Hersheypark is one of the best landmarks for anyone with a sweet tooth and a need for thrill rides. This Derry Township, PA attraction has been delighting families for over 100 years – that’s even longer than Disneyland has been! Learn about the rides, attractions, and how to get tickets to visit this sweet destination.
Understanding the Ride Offerings
While Hersheypark is more than just their 70 theme park rides, they are no doubt a huge draw for most guests. But like any theme park, this collection of rides is divvied up into different categories and has differing safety requirements. While there are ample signs about the park, it can be a bit overwhelming to learn them on the spot in the middle of your vacation.
There are two separate ride rankings systems, one noting the level of intensity of the rides, and one that explains the minimum height requirement of riders. The thrill ride level is easy to learn; it’s a basic ranking system valued one through five, “one” denoting a mild children’s ride and “five” being the park’s most intense thrill ride offerings. A “three” may be a mild roller coaster while a “five” would be one with taller drops, speeds, and loops.
The height requirements are themed, and may be a bit confusing to straighten out. Hersheypark uses Hershey candies to represent different height requirements: Miniatures are for riders three feet tall and below; Kisses are riders that are between three feet and three and a half feet tall; Reese’s are riders between three and a half and four feet; Hershey’s are four to four and a half feet; Twizzler riders are four and a half to five feet tall; and Jolly Ranchers are for riders five feet tall and up. By knowing these height restriction differences, as well as the different groupings of rides, it can be easier to chart out your ride plan ahead of time.
Hersheypark operates annually from Easter weekend through the end of the Christmas season. The park also has seasonal offerings, such as special live entertainment shows or different ways to enjoy your favorite rides. In the spring park guests have shows featuring seals in the Aquatheater, as well as comedy magician Chris Linn. In the summer, the park has a Summer Concert Series to enjoy between rides.
During the Halloween season kids can trick or treat in a town filled with sweet residents at Treatown, as well as a flashlight tour of nocturnal creatures with Creatures of the Night at ZooAmerica. Three of the roller coasters have extended operating hours to enjoy at night, and guests can try riding Laff Track in the dark.
Christmas comes alive in full force at HersheyPark. For park goers sad that they’re going to miss out on seeing holiday lights, don’t fret – not only does the park have lights on display, but there’s a separate two mile drive through light display,
Hershey Sweet Lights, surrounding the park. A few of the rides have special holiday theming, and if that’s not enough to get into the Christmas spirit, you can meet nine of Santa’s real live reindeers.
Unlike other theme parks, visitors aren’t required to purchase separate special event tickets. Hersheypark does a great job of remaining affordable and accessible to visitors by including their special seasonal offerings with regular park admission. Tickets are reasonable, but this is perhaps due to the park not being opened every single day. Visitors aged nine to 54 pay $34.95 for a one day ticket, with reduced pricing for seniors, children, and infants to two years of age having free admission. Consecutive park tickets are offered at a steep discount, and multi-day tickets also offer lowering pricing; a three day ticket will run just $63.50.
In addition to affordable ticket prices, season passes are available for the entire calendar year at $170, which works out to the cost of just a few days’ worth of regular admission. This is a great savings for anyone in the area or for visitors who frequent the park. There are also dining and game ticket packages available as well, and event special pricing and group rates.
Adjoining Park Offerings
Possibly the biggest value in visiting Hersheypark is theme park admission also grants admission to the Boardwalk at Hersheypark and ZooAmerica. The Boardwalk is available during the summer season and is a water park which also includes a few of their own roller coasters. ZooAmerica is an eleven-acre walk-through zoo that, unlike Hersheypark, is opened all year. Here visitors can discover over 200 species of North American animals, behind the scenes tours, and other special events. There are separate admission packages available if you only want to experience the zoo.
Hershey’s Chocolate World is also within the immediate area. Because a different company operates Hershey’s Chocolate World, admission is not included in park tickets. However, there are many things to see and do here, and if you don’t want to be stuck going on theme park rides for the entire duration of your trip, it would be a welcomed change to your itinerary.