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Clockwise from top center: Hersheypark logo · Fahrenheit · Great Bear (train on lift), Storm Runner and Sidewinder · Ferris Wheel · Wave Swinger · Lightning Racer · SooperDooperLooper and Comet.
|Slogan||Rush to Hersheypark|
|Location||Derry Township, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, United States|
|Owner||Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company|
|Opened||April 24, 1907|
|Previous names||Hershey Park|
|Operating season||April (Springtime), May–September (Regular), October (Halloween), November–December (Candylane)|
|Visitors per annum||2,000,000|
|Area||121 acres (49 ha)|
|Total||67 (as of 2012)|
Hersheypark (known as Hershey Park until 1970) is a family theme park situated in Hershey, Derry Township, Pennsylvania, United States, about 15 miles (24 km) east of Harrisburg, and 95 miles (153 km) west of Philadelphia. Founded in 1905 by Milton S. Hershey, as a leisure park for the employees of the Hershey Chocolate Company, as of 2012, the park is wholly and privately owned by Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company. The park has won several awards, including the IAAPA Applause Award.
The park opened its first roller coaster in 1923, the The Wild Cat, an early Philadelphia Toboggan Company coaster. In 1970, Hershey Park began a redevelopment plan which made the park into the new Hersheypark. The 1970s brought the first looping roller coaster on the East Coast, as well as a 330 foot tall observation tower, the Kissing Tower. Beginning in the mid-1980s, the park rapidly expanded. Between 1991 and 2008, the park added eight roller coasters and a water park. As of 2011, the park's area covers over 110 acres (45 ha), containing over 60 rides and attractions. The park contains a waterpark called The Boardwalk at Hersheypark, and a zoo called ZOOAMERICA - North American Wildlife Park. Adjacent is Hershey's Chocolate World, a visitors' center that is open to the public and that contains shops, restaurants, and a chocolate factory-themed ride.
In 1903, Milton S. Hershey, founder of the Hershey Chocolate Company, surveyed a site along Spring Creek that would be suitable for his park. Until 1906, it was simply a little park area for Hershey employees to visit and have picnics. On May 30, 1906, Hershey dedicated the park and called it Hershey Park. Over the years, attractions were added and removed, including a roller coaster, thrill rides, and funhouses. In 1970, the park was redeveloped after being in disrepair for a number of years. The name was changed to Hersheypark and it has operated under that name ever since.
Hersheypark developed a number of themed areas, the first being Carrousel Circle and Der Deitch Platz in 1972, followed by Tower Plaza in 1975, and the most recent being The Boardwalk at Hersheypark in 2007. The themed areas featured different music, such as polka-style songs being played in Der Deitch Platz and Carrousel Circle, country music being played in the Pioneer Frontier themed area, the Beach Boys being played near Tidal Force and later in The Boardwalk, as well as Ragtime and jazz music being played in Midway America. Over the years, however, the music was phased into being the same across the park, except in The Boardwalk.
The park added its first roller coaster in 1923, The Wild Cat, for the town of Hershey's twentieth anniversary, and its most recent roller coaster in 2012, Skyrush. Between 1991 and 2012, the park added nine roller coasters, after having added only four between 1946 and 1990, all of which remain except two. One, a twin roller coaster called Toboggan (colloquially it was called Twin Toboggans) which had been located in Carrousel Circle, and the Original Wild Cat. (The station of the Wild Cat was located in the Minetown area where the Convoy ride is currently with most of the out-and-back layout/structure built along the north side of Spring Creek between the base of Storm Runner's first drop and the station for Trail Blazer.) The newer Wildcat is located in Midway America. One was built in 1923, and the other in 1996.
Hersheypark has had over 100 rides in the park's history. The current count is 68. The park has featured 14 roller coasters, two of which no longer stand. The park had two concepts cancelled during their many years of operation; the first in 1942 Flying Turns and Turbulence in 2004.
The first ride the park purchased was a Herschell carousel in 1908. The most recent ride was Skyrush, their 12th coaster, which opened on May 26, 2012. In 2009, the park added its most recent water attractions, the Intercoastal Waterway and The Shore, as part of the Boardwalk waterpark expansion, the SeaQuel.
Height categories 
Hersheypark uses Hershey Company products as names for each height range to determine who can ride which rides.
