Hershey: Chocolate World, Hershey Story, Hershey Gardens, and the Hershey Lodge

This is my eighth post about our adventure traveling through Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. You can find the first post from this trip here and links to all the other educational US travel our family has done here

Because I blog about educational travel, I received free admission tickets, discounts, media rates, and other benefits for some of the hotels and attractions we visited throughout the trip. Many attractions we toured are free to everyone. I paid full price for the rest. This has no bearing on my reviews. Everything I'm sharing is something that I whole-heartedly recommend. If you notice any gaps in my narrative, it is because I didn't love a particular hotel, attraction, or restaurant enough to recommend it to you, regardless of how much I paid or didn't pay.


Hershey, Pennsylvania

I grew up making frequent visits to the (now-defunct) Hershey Chocolate Factory in Oakdale and had always wanted to visit Hershey, Pennsylvania. It only took until age 45 for me to make it there! It was totally worth the wait. Because we were there on weekdays during the off-season, Hersheypark was closed, but we found plenty of fabulous chocolate-themed things to keep us busy and fully entertained. Our first destination, Hershey's Chocolate World, was incredible.

First, I should mention that my brother-in-law had a business trip in Pennsylvania in mid-October and would be bringing his family along to sightsee. So my sister and I arranged our travels so that our families could meet up for three days in Hershey. My parents joined us as well. Here's the happy group (minus Steve, who is taking the photo). In the back row, my brother-in-law Brian, my mom, my nephew Timothy, and my dad. In the front row, me, my sister Kari, my niece Allison, and Trevor. We're at the Chocolate Tasting Experience. It was fascinating to learn how to properly taste chocolate and to hear what fellow participants tasted and how it compared with the experts.

We loved the Hershey's Chocolate Tour and learned a lot about the journey from cocoa bean to finished product. The free chocolate bar at the end of the ride was a fun bonus! 

We donned special glasses for the 4-D Chocolate Mystery. The animation and special effects were great fun. DCA fans: Picture it as a mash-up between It's Tough to Be a Bug and Turtle Talk with Crush

My favorite thing at Chocolate World was Create Your Own Candy Bar. After donning aprons and hairnets, each of us used a computer to design our ideal candy bar.

You start with a base of dark, milk, or white chocolate, then select your mix-ins. Then it's off to the assembly line, where you can watch as your bar travels down the line to each station. 

There were signs showing whose bar was at each station. It was really neat. 

As the bars cooled, we used a different set of computers to design the wrapper. Below are the nine bars that our family made. Mine is made of dark chocolate with pretzels, toffee bits, and chocolate cookie pieces, and rainbow sprinkles on top. Yum!

We ate at the excellent food court at Chocolate World. Many of their dishes, including savory items, feature chocolate or other Hershey flavors. Check out the menu! We spent a long time browsing through Hershey's Largest Candy Store. I could pretty much live there. 

The Hershey Story is also a must when visiting Hershey. It's a great way to learn about Milton Hershey and the history of the town he founded.  

Do not miss the hands-on Chocolate Lab! 

We learned all about chocolate and made our own bars using a mold we got to take home with us. So fun!

The museum had a really neat exhibit called Chocolate Workers Needed where visitors try their hand at all the skills a chocolate maker would need in the early 1900's. 

After successfully completing each skill, the foreman offers you a job that best matches your skill set. 

I'm all set to go in the Knock-Out Department. My job is to whack the back of the molds to get the bars out without breaking them. For this task, I'll be earning 9 cents an hour. 

We timed our visit to Hershey Gardens perfectly. It rained while we were at Chocolate World and The Hershey Story, but we had a gorgeous day at the gardens.

There are 23 acres of gardens...

... and beautiful views of Hersheypark and the rest of the town. 

There were also some excellent places to take photos. 

We stayed at the beautiful Hershey Lodge

Some of its amenities were closed because it was the off season, such as tennis and mini golf, but the indoor pool complex was awesome enough to keep the kids entertained for hours each day. Here's Trevor trying to make his way across the Reese's Water Walk without falling. 

Trevor divided his time between little cousin Allison and big cousin Timothy. He adores them both. 

We ate dinner at The Bear's Den one night and it was fantastic. Start with the Bavarian hot pretzels. You will not regret it.

Hershey Lodge has a handy Official Height Measurement Station for guests who would be visiting Hersheypark. Even though it was closed, we measured ourselves and learned that Trevor is Hershey Bar (almost Twizzler!), I am Jolly Rancher, and Steve is tall enough to be off the chart.

On Monday, I'll tell you about the other things we did and places we visited while we were in the Hershey area. 


  1. Bummer the park was closed!! But that place looks AWESOME!!!!! We have visited the large Hershey store in LV, but it is A LOT smaller then this place!! LOL!!!!

  2. I've always wanted to go to Hershey. I didn't realize there was so much more there than the amusement park! Thanks for sharing.


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