If your family is anything like mine, October is an important month. Why? Halloween, of course! We also love the cooler weather, hot chocolate, pillowcases full of candy, the Sanderson sisters — and this year, we added Hersheypark in the Dark to our October to do list!
Throughout October, Hersheypark and its famous chocolate factory, Hershey’s Chocolate World, stay open when the sun goes down, with loads of fun to be had for all ages. It’s the perfect opportunity to get optimum use out of those costumes your kids just had to have. And there isn’t a better way to let those pint-sized humans burn through their sugar highs than with a whole amusement park to play in.
When there is an opportunity for my husband and me to get our three totally different-in-every-way boys to agree on something, we jump on it – and all three were looking forward to our night out at the park. Our 7 year old wanted to dress up in his Batman costume; the 12 year old wanted to ride roller coasters and play games; and the 15 year old wanted to, you know, maybe “ride some stuff” and “eat everything.” So the hubby and I took the boys to have some chocolate-infused fun this past weekend.
It’s been a summer or two since I’ve been to Hersheypark, even longer to Hersheypark in the Dark. So, I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun we all had.
We started our night with food, of course. The dinner selection in Hershey’s Chocolate World has definitely changed, and Oh boy! for the better. I was expecting to have to settle for pizza or a burger. But no, this mom was able to enjoy pot roast with roasted veggies and yummy baked mac and cheese. The hubby was content with his pulled pork sandwich with chocolate barbecue sauce. Batman was perfectly happy with a flatbread pizza and some of Mom’s mac and cheese. Tween and Teen enjoyed chicken fingers and a deli sandwich. Hershey made a good effort to have something for all. And dessert? Well, it is the Sweetest Place on Earth, so they have every tasty chocolate morsel in the bag.
After enjoying dinner and the entertainment of Reese’s and Twizzlers characters dancing the Monster Mash, we made sure to make stops at the Trick-or-Treat Trail for Batman.
Our night in the park was filled with games like ring toss, hit the bottle, more ring toss and giant claw machines.
Tween was excited he was tall enough to ride any coaster with Mom and Dad, and he rode the Great Bear at least three times. I mean, come on, the Great Bear in the dark? “Awesomeness!” as my tween puts it.
Batman couldn’t get enough of the Trailblazer, where he was kind enough to warn Dad that it would only be a little scary, but a lot of fun!
Teen lost himself in sampling even more food choices to feed his bottomless pit, riding the Scrambler and the Wave Swinger, and running into friends.
The topping on this fun-filled night was the Creatures of the Night tour in ZooAmerica. Exploring with our flashlights made the exhibit more mysterious and exciting. Tween was in heaven at the nocturnal reptile exhibit, not to mention getting up-close-and-personal to Stella the Skunk, armadillos and insects! His little nature-and-science-loving tween brain was in heaven listening to all the information and facts the ZooAmerica staff had to share (and it was a lot). And of course, ZooAmerica had more stops on the Trick-or-Treat Trail for Batman.
Even though I couldn’t convince any of the boys to ride the new Hershey Triple Towers (wimps!), all-in-all, Hersheypark in the Dark was a hit: rides and games for all ages and sizes, good food (seriously my teen couldn’t get enough), the Trick-or-Treat Trail for the younger ones, and the friendly and informative staff at ZooAmerica.
We were definitely Hersheypark in the Dark Happy – where the only scare was riding the rides in the dark.
And maybe the insect and reptile exhibit… No really, they’re big!
Damaris Millard is mother of three boys, married and lives in Camp Hill. When not freelancing she is surrounded by other writers’ work, working at a local bookstore.
Hersheypark in the Dark
October 20-22 and 27-29
Admission: $38.00 (ages 9-54), $28.00 (ages 3-8 and 55+), FREE for children 2 and younger
All 13 roller coasters and Hershey Triple Tower attraction will be open for guests. In addition, the Park will turn off the lights on its three wooden roller coasters during the last hour of each operating evening and Laff Trakk will be dark the whole day.
New for 2017! Thirteen candy locations in Hershey’s Trick-or-Treat Trail, including Treatville trick-or-treat trail in Hersheypark and ZooAmerica, and Hershey Hollow in Hershey’s Chocolate World Attraction. Children ages 12 and younger are encouraged to come in costume for free treat bags and candy at each stop throughout this whimsical Halloween village.
Creatures Of The Night at ZooAmerica
Included in the one-price admission to Hersheypark In The Dark Halloween attraction, guests are invited to bring a flashlight for the Creatures Of The Night experience program at ZooAmerica after 6 pm. Separate admission is also available at the Zoo’s off-street entrance.
Hershey’s Chocolate World
Festive fall fun during Full Moon Fridays (Oct. 13, 20, 27)