Not far from Hersheypark in Pennsylvania is another family attraction, the Hershey Story Museum. With floors of interactive fun, exhibits kids can touch, classes to make chocolate, and more, the Hershey Story Museum is one experience after another where my family of five created our own story of family fun.
Hershey Story Museum, a Delicious Thing to Do in Hershey
In Hershey, PA on Chocolate Avenue, is a museum dedicated to telling the story of Milton S. Hershey and the town that bears his name. The Hershey Story Museum offers three floors of exhibits and interactive activities that make learning about chocolate fun. It’s a Hershey attraction that will make for a sweet side trip from Hersheypark for children and adults.
Eye the Xplor-O-Scope
The 15-foot Xplor-O-Scope was there welcoming us in the Hershey Story Museum’s main lobby. With a 40-inch touchscreen, levers, and rollers, it called to my 12-year old boy, curious to see just what this gadget does. With a little give and take between the machine and boy, he knew what areas he most wanted to explore at the Hershey Story Museum.
Search for Artifacts with Scavenger Hunt and I-Spy Games
Hershey Story Museum staff members were ready to make our day of exploration a day of play. We were given a guide that transformed my boys from ordinary museum guests into detectives. My 12-, 10-, and 8-year-old boys went on the hunt for clues to find a rabbit mold, a book that was old, a shimmering jewel from Mr. Hershey’s collection and other museum treasures.
Their travels took them from one remarkable exhibit to the next in search of artifacts gathered over Milton Hershey’s life. We did not have enough time to see all the Hershey Story Museum exhibits, but the ones we did left a favorable impression on us.
Failures to Fortune Exhibit, Where Failure is Learning
In the Failures to Fortune exhibit, my family and I learned how Milton Hershey got started. His story is one of trial and error and one that we all learned from. From perseverance and hard work can come sweet rewards.
It’s a lesson my growing boys needed to hear.
We walked from one spot to the next, starting with Milton’s birthplace and ending with the Hershey Chocolate Factory, all located on the same floor. With the I-Spy guide in hand, my boys searched for each item on their scavenger hunt list and then we discussed the significance of it in Milton Hershey’s life.
Discover How Sweetness is Crafted in Sweet Innovations Exhibit
What is it that makes Hershey chocolate different from other chocolates? What other products are made from Hershey’s cocoa? The interactive displays in this area were inviting and inquisitive with trivia questions that tested all of us. Answer a question. Press a button. Panels move to reveal windows that display interesting memorabilia and reveal if we were correct in our answers.
We did okay. My husband did the best.
Power of Promotion
In the Power of Promotion exhibit, we observed what early Hershey advertisements looked like. Before TV screens, iPads, and radios, how did Hershey attract buyers? It was amazing to see the artwork and storefront displays that are rarely seen today. My 10 year old was surprised to read that chocolate can have health benefits beyond being yummy to eat. We all had fun studying the timeline to see when our favorite Hershey products were first created.
Experience Factory Life Working for Mr. Hershey
In an exhibit area off the main floor of the Hershey Story Museum, we were greeted by a Hershey factory recruiter. Dressed nicely as a shift supervisor, he invited us in and encouraged us to come work in the Hershey factory. Making chocolate, how could we say no?
We were each given a New Worker Training Card. We were assigned four training stations: roasting, refining, knock out, wrapping. After each training activity, our cards were embossed. We successfully completed our training. Our supervisor determined the job each of us would get and our pay rate.
Special Events and Programs
- Chocolate Lab classes are held once or twice a day. While we missed out on these classes to make chocolate, you won’t want to. Ask about them when you arrive and get your tickets early. Think about the delicious fun you can have when you get to make your souvenir. Although, we can’t promise your chocolate will make it all the way home. If you know what I mean, wink wink.
- Tastings: Chocolate from Around the World sessions are another Hershey Story Museum activity offered twice a day. Teach your kids about comparing and contrasting by tasting chocolates like fruity ones from Africa or sweet ones with caramel from Indonesia. What a delicious lesson that will be.
- Have an epic indoor snowball fight! During our visit, we were surprised to learn that Hershey Story Museum hosts indoor snowball fights on select days. Our visit was one of those days! There was no way I was missing out on my boys burning off some energy. Before starting, the rules were explained. Only the kids could play. One kind of whistle meant stop, another meant they could start again. Soft white pom pom balls were used as snowballs.
As my 8-year-old son engaged in the snowball fight with other kids, I couldn’t help but laugh. Snowballs flew from kid to kid. Other drifted down from the top level. I looked around and the laughter of parents and kids filled the air. What a joyful way to get out those wiggles before we all gathered back in the car to head home.
More Resources and Articles to Help You Plan Your Hershey Family Vacation
- For the Hershey Story Museum’s hours and admission rates visit their site.
- You can view more of our pictures from the Hershey Story Museum in our Facebook album here.
- Marina Kuperman Villatoro’s article about What to Do in Hersheypark and How to Make it Fun for Everyone
- For information about Hersheypark lodging options here’s help.
- Consider camping in one of the Hershey cabins. Read about my experience in Our Sweet Stay at Hersheypark Camping Resort
- Jennifer Greene’s article about Enjoy a Sweet Escape at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey, PA