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Hershey Park tips

Tips for Visiting Hersheypark

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When my son was about 6 years old and my daughter was 4, I took them to their first amusement park. I grew up within five miles of a large amusement park as a kid and spent many days hanging out at the park; honestly, I was jaded.

So when I finally got around to taking my own children, it had been many years since I had been inside an amusement park. Going back was So. Much. Fun. I loved the rides! I loved the park at night! My kids had fun, too. Since then, we go regularly every summer. Our favorite park is Hersheypark. It’s just a two-hour drive from the Washington, D.C. area and is a pretty park with great rides too. Here are our tips for enjoying Hersheypark to the max.

Make a weekend out of it

Although we could make the trip in a day, one very long day, we always choose to spend the night, generally the night before we go to the park. We really enjoyed staying in the center of Harrisburg the last time we were in town, and Hilton Harrisburg offers a great Hersheypark package for the park that includes two adult tickets, breakfast, and free overnight parking.

The best part about going to Hersheypark the night before is that a one-day park ticket also allows you to enjoy the park the evening before from 6 pm until close. I love the park at night: the crowds are lighter, the heat’s less intense, and we’re not tired from being at the park all day. Even better, the parking pass you buy that night will also cover your parking for the next day.

Go high tech

Get the Hersheypark app! The app has several features including a search function, operating hours for various attractions, descriptions of all attractions, and many more. My favorite use for it was to map our way around the park; we could enter in the location we wanted to go and it would show us the route as well as how long it would take to get there.

We also used the feature that shows wait times for various rides. The kids particularly liked checking the wait times. They were fine with wandering around the park, but a short wait time would have them making a beeline to that particular ride. The app is available for Android and iPhones.

Want to get a feel for the park in advance of your visit? You can also get a copy of the park map online, check out the available rides, as well as the all-important height category. My kids always wore their thickest soled shoes to bump up their height category. Reaching the Twizzler stage was a major milestone.

Save some money at Hersheypark

Visiting amusement parks is not cheap, but there are a few ways you can save money at Hersheypark. If park tickets aren’t included in your room package, look for specials online, buy discounted tickets at participating Giant stores or find Hersheypark coupons at Wendy’s.

We also save on food by taking a break in the middle of the day to return to our car for lunch. We pack a big cooler of food and eat our lunch in the small picnic area near the parking lot that Hershey provides. This saves a bit of money and it’s nice to get a break from the crowds. Also remember that you can bring one sealed water bottle per person into the park each time you enter. Save the empty bottle to fill up at the water fountains to stay hydrated without spending any money!

While we’re at the car, we take the chance to change for the water park, leaving as much as possible in our car so that we don’t need either a locker or a designated stuff holder. Locker fees are a bit steep: $15 for a small locker, which really isn’t big enough for a family’s worth of stuff, and $20 for a large locker. Why use a locker when you can use your car?

Finally, stay out of the shops. Nothing good can happen to your wallet when you step into one of the shops. Find another ride with a short wait time instead!

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Hersheypark Ferris wheel photo by Michael Bentley / CC BY 2.0

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Andrea is a single mom in Arlington, Virginia with a 15-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter. Her children took their first trips when they were just four…

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