This is part three in a weeklong series filled with tips for making the most of a trip to Hersheypark.
The first post focused on planning your visit, season passes (and why you might want to invest in them), and eating in the park.
The second post focused on tips for The Boardwalk, Hersheypark's waterpark.
Today's post focuses on two areas: doing the park with kids and rides to check out.
This is not a sponsored post. Everything we've done in Hersheypark has been on our own dime. I've never been paid or comped for any visits.
Hersheypark with Kids
Hersheypark offers a free family finder service just inside the gate at the top of the first hill. It's a wristband your kids wear with your cell phone number inside. Show your child the Hersheypark name badge that all employees wear, and tell him that he should find a person with that name badge if he is lost. They will use the family finder band to call you and get you reacquainted with your child.
If your child is between two height categories, you can have her officially measured at the station at the top of the hill just inside the park gates or at the station next to the carousel. They will give her a wristband with her height category on it, making it a little easier to plan what rides are okay. Do keep in mind that the individual ride operator has the final say in whether she can get on a ride or not.
Take advantage of the kid pass. There are two different ways this can work:
- If you have one adult with two kids, both of whom need an adult rider, you can all three get in line together, and one kid can ride with the adult while the other waits on the platform. After the ride, the adult ride again with the second child without going the whole way through the line again.
- If you have a group with one or two members who aren't tall enough to ride, you can all get in line together, and when it's your turn to ride, one or two people stay behind with the little ones while the first part of the group rides. When they return, the little ones can pass through to the first part of the group while the second part of the group rides. Again, you don't have to go through the line twice.
Kids hate to wait, right? Take advantage of the morning and evening times when lines are shorter. The park is always busier in the afternoon, so if you arrive early or later, they'll have to wait less.
My kids love the shows. I'm not sure if this is true for all kids, but mine love the singing and dancing and drumming that happen throughout the park. Make sure you plan to catch at least one or two shows while you're there.
Speaking of shows, the Aquatheater show is a must-see. Animal trainers will show the seals and sea lions and guide them through all kinds of behaviors designed to teach you about these interesting animals. The show is about 25 minutes, and it is always fun. The Aquatheater entrance is near the Trailblazer in the center of the park. These shows are often just in the midday, like 11, 1, 3, and sometimes 5, so you'll want to plan around it when you're deciding where to go and when. Also, go early if you want to sit in the front. (It says Splash Zone, but we've never actually been splashed, and we always sit in the front row.)
Rides for Kids
One of my favorite things about Hersheypark is that the kiddie rides are mixed in with the big people rides and all the other attractions. You aren't stuck in just one area of the park.
The far back corner of the park (near the ferris wheel) is a favorite for our family. The kids love the Granny Bugs and horse and buggy rides (both kiddie rides), and they also love the Music Express, The Whip, and the Merry Derry Dip (a huge carnival-style slide). We also love the ferris wheel, a perfect family ride with room for up to 8 people per gondola. Grace really likes the Lightning Racer, Wild Cat, and Wild Mouse roller coasters, which are also in that section of the park. One thing to watch out for back there is that there are no food vendors back there, so get drinks and snacks before you head up the hill.
Another section that we really like is Kissing Tower Hill. The antique cars are back there (little ones can drive mom and dad), as is the Kissing Tower. The Kissing Tower is a super tall ride that goes up and down and turns around, slowly. It's another good whole family ride. In the same vicinity is the Coal Cracker, a log flume ride which we love (except for Allie who hates it and refuses to get on), the Frog Hopper, Convoy, and an airplane ride (all kiddie rides). When we're in the park late at night, we like to hit this section as there is no line at the antique cars and we can ride over and over and over again. There's lots of food in this section of the park.
On the way back to the entrance from Kissing Tower Hill, you'll pass an out of the way kiddie ride that my kids love. It's never busy, either. I forget the name of it, but it is underneath the bumper cars. It's basically a little rink where littler kids can ride scooters around to their hearts' content. Both of my kids love it. It's simple and not fast, but they love it anyway.
That's all I can think of right now. If I come up with a bunch more tips, I'll create a new post for you.