Hersheypark originally opened as Hershey Park in 1906 by Milton S Hershey as a leisure park for his employees at the Hershey Chocolate Company. It ran under the Hershey Park name until 1970 when Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company combined the two words to form Hersheypark.
Hersheypark has 76 attractions, 13 rollercoasters, and 16 water rides which include the slides at their water park. This park is absolutely wonderful and amazing as I spent three full days here and enjoyed all they have to offer. I came here specifically for the coasters but there is much more to this park than just the coasters.
This is the first area which goes beyond the park gates and into the park. This is the area where you will pick up your annual passes and buy your day tickets. Hershey’s Chocolate World is also here as well but is just to the right of this photo and out of frame. I personally recommend getting the annual pass that gets you free parking and early entry into the park. I also recommend making reservations at The Chocolatier Restaurant.
The food and deserts are absolutely wonderful but can be a bit on the expensive side. I ate here twice, and my favorite is the Grilled NY Strip Steak. It was a 12oz NY Strip with Hershey’s Cocoa Spice Rub, with crispy fingerling potatoes, roasted Brussel sprouts and a Chocolate Porter Steak Sauce. My favorite dessert was the Over The Top Hershey’s Chocolate Milkshake which was just wonderful. It is a Chocolate milkshake topped with a Chocolate Chip Brookie and a chocolate chip cookie, whipped cream, and cookie crumble. Just look at the dessert photo and make sure you don’t drool on your computer.
This is a postcard that was painted on the side of one of the buildings to show what the area looked like back in 1906 when the park first opened.
Hersheypark uses candy designations for their different height requirements so stop here to find out what candy you are so you know what rides you can go on.
Chocolatetown is also the area where you will find the main gift shop, security, lost and found, and other park operations offices. This area also has two rides with the first being their antique carousel.
This carousel was built in 1919 by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company for Liberty Heights Park in Baltimore, MD. It operated there until being moved to Enna Jettick Park in Auburn, NY in 1929. It stayed there until 1944 when it was moved to Hersheypark where it has been operating ever since.
This all-wood carousel has 4 rows with 42 jumping horses, 24 standing horses, and two beautifully carved chariots with Cherubs and seascapes. There is a WurliTzer 153 band organ there that wasn’t working when I was there which was unfortunate. The model number for this PTC carousel is #47. Here is the off-ride video from my YouTube channel.
This is a beautiful steel Hyper Coaster from B&M which opened with the new Chocolatetown expansion on July 3, 2020. It is absolutely butter smooth and packed with airtime, that means you float out of your seat every time you go over a hill.
This behemoth is themed to Hershey’s chocolate and candies with each train representing Hershey’s Kisses, Reeses Cups, and Twizzlers.
Candymonium is 210 ft tall, 4,636 ft long, has a top speed of 76 mph, and seven airtime filled hills. The first drop is pretty steep at an angle of 77.3 degrees and you are only held in by a simple T style lap bar but don’t worry, you are firmly secured in your seat as there are many of these B&M Hyper Coasters around the world. Get here early as this new attraction gets a very long line first thing in the morning. Or, better yet, wait until closer to closing time when the lines usually die down a bit.
This is a combination of different areas that were once Tudor Square, Rhineland, Founder’s Circle, and Music Box Way. They were all combined into Founders Way in 2014. This area contains several rides with most of them for the younger ones. There is the Mini Himalaya, Tilt-A-Whirl, Traffic Jam, Helicopters, Scrambler, Space Age, Balloon Flite, Pirate, Monorail, Skyview, and Starship America.
The Skyview is basically a gondola style transportation ride that takes riders from one part of the park to another but this one takes riders on a scenic round-trip ride.
This one was built by Universal Design and has been operating here since 1966. Take a ride on the Skyview thanks to Themeparkfanatic, my own YouTube Channel.
Above are photos of the other rides in this area and below is the Starship America ride.
This attraction is a Hurricane model attraction from Kaspar Klaus and was originally built at the Ponchartrain Beach Park in 1956 just north of New Orleans, LA. It operated there until it was sold to Hersheypark in 1961. It was brought up to the park where they had custom ride gondolas installed and it opened at the park from 1962-2005. It was then put in storage until 2005 and has been operating since then. Here is my off ride video from my YouTube channel.
