Quick Guide to Hersheypark

Quick Guide to Hersheypark

Last month I spent a fabulous weekend in Hershey PA for Sweet Welcome 2015.  Myself along with five other bloggers were invited to learn all about Hershey PA.  I’ve shared a few posts about the weekend but I wanted to share a quick guide to Hersheypark.  My family and I usually visit in October (during off season with my dad’s job).  The park is usually closed to the public so it’s not like how it would be if we visited during peak season.  If you’re ever planning a trip to Hersheypark, I hope you consider this guide.  I am sharing tips, tricks and insider advise on all things Hersheypark to make your trip a memorable one.

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Source: Hersheypark

With a family of six we are all about getting the best value for our money.  Planning family trips take a lot of planning and budgeting.  Hersheypark is a great option for families in the surrounding areas like Maryland, New York, Delaware, New Jersey, Washington D.C. and of course Pennsylvania.  For us the drive is about ninety minutes if there isn’t traffic, perfect for a getaway with no need to worry about flying. Hersheypark offers lots of different specials throughout the summer season and off-season to make it affordable option.

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Tips for Saving On Admission:

  • Visit during the off-season:  Hersheypark has multiple specials during off-season that’s affordable and a great way for guests to enjoy the park.  Right now they are offering 30% off a single-price admission for their Early Summer Sale.  Purchase by May 31st and visit by July 31st to enjoy those savings.  Other seasonal pricing includes Springtime in the Park, Hersheypark in the Dark and Hersheypark Christmas Candylane.
  • Purchase a 2-Day Play Pack:  There’s so much to enjoy atHersheypark that getting atwo day park pass may be a great idea, especially if you are visiting in the summer.  You could spend on day on the Boardwalk and water park area and the other day exploring all the coaster and other rides.  The 2-Day Play Pack includes:
    • 2-day flex ticket, 2 meal tickets, 1 souvenir cup & 1 refill, 13 game vouchers, and 10% off one retail item. AT $177 per person (ages 9-54) that’s a 35% savings if you purchased it separately.  It’s only available on online.
  • Hersheypark Event Special:  Going to a concert at the Giant Center?  Present your concert ticket at the gate the day before or the day after your concert and receive a special discount price of $41.95 per ticket.  I’ve seen the Concert Series for Summer at Giant Center and they have an impressive list of artists.  Plan a fun getaway with a concert and a day at the park.
  • Sunset Pack: Visit Hersheypark later in the day and save big on admission.  The sunset pack is only available online and costs $31 per regular admission ticket (kids and senior tickets also available).
  • Purchase a Season Pass:  If you know you’re going to Hersheypark more than twice during the season.  I suggest a Season Pass.  They have lots of options for season passes starting at $110 per person.  Season Pass holders enjoy unlimited visits, free parking, discounts and more.
  • Use Your Military Discount:  Show your Military ID and save on Hersheypark tickets.  Just take this coupon with you to the gate, along with your ID to enjoy your discount to fun.  See coupon for terms and conditions.
  • Visit with a group:  We usually visit as a part of a group and it’s always amazing.  Groups of 20 or more can save up to 45% off admission tickets.  If you know a lot of people, plan a trip and get a group rate.  To learn more about group specials and offers visit the Hersheypark website.

Make a Woopie Pie

Tips for Saving on Food:

I remember going on trips when I was growing up and my mom would pack food in a cooler so we could save money.  Part of the fun of traveling and family vacations is experiencing the food.  Hersheypark has a few ways you can save on food when visiting the park.

  • Purchase a Meal Ticket: The Meal Ticket option gives you the option to choose from 18 different locations when you’re hungry and ready to fuel up.  Each location has different menu options so be sure to check them all out before hand.  Each meal ticket comes with a souvenir drink cup.  Meal Tickets are $14 each and includes an entree, side and cup.
  • Purchase Park Ticket Packages: Hersheypark offers two park ticket packages that include meal tickets.  The 2-Day Play Pack and the Ride, Dine and Play Pack.  Bundling provides additional discounts for guests.

