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Planning a trip with 2 young kids and have lots of questions

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Planning a trip with 2 young kids and have lots of questions

Hi! We're planning to visit Hershey Park August 28-31 with our 2 and 5 year old children. They love rides and after looking at Hershey's website, it seems like there are enough to keep them happy in that department.

We know that it will be hot at that time of year, but we're in the Philadelphia area so we're prepared for that. We also expect that it will be crowded, but we've decided that we'll encounter that no matter where we go!

I'm looking for some honest, insider tips on making this a fun vacation for my family. We want to stay near the park, but can't afford one of the Hershey hotels. I need something clean and comfortable and we'd love to find a place with an indoor pool for the girls. I'd love some suggestions for places to stay!

Do you think that 3 1/2 - 4 days at Hershey is too much? I'm concnered that there might not be enough to do. I can see the girls happily enjoying 2 days at the park as they never tire of going on rides, plus the boardwalk looks like a lot of fun as well. I also looked into ZooAmerica, which seems like a possibility.

Any recommendations for a cheap, but clean and safe place to stay would be great, as well as any tips you can offer! The ticket prices also seem very expensive to me! Is there a place to get discount tickets?

Sorry for all of the questions! We just want to be as prepared and organized as possible and give our kids a fun filled mini-vacation! Thanks!

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11. Re: Planning a trip with 2 young kids and have lots of questions

I can't really speak from experience about Dutch Wonderland or even Hershey Park because even though we were just there for the spring weekend, we never made it to the park because the weather was not great. The park itself is huge though and looks like it has a lot to offer older ride enthusiasts. We saw several big coasters as we passed. I have read some mixed reviews about the water park but it does look like fun and hopefully they have worked out all the kinks since the opening.

Chocolate World was a hit with my 5 y/o especially the factory tour ride and the 3D movie, but you can do that in half a day because the rest is really a place to eat and giant gift shop. We also took the trolley tour of the town which was very interesting for the grown ups but may be a little boring for the little ones. If you do decide to stay in Hershey and are not staying at a Hershey property, I would recommend the Springhill Marriott. Clean, good location, free breakfast, but only has an indoor pool which got a little crowded at times.

I think if/when we go back we would probably consider staying at a nearby resort like Willow Valley instead and doing a day trip to Hershey. It seems to have a lot to offer the little ones and it has been recommended to us by a number of people. In fact we are considering it for a long weekend since my kids would like to go back and try the amusement park when the weather is better.

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12. Re: Planning a trip with 2 young kids and have lots of questions

I wanted to add we chose Springhill after deciding the rates at Hershey Lodge were a little too steep for us too. It is not a big resort but it was clean and comfortable for our family. I would have liked to experience HL but for $100 less we had a suite, which had a partial wall separating the sleeping area from the sitting area so we could watch tv after the kids went to bed. We got a decent rate using AAA discount. I would suggest asking for a room on an upper floor. There are tons of kids and the pool right off the lobby was open until 11PM. As you can imagine it can get noisy. We were glad to be on the top floor.

We ate breakfast at the hotel and there are the usual chain restaurants (Applebees, Red Robin, Houlihans) but if you want something local for dinner try Fennecci's. There is nothing fancy about it, but it is a local favorite that has good old fashioned family style Italian food. The portions were large, prices decent and we all really enjoyed our dinner there. Have fun.

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13. Re: Planning a trip with 2 young kids and have lots of questions

TimesTwo, you & the kids would really enjoy willow valley. We usually go during x-mas vacation and its great. At that time they have an indoor carnival with free games & prizes and big blow up slides & moon bounce. Also daily activities for the kids. Very well worth the money. This past February they had great rates during presidents week which gave you the option to dine & the room for $169 for 4 people. We couldnt go but will definitely try to make it for next year.

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14. Re: Planning a trip with 2 young kids and have lots of questions

thanks for the information!

Hummelstown
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15. Re: Planning a trip with 2 young kids and have lots of questions

Hi! I live in Hershey and have three girls, ages 6,8,and 12. Hersheypark is great and while there are alot of rides for bigger kids and teens, I think there is still so much for the little ones. Also keep in mind the number and variety of shows and strolling bands. My girls absolutely love the sea lion show and we see it every time we go to the park (once a week since we live about 3 miles away).

ZooAmerica is included in the price of admission or as a separate pass and is a very fun for a couple of hours at the most.