This attraction was built in 1969 by Universal Mobility and was originally going to have two stations with the second being closer to downtown Hershey near the Hershey Chocolate factory. The original fare to ride the Monorail in 1969 was 25 cents. Here is my on-ride video from the Monorail. Sadly, the Hershey Chocolate factory moved to Mexico in 2012 but the headquarters is still here.
This is the oldest sections of the park and was originally called Comet Hollow after the parks oldest operating rollercoaster called The Comet.
The Hollow contains several kiddie rides and three rollercoasters. The Kiddie rides are the Sweet Swings and Tea Cups. The Sweet Swings is a small pendulum style swing ride for the little ones and the Tea Cups is basically a smaller kids version of the Tea Cups ride you would find at Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Both rides were built by Zamperla.
The other flat ride is the wave Swinger which is a classic and a staple of amusement and theme parks across the country.
This attraction was built by Zierer and is a classic chair swing ride.
Now we come to the rollercoasters in this area, and we will start with the classic wooden coaster called The Comet.
This coaster was designed by the famed coaster designer Herbert Schmeck and built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters Inc. and opened on May 30, 1946.
The Comet is 3,360 ft long and 84 ft high with a drop of 78 ft. The Comets top speed is about 50 mph with a total ride time of about a minute and forty-five seconds. It should be noted that this was the 109th coaster built by PTC. Here is a on ride video from Sharp Productions.
Next up is quite an extreme steel coaster called Skyrush.
This one is quite intense and very aggressive as it has some very quick changes of direction. It is also one of the few coasters that has floorless seats on the outer edges called wing seats with the two seats in the center of each row having a floor.
This coaster is a custom-made Wing Coaster from Intamin Amusement Rides that opened here on May 26, 2012, and it truly is a wild ride.
Skyrush is 3,600 ft long, 200 ft tall, has a top speed of 75 mph, and a first drop at 85 degrees. The lift hill is a cable lift hill system which pulls the train up to the top very quick and the ride doesn’t let up until the final brake run. The trains only have a lap bar which you will want to have pulled down as much as possible. Also, I highly recommend you leave ALL your loose articles with a non-rider or in one of the cubbies in the station as there is a very good chance you will lose them on the ride. Here is an on-ride video from AmusementInsider.
The last coaster is the classic Sooper Dooper Looper from the Schwarzkopf Company.
This was Hersheypark’s first steel rollercoaster when it opened here on May 8, 1977, and it also was their first rollercoaster with an inversion as well. It opened here when the modern loop was still a very new thing in the rollercoaster industry, so it was a very popular ride at the park for a long time.
This coaster is 2,614 ft long with one inversion with the loop and has a drop of 75 ft and a 150 ft long tunnel. Here is an on-ride video from Sharp Productions.
Kissing Tower Hill
This area of the park was where the original park entrance was from 1906 to 1970 which was near where the Kissing Tower now stands. The entrance was then moved to the other side of the park where the old Hershey Arena is. The current area was originally called Minetown to pay homage to Pennsylvania’s rich mining history. That name lasted from 1990 to 2014 when it was renamed Kissing Tower Hill. There are several rides in this area as well as a marine mammal show and the state’s first inverted coaster and a observation tower. The two kiddie rides in this photo are the Frog Hopper and the Convoy which now occupy the area where the Condor ride once stood.
both of these attractions were built by Zamperla and can only be ridden by the kiddos. Next up is a set of three towers called Hershey’s Triple Towers.
The Kisses Tower on the left is the smallest of the three at 80 feet tall and launches several times from the ground. The Reese’s Tower in the middle is 131 feet tall and only launches once and then allows the gondola to bounce to the ground on a cushion of air. The Hershey’s Tower on the right is the tallest at 189 feet and the most extreme as it launches to the top and then pulls you to the top and drops riders. I have ridden these multiple times and loved the Hershey’s Tower the most. Across the way is a show building that looks like it used to hold talent contests, but it no longer appears on the map. It does still have a few quick service restaurants underneath though.
Next, we come to the ZooAmerica entrance.
This bridge will take you across the street to a small zoo which is an extra charge unless you have a certain level of annual pass for Hersheypark which includes admission to the zoo. Now we head to the Kissing Tower which is an observation tower for which the area is named after.
