Hersheypark: Wikis


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Location Hershey, Pennsylvania, United States
Website http://www.hersheypark.com
Owner Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company
Opened April 24, 1907
Operating season April (Springtime), May–September (Regular), October (Halloween), November–December (Candylane)
Area 121 acres (0.49 km2)
Rides 62 total
  • 11 roller coasters
  • 14 water rides
Slogan "The sweetest place on Earth"

Hersheypark is an amusement park located in Hershey, Pennsylvania, near the Hershey Chocolate Factory.

Hersheypark was opened in 1907 as a leisure park for the employees of the Hershey Chocolate Company, an American confectionery company. Later, the company decided to open the park to the public. Today the park has over 110 acres (450,000 m²) and over sixty rides and attractions.

Hersheypark admission also includes entry into ZOOAMERICA, an adjacent zoo. Also adjacent is Hershey's Chocolate World, a visitors' center that is open to the public and that contains shops, restaurants, and a chocolate-themed ride. Both Chocolate World and ZOOAMERICA are accessible from outside the park boundaries, with Chocolate World offering admission for free.



Early years

In 1903, Milton S. Hershey, founder of the Hershey Chocolate Company, surveyed a site along Spring Creek that would be suitable for his park. Hershey Park opened on April 24, 1907, with a baseball game played on the new athletic field. The beautifully landscaped park was an ideal spot for picnicking, boating and canoeing. Vaudeville and theatre productions were performed on a rustic bandstand and pavilion.

A merry-go-round was installed and opened on July 4, 1908. A 1,500-seat tiered amphitheatre was built next to the pavilion. The entrance sign proclaimed, “Ye who enter here leave dull cares behind.”

The park was expanded in 1909 with the addition of a tennis court, two bowling alleys, a large band shell, and a photography gallery. Guests could also enjoy a relaxing scenic ride on the Scenic Railroad. In July 1912, a carousel manufactured by Willy H. Dentzel of the Dentzel Carousel Company in Philadelphia was added to the park. The carousel was 50 feet (15 m) in diameter and featured 53 carved animals that included lions, bears, giraffes, pigs, rabbits, an ostrich, goats and deer along with two chariots. The carousel was described as the “most magnificent and up-to-date carousel in this part of the country as well as one of the largest.”

An overhead view of Hersheypark
Midway America in the evening

Several structures were built from 1913 to 1923. Added to the park were the dance pavilion Starlight Ballroom, a new stage for big bands, a new Convention Hall (now The Hershey Story: The Museum on Chocolate Avenue, but first was Hershey Museum), the Hershey Park Cafe and the Hershey Zoo. A new roller coaster called The Wild Cat was added in 1923. A small Ferris wheel, the Aeroplane Swing and the Skooter were added to the park during the 1920s. In 1929, a complex of four swimming pools was added.[1]

Tudor Square

A penny arcade, a fun house, The Bug ride, and The Mill Chute log flume ride were added in 1933. Renovations were made to the Wild Cat roller coaster in 1935 to build up the dips and to more steeply bank the curves.

Starship America

More attractions were added to Hershey Park each season, and by 1945 the park contained more than two dozen rides. The Dentzel carousel was replaced in 1945 by a carousel built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1919, which still operates in the park today. In 1946 the wooden roller coaster The Comet replaced The Wild Cat. Twin 66-foot (20 m)-high Ferris wheels were added in 1950. The Dry Gulch Railroad was added in 1960.

A five-year redevelopment plan was started in 1971 to convert the regional amusement park Hershey Park into a large theme park called Hersheypark, as it is known to this day. A one-price admission plan eliminated the pay-as-you-ride policy. This five-phase project was orchestrated by Randall Duell.

The first steel looping roller coaster on the East Coast called the SooperDooperLooper opened on July 4, 1977. Twin Toboggans, Hersheypark's third roller coaster, built in 1972, was removed in 1978.


The 1980s brought big changes to Hersheypark. Smaller sized rides, including the Cyclops (replaced by The Claw), Pirat, Wave Swinger, Conestoga (replaced by the Frontier Virtual Theatre and later the Howler), and Timber Rattler (replaced by Rodeo) were added. Canyon River Rapids was built and added in 1987 (replaced by Intercoastal Waterway and The Shore wave pool in 2009).