Hersheypark has quite a few options for dining, you can see all the options on the website.  Did you know Hersheypark offers allergen friendly dining options?  During our visit we learned that they update their dining facilities to ensure no cross-contamination of foods.  While at the park visit the Outpost to try their allergen friendly food items.  To learn more about the allergen friendly menu visit the website and rest assured your family will be taken care of when dining at Hersheypark.

Queen bed at Hotel Hershey

Tips for Saving on Lodging:

I had the pleasure of staying at the Hotel Hershey during my visit and it was simply amazing.  While it does seems alluring to stay at one of the area hotels, you can actually save money by staying at the official resorts of Hersheypark.  Guests of Hersheypark Resorts enjoy the best prices on tickets to the park and enjoy free seasonal shuttle service to and from the park from the different resorts.  Resort options and savings include:

  • Hersheypark Camping Resort:  Has everything you need for the perfect camping trip.  Whether you are choosing to rough it in just a tent or if you prefer to go glamping in one of their new log cabins.  The camping resort offer lots of options for family to be as connect to nature or connect to the internet as you prefer.  They feature free wifi on site, a game room, fire pit for roasting marshmallows and lots of other amenities.  To learn more visit the Hersheypark Camping Resort website.
  • Hershey Lodge: During Sweet Welcome we had a quick tour of Hershey Lodge and there was so much to see.  One of my favorite features was the Kids Check-In area of the hotel.  It’s the perfect way to start a vacation with the kids.  Guests at the Hershey Lodge are in for a treat, with tons of dining options right in the lobby area, finding the right meal is easy as pie.  I would highly suggest the Hershey Grill for breakfast and The Bears Den for lunch or dinner.  The lodge also had meeting spaces and also houses a convention center.  It’s an ideal location for all kinds of events.  Rates start at about $199 per night and vary based on specials.  To learn more about all that Hershey Lodge has to offer visit their website.
  • The Hotel Hershey: This luxury hotel has everything you need to have an amazing vacation.  Start the day off in their newly renovated gym, have a relaxing day in the spa, enjoy breakfast at the Circular, browse the shops in the hotel lobby, or end the day with a swim at the pool.  There are so many option at the Hotel Hershey.  I enjoyed my stay there, it was luxurious and relaxing.  Rates for the Hotel Hershey starts at about $299 per night and vary based on specials.  Visit the Hotel Hershey website to learn more.
  • Kids Stay, Play and Eat Free Package:  This package is based on families of four.  Rates start at $319 per night at the Hershey Lodge in May & June, and $389 per night at the Hotel Hershey.  Rates increase during peak summer months.  The package includes:
    • This package will make the whole family smile! Your kids will have a blast riding the day away at Hersheypark and you’ll love saving big with FREE breakfast and FREE Park admission for kids 17 and under!
      • Deluxe accommodations
      • One-day admission to Hersheypark for two adults and two children
      • FREE kids’ breakfast, when an adult breakfast is purchased
  • Stay Early or Midweek:  Hersheypark resorts also offer special discounts when you book during the months of May and June or when you stay in the middle of the week.  You can find discount rates online when you’re planning your stay.

Guests of the Hotel Hershey and Hershey Lodge enjoy free tickets to the Hershey Gardens and the Hershey Story, available upon check-in.  Learn more about the Hershey Resort Advantage online.

Zoo America Welcome Sign

Zoo America is another great option when visiting Hersheypark.  Admission is included in your ticket price to the park so it doesn’t cost you anything extra to visit the zoo from inside the park.  We always visit when at Hersheypark, its usually one of the last things we do in our day.  It’s a great way to end your day.  While visiting the park we had the opportunity to participate in Zoo America After Dark, I highly suggest you visit when visiting the park.  Zoo America is open year round.

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Hersheypark is home to 12 roller coasters and on Memorial Day they are officially opening their thirteen roller coaster – Laff Trakk.  I’m not a roller coaster fan but there are great ones at Hersheypark.  My family and I are attending a special event for Laff Trakk and I can’t wait to share all the details with you.  There’s a roller coaster for everyone at Hersheypark, the super fast and ones for the kids.

