Looking for the best things to do at Hershey’s Chocolate World? These are my top picks.
Hershey Pennsylvania is the sweetest place on earth — literally!
I recently had the chance to spend some time in the area thanks to Visit Hershey & Harrisburg, and it brought back a lot of memories for me.
As a kid growing up in Philadelphia, it was a dream for me to visit the chocolate factory just a few hours away.
I went a few times with my family and was mesmerized by chocolate kisses poured out by the hundreds and endless walls stacked high with every possible candy variation you could think of.
As an adult, the magic was still there.
While Hershey Park is a fun way to spend a day, the highlight of the complex is Hershey’s Chocolate World, IMO. What began as a welcome center and quick stop on your way into the park has grown over the years to become Chocolate HQ, and an attraction in its own right.
This is the place to go to purchase souvenirs, learn the history of Milton Hershey, take in his legacy, discover new projects at the factory, have immersive chocolate experiences and feast on endless (and often complimentary) candy.
For the price (free!), you can’t beat it. Some activities cost extra, but they’re well worth it. This is a great place to come whether you’re a kid, or a kid at heart.
Here are the 8 best things to do in Hershey’s Chocolate World, Pennsylvania.
1. Take a Trolley Tour
Trolley Works is the name of the resident trolley company. They operate tours regularly, 7 days a week, and depart from the front of the main entrance.
I took the Original Trolley Show which lasts 45 minutes and takes you around the city highlighting places of interest, from the twin Hershey smokestacks to chocolate kiss-shaped streetlights.
The ride includes sing-alongs. This was a little strange at first, but endearing by the end. There’s also a bit of a show put on by the two staff tour guides. Throughout the experience, candy gets passed around the trolley because they know how to keep people happy.
If you’re interested in learning more about Milton Hershey and want some context to your visit, with a relaxing ride to boot, I recommend taking a trolley tour.
They also have seasonal offerings, like a holiday lights tour, and an extended historical tour that goes more in depth and lasts 75 minutes.
2. Make Your Own Chocolate Bar
This experience is a little expensive at $26.95 per person, but it comes with your own custom souvenir.
The “Create Your Own Candy Bar” experience makes you don a hairnet and apron before heading to your design station.
There, you get your choice of chocolate — dark, milk or white — and ingredients, like pretzels, chocolate cookie bits or rice kernels. You’re allowed up to 3 ingredients. You also have the options of adding sprinkles to the outside.
Once you select your fixings, you make the line and get to watch the candy bar being made, starting with a machine that vacuum sucks the base chocolate onto the conveyor belt, where it gets filled and coated in chocolate before being frozen and wrapped.
While you’re waiting for your candy to cool down, you get to design the wrapper. I went with a classic design and cute graphic on the corner, but there are a lot of options to make it fit your personality.
3. Enter “Unwrapped: A Chocolate Tasting Journey”
This is a show/class that emphasizes the five senses and helps you experience chocolate through all of them.
You’re given a chocolate tasting kit before you begin. You have different pieces inside which you’ll be instructed on how to best savor.
For instance, if you’re trying to admire the sound of chocolate you might compare the snapping noise of one with another. The smell, one of the most obvious and alluring features of chocolate, will vary depending on the concentration of cacao in the piece.
After the initial introduction and tasting, you’ll be redirected to another room to watch the final performance and get a special surprise. I thought this activity was reminiscent of some of the shows at Disney World, with animated actors, sound effects and flashy lighting.
I recommend this activity for families with small children.
4. Go Behind the Scenes on the Hershey Chocolate Tour
This was the first “attraction” at Hershey’s Chocolate World and is an old but a goodie. The Great American Chocolate Tour is a ride of sorts that takes you on a behind the scenes look of how chocolate is made.
Guests board a car on a moving platform going at a speed of roughly 5-10 mph through several scenes, starting with the cows on the farm that produce the milk and ending in the packaging and shipping of Hershey chocolates around the world.
The experience takes less than 10 minutes but is a good introduction to the venue, and the line to enter moves quickly since the ride is constantly moving.
5. See the 4D Chocolate Movie
This is a theatrical performance with digital animation, special effects and audience interaction. The goal is to solve a mystery.
The characters behave differently depending on the audience answers and suggestions so even if you’ve seen it before, it’s unlikely you’ll experience the same show twice.
It lasts 30 minutes and costs less than $8 per person. I recommend this activity for those traveling with children.
6. Line Up for a Milkshake
There’s a food court at the end of the shopping area so you can replenish your energy after all the excitement.
There are sweet and savory options available if you want to have lunch, but the most popular stall by far is the milkshake stand.
There is always a line here, sometimes wrapping around several times over. The milkshakes are rich, creamy and indulgent and under $10. Go ahead, treat yo’self!
7. Indulge in a Cupcake
While everyone else is at the milkshakes, I’m at the other side of the building with my eye on the special cupcakes they sell here.
I’m a huge fan of artisan cupcakes, with special stuffings, toppings and garnishes, and Hershey delivers on this and then some. From the icing to the cake itself, these are some of the best cupcake creations I’ve ever had.
They’re also very large, bigger than the size of your fist, and reasonably priced. They’re a sugar coma waiting to happen, but what a way to go.
8. Shop for Larger than Life Candy Bars
One of the fun novelty things to do here is shop for extra large candy bars. I apologize for the low picture quality here, but this was a proud selfie moment for me.
The popular “world’s largest” Hershey bar is 5 pounds and a bestseller, but they have other supersized candy available like Kit-Kat and Twizzlers.
Candy bigger than the size of your head is proof that dreams do come true.
Till next time, safe travels!
Note: I was hosted by Visit Hershey & Harrisburg with complimentary admission and activities. All opinion are my own.
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