When you combine chocolate with roller coasters, you end up at the sweetest place on earth — Hersheypark. The chocolate-themed amusement park is located about 15 minutes from Harrisburg in Hershey, Pennsylvania. The Hershey theme park was dreamed up by the famous confectioner Milton S. Hershey, who originally built it as a place for his employees to picnic and relax.
Fast forward to today — now Hersheypark has the highest annual attendance of any privately owned amusement park in North America. It’s situated on 121 acres with 13 roller coasters, 70 attractions, a water park and lots of chances to sample chocolate.
Here's what we love about this sweet theme park.
Hersheypark has plenty of fun for all ages and sizes, with rides and attractions sprinkled throughout the 121-acre park. There are six different height categories with candy markers located around the park to make it easy to figure out which rides are right for you. The smallest visitors — measuring less than 36 inches — are named the “Hershey’s miniatures,” and there are over 30 rides and attractions to cater to them. Thrill-seeking adults and older kids can ride any of the roller coasters or even head over to splash around in the water park.
Next to the entrance to the park be sure to stop by Hershey’s Chocolate World, which is a marketplace offering Hershey's chocolate products. Its attractions also include a free Chocolate Tour Ride, Hershey’s Great Chocolate Factory Mystery in 4D and the Hershey Trolley Works. You can even create your own candy bar.
It's not all chocolate. There are plenty of various dining options for every taste (and diet!). Different options include character meals and full-service dining, as well as some well-known chain restaurants you probably know (Moe's Southwest Grill, Nathan's Famous, Subway). You can also pack a lunch to eat at picnic sites located outside the park.
The Boardwalk at Hersheypark was opened in 2007 and features 15 water rides. Entrance is included with admission into Hersheypark. Highlights include the Coastline Plunge, a waterslide tower with six different tube waterslides, Waverider (a simulated surfing experience) and The Shore, a 378,000-gallon wave pool.
The recently added roller coaster is located in Midway America section. It’s the first indoor, spinning, glow-coaster in the United States. This steel coaster goes 40 mph and includes 360 spins with a fun-house feel.
This ride got its name when it became the steepest roller coaster in the world with its first drop of 97 degrees in 2008. It includes a 121-foot vertical lift, as well as six inversions.
Situated in the Pioneer Frontier section of the park, this ride was the first accelerator coaster to use over-the-shoulder restraints. This ride goes 150-feet high and then launches riders from 0 to 72 mph in two seconds.
From 2012 to 2017, this 212-foot coaster has won eight different awards for being the top steel roller coaster. The ride features a 200-foot drop and a 3,720-foot long track, and two seats that hang off the width of the car, allowing riders to feel like they are riding on the edge. Skyrush’s top speed is 76 mph.
There are three official resorts for Hersheypark: Hershey Lodge, the Hotel Hershey and Hersheypark Camping Resort. Each resort offers special discounts and packages for the park. Both the Hershey Lodge and Hotel Hershey provide free shuttle to the park — but the camping resort is close enough for guests to walk.
Parking is provided at the park with an all-day fare of $9 per car, $25 for oversized cars. Any busses, limos or passenger vehicles with more than 25 passengers are eligible for free parking. There are three tram stops that pick up visitors and take them to the front entrance of the park.
by Carey Reilly
Want to visit another legendary theme park? Check out our "Walt Disney World Destination Guide."