Hersheypark has lot of great kiddie rides, both water and dry rides.  This is one of the main reasons I prefer them over parks specifically for kids.  They offer rides the kids can enjoy, rides for the family and rides for adults.  That’s not including the arcade games as well.  When visiting in the summer time visit the Boardwalk and enjoy one of their fifteen water attractions.

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Look for Hershey Characters when your walking around the park for photo opportunities.  We saw the Hershey Kisses Character around the Kissing Tower during our visit.  It’s another way to create fun memories and photo opportunities are free.  All the characters are very friendly and the love having their photo taken.

Chocolate World

Before entering Hershey Park or before leaving be sure to visit Chocolate World.  I never realized that they offered a free ride inside of Chocolate World.  It’s a History of Hershey Chocolate and at the end you get a free piece of Hershey Miniatures Candy.  Chocolate World features all kinds of sweet treats from the Hershey family of products.  Be on the look out for sales and specials.

Bonus Insider Tip:

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If you stay at one of the Hersheypark Resorts be sure to book a Hershey Trolley Works Tour.  All tours depart from Hershey’s Chocolate World.  The tours run 364 days a year, rain or shine, expect in snow.  The Trolley Works Tour was very informative and we received all kinds of chocolate samples on the tour.  We even saw the home of Mr. Milton Hershey.  The tour price varies from $10.95 for children and $14.95 for adults.

I hope you found my Quick Guide to Hersheypark helpful.  If you have any questions, tips or suggestions be sure to leave them in the comments.  To plan your next trip to Hersheypark visit their website and be sure to connect with them on social media on Facebook and Twitter.  Also download the Hersheypark app to keep before you visit the park so you’re ready for a day of fun when you arrive.

Beautiful, Fascinating, Stunning: The Hershey Theatre

Beautiful, Fascinating, Stunning: The Hershey Theatre

I can count on one had how many theatres I’ve had the opportunity to tour, during Sweet Welcome Weekend we had the opportunity to visit the Hershey Theatre for a Spotlight Tour.  It was beautiful, fascinating, stunning: The Hershey Theatre was simply amazing.  There was so much beauty and intrigue to see during the tour but what stuck out the most to me were the architectural elements and the breath-taking designs.  The building was built during the great depression.  From 1929 – 1933 the theatre was a part of Mr. Milton Hershey’s “Great Building Campaign.”  A campaign in which he was able to create nearly 600 jobs for men who had been previously unemployed.

There are so many great things I could share with you about the Hershey Theatre but I’ll just show you some of the design elements that really stuck out to me.  If you’re interested in taking the Spotlight Tour of the Hershey Theatre it costs $8.00 for adults and $6.00 for children ages (3-12).  Tours are held on Fridays: 11 AM Year Round (No tours on Christmas and New Year’s Day) & Sundays: 1 PM (Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day).  To schedule a tour, please call 717-533-6299 or email Lisa Balanda, Tour Coordinator.

The inner foyer's "canopy of gold" - Hershey Theatre

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My favorite part of the whole theatre was the inner foyer.  Before you head to your seat when visiting the Hershey Theatre be sure to look up and ejoy the beauty Mr. Hershey left for guests to enjoy.

Hershey Theatre Tidbit: The inner foyer’s “canopy of gold” arched tile ceiling was patterned after St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice, Italy. Two German artisans labored for two full years to create the beautiful blue and gold pin-point mosaic design leading to the main floor seating area.

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This ceiling is from the Chocolate Avenue Box Office.  This section has it’s own unique design flair but meshes well with all the other parts of the theatre.  Here’s an insider’s tip.  When you are going to the theatre for a show check to see if the Chocolate Avenue entrance is open it’s usually less busy and it has prime parking and perfect for leaving after the show.  It’s the road less traveled I guess.

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When enter the Hershey Theatre the Grand Lobby is stunning in it’s own right.  According to our tour guide there’s so much history and possible hidden stories in this lobby.  He shared a few theories with us and even shared some other guests had shared with him.  I would highly suggest you take a few minutes to appreciate all the beauty in the lobby and see if you have any theories of your own.

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Can you guess the God in this photo? Tell me in the comments.

My Hershey didn’t skimp on the mythical when designing the Hershey Theatre either.  You can find all kinds of mystical creatures all around the theatre.

