Springtime in Hershey

Hershey Gardens Photo by Joel Shprentz
Hershey Gardens 

In April, we stopped in Hershey, Pennsylvania for a day to break up a road trip from New England to Virginia.  We had visited the amusement park ten years ago, and wanted to explore other three different attractions on this trip.

First up was the free tour of the fake “Chocolate Factory,” because we love corny rides, factory tours, and chocolate!

The Chocolate Factory is a Disney-style animated ride that tells the story of how chocolate is produced from the growing the cocoa beans to producing Hershey Kisses.  On a Saturday morning, we were able to walk right in without a wait. The ride in little carts through the “factory” was lots of fun. The ride ended with a free sample and let us off in a gigantic chocolate gift shop with all manner of Hershey candy.

Chocolate Factory Gift Shop
Chocolate Factory Gift Shop

The cherry trees were at their peak so it seemed like a good day to visit the Hershey Gardens.

Hershey Gardens
Springtime in Hershey Gardens

We liked the Japanese garden the best.  There is also a fun children’s garden where kids can let off some steam.

It was too early for the roses, but the magnolias were in full bloom.

Magnolias at Hershey Gardens
Magnolias at Hershey Gardens

After lunch, we went to the Hershey Museum — which tells the story of Milton Hershey, the industry and town he built, and his charitable endeavors. Of course, we exited through the museum gift shop!

Gift Shop at Hershey Museum
Gift Shop at Hershey Museum

The highlight of our trip was the “Countries of Origin Chocolate Tasting Table” at Cafe Zooka in the museum. You are offered a taste of  six warm drinking chocolates from Tanzania, Ecuador, Madagascar, Mexico, Indonesia and one other country.  The chocolate ranged from sweet milk chocolate to dark chocolate with fruity undertones.  The chocolate was so intense you could really only take a small sip.

Countries of Origin Chocolate Tasting at Cafe Zooka
Countries of Origin Chocolate Tasting at Cafe Zooka
Photo via TripAdvisor

Hershey Trip Logistics

We bought a combo ticket for entrance to the gardens and the museum for $15 per person, with a 10 percent discount for AAA members.

The chocolate tasting was $9.95 — and could easily be shared by several people.

We arrived in Hershey, PA on a Saturday night in April without reservations.  The town was pretty full so we searched for rooms on Hotwire, before bidding $100 for a 2.5 star room on Priceline.  Priceline countered with an offer of a room for $119.  I know never to accept the counteroffer, and that a bid of $110 would probably suffice.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure out how to rebid using the mobile app.

We had also picked up one of those coupon books at a highway rest stop.  There was a coupon for a Comfort Inn and Suites for $69 for a weekend night.  The desk clerk said that due to high occupancy, the coupon rate for that particular night was $129.  I was surprised to encounter such high rates and would advise advance reservations. We did not earn credit or points for our stay, because we were on the “coupon” rate.

A Farm Bed and Breakfast Near Hershey

For the price we paid, we could have stayed at a 200-year-old  farmhouse and inn that caters to families.

When our daughter was five, we visited the Rocky Acre Farm Bed & Breakfast, then under different management.

The farm was a quite respite after a day at the amusement park.  To this day, I remember the breakfast which included oatmeal and fresh broccoli served with butter and brown sugar.

Unlike most country inns, this place welcomed young children and offered lots of entertainment.

They took the kids on a hay ride.  There were tons of farm animals to cuddle and feed.   Kids could:

gather eggs . . .

Gathering eggs

feed the goats. . .

Feeding the Goats

swing on the tree swing…


and jump from the hayloft .

The hayloft
The hayloft

Hershey Park was fun too!

Rolo at Hershey Park
Rolo at Hershey Park
The Carousel at Hershey Park
The Kiddie Carousel at Hershey Park


6 thoughts on “Springtime in Hershey

  1. I live near hershey and everyone in central PA loves to plan celebratory events or go to the amusement parks in Hershey. It never ceases to amaze me how much the Hershey Lodge and other hotels in the area charge for their rooms, and year-long too. I have been to a number of amusement parks and I must say that Hershey Park is a favorite, and has some great rides.

    Next time you’re in Hershey try out the Hershey Pantry. It’s a local favorite. Small restaurant with very limited seating but great food. Be sure to call in ahead of time or prepare to wait in queue.

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