I know it is predominantly for kids, but so is Disney, and there’s plenty of stuff for grownups to do. Hershey, however seems to cater exclusively to kids.
Would two adults be completely bored there? We like shows, and rides, and the gardens sound nice, and of course we like chocolate, but if everything is going to be oriented 100% towards small people we will probably be bored.
Things it has going for it: it’s waaay cheaper than Disney, and within driving distance of us. Never been, either.
What exactly do you mean by “caters to kids”? You say you like rides - there are multiple excellent roller coasters, two flumes rides, and a good water park. I was there 2 years ago with my kids, and wasn’t bored at all (besides standing in line). There are plenty of little kid rides, but you can easily use up a day with the big rides.
If you want a park worth visiting just to eat, Delgrosso Park is the Holy Grail. Be sure to go on a Spaghetti Wednesday although the regular concession food is also excellent. The park itself is more comparable to a place like Knoebels than it is to Hershey Park. What it lacks in size it more than makes up in friendliness. My mother, my daughter, and I make an annual August day trip to Delgrosso Park. By that point in the season, the summer staff at Kennywood, Hershey Park, Cedar Point and such places has become bored, bitter, and surly. The kids running the rides and stuff at Delgrosso’s are still smiling, pleasant, and polite.
There are golf courses and conference facilities around there. There are nice restaurants.
My understanding was that it was designed to attract business conferences and have things for the non-attending spouse and children to do until dinner. That might be a 70s mentality, but thats how someone explained it to me.
I’ve been there a couple of times in the last few years. There is a lot of adults to do, at least in terms of rides and such. I have season passes to Six Flags America, and I’ve been to Disneyland and Disney World and Busch Gardens with my kids the past few years. I put Hershey Park and Busch Gardens nicer then Six Flags type parks and a slight step down from Disney in terms of how nice it looks.
Hershey has a lot of rides, and some good coasters. I think it was a Skyrush ride that scared the shit out of me, I thought I was going to go flying out of it a few times.
If you’re going to go try and find some Boy Scout/Girl Scout discount tickets as they make it $15-20 cheaper. You’ll not be bored there as an adult.
Within the park there are plenty of adult rides, coasters & such. A decent number of which are “you must be this tall to ride this ride”
Within the town there are a couple of golf courses or the spa; have you ever had a chocolate massage?
Just an impression I got. I just got their catalog and every single picture is of kids. Then, I went to their website, and the first thing it did is ask me for my height. When I put in “over 60” it said “Whoops! You have outgrown X amount of our rides but there are these other things you can do!”
We do love rides, especially me, so we should have fun. Thanks everyone!
Great, I’m sure you’ll have a blast. Some specific advice:
Take everything out of your front pockets before riding Skyrush. The restraints push down on the front of your thighs, which will drive your phone, keys, coins, etc. directly into your femur.
If you’ve got time (and cash), the “Make your own Candy Bar” experience at Hershey’s Chocolate World (right next door, shares the parking lot) is a lot of fun.
The Sidewinder has a very, very slow line, since it’s one of those “forward then backward” coasters and therefore can only run one car at a time. And IMHO, it’s not great, and very likely to give you a terrible headache when you do the loop backwards.
Tidal Force is one of those “you could not get more wet if you jumped in a pool” rides. Be warned.
Here’s a compromise: Hershey’s World on the Las Vegas Strip. It’s just a large Hershey’s store (and it’s across the street from a similar M&M’s store), but if you want shows, you’re in Las Vegas (and, IIRC, there’s a roller coaster pretty much right next to it).
Pup is right. I have little idea what places there are to eat around Altoona because we always go to DelGrosso’s or Jethro’s Fine Italian Cuisine and Ribs.
And so Dick and Bud don’t hunt me down the obligatory commercial for Knoebels.
Now -- all that being said -- as more theme parks go Hersheys may be better without kids than with. It is not anywhere scaled down and themed for kids the way Disney is. The hills and lay-out are more the kind of thing an adult can enjoy just doing a basic "mosey" around and stopping just to watch rides as well as riding them. The scenery is great and compared to something Six Flags the value isn't bad. If parks like that are something you enjoy, you will love it far and above most of the others out there.
Depending on how locked you are towards a date and all, consider looking into the American Coaster Enthusiasts - http://www.aceonline.org/events/ - and consider joining or ask around for a friend who is a member. ACE events include what we call ERT (exclusive ride time) where they let us in early and let us stay late and run a couple rides just for us. Usually coasters but Hershey usually throws in some others as well.