All measurements are in inches:
|Miniatures||0 - 36 (3' and below)||Newest height category; created in 2005|
|Kisses||36 - 42 (3' - 3'6")|
|Reese's||42 - 48 (3'6" - 4')|
|Hershey's||48 - 54 (4' - 4'6")|
|Twizzler||54 - 60 (4'6" - 5')|
|Jolly Ranchers||60 and above (5' +)||Previously Cookies 'N' Creme and originally Bar None.|
Thrill ride ratings 
Hersheypark uses a ride ratings system to alert guests to the aggressiveness of the ride. The "Ratings" for each ride are as follows: (descriptions come from the 2007 edition of the map of Hersheypark)
|1||Children's Ride||This is a low-speed, gentle ride intended for young children and may accommodate chaperones where permitted.|
|2||Mild Thrill Ride||This is a low to medium speed ride with expected changes in elevation and speed. This ride may require some rider body control and is not recommended for unaccompanied toddlers or very small children.|
|3||Moderate Thrill Ride||This is a medium speed ride where riders may experience unexpected changes in elevation and speed. This ride may contain moderate twists, turns, bumps, spins and loops and may require some rider body control.|
|4||High Thrill Ride||This is a fast-paced ride experience with unexpected changes in speed, direction and/or elevation. This ride may contain significant twists, turns, bumps, spins, and loops and requires full rider body control.|
|5||Aggressive Thrill Ride||This is a high-speed ride experience. Riders will experience many unexpected rapid changes in speed, direction, and/or elevation and requires full rider body control. This ride is not recommended for guests with physical, cognitive, and/or medical limitations.|
Hersheypark features a number of entertainment shows in a number of venues including Hersheypark Amphitheater and the Music Box Theater, as well as strolling shows throughout the park.
There are facilities for accommodating particular dietary needs, including a kosher restaurant (Central PA's Kosher Mart) and a variety of restaurants offering gluten-free rolls and bread. Groups can pre-arrange catering in one of six private picnic areas inside the park. Signs are posted prohibiting guests from bringing in outside food and drink. A casual sit down restaurant called Hersheypark Place (formerly Tudor Grill) is located just outside the park.
Themed areas 
Hersheypark is made up of nine themed areas, starting with an area outside the main gate, leading to the north end of the park, Midway America, and the south end of the park, Minetown.
Tudor Square 
Tudor Square is the first themed area of Hersheypark. It is located outside of the main gates and is free to enter. It features rustic architecture and is home to several shops, a Dunkin' Donuts and Hersheypark Place, the only full-service restaurant in the park. It also features breakfast with the Hershey's Product Characters. The main gates of Hersheypark separate Tudor Square from the Rhineland section.
Rhineland is named after its Bavarian architecture and is the first park section located within the park’s gates. Like Tudor Square, Rhineland is not home to any attractions but does include a wide variety of gift shops as well as a Nathan’s, Famous Famiglia Pizzeria, and the Central PA's Kosher Mart. The Kosher Mart building was, until 1992, the Rhineland entrance of the Sky Ride - a ski lift transport ride which took you to Minetown, near the Kissing Tower and Twin Turnpike (which is now the location of Great Bear).
Founder’s Circle 
From 1972 until 2004, this area was known as Carrousel Circle, after the Philadelphia Toboggan Company carousel in the middle of the circle. The area initially featured several flat rides including Scrambler and an octopus-type ride, a double giant ferris wheel called Giant Wheel, as well as a twin roller coaster called Twin Toboggans. The Twin Toboggans were removed after five years of service. Several of the flat rides were removed and replaced with kiddie rides over the years. When the Giant Wheel was removed after the 2004 season, it was due to be replaced by a roller coaster called Turbulence; however the project was cancelled. Instead, two older rides were reintroduced to the park, Starship America and Balloon Flite, which had been removed in previous seasons.
In 2005, Carrousel Circle became Founder's Circle, which as of 2011, is still the area's name. The center of the section is still home to the park’s Carrousel, which is surrounded by the aforementioned rides, Scrambler, and other children’s rides. Founder’s Circle is also home to the Craftbarn restaurant, formerly called Der Deitch Platz (a Pennsylvania Dutch theme) and the Get the Picture Souvenir Photo Stand where guests can see and purchase pictures taken of them by park photographers throughout their day.
The Hollow 
This section was named after the oldest operating coaster in the park, Comet, and lies along Spring Creek. This is one of the oldest areas part of Hersheypark; many rides have come and gone in this area. The park's first water ride, the Mill Chute installed in 1929, was alongside the creek where Great Bear runs today. The original location for the bumper cars, then called the Auto Skooters, is now the SooperDooperLooper Sandwich Stop. There were giant slides on the hill where the Hersheypark Amphitheater is located. A turnpike ride was located underneath the high bridge that crossed Spring Creek to Minetown. The park's carousel, before being moved to Carrousel Circle in 1972, was located along the creek adjacent to the station of Comet. Before SooperDooperLooper came to Comet Hollow in 1977, a Himalaya ride was in that location, and before that, twin Eli Bridge Ferris wheels. A whip, and a station for the Electric Railroad were also located in Comet Hollow at one time.
One of Hersheypark's most significant floods occurred in 1972 as a result of Hurricane Agnes. A number of rides were heavily damaged or destroyed as a result. These rides include the turnpike ride, the Mill Chute and the giant slides. They were eventually replaced (the Coal Cracker (1973) and Twin Turnpike (1975) were put on higher ground in Minetown, and the Merry Derry Dip Fun Slide was put in Midway America twenty five years later in 1997).