The 1990s started off with the creation of Minetown. The old penny arcade was replaced by a massive three-story building, housing the Minetown Arcade, Minetown Restaurant, and games. The Flying Falcon replaced Himalaya, and three kiddie rides replaced the Coal Shaker. Four roller coasters were added to Hersheypark in the 1990s. Sidewinder, a Vekoma Boomerang coaster, was added in 1991. In 1996, the wooden coaster The Wildcat was added and was named after The Wild Cat that previously operated from 1923 to 1946. The Great Bear opened in 1998, the park's most expensive single ride to date. Wild Mouse opened in 1999. Several rides were also added during this decade. In 1994 the water plunge ride Tidal Force opened. A Ferris wheel and Whip ride were added in 1997. Four other new rides were added in 1999. These include the Merry Derry Dip fun slide, Music Express, Chaos (since removed), and the Frog Hopper.

Storm Runner with the Kissing Tower in the background

Four more roller coasters were added in the 21st Century – Lightning Racer (2000), Roller Soaker (2002), Storm Runner (2004), and Fahrenheit (2008), continuing the rapid expansion of the park from the mid-1980s. A 65-foot (20 m) spinning pendulum ride called The Claw was added in 2003. In 2005, Giant Wheel was removed and replaced by two classic rides -- Balloon Flite and Starship America. Carrousel Circle, the first of the 1970s renovations of Hershey Park (now renamed Hersheypark), was remodeled into Founder's Circle in honor of original founder Milton S. Hershey. In 2006, Hersheypark introduced the Reese's Xtreme Cup Challenge, the first interactive dark ride to have two cars compete against each other. In 2007, Hersheypark opened The Boardwalk at Hersheypark, a new waterpark and themed area that as of 2009, includes 9 water attractions.[2] In 2009, The Boardwalk is home to six games, eleven retail centers and thirteen food concessions. Roller Soaker, Canyon River Rapids (since removed), and Tidal Force were included in the new themed area, with Canyon River Rapids and Tidal Force having their entrances and exits rerouted. Hersheypark also announced that the Rodeo, installed in 1978, will be relocated to nearby sister park, Dutch Wonderland.

In March 2008, the Hershey Entertainment Complex was certified as Storm Ready by the National Weather Service. This is awarded to communities and organizations/compaines that are prepared for Severe Weather. The Hershey Entertainment Complex was certified based on their emergency action procedures, emergency evacuation plans and evacuation shelter(s) capability. The complex contains an extensive system of CCTV Security Cameras, trained security personal and extensive weather spotting and detecting systems.[citation needed]

Themed Areas

Hersheypark is made up of nine themed areas.

Tudor Square

Tudor Square is the first themed area of Hersheypark, which is located outside of the main gates and offers free admission. It features rustic architecture and is home to a couple of shops, a Dunkin’ Donuts and the Tudor Grill—the only full-service restaurant in the park. The main gates of Hersheypark separate it from the Rhineland section.


Rhineland is named after its Bavarian architecture and is the first park section located within the park’s gates. Like Tudor Square, Rhineland is not home to any attractions but does include a wide variety of gift shops as well as a Nathan’s, Famous Famiglia Pizzeria and the Central PA Kosher Mart.

Founder’s Circle

Formerly known as Carrousel Circle, this section was refurbished in 2005. When it became Founder’s Circle, a Milton S. Hershey gold statue and fountain was constructed at the entrance of the section. That year, the park was planning to add Turbulence as its eleventh roller coaster to replace its Giant Wheel, a double Ferris wheel. The project was cancelled however when the construction company upped its price due to the rising cost of steel. Instead, two older rides were reintroduced to the park, Starship America and Balloon Flite. The center of the section is still home to the park’s iconic Carrousel, which is surrounded by the aforementioned rides, Scrambler, and other children’s rides. Founder’s Circle is also home to the Craftbarn restaurant and the Get the Picture Souvenir Photo Stand where guests can see and purchase pictures taken of them by park photographers throughout their day.

