What You Need to Know for Your First Visit to Hersheypark

Chocolate and coasters, what could be a better combination?

At Hersheypark in Hershey, Pennsylvania, you get the best of both worlds.

We received media tickets. All opinions are my own. This post also contains affiliate links.

Hersheypark in Hershey PA

Early Entrance Into the Park

If you are a season pass holder or if you are staying at one of the Hersheypark properties you get access to the park earlier than regular guests…we learned that the hard way.

I assumed that we could enter early and line up for the ride of our choice, but we had to wait outside the gate until it was time to open.

I would still get there early because you get a closer parking spot and you have more time to strategize your day at the park.

Download the Hersheypark App

The app will give you a heads up on the wait times for rides time and provide you with a map of Hersheypark which will help you make the best use of your time in the park.

Chocolate tour ride

While we waited for the park to open, I went back to Chocolate World to explore and decided to take the free Chocolate tour ride.

The ride gives you a great overview of the whole process of how chocolate is made.

free chocolate bar at end of the chocolate tour e1561834313283

After your tour ends, you also get a mini Hershey’s chocolate bar which is my kind of tour!

Hersheys Chocolate World in Pa

Plan Ahead for Hershey’s Chocolate World

Chocolate World is located at the entrance of the park.

If you are planning on taking any of the tours I recommend stopping there ahead of time.

Make your own candy bar Hersheypark

If you are choosing more than one activity, it’s a better value to bundle a few together.

My son decided that he wanted to make his own candy bar as we were leaving the park. He lucked out and got on one of the last tours of the day.

Make your own candy bar e1561835138926

He really enjoyed creating every detail of his custom candy bar.

If we had more time I would have loved to have taken one of the other tours.

King Size shake at Hersheypark

Enjoy A King Sized Shake from Simply Chocolate

Worth. Every. Calorie.

Seriously, this was one of the best shakes I’ve ever had!

The Reese’s Cupfusion King Size Shake is for anyone who is a huge peanut butter/chocolate fan.

King size shake Hersheypark 1

The Peanut Butter Tart was definitely my favorite and the shake is made with Turkey Hill Chocolate Soft Serve, Whipped Cream, Snyder’s Pretzel, and Melted Chocolate Dip.

If you are not in the mood for peanut butter try the Slither n’ Squirm Shake or the Mint the Merciless Shake

Hersheypark The Boardwalk e1561737114946

Relax at the Waterpark

Admission to the waterpark is included with your admission into the park.

The waterpark is located in the center of the park so you will want to have a strategy if you are bringing kids and a lot of gear.

We decided to ride regular rides first and then we went back to the car to grab our swimsuits.

I brought my AquaVault to store our phones but we ended up purchasing a locker rental because we thought it would save us a trip back to the car.

We later learned that you have to remove your items when the waterpark closes so make sure that you double check the times.

waterpark locker rental

I did like that the lockers rentals gave you two wristbands with a barcode assigned for a locker vs a key and you could open your locker an unlimited amount of times.

There is no tram or train within the park that takes you to the waterpark so be prepared to carry all of your gear for a while.

Our favorite waterpark rides were the lazy river, wave pool because we were in the mood to just relax and the Breakers Edge watercoaster because we still love a great thrill.

ZooAmerica at Hersheypark


Animals lovers will want to allow time to visit ZooAmerica which also included in your admission.

view from Monorail

ZooAmerica has over 200 animals in an 11-acre zoo but for time purposes we decided to just get an overview from the tram instead because we wanted to focus on other areas of the park. 

view from the kissing tower Hersheypark

Get an Ariel View of the park from The Kissing Tower

The Kissing Tower takes up in the air with incredible 360-degree views of the park.

The kissing tower at Hersheypark
view from the Kissing Tower at Hersheypark

You’ll learn a little more about the history of the park during the ride as you gaze out Hershey kiss shaped windows.

Storm Runner

Our Favorite Rides

We are thrill seekers so the roller coasters are always top on our list.

Skyrush was not working during our visit which was a disappointment for my son but we did love Storm Runner that takes you from 0-72mph in 2 seconds flat.

Laff Track at Hersheypark

The indoor roller coaster, Laff Track, was an unexpected delight because the car rotates and glows in the dark as it twists and turns on the track.

coasters at Hersheypark

Fahrenheit was another ride that you have to try because of the crazy incline on the way up followed by a 97-degree incline drop leading into corkscrews and twists and turns.

Ferris wheel at Hersheypark

If you have younger kids or you don’t like thrill rides, you will still find plenty of rides that are fun for the whole family.

Turkey leg at Hersheypark

Meals at Hersheypark

We ate at two different restaurants during our visit. For lunch, we ate at the Springcreek Smokehouse.

We wanted to get some protein after eating a lot of carbs for breakfast and they are smoking the meats right in front of you.

For dinner, we ate at the Gourmet Grill so that everyone could choose options from Mediteearn, Italian, and Southwest menu items.

For large families, a great option is to share a giant bucket of seasoned fries from Chickie’s & Pete’s.

There are All Day Dining ticket add ons available where you can select your choice of one entree and one side, all day long at more than 10 locations throughout the park. (Meals must be 90 minutes apart)

BBLz Hersheypark

If you want a unique drink experience, check out BBLz where you experience soft drink mixology in a new way.

The drink station was unfortunately not open during our visit but the drinks look really fun.

monorail at Hersheypark

The Monorail and the Skyview

The Monorail is a great ride if you want to get off your feet for a bit and see an overview of the park.

skylift at Hersheypark

The Skyview is an aerial round trip gondola ride.

Both rides take you back to where you began your ride and do not let off any other locations.

Our Friends from the Sea Hersheypark

Entertainment at Hersheypark

We typically don’t go to many shows if we are visiting an amusement park for only one day. We did stop for one show during our visit for the “Our Friends from the Sea” show…because sea lions and seals are adorable.

The show was both entertaining with the sea lions and seals demonstrating their training.

Hersheypark does offer a lot of shows throughout the park in case you want to break up your rides and relax for a bit.

outside Howard Johnson by Wyndham Harrisburg

Where to stay near Hersheypark

Howard Johnson by Wyndham Harrisburg,PA

473 Eisenhower Blvd, Harrisburg, PA

We used to find a hotel in the area.

We didn’t want to spend a lot because we knew that we would be arriving late and leaving early to maximize our time at Hersheypark.

room at Howard Johnson by Wyndham Harrisburg

We spent 2 nights at the Howard Johnson by Wyndham Harrisburg. We were fortunate to stay in the newly renovated rooms.

extra sink Howard Johnson by Wyndham Harrisburg 1
Howard Johnson by Wyndham Harrisburg room

Our room had a mini fridge, microwave, and an extra sink outside of the bathroom which made it easier for our family to get ready in the morning.

The hotel was located less than 20 minutes from Hersheypark and it came with complimentary breakfast.

The breakfast had a large assortment of carbs from waffles to cereal but there was no fruit or protein on the bar in case you have special dietary needs.

adventure mom at Hersheypark

We really enjoyed our visit to Hersheypark. It was definitely a sweet adventure all around.

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What you need to know for your first visit to Hersheypark in Hershey PA

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