By Lincoln McElwee
Pennsylvania is known for many noteworthy activities, and welcomes visitors of all ages—and from all over the world—to its attractions and wonders. In addition to its breathtaking seasons and scenery, as well as its historic presence as one of the original thirteen colonies, the state is also home to storied wonders, such as the Liberty Bell and Gettysburg. All in all, it’s a wonderful environment to take in a history lesson while living life to its fullest.
Additionally, Pennsylvania is a fantastic place to seek out kid-friendly activities, so be sure to check out the following 3 points of interest while enjoying the great state of Pennsylvania!
The Crayola Experience
The Crayola Factory and Crayola Experience in Lehigh Valley, Easton is particularly noteworthy, and draws countless wide-eyed children through its doors annually. A hands-on museum showcases the magic of Crayola crayons through art, technology and a plethora of hands-on creativity. With 21 separate attractions to engage with, guests can choose from making their own crayon with a personal label, interacting with a digital projection screen where the colorful animations created can actually come to life, building a custom marker, and even learning about Crayola crayons from the resident Crayonologist! http://www.crayolaexperience.com/
Another popular destination when visiting the state is SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment’s endearing Sesame Place, located in Langhorne. Sesame Place offers travelers an assortment of family-friendly entertainment, from shows, parades and water activities to a host of other hands-on attractions. See Elmo the Musical or join in on a Neighborhood Street Parade. Get soaked on Bert & Ernie’s Slip & Slide and then laugh until your sides split on Big Bird’s Rambling River. http://sesameplace.com/langhorne/
One of the wonderful things that Pennsylvania is also known for, and something that most everyone loves, is chocolate! That’s right, CHOCOLATE! Hershey, Pennsylvania is home to the dreamlike Hersheypark, a magical place filled with fun, facts, lots more fun and…lots and lots of chocolate. A trip to the state can be comprised solely of partaking in this delectable park, and makes for a wonderful vacation in that it also offers 3 separate lodging choices as well. The Hotel Hershey, Hershey Lodge and Hersheypark Camping Resort are the 3 official resorts of Hersheypark, and provide endless entertainment and relaxation apart from the park itself. Guests at these properties enjoy the Hershey Resorts Advantage, which features the lowest prices on Park tickets, as well as other yummy perks. For more information, be sure to visit: www.HersheyPA.com
The world-famous Hersheypark is a colossal 120-acre theme park that offers more than 70 rides and attractions. Its much-anticipated 13th roller coaster, Laff Trakk, has recently been opened for the 2015 season. Laff Trakk is actually the first indoor, spinning glow-coaster in the entire United States, so be sure to check out the well-earned hype! There are also new food and beverage choices to choose from, including Moe’s Southwest Grill, a burrito joint sure to make a hit with the kids. Important for many families, the park now offers The Outpost, a new allergen-friendly food restaurant offering gluten, nut and dairy-free items as well as vegetarian options. Moreover, kids and adults alike will get a kick out of Makin’ Whoopie Pies, which offers a variety of delectable treats. With more than 20 kiddie rides on its grounds, 41 family games, live daily entertainment offered on six stages and three separate performance areas as well as five strolling shows, Hersheypark truly has something for every member of the family! www.Hersheypark.com
One of the really great things about Hersheypark is its one-price admission, which provides access to all the rides, attractions, entertainment and The Boardwalk at Hersheypark, the loveable waterpark consisting of five acres inside the boundaries of the main park itself. The Boardwalk offers visitors nine unique water attractions and 29 private rental cabanas. Admission to Hersheypark also includes entry to ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park, which is an 11-acre, walk-through zoo that is home to more than 200 animals representing more than 60 species. www.ZooAmerica.com
Hershey’s Chocolate World
Visiting Hersheypark, you’re sure to spend most of your time at Hershey’s Chocolate World, where the sheer amount of entertainment and shopping will definitely provide you days and days of chocolate-filled fun.
For starters, be sure to partake in the Hershey’s Great American Chocolate Tour, where you can follow the park’s cocoa beans on an interesting journey from the tropical rainforest to Hershey, Pennsylvania! Excite all your senses by seeing, feeling, hearing, and smelling the delicious transformation of cocoa beans into Hershey’s world-famous chocolate. And the best part? You get to enjoy a free sample!
Adults and kids alike will get a kick out of Hershey’s Create Your Own Candy Bar, where visitors can not only imagine their own candy bar, they can make it using pure Hershey’s milk chocolate with a selection of ingredients and toppings. As if that wasn’t enough, visitors can then design the package for their custom creation!
A wonderful addition to the attractions at Hersheypark is Hershey’s Great Chocolate Factory Mystery in 4D! The show itself took two years to make, and the outcome is spectacular. The show is a collaboration with Jim Henson’s Creature Shop™, and allows viewers to follow the trials of the loveable park characters Hershey®, Reese® and Kiss® as they navigate the mystery with more than 100 possible outcomes based on audience participation.
No adventure into the world of chocolate could be complete without actually tasting more chocolate, though. Right? Right! Visitors are encouraged to check out the Hershey’s Chocolate Tasting Adventure, an entertaining and educational adventure for all ages. You’ll be guided by a chocolate expert through an interactive multimedia discussion of all things chocolate. And of course, tasting is on the itinerary! Hershey’s creamy milk chocolate, its robust dark chocolates and various other chocolates with unique inclusions will all be available for sampling. For memories, after completing the Chocolate Tasting Adventure, visitors will also receive an official Master’s Degree in Chocolate Tasting from Hershey’s University!
Before you become too delirious from all of the chocolate (is that even possible?), be sure to see what Hershey Trolley Works is all about! Through this old-fashioned excursion down memory lane, visitors will learn all about chocolate on a fun ride through Chocolate Town, USA from singing trolley conductors dressed in period costumes.
The Hershey Story, The Museum on Chocolate Avenue
For a bit of history, also be sure to check out The Hershey Story, The Museum on Chocolate Avenue. The museum was created to help honor and preserve the life and legacy of Milton S. Hershey, as well as the town he created. In addition, guests can also take part in an interactive Chocolate Lab, where hands-on classes involving chocolate are given, as well as a café featuring the Countries of Origin Chocolate Tasting. The Museum Experience features 10,500 square feet of exhibits all revolving around five central themes, and is opened daily year round. www.HersheyStory.org
With all of the chocolate-themed wonders at hand, don’t forget to visit the gardens…Hershey Gardens! Don’t worry, there’s still plenty of yummy goodness to be had. The impressive garden is actually a walk-through botanical display housed on 23 acres. It offers 11 themed gardens—including more than 5,000 roses—a Butterfly House and a Children’s Garden with chocolate-scented, named and colored flora. Hershey Gardens is open from April through late December, and hours vary by season. www.HersheyGardens.org
So when looking for your next foray into fun, be sure to check out Hershey, Pennsylvania, where delectable—and edible—attractions are waiting for every member of the family!
Sesame Place lodging: http://sesameplace.com/en/langhorne/stay/
Dining in Hershey: www.DiningInHershey.com
Hershey Country Club/Golf: www.HersheyCountryClub.com
Chocolate Spa: www.ChocolateSpa.com
Transportation, lodging, etc.: www.HersheyPA.com