Our family just returned from a short vacation to Hershey Park in Hershey, PA. If you haven’t been to Hershey Park I would highly recommend it. It is only about a 4.5 hour drive from Rochester, NY, making it a nice destination for a weekend jaunt.
Hershey Park is probably my favorite amusement park after Disney World. It is by far the best value. The park was recently renovated to add a Boardwalk area including a wave pool and surrounding lazy river and new water slides. The park is large but they have placed roller coasters and little kiddie rides in each of the “towns,” making it easier for families with both younger and older children to enjoy.
We went to the park during the last week before schools start here in Rochester. Since schools had already started in Pennsylvania, the crowds were non-existent and our kids were able to ride many of the rides over and over again.
We took advantage of Hershey’s Preview Plan. If you buy your tickets the day before, you can get in the park for the last 2.5 hours (or the last 3.5 hours if the park closes at 11pm) of that day to preview the park. While you have to pay $10 for parking to preview, Hershey will let you park for free the following day, essentially making the entire preview free.
The local Giant Food stores sell discount tickets for Hershey Park. Normally an adult one-day admission ticket costs $52.95. If you buy your tickets at Giant, you’ll pay only $41.95 per ticket, a savings of $11! We bought 4 tickets so we saved $44, well worth the detour to Giant. Savings on children’s tickets are only $2 per ticket.
The park was open 10 hours the days we were there. Without discounts or previewing the park, each person would pay $5.30/hour to enjoy the park. With our discounted tickets and the preview time, we brought the cost down to $3.36/hour, a 37% savings! We got a sweet deal at Hershey.