Originally we had planned the trip to be a weekend trip but the more we thought about it the more we thought that we could probably cover all the things to do in Hershey in a day, if we didn't do the theme park. At this point in our children's lives they are pretty small so we thought it probably wasn't worth it, plus the Mr. and I are not really theme park people (Disney being the only exception). We packed our bags and headed down to Hershey the second weekend of May, you would have thought the weather would be cooperating by then, ha! It went from cold, then to hot, then to cold and rainy, making it pretty difficulty to plan attire. I have quickly learned that you should pack for all seasons when walking out the door here, in the blink of an eye you will need a coat or a bag to put your coat in!
We started our day off at the Hershey Welcome Center. Apparently, people use to come from all over the world to visit the actually factory but so many people were coming that the factory just couldn't hold everyone, so they built the Hershey Park Welcome Center. The park is adjacent to the Welcome Center so if you are planning a trip everything is literally right there. The Welcome Center is where you learn about the making of those delicious candy bars from bean to shelf. They just revamped the tour and it is actually very cool. It pretty much is a ride like "Its a Small World" at Disney. You can sit back and relax and it takes you through the chocolate making process step by step. At the end of the ride you get none other than a Hershey chocolate of some sort, we ended our tour with a Kit-Kat.
The Welcome Center has a huge shopping area, literally its almost impossible to get out of their without buying something. You can purchase a 5 lb. bag of any Hershey product(tempting I know). There are also several restaurants, mainly desserts! Don't forget the character chocolates, Elin refused to take her picture with any of them, but Baylor thought they were pretty cool.
The first room you enter has little touch screens where you pick your ingredients. You can pick from 3 different flavor bases (milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate), then you can pick what goes inside, which I got the impression that those ingredients change frequently. Baylor and I picked a dark chocolate base with rice krispies, milk chocolate morsels, and cookie crumbles. Elin and the Mr. went with a white chocolate base, chocolate morsels,cookie crumbles, and sprinkles on top.
The next room is where you watch your candy bar come together. You don't actually make the candy bar it just a little assembly line. The base comes out, it is filled with whatever you picked, and then covered in milk chocolate. The one disappointment we had was that we were expecting the entire bar to be made out of whatever chocolate we picked, but that was for the base only the bar was covered in milk chocolate (don't get me wrong it was still good, but I do love dark chocolate).
The next room is where you design your cover. Again it is a touch screen and you can pick whatever color or text you want on it. Then you wait for your bar to get packaged up and ready to take home! The whole experience takes about 45 minutes and it was definitely Elin's favorite part of the trip.
The trolley ride was by far our favorite thing that we did. At least for the Mr. and I. Elin and Baylor took a nice little nap. The trolley started at the Welcome Center and went all around Hershey, PA. It was a guided tour of Hershey, and we learned so much not only about the town but about Milton Hershey himself. He was a pretty awesome guy. I will not share all the details of the trolley ride because it is truly an awesome excursion that I hope one day anyone reading this can experience. You will have a new found appreciate for purchasing any Hershey product.
Important things to note:
1.) Parking is more expensive the longer you stay, crazy I know but it is honestly better to go do something for a few hours leave for lunch and come back.
2.) The park is really more geared towards older kids, lots of roller coasters.
3.) You can book all your tickets online and save a dollar or two.
We loved being able to check Hershey off our list, it is truly the sweetest place on Earth. We aren't done with Pennsylvania yet, we will be back soon!