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I'm Terri and I love to travel with my kids. We have a goal of visiting all 50 states. Learn more...
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Pennsylvania – Hershey’s Chocolate World

While planning our trip to the Mid-Atlantic region last year, we considered both Hershey and Gettysburg as possible stops in Pennsylvania to break up the drive home from the Jersey shore. Gettysburg won. But as we were driving across Pennsylvania in a downpour, I started contemplating how miserable it might be trying to tour a battlefield in the rain. (I hadn’t realized how extensive the indoor exhibits were at that time.) Then, suddenly, I saw an exit for Hershey and made a split-second decision to change the itinerary and add a stop at Hershey’s Chocolate World after all.

Although the town of Hershey didn’t go as far as North Pole, Alaska with its theming, they do have streets named after chocolate and cocoa, and street lights that look like Hershey’s Kisses. This town has a number of attractions named after Milton Hershey, the founder of The Hershey Chocolate Company. You could easily spend a week in Hershey seeing all the attractions, including a garden, a museum, and an amusement park named Hersheypark. The admission for Hersheypark does not make it the kind of place where you spend only a couple of hours. If you want to visit Hersheypark, plan to make it a full day. If you only have a few hours and this is your first visit to Hershey, your destination should be Hershey’s Chocolate World.

Inside Hershey’s Chocolate World are several attractions, one that is free and others that charge admission. Start with the free attraction: Hershey’s Great American Chocolate Tour Ride. This is the closest thing Hershey has to a factory tour. It is like a low-thrill amusement park ride with a simulated factory tour. As an aside, when I used to live in California there was a Hershey’s factory there that gave actual factory tours, but they have since closed that factory. This ride/tour is both fun and informative, and should not be missed. While you are waiting in line, read the displays on the wall that tell some of the history of Milton Hershey and his company.

Hershey History

Then board the ride. Again, this is a low-thrill ride appropriate for all ages.

Hershey's Chocolate World Ride

Not long into the ride, you will be introduced to three singing cows. They sing a catchy tune that will stay in your head for hours.

Hershey's singing cows

I can’t confirm this myself, but one of my daughter’s best friends told us that her sister called one of the cows stupid and the cow replied with a “stupid” of her own. If anyone wants to experiment with this, please tell me the results!

You’ll then be taken through a simulated factory where you learn how cocoa beans are harvested from cacao trees, processed, and turned into that yummy confection. You’ll also see how different Hershey’s products are made and packaged.

Hershey's Chocolate World Tour 2

Hershey's Chocolate World Tour

After the tour, you’ll be given a free sample of chocolate.

Hershey's Free Sample

And that’s about where the free stuff ends. Everything else at Hershey’s Chocolate World is designed to get you to spend money. Other attractions at Chocolate World include a Create-Your-Own-Candy-Bar attraction, a movie (used to be 3D, but they’re changing it to 4D), a Chocolate-Tasting Adventure, a trolley tour through the town, a shop where you can design your own candy bar wrapper, a Dessert Creation Studio, and lots of shopping and dining.

We considered doing one of the paid attractions, but ultimately decided that our money would go further if we spent it in the gift shop and did our own chocolate tasting. The gift shop does not disappoint–it has apparel, merchandise, and, of course, chocolate.

Hershey's Gift Shop

There are lots and lots of fun things to look at and buy. Look at these cute baby items.

Hershey's baby gear

Coffee mugs and ice cream bowls:

Hershey's merchandise

Plush Reese’s cups:

Plush Reese's

And you know you’ve been dying for some Reese’s flip flops, right?

Reese's flip flops

Speaking of Reese’s, there was a really funny coincidence of that day. Remember at the beginning of the day we were headed to Gettysburg, not Hershey. Check out the shirt my daughter happened to wear.

Reese's everywhere

Incidentally, my son happened to wear his Gettysburg Address t-shirt that he had bought in D.C., earlier in the trip. You can see a peek of it in this picture with the World’s Largest Hershey’s Bar.

World's Largest Chocolate Bar

If you like super-mega-giant candy, they also have giant Hershey’s Kisses and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. After stocking up on chocolate, we headed to the food court area.

Hershey's Gift Shop and Food Court

In addition to the bake shop, they had a deli, pizza, hot entrees, and soup in bread bowls. It was a very convenient place to have lunch before moving on to Gettysburg. By then, the rain had stopped, but we had such a fun time at our pit stop in Hershey that I would recommend a stop there whether it’s raining or not.

Ready to Visit?

Hershey’s Chocolate World
251 Park Boulevard
Hershey, PA 17033

Hours vary by season; see website for details

 

This attraction appears in my e-book, How to Visit All 50 States in 12 Trips.

12 comments to Pennsylvania – Hershey’s Chocolate World

  • Many years ago this attraction replaced the real tour of the real factory. We took our kids two years ago thinking it would be the real factory. We were disappointed to not have the real thing but rode the free ride three times, each time collecting our free sample. We also opted to spend our money in the gift shop and not on the other paid attractions. The gift shop was fun to browse. Because my kids were a bit disappointed that we couldn’t tour a REAL factory I did find a real factory in the area that we could tour for free. It was the Herr’s Potato Chip factory about an hour from Hershey. It was a lot of fun and they gave out free samples hot off the line. Those potato chips were the best we ever tasted.

    • Terri

      Oh how disappointing, but I’m glad you found an alternative. I’ve never toured a potato chip factory, but would like to and will keep Herr’s in mind. Sounds yummy! If you’d like to tour a real chocolate factory, there is one in Columbus, OH – the Anthony-Thomas Chocolate Factory. It’s in my book and I just talked about it on TV because they are busy making lots of chocolate bunnies right now for Easter.

  • Hershey’s has always been on my list of places I’ve wanted to visit with my kids. I have to take a picture of one of the Hershey shaped street lights and I’ll be happy. :)

  • I have always wanted to go on this tour….I have never been to Hershey but have friends who have gone and loved it (or their kids did anyway). Thanks for all the great photos – really tells the story well!

  • [...] wanting to tour the Gettysburg Battlefield in the pouring rain, we made a split-second decision to detour to the Sweetest Place on Earth: Hershey, Pennsylvania.  Sometimes the cloud has a silver lining, and other times it’s lined with [...]

  • My kids would LOVE to visit here – the Reese’s display alone would be enough to get them excited! :)

  • OK, so I want that “Pieces Out” T-shirt and a giant Reeses Cup! I HAVE to get up to Hershey Park this summer. I live in DC, so I really have no reason not to. Especially since I have confirmed that it is full of yummy goodness!

  • Reading your post reminded me that I also did this tour because I was chased inside by rain on a visit to the amusement park! Too funny. I was glad that it did rain because we might have missed it otherwise, and it was fun.

  • Beth Rummage

    Thank you for sharing your 12 trips. I look forward to reading your ideas.

  • [...] Our trip to Hershey’s Chocolate World was entirely unplanned.  We were on our way to Gettysburg and it started pouring rain. I wasn’t feeling very excited about touring a battlefield in the rain, and I saw a sign that said Hershey was the next exit, so we made a spur-of-the-moment detour. It was a short, but delicious trip. You can read more about it on my blog, Travel 50 States with Kids. [...]

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