Hershey Park and Chocolate World, Hershey, Pennsylvania – The Sweetest Place on Earth

Photo credit: Chris Bird, Standby Traveling Mom

No, the stop signs aren’t made of chocolate, but Hershey, Pennsylvania ­is still all about its namesake chocolatier. The sweet chocolate theme spills over into everything. From fun family attractions to shopping, dining, golf, spa, arts and culture – there is something for everyone. Hershey is as unique a destination as Milton S. Hershey envisioned it to be.

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We barely made a “chocolate chip” in all there is to do and see in Hershey, but we did make it to its two biggest attractions: Hersheypark and Chocolate World.

Hersheypark

Hershey Park and Chocolate World, Hershey, Pennsylvania – The Sweetest Place on Earth

Photo credit: Chris Bird, Standby Traveling Mom

With 65 rides and attractions including 12 rollercoasters, 20+ kiddie rides and live entertainment spread over 110 acres, you could easily spend two to three full days at Hersheypark with your family. I’d compare it to a Six Flags with a sweet twist: all your favorite Hershey chocolate products are also walk-around characters. And my grade-school daughter Reagan made sure to get her picture taken with each and every one.

The Boardwalk inside Hersheypark could be a day unto itself with nine water-based attractions. Sadly, the day we visited the most visible of these attractions, the humongous East Coast Waterworks in the center of it all, was closed. It was hard to miss with 7 slides, 2 crawl tunnels, nearly 600 interactive water toys, and more than 54,000 gallons of water gushing through it. But, we still enjoyed the numerous other slides and fun activities that made up the Boardwalk that afternoon.

We didn’t make it to any of the live entertainment shows during our day at Hersheypark, because we’re an “all rides” kind of family, but if you go, there is quite the variety.

Chocolate World

Hershey Park and Chocolate World, Hershey, Pennsylvania – The Sweetest Place on Earth

Photo credit: Chris Bird, Standby Traveling Mom

Plan at least half a day to do all the indoor attractions at Chocolate World, located right next door to Hersheypark. If you’re planning to do the entertaining and educational Hershey Trolley Works ride through Chocolate Town, USA, add an extra hour. Tickets for the trolley are sold inside Chocolate World.

Hershey’s Great American Chocolate Tour Ride is FREE and is a leisurely ride that tells the story of how chocolate is made. The best part of this ride is the free chocolate at the end.

Hershey Park and Chocolate World, Hershey, Pennsylvania – The Sweetest Place on Earth

Photo credit: Chris Bird, Standby Traveling Mom

We all loved the Create Your Own Candy Bar attraction. Don an attractive white hair net and apron (great for the pics alone), pick your chocolate bar flavors and inclusions on a touch-screen, then watch your chocolate bars being made on a conveyer belt. Even more fun is the opportunity to design our own wrappers at the end! Great souvenirs even after you’ve eaten your creation.

Pro tip from Reagan: choosing ALL the inclusions for your chocolate bar may result in a tummy ache.

Hershey Park and Chocolate World, Hershey, Pennsylvania – The Sweetest Place on Earth

Photo credit: Chris Bird, Standby Traveling Mom

Hershey’s Great Chocolate Factory Mystery in 4D is a fun experience for the kids. Reagan immediately fell in love with the heroin, Kiss, and got her picture taken with her later at the Hershey’s Photo Bar Wrapper attraction where you can have your picture put on a candy bar wrapper or bottle of chocolate syrup. We’re still finishing off our bottle of Hershey’s Syrup with Reagan’s picture on it – such a fun souvenir!

At the Hershey’s Kiss Factory, kids get to pretend they’re factory workers filling packages of Hershey’s Kisses that they then get to take home with them – if they last that long.

Other attractions include Hershey’s Chocolate Tasting Adventure and a Character Breakfast. We just couldn’t do it all.

And of course, you can buy anything and everything Hershey’s at Hershey’s Sweet Spot inside Chocolate World. They will even hold your purchases for you if you’re planning to visit Hersheypark after.

Other Regional Attractions just a short drive from Hershey include historic Harrisburg, Gettysburg and Lancaster County, the Heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Your journey starts in Harrisburg, which is now being serviced regularly by low-cost carrier, Frontier Airlines in addition to six other airlines, making Chocolate Town, USA an even more affordable family destination.

To read our full 3-day, family-friendly itinerary for our visit to South Central Pennsylvania, including Gettysburg, Lancaster and Hershey, please visit MamaBirdsBlog.com.