Today, Comet Hollow features three roller coasters, Comet, SooperDooperLooper, the first looping roller coaster on the East Coast, and Skyrush. It also houses the Wave Swinger. Almost all of Great Bear's run track courses through Comet Hollow.
Beginning with the 2012 season and renovations being done to this area, the park changed the name of the once 'Comet Hollow' to the now present name of 'The Hollow'.
Minetown was modeled to resemble a mining town, just as its name says. The section was officially opened in 1990 with the additions of Convoy, Red Baron, Flying Falcon and Dinosaur-Go-Round. All except Dinosaur-Go-Round are still in the area; Dinosaur-Go-Round was moved to Founder’s Circle for the 2007 season so the Frog Hoppers could be moved to its location to make room for the Boardwalk. The section features many classic Hersheypark attractions, including the Sunoco Twin Turnpike, Coal Cracker log flume, Kissing Tower and Great Bear inverted roller coaster. It is also home to the Minetown Arcade, Minetown Restaurant, Hersheypark Amphitheater, Hersheypark Aquatheater and the Hersheypark entrance to ZooAmerica. The Minetown Restaurant is a cafeteria style place, and is the only area in the park where alcohol is served.
Music Box Way 
Music Box Way is a section that connects Founder’s Circle, Minetown and Pioneer Frontier. It is named for its wide array of musical entertainment. It is home to the Chevrolet Music Box Theater, the only fully enclosed entertainment venue in the park. Across from the Theater are stages for the popular Milkmen and Soda Pops acts. Next door to the Theater is Studio H, a place where guests can videotape themselves making music videos. Rides in the area include the Geico Fender Bender (bumper cars), Tiny Timbers (miniature log flume), Pirate (swinging ship), Capital BlueCross Monorail, The Claw, Dry Gulch Railroad, and the Reese’s Xtreme Cup Challenge.
Pioneer Frontier 
The largest area of the park, Pioneer Frontier, the southwestern-themed section of the park, includes four of the park’s roller coasters: Trailblazer (the second oldest in the park),Sidewinder, Storm Runner, and Fahrenheit. It also includes the Frontier Flyers, The Howler, Mini Scrambler, and Livery Stables. It also has its own food court which features a wide variety of restaurants. The section previously included the area up to and including Tidal Force until 2007 when Tidal Force and Canyon River Rapids were rezoned into the new Boardwalk.
Midway America 
Opened in 1996 as a homage to the classic midway fair, Midway America features three roller coasters (four if you count the two tracks of Lightning Racer distinctly). The other two are Wildcat and Wild Mouse, which are located across from one another. The section also contains the Whip, Merry Derry Dip Fun Slides, Music Express, Ferris Wheel and three children’s rides. To further represent its theme, the section has multiple food stands and carts like those found at carnivals, as well as plenty of midway games.
The Boardwalk at Hersheypark 
The newest themed area of the park, the Boardwalk waterpark was officially opened in 2007 and featured five new waterpark attractions along with three already standing rides: Roller Soaker, Tidal Force and Canyon River Rapids. Canyon River Rapids and Tidal Force were rezoned from Pioneer Frontier to the Boardwalk, with Tidal Force later being zoned as Midway America. In 2009, the Boardwalk received an expansion known as the Seaquel which replaced the iconic Canyon River Rapids with Intercoastal Waterway (a lazy river), the Shore (a wave pool) and cabanas. Roller Soaker is being removed for the 2013 season. Two new water slides and a spray ground will replace Roller Soaker. It was revealed on Hersheypark's website that the slides names will be Hydro and Pipeline. The sprayground will be called the Shoreline Sprayground.
Regional competition 
Regional competition includes:
- DelGrosso's Amusement Park, located in Tipton, Pennsylvania
- Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, located near Allentown, Pennsylvania
- Kennywood Park, located near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Knoebels Amusement Resort, located in Elysburg, Pennsylvania
- Six Flags America, located near Baltimore, Maryland
- Six Flags Great Adventure, located in Jackson Township, New Jersey
- Dutch Wonderland, located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania
- Sesame Place, located in Langhorne, Pennsylvania
Popular culture 
In the American Dad episode "May the Best Stan Win", a major subplot concerns the marital conflict arising from title character Stan Smith having visited Hersheypark without his wife, Francine. The episode also makes reference to the Chocolate World attraction. The amusement park depicted in the episode bears no resemblance to the actual Hersheypark, although it does depict park employees wearing Hershey's Kiss hats, similar to items sold as souvenirs at the real Hersheypark.
Further reading 
- Futrell, Jim. Amusement Parks of Pennsylvania. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2002.
- Whitenack, Pamela "Hersheypark." Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2006.
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