This is a Gyro Observation Tower that was built by Waagner-Biro AG and opened here on May 18, 1975. It is 330 ft tall with the gondola going up to the 280-foot mark. The gondola itself is airconditioned and has windows shaped like Hershey’s Kisses and it rotates as it climbs the tower.
Now, as the sign says above, moisten your lips and pucker up, and take a ride on the Kissing Tower by watching a video from my own YouTube Channel.
Right next door are two classic rides that have been at this park for a long time.
The Twin Turnpike was built by Arrow Development and opened here in 1974 and has two tracks to choose from. You can ride the sports cars or the antique cars. This ride replaced a similar ride called the Turnpike that ran along Spring Creek from 1960 to 1973. The park closed the attraction as the creek flooded a few times which damaged the ride every time it flooded.
Next is another amusement park classic and one that may get you a little wet. It is a log flume ride called the Coal Cracker which was built by Arrow Development and opened here in 1973.
The Coal Cracker is 55 ft tall with a drop of 49 ft and an airtime hill at the bottom of the drop. The ride is 2,000 ft long with a ride time of about three and a half minutes.
Now, sit back and enjoy a nice ride on Coal Cracker thanks to a on ride video from Sharp Productions YouTube Channel.
Next up is a real bear of a coaster that will leave you hanging called The Great Bear.
This is the only rollercoaster I know of that is named after the constellation Ursa Major, also known as, The Great Bear. This coaster opened here on May 23, 1998 and was Pennsylvania’s first Inverted rollercoaster. This one was built by B&M at a cost of thirteen million dollars and it was well worth the expense as it still is a favorite of those that visit the park.
I really have to hand it to Hersheypark for managing to fit this coaster into some tight areas. The Great Bear is 2,800 ft long, 90 ft high with a 124 ft drop, a top speed of 58 mph, has 4 inversions, and a ride time just under three minutes long. The inversions are a 100 ft tall loop, a Immelmann, a Zero-G Roll, and a Corkscrew. I really enjoyed this coaster as it was smooth, has a fast pace, and doesn’t let up until the end.
Now, let’s take a ride on the Great Bear thanks to this video from Sharp Productions.
The last attraction is a show called Oceans of Fun that has been here for many years at the Aquatheater.
Here, you will get to see some of the Harbor Seals and Sea Lions as they show you some of the ways they care for them, teach them, and entertain them throughout the day. You’ll also see some of the behaviors they can do as well.
There is one more thing to see before leaving Kissing Tower Hill and it is the famous Elk Statue.
Milton Hershey bought this statue in 1913 for the park from the JL Mott Iron Works Co. in New York for $265. It was constructed of white metal and weighs about 490 lbs. and is approximately 10 feet tall from the antlers to the hoofs. The antlers themselves were made of white metal as well but were changed to real antlers in 1980. The statue originally stood at the original entrance near where the Kissing Tower is today and was moved to its current location in 1978 when ZooAmerica first opened. You’ll need to put your chaps and cowboy hat on and bring your saddle with you to the next area of the park.
The first attraction we come to in this area is the Trailblazer. This is the second oldest coaster in the park as it was opened here on May 18, 1974. It was built by Arrow Dynamics and is a Mine Train model which is very family friendly as the speeds are usually very slow, usually around 25-50 mph and it hugs the ground usually going through a few tunnels as well.
Trailblazer is 52 ft tall, 1,600 ft long, and has a top speed of about 45 mph. Take a ride on Trailblazer from Theme Park Review’s YouTube Channel.
Next up is one of the best rollercoasters in the park called Storm Runner.
This coaster is a very intense one as it is an Accelerator model from Intamin that opened here on May 8, 2004 and has been thrilling coaster enthusiasts ever since. The coaster begins by literally launching the train from a standstill to its top speed of 72 mph in just two seconds. You heard me right, 0-72 mph in just two seconds. That happens thanks to a hydraulic catapult launch system much like those that are on aircraft carriers. Take a look at the next photo I took just after the launch starts.
The train then quickly ascends a 150 ft tall Top Hat, then goes through a 135 ft tall Cobra Loop, then a Heartline Roll, and Flying Snake Dive before returning to the station just 50 seconds later. In that short amount of time, you will have gone through three inversions and 2,600 ft of track. The tallest point on the ride is the 150 ft tall outside Top Hat element which is followed by the longest drop of 180 ft into the Cobra Loop.
