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I spent the weekend in Hershey, PA as part of a media event to learn about some of The Hershey Company’s properties. I received complimentary lodging to facilitate this event. No compensation was received. All opinions are 100% my own.
When you think of Hershey, PA, you might think of a summer destination. Theme parks, at first thought, often conjure images of water parks and hot afternoons riding roller coasters. Hershey does, of course, offer many things to to in the summer months. But you might be surprised to learn about all of the fun things there are to do in the winter as well! Here in the greater Philadelphia area, I have grown very accustomed to hearing the catchy “Christmas in Hershey… the Sweetest Place on Earth” jingle that runs on the television and radio throughout the holiday season. Last weekend I got to spend the weekend exploring many of the Christmas/winter activities that Hershey has to offer.
Check out these 8 Family Friendly Things to do in Hershey, PA at Christmas Time!
1. Hersheypark Christmas Candylane: The theme park that we already know and love during the summer offers exciting holiday-themed entertainment throughout mid-November and December. When you visit Christmas Candylane, you will find a bunch of rides still open (80 rides, to be exact!) including several coasters. Enjoy hot cocoa or perhaps one of their King Sized Candy Milkshakes as you stroll the park. If you happen to visit after the sun goes down (and I highly recommend that you do) you will get to enjoy Christmas Lights EVERYWHERE!! My very favorite is the giant tree topped with a big Hershey Kiss. That tree is located in “The Hollow” where you can see the NOEL show nightly (every half hour from 5 pm to close). This light show features over 200,000 synchronized lights to a variety of different holiday tunes!
You can meet Santa, visit with his reindeer, go ice skating, see the theatrical production “A Music Box Christmas” and more. Tasty snacks are around every corner and some games are open as well. Keep your eyes peeled for some great photo opps as favorite Hershey Characters including Reese’s, Miss Kiss and Hershey Bar can often be found walking the concourse.
2. Chocolate World: Whether you have been to Hershey’s Chocolate World once or fifteen times, it never gets old! Stop in and take the simulated factory tour to learn how some of Hershey’s world famous candies are made. (Hint: EVERYONE gets a sweet treat at the end of this FREE tour.)
Other fun things to do in Chocolate World include seeing a 4D movie and making your own chocolate bar (both for a fee).
Chocolate World also happens to house a MASSIVE amount of Hershey candies and other branded merchandise for purchase in a big retail area!
3. Sweet Lights: Hop in your car and take a short drive down the road from Hersheypark to Sweet Lights. Sweet Lights is a massive drive-thru light spectacular! When you drive through Sweet Lights you can tune your radio to their Christmas station and enjoy the sounds of the season along with the lights.
Sweet lights consists of almost 600 illuminated displays that are set up over a 2-mile driving trail. Stay nice and cozy in your car as you enjoy the beautiful lights!
Check out this video of our recent drive through the entire Sweet Lights display!!
4. ZooAmerica: I cannot believe that I had never visited ZooAmerica until just last week! In fact, when you purchase admission to Hersheypark, your admission includes entry into ZooAmerica. (If you’re not visiting the park you can purchase a separate ZooAmerica admission ticket.)
ZooAmerica is a fantastic destination for animal lovers young and old. It sits adjacent to HersheyPark and features 11-acres of zoo to explore. This zoo houses animals that live in North America and highlights 5 distinct habitat regions. I loved learning that many of the animals in ZooAmerica are rehabilitated and many of them would not have survived if they had been left in the wild.
5. Hershey Gardens: Even when the last rose petal has fallen outside, there is still lots to see, which is why Hershey Gardens is open year round! During the winter months, visitors can talk a “Winter Walk” which, according to their website:
“Winter Walk” at Hershey Gardens is a celebration of the gifts of nature during the holiday season. Wonderful winter plants take center stage as next spring’s flower buds begin to reveal themselves. Discover the unadorned character of the Gardens’ many stately trees while you keep watch for birds feeding on seeds and berries and squirrels burying those last few acorns.
Of course, the absolute MUST SEE year round is the Butterfly Atrium! Walk through a butterfly wonderland and see 500-600 butterflies as they flutter around in a balmy tropical setting! We saw a lovely variety of beautiful butterflies during our visit, including this colorful monarch!
6. Hershey Trolley Works Tour: Want to immerse yourself in a whole lot of interesting Hershey history while someone else drives you around town and you’re given CHOCOLATE to eat on your journey? We took a trolley tour during our weekend in Hershey and I would highly recommend it! The trolley tour can be booked in advance or you can purchase tickets at Hershey’s Chocolate World. All trolley tours depart from Chocolate World and return you to the same location at the end.
There are several different tours offered including the standard “Chocolate and History Tour” and then during certain times of year various holiday and seasonal tours are offered.
7. Hershey Bears Game: There’s something so exciting about a live sporting event! The Hershey Bears hockey games are no exception. Check the Giant Center’s schedule and see if the Bears will be in town during your visit. Watch a fast-paced, fun hockey game at a pricetag that is way less than an NHL game. The stadium is a great venue to watch a game in and there are plenty of food options as well.
8. Antique Automobile Club of America Museum: We visited the AACA Museum several years ago and thought it was an awesome stop for car enthusiasts! This museum has lots of neat cars on display and offers different traveling exhibits throughout the year.