Hershey, Pennsylvania, is best known for its chocolate and has earned its nickname as the Sweetest Place on Earth. This sweet city is just east of the state capital and combines the charm of a small town with the thrills and excitement of a vacation destination. There are many things to do in Hershey to satisfy adrenaline chasers, nature lovers, and anyone with a sweet tooth. Whether you're looking for high-paced thrill rides or a small town tour complete with chocolate tasting, Hershey has a lot to offer.
Hershey's Chocolate World is a must-see. Chocolate is what the town is known for, and this immersive experience is one that kids and adults of any age will love. Take a ride through the chocolate factory and learn how cocoa beans are transformed into world-famous chocolate, make your own candy bar, learn how to become a chocolate taster, and stuff your own Reese's cup. You can also try a wide range of chocolate-based foods in various restaurants, including ice cream, baked goods, and beer and wine.
There are many reasons to love the Chocolate and More Sweet Treat Trail. Download your bingo card and head to the participating shops for special treats and prizes. Obviously, you'll find plenty of chocolate goodies, including cupcakes, crepes, ice cream, and donuts, but there are many other things to try, too. Enjoy a coffee, buy some bread and preserves to take home, and even decorate your own cakes and cookies.
ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park is one of the most fun things to do in Hershey, especially if you're an animal lover. This sizeable 11-acre park is home to over 200 animals divided into five regions. Stop by Big Sky Country to see the mountain lion and American elk, or visit the black bear, river otter, and white-tailed deer in the Eastern woodlands. Other habitats include the great Southwest, Northlands, and southern swamps.
Indian Echo Caverns, just outside Hershey, is one of the region's most unique ways to immerse yourself in nature. The limestone caverns date back more than 440 million years, and the formations and lakes throughout the tour are something to see. There are a lot of other activities available on-site, too, including a petting zoo, playground, and picnic area.
Originally, Hersheypark was a public green space established as a gift to the workers of the chocolate factory. Since then, it's grown significantly into one of the biggest attractions in Hershey. There are rides and attractions for people of all ages, including waterslides, roller coasters, train rides, and bumper cars. When you need a break from the thrills, play some carnival games or find the strolling brass brand for some musical entertainment. Plenty of sweet treats are available, as well as BBQ, sandwiches, and fast food options.
Swatara Creek is another excellent way to spend the day exploring Hershy's natural surroundings. The creek is 45 miles long, with launch points within a five-minute drive from downtown. If you don't have a kayak, stop by Cocoa Kayaks to rent one, then head off down the beautiful waterway. The average depth of the creek ranges between one and three feet, and the current is usually gentle, so it's a great experience for novice kayakers, as long as the waterway isn't swelling with rain.
Another great way to explore this idyllic town is the Hershey Trolley Works. These relaxing and entertaining rides will give you a unique view of the area where talented conductors give you a detailed history, interesting facts, and cool details, like the kiss-shaped street lights. Multiple experiences are available throughout the year, including Trick or Treat and Christmas-themed tours.
The Antique Automobile Club of America Museum is affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution, and it's an excellent stop for anyone, whether you're a car enthusiast or not. This museum is home to nearly 100 vehicles showing the automotive industry's history, with the oldest cars dating back as far as the 1890s. You'll see trucks, buses, classic cars, and many hands-on exhibits demonstrating how the industry evolved. The museum also hosts special events; you can even book an appointment to ride in a Model T.
The Lake Tobias Wildlife Park offers multiple ways for visitors to get closer to the animals. More than 500 animals roam the rolling hills of this park. You can take the safari in your own vehicle by following the marked path in the cooler months or hop on the converted bus in the summer to take the tour with a guide. There are also zoo exhibits, a petting zoo, and catch and release fishing at the lake. You can even stop by the baby animal program and spend some time socializing with one of the youngsters the park staff is caring for.
Hershey Gardens is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Hershey. These stunning botanical gardens cover 23 acres and contain multiple themed areas. The Children's Garden and Hoop House are perfect for kids interested in gardening and stop in the Butterfly Atrium to see dozens of rare butterfly species from around the world. There's also a Japanese garden, rose garden, seasonal display garden, oak grove, and conservatory. The park opened in 1937 as a simple rose garden and has grown into one of the most beautiful spots in the region.