Hersheypark spent $12,000,000 to get this coaster and I absolutely loved it. I loved it so much that I rode it a few more times when I was there. Take a ride on Storm Runner from Theme Park Review’s YouTube Channel. I also absolutely agree with everything Rob says on this ride as it really does kick butt.
Next up is Jolly Rancher Remix which is an old shuttle coaster from Vekoma that was redone in a very unique way.
This coaster opened on May 11, 1991 as Sidewinder and it operated under that name until 2021 when it was refurbished and rethemed to the different flavors of Jolly Rancher. It was also given a new name, Jolly Rancher Remix.
It is a standard Boomerang shuttle coaster model from Vekoma. A shuttle coaster is basically a rollercoaster that runs on an incomplete circuit where the train goes out to a point and then returns the way it came without turning around as you can see in the photo above. On this coaster, the train starts in the station and then gets pulled up to the top of the rear spike where it is released once it reaches the top.
Then the train rockets through the station and into the Cobra Roll which inverts riders twice then goes through a tunnel then a loop, and then up the other spike. It gets pulled up to the top where it gets released to go through the course backwards and then stops in the station. This really is a pretty fun ride and is not as rough as other Vekoma Boomerang Coasters I have been on.
The ride will tell you what Jolly Rancher color you will represent at the top and the entire ride will be lit up in that color for the duration of the ride. You will also get a flavor blast sent of that color in the tunnel which is pretty cool. This coaster is 935 ft long, 116 ft 5 in high, has a top speed of 47 mph, three inversions, and a ride time of about one minute and forty-eight seconds. Take a flavor blasted ride on Jolly Rancher Remix Thanks to East Coasters YouTube Channel.
There are some flat rides in this area as well so lets start with Mix’d. This is a new attraction at Hersheypark so I wasn’t able to find any info about it.
There is the Classic Pirate which is a Swing Ship from HUSS which has been operating here since 1980. The rows on the edges area the best as you do get a small amount of airtime at the tops of the swings.
This one is The Claw which was built by Chance Rides and has been operating here since May 9, 2003. This is a Frisbee model from Chance and seats 32 riders in a circular gondola facing inward. The gondola slowly rotates as the arm swings back and forth like a pendulum.
The Dry Gulch Railroad was built by Crown Products and has been here since 1961.
Come take a ride on the train from my YouTube channel, Themeparkfanatic.
Next is the Frontier Flyers which is an amusement park classic and something I will always ride.
This particular type of attraction is commonly referred to as the Flying Scooters and they have been manufactured my many different companies since the 1920’s. This one was built by Larson Intl and has been here since 2003. You can control how high you go by skillfully moving the rudder left and right. I myself have done this masterfully many times. Here is an off-ride video from my YouTube Channel, Themeparkfanatic.
There also is a spinning ride called the Howler. This attraction is from Wisdom Rides and has been here since 2008.
There is an arcade, first aid station, and lost kids’ station in this area as well.
Now, for our last ride in the Pioneer Frontier area and it is a good one.
This rollercoaster was built by Intamin and opened here on May 24, 2008, at a cost of $12.1 million. This coaster was unique in that it was one of the few coasters to have a vertical lift hill and it was the steepest in the world with the first drop being at a 97-degree angle which gives a really nice dose of airtime on the way down.
Fahrenheit also has six inversions with two of them by way of a Norwegian Loop. That kind of loop is entered and exited at upside down at the top instead of the bottom. The next set of inversions is a double inversion element called the Cobra Loop, then comes the last set of inversions called a Double Corkscrew.
This coaster is 2,700 ft long, 121 ft tall, has a top speed of 58 mph, and a ride time of about one minute and twenty-eight seconds. I really enjoyed this coaster as it was fast and had a decent amount of airtime, but it just felt a little bit short. Take a ride on Fahrenheit thanks to Amusement Insider’s YouTube Channel.
That just about does it for this area and the next area is a little bit wet.
This area contains the water park which I typically don’t go in but there is a ride that will get you very wet here. The next photo is of the entrance to the water park area.
This is the ride that will get both riders and onlookers absolutely soaked.
This is a Shoot the Chute model from Hopkins which opened here on May 28, 1994 and is 100 ft tall. Watch out for the SPLASH!
