by Janet Jonus
Kennywood doesn’t open until the first weekend in May, but if you need to get your coaster thrills in during the month of April, head to Hersheypark for Springtime in the Park.
Are you looking for thrills, fun, and chocolate? You can find it all at Hersheypark’s Springtime in the Park. Hersheypark is open for three weekends, April 6-7, 13-14, and 19-21. This early season time is a favorite of FamilyFunPittsburgh. The Park has 50 rides open plus Hershey Characters, ZooAmerica, food, games, and of course chocolate. It is less crowded than a summer day, and it is a lot cooler than the summertime too! The Boardwalk is closed. It’s a bit too cold to go swimming in April, but the rest of the park is open for FamilyFun.
Hersheypark is a sprawling, classic American theme park in Hershey, Pennsylvania. It was founded in 1907 by Milton Hershey as place of peace and relaxation for workers in his chocolate factory. The original Park consisted of picnic grounds, shaded walks, and water for boating. Hershey expanded the Park with rides, theaters, and a zoo. Today, Hersheypark, and Hershey PA, are vacation destinations.
Hersheypark has over 70 rides and attractions, from the Doodle Bug for Kids, to the mega-coaster Stormrush for adrenaline-seekers. During the summer season, Hersheypark has The Boardwalk, a waterpark. ZooAmerica is adjacent and accessible from the park.
There are fifty rides open during Springtime in the Park. Twelve coasters are open. These include Fahrenheit, Great Bear, Comet, Lightening Racer, Stormrunner, Wild Mouse, Wild Cat, Trailblazer, Laff Trakk, Cocoa Cruiser, Sooper Dooper Looper, and SkyRush. Thrill rides include The Howler, The Claw, the Coal Cracker, The Triple Towers, and more. There are plenty of family rides including the Dry Gulch Railroad, the Monorail, the Waveswinger, the Whip, the Kissing Tower, and the Twin Turnpikes. Kids also have plenty of rides all their own including Tiny Tracks, the Swing Thing, the Pony Parade, Frog Hopper, the Merry Derry Dip Fun Slides, and more.
Hersheypark is divided into areas. There is no dedicated “Kiddieland”. There are Kiddieland rides spread throughout the Park. Founders Way stretches from the Park entrance all of the way to the Monorail. There are many smaller rides in this area including the Carrousel, the Scrambler, Skyview, the Tilt-a-Whirl, and the Monorail. There are many kiddie rides in Founders Way including the classic Dizzy Drums, the Mini-Pirate, the Swing Thing, Dinosaur Go Round, Bizzy Bees, and the child-friendly coaster the Cocoa Cruiser. There is a hill from the Park entrance up to the Carrousel. (It should be noted Hersheypark is a VERY hilly park. It is not flat at all. Be prepared for a lot of hills, some of them steep and long like the one out of the Hollow, past the Great Bear and the Coal Cracker up to Kissing Tower Hill. The Trailblazer is down near Spring Creek too. Both hills out of this area are quite steep especially when pushing a stroller.) Founder’s Way is home to many food options including pizza, burgers, fries, and treats.
The Hollow is down a short but steep hill near The Comet. The Hollow is home to three coasters – The Comet, Skyrush, and the Sooper Dooper Looper. The Waveswinger is down here too as are two Kiddie rides – Sweet Swing and Tea Cups.
Kissing Tower Hill is tucked into the back of the Park. You can access it by heading up the steep hill out of The Hollow or via Founder’s Way past the Skyview and the Bizzy Bees (much less steep). Kissing Tower Hill is home to The Kissing Tower – a slow, family ride high up above Hersheypark. There is a beautiful view of Hershey and the surrounding countryside from the top of the tower through Kiss-shaped windows. The Twin Turnpikes are here too. Kids can drive their parents around the track. Thrill seekers will love the Hershey Triple Tower – three drop towers of different sizes so you can “choose your thrill”. The Great Bear suspended coaster and the Coal Cracker water flume ride are on the hill from The Hollow. Kiddie rides in the area include the kiddie version of a drop tower called the Frog Hopper and the Convoy.
If you stay to the left out of Founder’s Way, you will get to Pioneer Frontier. This old-west themed area is home to four coasters – the Sidewinder, Fahrenheit, Storm Runner, and Trailblazer (down in a valley on its own but near the Spring Creek Smokehouse with excellent smoked brisket and ribs). The Howler, The Pirate, and The Claw are also in Pioneer Frontier. The Dry Gulch Railroad takes guests on a ride through a portion of the park and a Wild West Town. Pioneer Frontier also has a large outdoor food court with many dining options including Moe’s Southwest Grill, Chickie’s and Pete’s, Subway, ice cream, and more. The Family Health and Services Center (including First Aid) is in Pioneer Frontier, past The Claw.
The Boardwalk is just past Pioneer Frontier. This is Hersheypark’s summertime water park. It is closed during Springtime in the Park.
The Midway is past The Boardwalk, near the front of Hersheypark. The Wild Cat, the Wild Mouse, the Lightening Racer, and (a FamilyFunFavorite) the Laff Trakk (an indoor, glow-in-the-dark coaster) are all in this area. The kids will love the Granny Bugs, the Pony Parade, Tiny Tracks, and the Merry Derry Fun Slides (large slides like those found at carnivals that every kid wants to go on which often results in long lines even during Springtime in the Park). Bigger kids will like the Whip, Music Express, and the Ferris Wheel. The Midway is a large area with a lot of rides, but it is “dead-end” with only one way in and out when The Boardwalk is closed. The only food in the area is a Dietz and Watson with hot dogs and snacks and a few smaller food carts. (FamilyFunPittsburgh’s advice is don’t go into The Midway hungry.)
ZooAmerica is also open during Springtime in the Park though the hours are shorter. ZooAmerica highlights animals native to North America. There is an entrance directly from Hersheypark to ZooAmerica. You can re-enter Hersheypark from ZooAmerica after your Zoo visit. (Get a hand-stamp on your way into the Zoo.) If you have younger kids or everyone is getting tired of the noise and activity of Hersheypark, ZooAmerica is a wonderful break. ZooAmerica is open April 13, 19, and 20 from 1000AM-700PM. ZooAmerica is open April 15th and 21st from 1000AM-500PM. ZooAmerica admission is included with Hersheypark tickets. The entrance from the Park is in Kissing Tower Hill near the Triple Towers.
Springtime in the Park is on weekends in April through Easter. Springtime is open April 13th 1000AM-900PM and April 14th from 1000AM-600PM. Springtime is open 1000AM-900PM on April 19th and 20th and from 1000AM-600PM on April 21st.
Tickets to Springtime in the Park are less than summer tickets to Hersheypark. Tickets for Hersheypark are sold for Adults 9-54, Juniors 3-9 and Seniors 55+, and children 2 and younger are free. All tickets are plus fees and taxes. One-day tickets for Adults are $38.95, and Juniors/Seniors are $27.95. Two-day tickets are $53.50 for Adults, and $41.50 for Juniors/Seniors. Three-day tickets for Adults are $72.48, and $56.49 for Juniors/Seniors. You can add-on Fast Track passes (no wait passes), food passes, drink passes, and more.
Hersheypark is located in Hershey, Pennsylvania at 100 W. Hersheypark Drive, Hershey PA 17033 / 717-534-3900 / http://www.hersheypark.com/explore-the-park/springtime.php