Hershey, Pennsylvania, a city that gives tourists the chance to explore their senses like never before. From the lurid, growling and howling from the animals of ZooAmerica, to the scrumptious, delectable, and savory sweets and treats of Chocolate World, or even the smell of fresh popcorn and the angelic scent of funnel cake, Hershey tries to give tourists a memorable experience.
The main attraction for Hershey is none other than Hershey Amusement Park. But what about the families that do not want to go to the amusement park? What about the families that need wheelchair accessible services?
Families that need handicap accessible areas will know where to go below.
ZooAmerica is a smaller zoo as opposed to the Philadelphia Zoo, but it is still an attraction for tourists because of the many different sights and sounds that tourists will find there. According to ZooAmerica, it “is a home for more than 200 animals native to the continent of North America.”
The zoo is also completely handicap accessible and gives families room to navigate freely around the park without having to bump into each other. There are also rental wheelchairs available, but you cannot reserve them in advance.
Some of the animals you will see are Roadrunners, Otters, Black Bears, Grey Wolves, Mountain Lions and prairie dogs. All of the exhibits give the tourist the up-close view of the breath-taking colors and majestic nature of some of the animals.
Kids will love the Animal Tales event in September because it gives them a chance to study a different animal every week and involves arts and crafts.
ZooAmerica also has a gift shop at the entrance of the zoo for t-shirts, key chains, bottles, toys and stuffed animals of some of those that inhabit the zoo.
The zoo follows a path structure that has the tourists walk the entire park in a relatively large circle. There are animal experts around to help you and give you more insight of the animals. Each exhibit displays a description of the animal to help the tourist understand the history of the animal.
At certain points of the tour, there are small concession stands for food and drink. This is where tourists will smell intoxicating aromas of freshly popped popcorn, steaming hot dogs, and the sweet and savory smell of homemade funnel cake. All of these scents will make you want to buy some. So, make sure you keep some concession stand money in your pocket.
For North American animal lovers, this attraction would be one to see and experience.
Obviously, there is no secret that Hershey is known for chocolate. It just may be the whole reason some people come to Hershey. If so, go to Hershey’s Chocolate World. Chocolate World is an attraction that focuses on … you guessed it, chocolate.
Chocolate World runs on a very unique ordered and scheduled system, so it is not an attraction that tourists can simply walk through and see everything at once. There are five attractions to Chocolate World including Hershey’s Chocolate Tour, 4D Chocolate Mystery, Create-your-own Chocolate, Chocolate Taste Testing, and Hershey Trolley Works.
The Chocolate Tour is a brief walkthrough within the building that takes tourists on a journey through time that shows the history of chocolate and how it came to be.
The 4D Chocolate Mystery is an interactive movie that has the audience feel as though they are in the movie. Not only that, certain characters within the movie create real-life effects that the audience can smell and feel.
For example, a Twizzler is introduced in the movie, and you can actually smell the sweet scent of the Twizzler. You can feel the spritzes of water beading onto your skin in a certain part of the movie. This very interactive experience puts you right into the movie.
Kids will love this movie because the many interactions keep them engaged. There are times in the movie where the audience has to answer questions out loud, and kids love being able to shout and speak loudly.
Create-your-own Chocolate is a step-by-step attraction that takes you through a series of rooms that gives you options on how to make your own chocolate. This is where imagination comes into play: You can create a candy with a nutty taste, a smooth and creamy taste, a candy that melts like butter in your mouth, the choice is up to the creator.
The taste testing segment is in a small room that lets the tourists taste all types of chocolates and really work the taste buds, finding what tastes bitter, sweet, salty, spicy, maybe even flowery? The tastes are almost endless.
Lastly, the trolley ride takes tourists around the facility and attractions from a bird’s eye view. The luxurious views of trees, grassland, chocolate factories and the enjoyment of the nice breeze with the sun beaming down just enough on you makes for a very comfortable ride.
Once again, these activities are all handicap accessible. Chocolate World also understands that some tourists may have peanut or food allergies and accommodates them so they can experience Chocolate World in its entirety.
All of these activities do not have to be done in order, and tourists don’t have to do them all. Package deals are divided in multiple selections so tourists can pick what they want their day to be. If you just want the trolley ride and the movie, you can do that. Any way you want to plan the day can be done. However, there are preset package deals to choose from too.
Overall, Chocolate World gives you the option of what you want to do.