I thought I was far enough away when taking these photos, but I still got wet from the knees down. That will do it for the Boardwalk so now we head into the last area of the park.
This is the last area in the park, but it does have some really good rides here. Sadly, the first one I came to was the Wildcat. This was a wooden rollercoaster the was built by Great Coasters International (GCI) which it was their first coaster they ever built. It opened here on May 26, 1996 and closed on July, 31, 2022, a full month before my first visit. The Wildcat was 3,183 ft long, 106 ft tall, had a drop of 85 ft 2 in and a top speed of 50 mph. Take a ride on the former Wildcat thanks to Attraction Spot’s YouTube Channel.
This is what will be replacing the original Wildcat in 2023. It will be built by RMC (Rocky Mountain Construction) which is well known for building quality steel rollercoasters. Two of their creations, Iron Gwazi at Busch Gardens Tampa and Steel Vengeance at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, are in the top ten lists of world’s best steel rollercoasters. This one will be 140 ft tall, have four inversions, have a top speed of 62 mph, and a first drop of 82 degrees. Here is the announcement video Hersheypark released on November 2, 2022, courtesy of ElToroRyan’s YouTube Channel followed by a CGI onride video courtesy of AmusementInsider’s YouTube Channel.
The next coaster is the Wild Mouse.
This is pretty much your standard Wild Mouse coaster that has many tight turns and sudden drops and this one is no different. This one was built by Mack Rides and opened here on May 8, 1999. It is 1,213 ft and 9 in long, 45 ft and 9 in high, has a top speed of 28 mph, and a ride time of about one minute and fifty seconds. Take a ride on the Wild Mouse thanks to Front Seat Media’s YouTube Channel.
Next up is a indoor spinning coaster themed the classic boardwalk dark rides of the early 20th century.
This coaster will have you laughing before you even get on the ride as you will pass by a authentic Laughing Sal that is on display at the entrance and then you want through a hall of mirrors that will make you giggle at how it distorts your reflection. Then you board your car in a funhouse themed station.
This coaster is a Spinning Coaster/ SC2000 model from Maurer Rides that opened here on May 23, 2015. It is 1,400 ft long, 51 ft high, a ride time of about one minute and ten seconds, and has a top speed of 40 mph. I loved this coaster as it does spin but not fast at all which makes each ride unique, and the funhouse theming makes it really fun to ride. Take a ride on Laff Trakk thanks to Coaster Force’s YouTube Channel.
Right next door is a replica of a ride that just about every amusement park had from the 1920’s on up into the 1950’s and they are still fun to ride.
Whip rides sound very basic, simple, and boring, but they are anything but boring when you are riding. Who knew that simply flinging people around corners like a whip could be so fun?! Here is an off-ride video from Themeparkfanatic, my own YouTube Channel.
The next one is a pretty standard ride called the Music Express and you can find them at just about any carnival or fair. This one was built by Mosier Rides and opened here in 1999.
What would a park be without a Ferris Wheel? Well, it wouldn’t be much of a park then.
This particular ride was built by Chance Rides and has been here since 1997. They did add Hersheypark’s logo in the center which makes it look really nice at night when it is all lit up. They do require a minimum of two riders though.
The next ride is basically one for the kiddos as it is just a kiddie train ride called Tiny Tracks. This was built by Zamperla and is a Rio Grande Train model that opened here in 1995.
Now we come to our last ride, and it is a big one.
This ride is actually two wooden racing/dueling coasters in one with one side being Lightning, and the other is Thunder. This one was designed by Mike Boodley, built by GCI, and opened here on May 13, 2000. Each side has exactly the same dimensions, so they are both 3,393 ft long, 91 ft 6 in tall with a drop of 90 ft, a top speed of just over 51 mph, and a ride time of about two minutes and twenty seconds. I personally loved riding this coaster as there are many moments of airtime and you get to “trash talk” going up the lift hill and, for the winner, gloat at the finish line.
Come take a ride on the Lightning side of Lightning Racer thanks to Coastercrutchfield’s YouTube Channel.
What comes after lightning? Well, that is the Thunder. So you can take a ride on the Thunder side thanks to Coastercrutchfield’s YouTube channel.
That brings us to the end of this review. I thoroughly enjoyed my three full days at Hersheypark, and I hope I helped plan your next trip there.