Posted in North America, Travels, United States

A Sweet Stop in Hershey, PA

It’s no secret in my family that I am quite the candy fiend. It’s actually a bit of a miracle that I’m still described as “well nourished” by my physician.

With Hershey less than an hour from Lancaster, the Sibling and I decided to stop by Hershey’s legendary Chocolate World that afternoon. BONUS: There is no entrance fee! (But some of the attractions have a fee. There’s a complete list on their site).

So the first thing to notice when you get in is that this place is basically a giant store. There are Hershey products galore, from the traditional chocolate to giant novelty pillows. Plenty to take home for souvenirs. Plenty to eat also.

I think I was expecting more of a theme park place when I heard “Chocolate World,” but that’s not what it seems to be. Everything was pretty much under one roof, except for the trolley tour, which we didn’t do, but it’s a good option if you’d like to hear about the history of the town of Hershey and it’s chocolate influences. I think I would have liked to do the trolley tour if we had more time.

They do have what’s called a “Chocolate Tour,” but it’s more of a mini kiddie ride — think “It’s a Small World,” complete with creepy robotic figures and annoying theme song, as well as some narration to explain how raw ingredients turn into the delicious (and far from nutritious) candy bars. All in all, it’s great for kids, but it wasn’t really my jam. I did appreciate the fact that this “tour” was free and they handed out a chocolate sample at the end.

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Step One

We did end up getting passes for the “Create Your Own Candy Bar” activity. The lines are long, but I enjoyed this one. It’s exactly how it sounds. Pop on a sexy hairnet and customize your own candy bar from the flavors to the fillings and follow it along the conveyor belt as it’s created. How do you know which bar is yours? There are small screens that display your name when your piece passes through.

You also customize the label to your own tin to hold your candy bar. I ate the chocolate bar, but I still have the tin and keep miscellaneous tickets from my various travels in it. I haven’t gotten around to the scrapbooking thing yet.

Depending on how persnickety you are about customization, I think you can knock this out in a little over 30 minutes (sans lines and being wishy-washy about ingredients or decorations). It took us almost an hour because of the lines. I quite enjoyed this activity, although simple, because I liked the idea of being able to create a product that was customized to my liking and made just for me (including the packaging). There is an added fee for this activity; check their website for the latest pricing.

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Packaging. The tin and custom label go on afterwards

Hershey’s Chocolate World is definitely a family attraction (or solo if you just really love Hershey products). There are other activities besides the two we experienced. I definitely don’t think it’s a place you’ll want to spend your whole day (but that’s just my opinion). Pick out one or two activities and shop for some souvenirs (and perhaps some insulin).

Has any one else ventured to Hershey’s Chocolate World? What was your experience like?

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