Even though the summer has come and gone, the festivities don’t have to end. That’s Hersheypark’s philosophy as they transition into the offseason with the annual “Hersheypark In The Dark,” which advertises three sweet weekends to guests who want to ride any of the thirteen rollercoasters, use their flashlights to see the creepy crawlers of ZooAmerica, and get treated to candy by the famous mascots of Hershey.
Tickets for the day will cost most guests $40, while seniors citizens and kids in the 3 – 8 age bracket receive a $10 discount for entry into the park. Other packages and combinations are available and can be found on their website.
Most of the rides that run during the summer months are still operational, although, a change in the temperamental autumn weather could suspend some rides until conditions improve. Popular rides and coasters include “Great Bear,” “Kissing Tower,” “Storm Runner,” “Monorail,” “Laff Trakk,” and “Skyrush” just to name a few. Logically, all of the water-themed rides are out of commission due to the chilly, Pennsylvanian temperatures. Even in the offseason, Hersheypark is an extremely popular destination, so guests should expect long lines of at least 45 minutes.
“Hersheypark in the Dark” offers some seasonal changes to the visual aesthetics as well. Various light structures dot the park that glitter in grey evenings. Candy stations are setup for costumed kids to get their sweet treats. The ubiquitous Hershey marketing receives a makeover with pumpkins, masks, and lots of oranges and purples. Hersheypark keeps the theme family-friendly with less spook and more sweets.
Some of the food offerings take on a change as well. S’more stations are a pleasant find when the sun goes down and the option to cushion marshmallows between cookies and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups will satisfy any sweet tooth. Before heading to the park, it is recommended to figure out a budget. Meals per person on average will cost anywhere between $12-15. Water bottles are usually over $3, and a cup of beer at the HOPS & Harvest food area will cost $8. Each weekend, the HOPS & Harvest menu changes with themes around Oktoberfest and PA Dutch comfort food.
If you’re looking to making a quick pit stop in Hershey as you head to a Steelers or Eagles game or enjoy some of the other neighboring tourist attractions in Harrisburg and Lancaster, Hershey’s Chocolate World is an excellent choice if you want to avoid the hubbub of the park. Chocolate World is located just outside of the park and is free to visit. While mostly a shopping and dining central, Chocolate World offers various experiences in chocolate production and making. The famous simulated Chocolate Factory Tour recently had an update in 2016 and visitors old and new can see how new technology has been embedded into the tour. Just like decades ago, tour goers will still receive a free piece of chocolate after the tour has finished.
The Hershey Corporation has other attractions and influences nearby such as their Lodge and Hotel, where visitors will find chocolate embedded into the hospitality experience. The Hershey Museum offers a historical look at how the town and company came to be over the last century.
“Hersheypark in the Dark” runs from October 19th until November 4th Fridays through Sundays. ZooAmerica and Chocolate World are open all week. See website for detailed hours.