Visiting Hersheypark is such a fun way to spend time as a family. There are a variety of both slow and fast rides, rollercoasters, shows, arcade games, live entertainment and more, so there is something for everyone to get excited about. I grew up going to Hersheypark whenever we had company in town, and love taking my own kids and family to Hersheypark. Below are some of our best tips and tricks to making the most of your time at Hersheypark.
Check Hersheypark's website and Facebook page to find any current special prices on tickets. These deals often don't last for the entire summer but are a great way to save a few bucks.
Bring sunscreen and shade. Hersheypark does have trees for some shade and sunscreen available for purchase, but your best bet is to bring a bag with your own sunscreen, hats for everyone and a light blanket to pop over any smaller kiddos in a stroller.
The park is stroller accessible, but there are some pretty big hills that can be hard to push a stroller up - especially a double stroller. Stay to the right when on hills and let those traveling faster pass you on the left.
Don't miss ZooAmerica. You can cross into ZooAmerica by the Frogger/Triple Towers area and will receive a hand stamp to allow you to cross the bridge to the zoo. Taking around an hour or so to walk through, the zoo is pretty easy to travel with kids and gives families a glimpse of great animals found in North America.
Outside food and drink are prohibited from the park with the exception of one sealed water bottle per person. There are picnic locations outside the park available near the bathrooms in the tram area to enjoy the food you pack from home. Click here to find out more about Hersheypark's allergy options and availability.
Download the app for the up to the minute updates on ride closures, ride wait times, where to find dining options, and more. We've always found it to be very helpful for finding rides based on height requirements so we know which rides are best for the shorter members of our family.
Be prepared for rain, but don't let a passing shower cancel your fun at the park. The arcades and shows are a great option for when showers are expected. Bring quarters if you're a fan of skeeball or arcade games. Cheap ponchos can be found in the camping section at Wal-Mart or most big box stores and are cheaper than those available at the park for purchase.
Enjoy a preview night to get the most bang for your buck. For most tickets, you can enter the park in the evening the night before you plan to spend the whole day at the park to "preview" the park. It's a fantastic way to hop in line for some of the bigger rollercoasters and to knock some rides off your list.
Enjoy a Sweet Start to your day by entering the park an hour before it opens to the general public by staying at a Hershey Entertainment property or by being a season passholder. You can enjoy the rides and attractions at the front half of the park before everyone else gets to step foot inside.
Bring towels and a change of clothes if you plan to enjoy the water attractions. You'll be happy to change into dry clothes after your day of water fun is over. The Boardwalk area fills up pretty fast from lunch through mid/late afternoon, so get their early if that's a priority for you. There is some shaded spots to sit in the Boardwalk, but those spots go FAST.
Visit Hershey's Chocolate World to enjoy a free ride that shares how Hershey's chocolate is made. You'll also find a food court, shopping area, Create Your Own Chocolate Bar, Hershey's Unwrapped a Chocolate Tasting Adventure, a 4-D movie & more. The ride/tour is free, but the other attractions require timed tickets for entry. Be sure to stop by the bakery and grab a fresh cookie, they're made with Hershey's chocolate and are super delicious. Hershey's Chocolate World is located just outside the main entrance to Hersheypark and is a great way to take a break from the park.
Plan for crowds by arriving when the park opens and visiting Monday - Thursday. While the park is never empty of other people, it starts filling up as the morning goes on and passes into lunch and is busy with groups and families on the weekends. If you're staying nearby, heading back to your hotel for a nap/rest after lunch and coming back to the park in the late afternoon is a great way to beat the crowds.
Keep an eye on the construction as the year progresses. Hersheypark is adding a whole new Chocolatetown, entrance and roller coaster. They're expanding to fill the needs of the families who vacation at the park and have some pretty exciting things coming.
Purchase Season Passes in September of the year before. It's when the prices will be at the lowest - they'll go up bit by bit each month until they reach normal pricing. With your Season Pass you can enjoy a Sweet Hour early admission during the summer season, discounts and free parking.
Use the Kids Swap program if you have a child that's not tall enough or chooses to not ride a ride or if you have one adult that needs to take two kids who need a taller rider with them. Simply let the attendant know you wish to swap and after you return to the station the switch may happen without having to wait in the full line again.
Bring bags to protect your valuable items from rain or the waterpark and to bring wet items home in. Ziplock bags, plastic grocery bags and trash bags are all great options. Pack your change of clothes in the bags coming to the park and use the bags to bring your wet stuff home in to protect all of the other items you brought.
Wear comfortable shoes that strap on your feet. The park is pretty hilly and will have a lot of walking and you'll be asked to remove your flip flops or similar shoes on rides like the Great Bear where your feet hang free during the ride.
Try to park near the tram line bathrooms when possible. This is where the tram will pick you up, will help cut down on your walk across the parking lot and will make it easier to get little ones to/from the bathroom and your car.
Save Skyrush for the afternoon and hit the other big rollercoasters first thing. Since Skyrush is at the front of the park and is the first major rollercoaster most people come across it tends to stay pretty busy in the morning. Head straight to the back and ride the Laff Track, Wild Mouse, Great Bear, Fahrenheit, Lighting Racer or any of the bigger coasters first.
Visit other local attractions. Some of my kids' favorite spots are The Hershey Story, The Hershey Gardens, AACA Museum, Indian Echo Cavern. There is also pretty good outlet shopping located just outside the park if you want some retail therapy.
My kids and family absolutely love Hersheypark and have been season pass holders for six years. Even when I was pregnant and doing the park alone with my two sons it was very do-able and fun. There are nursing rooms available with a rocking chair and air conditioning inside the First Aid center, so we've been bringing my daughter to the park since she was just a few weeks old. We'd put her in the Ergo on my chest and she'd sleep soundly while we walked around and the boys rode everything.
Hersheypark is open during the fall with select hours and a special trick or treat village. It's superbly decorated and a great spot to get photos of the kids in costumes.
Make sure to visit Hersheypark over the winter for Christmas Candylane, a special time to ride select rides, visit Santa, see his reindeer and have some special winter fun.
Springtime at the park is always great for getting to ride some of our favorite rides before the park officially opens for the summer season. There can be a lot of school groups and crowds - especially over Easter weekend or Spring Break, but it's always a lot of fun.
My son and I were guests of Visit Hershey & Harrisburg to facilitate this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.