Hershey Theatre Tidbit:  When next visiting the Hershey Theatre, count the number of lions that the architect placed throughout the theatre. Hint: There are more than eighteen!

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Sitting inside the auditorium you get a feeling of being outside.  It has to do with the design that looks like the outside of a castle.  I wish I could have gotten a good photo of the ceiling because it was created to look like twinkling stars.

Hershey Theatre Tidbit: Hershey Theatre’s “stars-and-clouds” ceiling is suspended from the roof. Utilizing the radiance of colored lights, the sky changes scenes from sunset to dusk, from dawn to sunrise. Within the hanging ceiling, 88 small holes are fitted with 10- and 25-watt light bulbs. When lit and twinkling, patrons can feel as if they are indeed outside of a huge castle, awaiting a royal performance, passing the time by stargazing.

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Hershey Theatre Fire Curtain
Hershey Theatre Fire Curtain

The Hershey Theatre fire curtain was simply stunning.  It look so simple but this beautiful canvas is all there is to protect the theatre in case there’s a fire backstage.  Thankfully they’ve never had to use it since it was installed and I hope they never do.  It’s a beautiful piece of the history and life of this theatre.  Can you guess how much this fire curtain weights?  Check out my tidbit below.

Hershey Theatre Tidbit: At times, the theatre’s six-ton fire curtain is lowered, displaying an amazing water color picture of the city of Venice, with the Grand Canal flowing past the Doge’s Palace.

These are just a few of the beautiful things we saw inside the Hershey Theatre.  If you’re ever in the area and you think you want to take in a show.  Be sure to check out their calendar of events for any shows.  This year they have had a few Broadway Shows visiting.  Some may have already passed but you can certainly check out the rest of the shows for the year below:

Annie

Date: July 21 – 26, 2015
Time: Tuesday – Thursday: 7:30 PM
Friday: 8:00 PM
Saturday: 2:00 PM & 8:00 PM
Sunday: 2:00 PM & 7:30 PM
*ASL Interpreted performance will be on Sunday at 2:00 PM

 Once

Date: September 15 – 20, 2015
Time: Tuesday – Thursday: 7:30 PM
Friday: 8:00 PM
Saturday: 2:00 PM & 8:00 PM
Sunday: 1:00 PM
Please note, there is no Sunday evening performance.
*ASL Interpreted performance will be on Sunday at 1:00 PM

 Matilda The Musical

Date: November 10 – 15, 2015
Time: Tuesday – Thursday: 7:30 PM
Friday: 8:00 PM
Saturday: 2:00 PM & 8:00 PM
Sunday: 1:00 PM & 6:30 PM
*ASL Interpreted performance will be on Sunday at 1:00 PM

 Rudolph The Musical

Date: December 8 – 9, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM

Coming to the Hershey Theatre in 2016:

Buddy (The Buddy Holly Story)

Date: January 19, 2016
Time: 7:30 PM

Cinderella

Date: January 26 – 31, 2016
Time: Tuesday – Thursday: 7:30 PM
Friday: 8:00 PM
Saturday: 2:00 PM & 8:00 PM
Sunday: 1:00 PM & 6:30 PM
​*ASL Interpreted performance will be on Sunday at 1:00 PM

 Ragtime

Date: April 26, 2016 – May 1, 2016
Time: Tuesday – Thursday: 7:30 PM
Friday: 8:00 PM
Saturday: 2:00 PM & 8:00 PM
Sunday: 1:00 PM & 6:30 PM
​*ASL Interpreted performance will be on Sunday at 1:00 PM

Interested in a show.  You can purchase a Broadway Series Subscription that includes four shows: Once, Matilda the Musical, Ragtime and Cinderella. There are lots of great benefits of purchasing a subscription and prices vary starting from $100.  Hurry and purchase now.  So the next time you want to spend a night out on the town, dress up and take in a show at the beautiful, fascinating, stunning: The Hershey Theatre.