Comet Hollow

This section is named after the oldest operating coaster in the park, the Comet and lies along Spring Creek. Along with the Comet, the area houses the Wave Swinger, Tilt-A-Whirl, and the SooperDooperLooper, the first modern looping roller coaster built on the East Coast. Comet Hollow also features a games area and the SooperDooperLooper Sandwich Stop (formerly known as the Paddleboat Café).

Music Box Way

Music Box Way is a section that connects Founder’s Circle, Minetown and Pioneer Frontier. It is named for its wide array of musical entertainment. It is home to the Chevrolet Music Box Theater, the only fully enclosed entertainment venue in the park. Across from the Theater are stages for the popular Milkmen and Soda Pops acts. Next door to the Theater is Studio H, a place where guests can videotape themselves making music videos. Rides in the area include the Geico Fender Bender (bumper cars), Tiny Timbers (miniature log flume), Pirate (swinging ship), Capital BlueCross Monorail, and the Reese’s Xtreme Cup Challenge.


Minetown was modeled to resemble a mining town, just as its name says. The section was officially opened in 1990 with the additions of Convoy, Red Baron, Flying Falcon and Dinosaur-Go-Round. All except Dinosaur-Go-Round are still in the area; Dinosaur-Go-Round was moved to Founder’s Circle for the 2007 season so the Frog Hoppers could be moved to its location to make room for the Boardwalk. The section features many classic Hersheypark attractions, including the Sunoco Twin Turnpike, Coal Cracker log flume, Kissing Tower and Great Bear inverted roller coaster. It is also home to the Minetown Arcade, Minetown Restaurant, Hersheypark Amphitheater, Hersheypark Aquatheater and the Hersheypark entrance to ZooAmerica.

Pioneer Frontier

The largest area of the park, Pioneer Frontier, the southwestern-themed section of the park, includes four of the park’s roller coasters: Trailblazer, Sidewinder, Storm Runner and Fahrenheit. It also includes the Dry Gulch Railroad, Frontier Flyers, the Howler and the Claw. It also has its own food court which features a wide variety of restaurants. The section previously included the area up to and including Tidal Force until 2007 when Tidal Force and Canyon River Rapids were rezoned into the new Boardwalk..

The Boardwalk at Hersheypark

The newest themed area of the park, the Boardwalk waterpark was officially opened in 2007 and featured five new waterpark attractions along with three already standing rides: Roller Soaker, Tidal Force and Canyon River Rapids. In 2009, the Boardwalk received an expansion known as the Seaquel which replaced the iconic Canyon River Rapids with Intercoastal Waterway (a lazy river), the Shore (a wave pool) and cabanas.

Midway America

Opened in 1996 as a homage to the classic midway fair, Midway America features three roller coasters (four if you count the two tracks of Lightning Racer distinctly). The other two are the Wildcat and Wild Mouse, located across from one another. The section also contains the Whip, Merry Derry Dip Fun Slides, Music Express, Ferris Wheel and three children’s rides. To further represent its theme, the section has multiple food stands and carts like those found at carnivals, as well as plenty of midway games. The section formerly included Roller Soaker, but it along with its surrounding area got rezoned into the Boardwalk in 2007.


Hersheypark features over 62 rides and attractions, including 11 roller coasters

2009 Boardwalk expansion

On May 23, 2009 Hershey Park held their Grand Opening of The Boardwalk: The Seaquel to all its guests. It features a 378,000 gallon (36,000 square feet) wave pool called The Shore. They also added a Lazy River (Intercoastal Waterway) that covers up to 24,000 square feet of land.


There are facilities for accommodating particular dietary needs, including a kosher restaurant (Central PA's Kosher Mart) and a variety of restaurants offering gluten-free rolls and bread. Groups can pre-arrange catering in one of six private picnic areas inside the park.

Signs are posted prohibiting guests from bringing in outside food and drink, but this is rule is rarely enforced. A casual sitdown restaurant called Tudor Grill (formerly Pippin's Food and Spirits) is located just outside the park.


The park is run by Hershey Entertainment Group, a division of Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company. Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company owns the park, and is in turn wholly owned by the Hershey Trust Company. Within the Trust's holdings, Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company is part of the Milton Hershey School Trust.

See also


Further reading

  • Futrell, Jim. Amusement Parks of Pennsylvania. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2002.

External links

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