Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Peach Loop. Today we are exploring regional theme parks. Lots of fun can be found locally!
Family Adventure – Hersheypark
While many people focus on a trip to Walt Disney World for that ubiquitous family summer vacation, remember there are many great regional theme parks out there! Over the years, I’ve been to several. Sadly, some of the regional theme parks I enjoyed as a kid and young adult are no longer open, like Dogpatch USA in Arkansas and Celebration City in Missouri. Some, like Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri, are still welcoming guests with fun new rides. One of our local regional theme parks in Pennsylvania, Hersheypark, offers a great place for family adventure with a sweet theme!
One of the first things you will see as you wind your way back through Hersheypark to find the roller coasters is this group of signs. The signage in Hersheypark is very good, but don’t forget to grab that park map when you come in through the gate.
One of the biggest complaints about Hersheypark that I hear from those who frequent Disney parks is that Hersheypark is not on a hub and spoke layout. The topography of this park doesn’t lend itself to a hub and spoke layout. Pennsylvania has quite a few hills, so make sure you are ready for an up and downhill hike. You will get a work out.
Like some other parks, Hersheypark is all about the characters! There are plenty of meet-and-greets with some really SWEET characters, and there are even a few dance parties with characters. I’ve seen a few of these characters sign autographs, so be sure to take your autograph book with!
Let’s start with rides… There is a wide variety of rides at Hersheypark, and they are even adding a new ride in 2017! When you first come into the park, there are a few “carnival” type rides. All of us love to grab a ride on the Tilt-a-Whirl.
Of course, if you are a roller coaster fanatic, there are 13 roller coasters at Hersheypark. So, if you are looking for a roller coaster race on Lightning Racer or looking to take a few cork screw turns on Storm Runner, you will definitely get your chance! Our favorite is Laff Trakk, the new roller coaster that opened in 2015. Our second favorite is actually a tie between Lightning Racer and the Comet. Both of these roller coasters are wooden coasters.
One of my favorite rides to go on is the ferris wheel. It is amazing to see the park from the top of the ferris wheel. It’s something to see the Boardwalk area (water park) in the middle of the roller coasters.
What is a trip to a theme park without a few snacks along the way? Here are a few of our favorites: Kettle Corn, Nathan’s cheese fries, and Makin’ Whoopie whoopee pies. There are plenty of places to grab either a snack or a full meal.
Hersheypark strives to offer food that is allergy-friendly. You can find out more about their allergy-friendly options and locations on the website. My favorite ways to look for food is by using the Hersheypark app. By looking at the food and beverage section of the app, it is easy to see what locations have allergy-friendly options.
A great money saving option at Hersheypark is the souvenir cups. Refills are 99 cents (cheaper if you have a season pass). Hersheypark sells Pepsi products, and there are three locations in the park that have the Pepsi Spire machines. I love all the combinations I can make at the Pepsi Spire machines, and there are a few that Hersheypark dreamed up and added as options to the machine.
Of course, there are some “carnival” style games. At some of them, each player gets a prize. Most of them, though, do not. They are fun, though. I’m glad there is a discount on game tickets with our season pass, or the kids would bankrupt me with games.
At many theme parks, when it starts to rain, people pick up and leave. We’ve had a couple of trips where we had a great time waiting out the rain in one of the two arcades while it rained. After the rain, we left the arcade and were met with an almost empty park. What fun we had!
I think one of the most fun things we’ve done is to rent one of the cabanas at the Boardwalk. Yes, it does cost extra, but it was so worth it! You can read more about our experience at the cabana here.
While Hersheypark is a “seasonal park”, as in it isn’t open year round, it is open on weekends in the fall leading up to Halloween and also those weekends leading up to Christmas. While we haven’t gone during Halloween, we have gone at Christmastime, and it is a sight to behold with all the lights and even Santa’s reindeer.
There are three resorts that are a part of the Hersheypark resort properties: Hersheypark Camping Resort, The Hershey Lodge, and The Hotel Hershey. We’ve been fortunate to have stayed at all three resorts. Each has its own pros and cons, but one great thing is that there is an option that will fit just about any traveler heading to Hershey, PA.
Hersheypark is loads of fun, but going there includes so much more than just the park. Admission to Hersheypark also includes admission to ZooAmerica. Plus, Chocolate World is right across from the Hersheypark entrance. Not only does Chocolate World have souvenirs and chocolate to buy, but it also has a free ride that was recently updated. While there are several regional theme parks with a few hours of where I live, Hersheypark is my choice for a family adventure!
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!
Here is the map of our Blogorail Peach | Family Adventure | Regional Theme Parks
- 1st Stop – Love Our Crazy Life | Idaho’s Theme Park- Silverwood
- 2nd Stop – Adventureland Pam | Busch Gardens Williamsburg
- 3rd Stop – Trips with Tykes | California’s Great America with Kids: The Complete Guide
- 4th Stop – This Roller Coaster Called Life | Hersheypark
- 5th Stop – Alway Moving Mommy | Spending a Family Day at the Roller Coaster Capital of the World