Stay at the Official Resorts of Hersheypark #HersheyPA

Stay at the Official Resorts of Hersheypark

I had such an amazing time during Sweet Welcome in Hershey PA.  I had been to Hersheypark quite a few times but we never stayed over night in the area.  I have always known about The Hotel Hershey but were you aware that there’s not one, not two but three official resorts of Hersheypark?  During my time in Hershey PA (Derry Township) I had the opportunity to stay at the Hotel Hershey and it was one of the most amazing stays I’ve even had at a hotel.  My quaint corner room offered me amazing views of Hersheypark both day and night, while having all the creature comforts of being a home away from home.

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When I arrived at the Hotel Hershey I didn’t realize just how grand the hotel actually is, until I got lost trying to find where the rest of the group was for the welcome reception.  Check in was a breeze and I even received a free Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar upon check in.  Guests get an option of either milk or dark chocolate.  Guests at the Hotel Hershey and Hershey Lodge receive complimentary admission to Hershey Story Museum Experience and the Hershey Gardens.  Guests at all three resorts can take advantage of complimentary shuttle service to Hersheypark and 1-hour early access to select rides and attractions, so choosing an official resort of Hersheypark definitely has it’s perks.

From the time I entered my room I was greeted with luxury.  When your bath products include white chocolate amongst the ingredients you know you are in for an indulgent stay.  My bed was super soft and comfortable and staying so close to the park surprisingly my room was actually quite for the most part.

 

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Kisses and Bed Tray

Each night I returned to the hotel to find the robe on the bed and the tray with information about the hotel, room service menu, a brochure about Hersheypark, a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign and four Hershey Kisses.  The iPod/iPhone Digital Clock Radio was always playing soft music in the background and my toiletries were refreshed.  One of my favorite things about the Hotel Hershey is the small bottles of water they leave in your room.  Along with the coffee and tea, there was usually about six mini bottles.  I don’t drink coffee so I appreciated them offering the water for guests.  I would store a few bottles in the mini fridge in my room so I could have one at night and when I woke up in the morning.  I truly enjoyed my stay at the Hotel Hershey and I can’t wait to visit again with my husband and kids.

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Although I only stayed at the Hotel Hershey during Sweet Welcome we also had the opportunity to visit the Hershey Lodge and Hersheypark Camping Resort as a part of our agenda.  The Hershey Lodge is just as inviting and welcoming as the Hotel Hershey but it has a bit of a different feel.  I swore when we walked in there were random mists of Chocolate in the air.  I asked about Chocolate Air Fresheners the entire time we were at the property.  Hershey Lodge houses the largest convention resort in Pennsylvania, with more than 100,000 square feet of versatile meeting space.

The Hershey Lodge has it’s own unique style that isn’t anything like the Hotel Hershey.  They feature a Kids Check-In area, they had lots of family dining options right there on the property and the whole design structure offered a warm feeling.  The lodge has tons of activities for guests including three swimming pools, a fitness center, miniature golf, basketball and more.  Be sure to visit their website HersheyLodge.com to learn more and book your stay.

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On the last day of Sweet Welcome we visited the Hersheypark Camping Resort and I immediately fell in love with the beauty and open air of that area.  I am hoping I get to take my family for a weekend stay at one of their cabins here.  The Hersheypark Camping Resort has options for all sorts of campers ranging from people who want to just camp in tents, trailers, RV sites and even cabins.  Their newly built two bedroom cabins has all the comforts of home.  The master bedroom has a double bed, the second bedroom has two bunk beds and it sleeps about 8 people.  Camping in these deluxe cabins is the ultimate.

Hersheypark Camping Resort features more than 300 sites, including 46 cabins with amenities ranging from rustic to deluxe, basic tenting sites, and RV sites featuring partial to full hook ups (electric, water, sewer, cable TV).  Guests enjoy the best price on park tickets and shuttle service to Hersheypark.  The camping resort features a variety of family events and amenities including two swimming pools, a kiddie pool, indoor game room, country store, fire rings and picnic tables.  Wi-Fi is available in limited areas.  During the summer and fall seasons, guests enjoy activities such as movie nights and live entertainment including visits from the Hershey’s Characters.  To learn more about Hersheypark Camping Resort visit their site and if you’re looking for camping options in the area be sure to give them a try.