While the food is good there, and the free parking/free entry helps, I don’t think there’s really all that much to do there as an adult without a kid. As terrible as Lakemont is these days, a coaster enthusiast should really head there if only for Leap the Dips (and their other coaster isn’t too bad either.) I’d consider heading to Knoebels instead; the food is almost as good as Bland’s and it’s a better park for adults. They should have their brand new fifth coaster up and running by the 2016 season.
I grew up near it, and would rather go there than any of several parks better known in our area (Six Flags, King’s Dominion, Busch Gardens). It’s closer than Busch Gardens, King’s Dominion was hard to find my way around in (the maps, the time I went, were really badly designed and didn’t contain needed info), and Six Flags seemed kind of dumpy the last time I went (they had electrical problems so bad that almost no rides were working and they were actually giving people refunds).
Anyway, we try to go there every year or so. To my mind it’s better without the kids - no whining, and you can ride any ride YOU want to go on!!
There are quite a few roller coasters at Hersheypark that are NOT kid-friendly. Yeah, they have lots of kiddie rids too, but that’s not their main thing.
You don’t need multiple days for a trip there. If you’re lucky and get there on a day when it’s not too crowded, the lines even for the best coasters aren’t too bad - last time we went was late August 2014 and it happened to be stunningly good, line-wise - not sure why. On a busy day it can rival Disney for lines.
The water park is meh. Sure, if you’re going there anyway, it couldn’t hurt to bring a suit and towel. But there aren’t enough places to sit out of the shade. The lazy river wasn’t open the first time we went and the only attractions were two thrill rides where you had to wait in line for half an hour to get a tube/raft, drag the raft quite some distance, then wait a half hour or more to get on the ride. We gave up.
Since the lazy river opened, I spent a fair bit of time there this last visit and really enjoyed it.
It’s very hilly - you will get a workout walking up and down the hills.
Chocolate World is on the way in (or out) - you go on a ride (indoor - air-conditioned!!) to learn about how chocolate is made. It’s cheesy, but then you get dumped out into a big area where you can find anything even REMOTELY related to their products. Gifts, T-shirts, candy (of varieties you’ve never heard of - some of which is not sold anywhere but the handful of Hershey stores around the country). You can certainly go to Chocolate World without visiting the park - in fact if you’re just going there, you can even park free.
Dutch Wonderland is in Lancaster, not too far away, and as I recall (I went there when I was 5 or 6) it really is kid-oriented. I think it’s owned by Hershey now - not sure if that was the case when I was a kid.
The park is open for short periods of time outside the summer season - e.g. at Christmastime, around Easter, around Halloween… obviously the waterpark isn’t operational then.
The shows are no big deal. I’ve occasionally sat through one, sometimes just to get out of the heat or the rain.
There are certainly other places to visit nearby if you’re going to be in that part of the country. Lancaster (Amish country). Strasburg has a railroad museum and a short railroad ride. Lake Tobias Wildlife Park is north of Harrisburg and fun, though last time I was there with the kids they had a tiger in a too-small cage versus a real habitat and I thought that was not great. Harrisburg itself has a downtown that’s been revitalized since I was a kid, with a nice science museum, and there are boat tours that leave from (if I recall correctly) City Island in the middle of the Susquehanna.
Hotel Hershey is pretty swanky - they opened up a spa there where you can literally bathe in chocolate (well, water with cocoa in it), and they have all sorts of “treatments” that incorporate chocolate. The hotel is spendy but very striking to see from the road (the spa was not yet open the one time we stayed there so I can’t vouch for it).
Oooh - cheap (ish) tickets can be had. AAA might carry them, but what we always do is stop at a local Giant grocery store and buy them there - saves 20 dollars or so off at-the-gate ticket prices. There’s actually a Giant we routinely stop at, on US-15 just as we get to the Dillsburg area (about the farthest part of the metropolitan area as you approach from the south).
Be careful with Leap - its not been getting the care it needs or deserves. In 2014, during an event, it put a lady in the hospital. She was in the car with three other adults and when it hit the bunny-hops at the end it actually bottomed out (track and car contacted the ground) and she cracked a couple things in her back. It’s still a great ride but you need to watch it a couple times and plan your ride.
I could be wrong, parks have been changing hands a lot the past couple years, but I’m pretty sure Dutch Wonderland is owned by the same parent company as Kennywood, Idlewild and Lake Compounce. It’s a sort of split between a pure kiddy-park like Idlewild and their more family/adult Kennywood. Hershey owned it for a few years (2000-2010?) but they really didn’t do anything to change it at all other than possibly renaming the Sky Princess to Kingdom Coaster; I believe that was under their watch.