activities in Hershey, PA
Hershey, Pennsylvania is a small town that was built up by chocolate magnate, Milton S. Hershey for the employees of his chocolate factory. As the Hershey Company grew, so did the town and Hershey himself was responsible for building many of the town’s attractions. Over the years, the town has become a popular destination for millions of visitors annually. Nicknamed, The Sweetest Place On Earth, Hershey is one of the most family friendly vacation destinations we have encountered. Below is a list of the family fun things to do in Hershey, PA.
Hersheypark is an amusement park, water park and zoo all rolled up into one major attraction and is one of the most popular things to do in Hershey, PA. The theme park is great for families with kids of all ages as it strikes a balance of rides that range from very mild to extremely wild. Whether you and the kids are looking for top-notch roller coasters and thrill rides, fun family rides or rides for the little ones, Hersheypark has it all for you. The Boardwalk at Hersheypark (open Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend) is a water park that has great water rides and slides, a huge wave pool, water playgrounds and much more. This should be on everybody’s must do list when visiting Hershey. The Hersheypark one-price admission ticket allows visitor’s admission to the amusement park, The Boardwalk water park and ZooAmerica, all for the price of one. See our Hersheypark Review with tips, pictures and videos for more information on the park.
Hershey’s Chocolate World
Building off of what was the original chocolate plant tour, Hershey’s Chocolate World has grown into a major tourist attraction with many family friendly activities under one roof. To start off the fun guests can take a free ride on the Hershey’s Chocolate Tour of the factory that ends with each rider getting a sweet treat. Hershey’s Create Your Own Candy Bar attraction has you building your own chocolate bar the way you want it and designing your candy bar wrapper. The Chocolate Tasting Experience has you learn from the tasting experts at how to use all your senses to really taste a variety of chocolates. Chocolate World also has a 4D movie where guests interact with Hershey’s characters to help solve a mystery. Last, but not least the building is brimming Hershey brand candies and souvenirs. See our article with the details on all of the fun things to do at Hershey’s Chocolate World.
The Hershey Story Museum
Located in the heart of town on Chocolate Avenue, this family friendly museum is about the life of Milton Hershey and the history of Hershey, PA. Attractions at the museum include the Museum Experience, five interactive exhibits chronicling Hershey’s life; the Chocolate Lab, a hands-on workshop for chocolate creations; Chocolate Tastings, flights of drinking chocolates from around the world; Apprentice Program, scavenger hunt for children with activities to complete throughout the museum. The museum also has limited run special exhibits on the first floor. Visit the Hershey Story website for more information and planning your visit.
Indian Echo Caverns
Indian Echo Caverns is located in Hummelstown, which is just a 10 minute drive from the city of Hershey, PA. The 45-minute tour cavern tour takes guests through the natural formations of rock, limestone, stalagmites, and lakes that have formed over millions of years. During the tour of the caves, which remain at a constant 52 degrees Fahrenheit all year long, the tour guide educates you on the formations and the history of the caverns and its inhabitants. The highlight of the caverns is the small crystal clear lake towards the back of a cavern, which is a beautiful sight to see. See our Indian Echo Caverns Review and pictures for more information on this family friendly cave tour.
ZooAmerica – North American Wildlife Park
This 11-acre zoo has over 200 animals from 60 species of the five regions of North America. The zoo is sectioned off into five climate regions of North America. The regions of the zoo are the Southern Swamps, The Great Southwest, Eastern Woodlands, Big Sky Country and the Northlands. This North American Wildlife Park is adjacent to Hersheypark amusement park and very close to Hershey’s Chocolate World and The Hershey Story Museum. Guests can pay for zoo admission by itself or guests that are visiting Hersheypark may visit the zoo free-of-charge on the date of their park visit. Visit ZooAmerica’s website for more park information.
Hershey Gardens is a beautiful 23 acre botanical display garden that is just south and walking distance of The Hotel Hershey. The gardens consist of 11 themed gardens, highlighted by the Hershey Rose Garden, Japanese Garden and the popular Seasonal Display Garden. A favorite for families with small kids is the Children’s Garden that mixes hands-on activity, education and fun. Don’t let the kids miss the Hershey Kiss shaped misters. Inside the Children’s Garden is the Butterfly House, which is the most popular attraction at the gardens and is home to 25 varieties of over 300 butterflies. Hershey Gardens is a whimsical and beautiful place that has a lot to see, touch and do. Visit the Hershey Gardens website for more visitor information.
Hershey Trolley Works
Located at Hershey’s Chocolate World, this family-friendly sightseeing tour covers the life story of Milton Hershey and the main sites of the town of Hershey. The tour takes guests to the original chocolate factory, Mr. Hershey’s birthplace, his High Point Mansion, Chocolate Avenue and their Hershey Kiss Streetlights, Hersheypark and the “Welcome to Hershey” hill. This fun and entertaining trolley tour takes about 75 minutes and runs year-round. Visit the Hershey Trolley Works website for more information on this tour.
Depending on the time of your visit, the Giant Center might be a fun option for the family. The stadium has a variety of shows, concerts and other entertaining events going on throughout the year. The arena is also home to the Hershey Bears ice hockey team of the AHL and if your visit is between October and April, you can catch a game. Visit the Giant Center website for more information and upcoming events.
A common question is the difference between the Hershey attractions and we hope this article helps clarify the differences. Below is the most common query that people are asking about the two main attractions in Hershey, PA.
Hershey’s Chocolate World vs Hershey Park
Hershey’s Chocolate World and Hersheypark are adjacent to each other in the same entertainment complex, but are separate attractions in Hershey, PA. Hershey’s Chocolate World is building that houses multiple Hershey Chocolate attractions, such as a Hershey’s Chocolate Tour, Create-Your-Own Candy Bar, Chocolate Tasting Experience, Great Chocolate Factory Mystery in 4D and a huge shopping area filled with all of the Hershey brand candies and souvenirs. Hersheypark on the other hand, is a large family friendly amusement park with rides, attractions and entertainment. Hersheypark also encompasses a water park called The Boardwalk and a zoo called ZooAmerica.
If you know of any family friendly things to do in Hershey, PA that we didn’t list, feel free to leave a comment with your suggestion or email us.
Photo Credits: Hershey Gardens by Jon Dawson via license | ZooAmerica by Eric Savage via license | Hershey Trolley Works courtesy of The Hershey Company | Hersheypark panormaa by jcapaldi via license | Giant Center by Phillyfan0419 via license