 

Go Behind the Scenes with Zoo America After Dark

Go Behind the Scenes with Zoo America After Dark

This past weekend I spent the entire weekend in Hershey P.A. learning all about the legacy that Mr. Milton Hershey left behind.  It was so educational and inspiring hearing about the dreams he had for Hershey and what he wanted to give his employees.  I’ve been to Hershey Park a few times in the past couple of years and one of my favorite stops is Zoo America so when I saw we were getting the opportunity to go behind the scenes with Zoo America After Dark I was beyond ecstatic.  Thanks to Hershey P.A. for hosting me this weekend.

Zoo America Welcome Sign

Our time at Zoo America started after the park had already closed for the night.  It was a very chilly afternoon and after spending the day around Hershey and in the park we didn’t know what to expect.  When Dale (the zoo naturalist in charge at Zoo America) came and asked us about how we wanted to do the tour, we were all tired and hoped it would be short.  Just one mention of feeding an animal and we immediately wanted the full tour.  Guests interested in taking the Zoo America After Dark tour can do so if you are three years and older.  The price is $49 per person and they can accommodate up to ten people.  The guided tour that gives you behind the scenes, non-public access to Zoo America is two hours long and are held on Wednesday and Saturday nights year-round.  Our first stop was in the education room and that’s where we meet Luna the Screech Owl.

Luna helps the staff at Zoo America with educational programs. She plays a vital part of the program and she’s an example of how Zoo America is helping with conservation efforts.  Luna only has vision in one eye, this prohibits her from being able to hunt in the wild.  She was found injured in the wild so the zoo has taken her in as a part of their family.  They care for Luna by making sure she has food to eat and protecting her from the wild.

Did you know that owls feathers are made to prevent them from making any sound when flying?  They are known as silent flyers.  Luna appears bigger than what she really is.  She’s a small owl.  According to the zoo she only weighs 6 ounces.

Art Showcase

The Milton Hershey School is another thing we learned about during our weekend stay and the children at the school created these drawings that make up this piece of art for the wall of the Zoo.  I loved it because it’s a great way to see how the animals look through the eyes of a child.

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Getting close to Luna wasn’t all we did during our tour of the zoo either.  We also had the opportunity to learn about this baby alligator as well.  They even gave us a chance to touch him.  I was surprised at how cold he felt to the touch.  He wasn’t scaly and dry at all.  Don’t let his size food you however according to Rachel – Zoo Naturalist – this baby alligator could bite off your fingers if they were to end up in his mouth.

Feeding the bear

Feeding the bear

Remember I mentioned we were going to be feeding animals on this tour?  Well one of those feedings were with this Black Bear at the zoo.  You would be surprised to know that we were just feeding him grapes on the skewer.  Zoo America has a pair (brother & sister) Black Bears from the West Virginia.  We learned the bears were rescued from the basement of one resident who thought they would make good pets.  Soon they outgrew the basement and started to cause a problem for the people who captured them.  Zoo America was contacted about taking the animals and being able to house and care for them.  It worked out great for the zoo.  I’m not sure why anyone would want a bear as a pet but I sure hope they don’t get that idea ever again.  We also had the opportunity to feed some friendly otters as a part of the After Dark tour.

Image Credit: Zoo America

I had an amazing time during the Zoo America After Dark tour.  We learned so much about all the different animals there.  We saw some cool bobcats, watched some Ocelot play around, check out the Alligators, looked in on some Vampire Bats, learned a wealth of knowledge about several species of owls, and gained an appreciation for animals.  At Zoo America they only have animals from North America and the zoo is set up by regions so you can learn about the different animals in various regions.  If you live in the Hershey PA area you can get a membership at the zoo, and for just $45 per person and $125 per family, you get unlimited admission to the zoo during regular hours as well as some other great perks.  Guests of Hersheypark can enjoy complimentary admission to Zoo America because it’s included in their ticket price.  When ever we visit we always take the kids up there to see the animals and on the monorail you get a brief glimpse of some of the animals there.

To learn more about Zoo America and all their programs be sure to visit their website www.zooamerica.com, also follow them on social media on Instagram and Facebook.