Hershey, Pa has a range of hotels for families that either want a luxurious stay for a weekend or simply want a 3-star hotel.
According to TripAdvisor, The Hotel Hershey is ranked #2 of 26 best hotels in Hershey, Pa. The Hotel Hershey is situated high atop the town of Hershey and has 276 guest rooms, including 48 cottages, as well as 25,000 square feet of meeting and function space. The 1930’s hotel is a recipient of both the Forbes Four-Star Award and the AAA Four-Diamond Award.
The Hotel Hershey is also one of The Official Resorts of Hershey Park, alongside Hershey Lodge and Hershey Park Camping Resort. Hotel Hershey is fully handicap accessible with free wifi as well. Hotel Hershey has a public pool and also has dining for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night. Hershey Hotel is a luxury hotel for those who don’t mind spending a little bit more money.
Adults will love the luxury spa that is available because it gives them time to relax and enjoy the quietness. The spa is separate from room purchase, ranging from $225-$415. The spa is the ultimate relaxation destination for adults. For five adults, and one child (2 years old), it would cost $260/night, meaning for a weekend, tourists will be looking at $520/night.
For a 3-star hotel with not as many luxuries as Hotel Hershey, Fairfield Inn and Suites is a hotel that many tourists choose. Fairfield is ranked #7 out of 26 for best hotels in Hershey, Pa. Fairfield Inn gives tourists the feel of a home away from home. It comes with all the standard services you would come to expect: TV, cable, beds, room service and the choice to pick a room with a walk-in shower for those who need handicap accessible bathrooms.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night dining is available here. From experience, I can say that the fluffy and savory scrambled eggs, the warm, comforting taste of the muffins the crispy and delicious bacon and the perfectly brewed coffee were some of my favorites at the Fairfield.
There is also a public pool, a gym, and a lounge to relax, and of course, free wifi to keep connected. There is something for everyone!
The cost for one night at Fairfield is roughly $150/night, coming to about $300 for a weekend.
Food & Restaurants:
While you’re at Hershey, you’re going to want to know the best places to eat or to order take out. One place in particular is Devon Seafood & Steak.
The name speaks for itself. According to Devon Seafood & Steak, it is Hershey’s best seafood and top-rated steak that is all cooked over an open wood fire for superior and unique flavor.
They’re known for their meticulously prepared and sourced seafood – procuring the freshest seafood available direct from the most reputable sources based on the day’s catch. They feature the finest cuts of USDA Prime Black Angus Beef only served in the city’s best steakhouses.
Devon’s also has a vegetarian and gluten free menu. For desserts, guests can enjoy carrot cake, Hershey’s chocolate velvet cake, and strawberry/chocolate tortes. There is also an extensive drink, beer, and wine selection.
Devon Seafood & Steak is a common tourist visit while at Hershey, and from experience, it is worth the wait. The shrimp in particular is astounding. Before the food is even delivered to your table, you can smell the loud seasonings, the feel of the steam from the freshly prepared food, and the taste is amazing as well. This restaurant is a great place to go to for those who want to dine out.
For those families that had a long day and would rather have their food delivered to them, then Palermo’s Pizza of Hershey is a recommended place to start.
Palermo’s Pizza has a wide range of food, and a diverse pizza selection. There are multiple choices of toppings including plain, pepperoni, Hawaiian, white tomato, white Romano, veggie and white ricotta.
Dinners include Stromboli, spaghetti, ravioli, stuffed shells, fettuccine, and baked ziti. There is also a selection of hoagies, salads, and burgers, giving guests a wide choice.
From experience, the fettuccine is a great choice for dinner. It comes with a garden salad and bread. The fettuccine is rich and creamy with gooey cheese that smothers the noodles that are cooked with butter.
Personally, it was the best fettuccine I’ve had to date. Palermo’s should be a top option for tourists when wanting delivery or simply want a quick bite for lunch or dinner. It should be added for those who would like to eat inside the restaurant that it is handicap accessible.
What Will it Cost Me?
While everyone’s experience will be different, a luxurious weekend of going to Hershey will cost roughly $1500-2000. This includes the hotel room, tickets for the attractions, food and eateries, gas and gift shops. Again, this could change for a lot of families depending on the options you choose, but no matter what, Hershey will be an adventure worth having.
By Terrell Green. He is a Junior English major in his second semester at Holy Family University.