This is a sponsored post
It’s no secret that my 9 year old, Thomas, loves amusement parks. He’s a thrill seeker who loves a good adrenaline rush and has never met a roller coaster that has intimidated him. So when Pepsi asked if we might be free to join them at HersheyPark for Memorial Day weekend, Thomas wanted to know how soon we could leave.
Despite living in the DC Metro Area and being just two hours away from Hershey, Pennsylvania, we’ve only ever been to Hershey to visit Chocolate World once. We stared longingly at the roller coasters from the other side of the fence as snowflakes fell, vowing we’d come back and go as a family. But this time a mother-son weekend was in order since the other two members of our family were camping and just like we did that winter when we vowed to come back, we left saying that we must visit again soon- this time with the whole family.
Opened in 1907 by Milton S. Hershey as a place for his employees, Hersheypark became an amusement park in 1971. Today this 120 acre theme park includes 70 rides and attractions, the newest roller coaster being Laff Track, an indoor roller coaster that is mostly in the dark except for the black lights and neon.
9 Reasons to Visit Hersheypark
Having ridden almost all the rollercoasters and enjoyed a full day at The Boardwalk, Thomas and I wanted to share our 9 reasons why you should plan a trip to Hersheypark this summer!
1. Unplugged Summer Fun
If you feel like you’re always harping on your tweens and teens to put down their phones, there’s no better reason to go unplugged than a day at Hersheypark. There’s so much to do that your kids won’t be tempted to be on their phones as they navigate from ride to ride. Sure, they may want to peek at their phones to check the free Hersheypark app (iOS and Android) for park maps, ride information, and wait times to help you be most efficient during your visit but chances are your kids won’t want to take their phones on rides where there’s a high risk of them flying out of their hands or pockets.
2. Age Appropriate Adrenaline Rushes
Hersheypark has rides for every age. Upon arrival, check your child’s height at the Official Measurement Stations to determine what candy category your child falls under to see what they’re eligible to ride. Signs at each ride entrance list what height categories are eligible and the candy brands make it easy for kids to spot what rides are just right for them. You can also measure your child at home to see what rides are just right for them by checking the Are You Ready to Ride page. Once you know what candy brand your child is, you can find roller coasters, water rides, family rides, and kiddie rides that are just right for them.
3. Alternative to Adrenaline Rushes
Every Hersheypark ticket comes with admission to ZooAmerica, an 11 acre zoo that’s adjacent to Hersheypark. Stroll through at your leisure to see over 200 animals from five different regions in North America or plan your visit around animal meet and greets with naturalists.
4. Splash and Slide at The Boardwalk
Nothing beats a hot summer day than time at a water park and Hersheypark’s The Boardwalk has plenty of cool relief for the hottest days. There’s the Intercoastal Waterway’s 24,000 square feet of relaxation, the thrill of dropping into the Whirlwind’s funnel, feeling of conquering the Waverider, bobbing lazily in the sun while enjoying The Shore, trying to decide between Hydro, Pipeline, and Riptide, waiting anxiously for the giant bucket to dump its contents on your head at East Coast Waterworks, and so much more to enjoy.
If you’re planning on visiting The Boardwalk, bring your own towel and be sure to head straight over to the lockers to rent one for the day since they do sell out. We were big fans of the wristbands that you could get for each family member. I loved how the bar code unlocked a locker in the area where we decided we wanted our stuff to live for the day (we liked the area right by Sandcastle Cove because it was central and had bathrooms and changing rooms nearby) and Thomas and I could each go to our locker on our own without worrying that prying eyes were reading the numerical code over our shoulder.
Locker rentals are $15 for small ones or $20 for large ones and we found that the $15 locker was perfect for our towels, sunscreen, shoes, water bottles and other assorted belongings but if you have a bigger family and more stuff, go large!
5. 12+ Hours of Fun
During the summer months, Hersheypark is open from 10 am to 10 pm for 12 whole hours of fun! If your family likes to get to the parks early and stay late, there are definitely advantages to being there when the mid-day day trip crowd hasn’t arrived yet and lines are shorter. Also, if you stay on-property at The Hotel Hershey, Hershey Lodge, or Hersheypark Camping Resort, you can enjoy 1 hour early access to select rides!
6. Allergy Friendly, Vegetarian, and Kosher Food Options
Being able to customize food choices when traveling as a family to meet everyone’s needs is important but especially to those who have food allergies, sensitivities, and dietary restrictions. I was pleased to see The Outpost, an allergen friendly eatery that offered gluten, nut, dairy free, fish and shellfish free, kosher, and vegetarian options for guests. Made to order items are widely available throughout Hersheypark. A whole list of specialty food items and where to find them can be found on the Allergens page.
For those who like to customize their beverages, visit the Pepsi Spire digital beverage fountain in the merchandise shop at the exit of Lightning Racer.
With a sleek touch screen, thirst park guests can choose ingredients to make hundreds of different beverage combinations at your fingertips. Even if you’re not thirsty, it’s fun to watch as Pepsi Spire pours up to three flavor shots at once into favorite drinks like Mountain Dew, Pepsi, or Brisk Iced Tea.
7. Good Excuse to Satisfy Your Chocolate Fix
Since you’re at Hershey, there’s no shortage of chocolate! Fudge, funnel cakes, whoopee pies, and s’mores are just some of the treats you can sample during a day at Hersheypark and there’s always the opportunity to stock up on favorites at the various shops throughout the park. Of course, you can always exit the park (be sure to get your hand stamped for re-entry!) and venture to Hershey’s Chocolate World which is a short walk beyond the park gates. These ice cream sandwiches were actually enjoyed at Pool Side at The Hershey Hotel.
8. Fun Photo Opportunities
Throughout the park are some fun photo opportunities that will get even the most surly tween or teen smiling. Look for frames and fun house mirrors throughout the queue as you wait for Laff Track and snap a photo of your family’s extra long legs, grab a photo with one of the Hershey characters, or find the PepsiMojis that are throughout the park as part of a new global PepsiMoji campaign. Tag your photos with #HersheyParkHappy and #SayitWithPepsi for a chance to be featured on the #HersheyParkHappy site! Thomas and I were featured three times on the site throughout our visit! The kind people behind #HersheyParkHappy let me know to look for my photo by commenting on my Instagram photo or tweeting me!
9. One Price Admission
When you buy a ticket to Hersheypark, you don’t have to worry that you have to budget extra for the in-park add ons because there aren’t any. The one price admission policy provides all access to the rides, attractions, entertainment, as well as admission to The Boardwark and ZooAmerica.
Before you go, also visit their Ways to Save to find discounts for season passes, multiple day packages, meal deals, savings for members of the military, and more. If you stay at The Hotel Hershey, Hershey Lodge, or Hersheypark Camping Resort, your VIP benefits include the best price on seasonal Hersheypark tickets in addition to other perks that can be found here.
I was invited to visit Hersheypark by Pepsi who provided park admission, accommodations, and meals during our stay and has compensated me for this post and hosting a giveaway. All opinions are my own and based on personal experience.