If you stay in the area, don't discount the Hershey Gardens. It is not only for adults. There is a children's garden and butterfly house. My girls and their friends can spend several hours running through the gardens.

Chocolate World is fun, actually it is probably more fun the younger you are. There are several "new" attractions which kids love.

I have not actually been to Dutch Wonderland, but many people agree that it is nice for little ones. You can get a combo pass to both parks as Hershey Entertainment now owns both. My suggestion would be to include it in an otherwise planned trip to Lancaster.

Regarding tickets to Hersheypark, you can get significantly discounted tickets at Giant grocery stores. I think that is where the tickets someone mentioned probably orginated from. There are Giant stores on Cocoa Ave and Rt 39.

Hotel rooms in Hershey are terribly expensive in the summer-if you can even find one to book. I would strongly recommend looking at the hotels listed for Harrisburg Int'l airport. A Google search of "hotels near Harrisburg International Airport" or "Middletown, PA" would be a good bet. You'll be at most 15 minutes away from Hershey and can come in "the back way" and avoid a fair amount of park traffic. I'd be happy to elaborate if you'd like.

I really do not think 3 or 4 days is too much time in Hershey, even with your young kids.

Let me know if I can help you with any more information.

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16. Re: Planning a trip with 2 young kids and have lots of questions

Hi Ginger, I think I remember you from the Orlando forum when we were planning our Disney adventure :).

We have heard nice things about WV and were supposed to go late last year but one of the kids got sick. Have you ever been to WV in the summer? I was toying with it as a possibility for our summer vacation since the idea of resort with activities for the kids is appealing. We could also go to Dutch Wonderland which sounds like a good fit for my little ones. I am just worried it may be too hot to enjoy what the area has to offer. We are going with another family and I am in charge of picking the destination so the pressure is on, lol.

Oh and to the original poster, having just been there I do think you could find enough to do in 3-4 days in the Hershey area in the summer when everything is open. Also if the butterfly garden in Hershey Gardens is anything like the one we have at our zoo, the kids will love it.

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17. Re: Planning a trip with 2 young kids and have lots of questions

I just came back yesterday from Hershey. We did a 2 night stay at Hershey Lodge. It was springtime at the park. I only live an hour from Hershey but it was a well needed weekend getaway. I felt like we needed an extra day there. So you will be fine with 4 days. I shoved as much activites in as I could. Including a Bear's game. That was my first time spending the night in Hershey and do recommend the Hershey Lodge but it was expensive compared to other hotels in the area. They did have activities going on throughout the day that were free. They have the pools you are looking for, mini golf plenty of resturants and a friendly staff. I would go again. I have 2 boys 6 and 9 they were so sad to leave. You could also spend a day going to Dutch Wonderland which is not too far from Hershey. Or even go there on your way home. That is the perfect place for your kids ages. There is a water play area there as well. Hershey Lodge is a bit more but I really like the resort feel. Not having to leave for breakfast, dinner, activities, shuttle to park. Great time!

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18. Re: Planning a trip with 2 young kids and have lots of questions

Hey Mom---I have 3 kids 28, 27 & 15--I have taken Girl Scout troops to Hershey Park & also visited as a family.

Myself, I would wait a few years for the 2 yr old, even the 5, & that park---HP is v. large & my kids would have found it overwhelming at 5 & esp 2. The park is not going away anytime soon & the kids will enjoy it much more when they are a better age for the place. You don't need a wailing overheated 2 yr old standing in line for another ride & winding up having to take them back to the hotel before the day is half done.

Our GS troop had a wailing 12 year old raising Cain when we took them! ---spending too long on lines for roller coasters (Thank heavens she was the other leader's daughter, not mine!)

The lines are something to think about too--with those ages----and that will be a busy weekend.

Other posters have given lots of fun suggestions for your age kids---they will enjoy a slower pace & things like train rides -- let them go to the "little kiddie" places now when they still like them. Then when they are old enough to enjoy HP properly, it will be new to them.

Best wishes & you will have a great time!

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19. Re: Planning a trip with 2 young kids and have lots of questions

Hi, TimesTwo yes i do remember you from the Orlando Boards. Im sorry to get back to you so late but i just noticed the post. I have never done wv in the summer only winter during x-mas break. I can tell you its a gorgeous time of year to go because they have decorations & lights everywhere. Also the free indoor carvinal at that time. I think it would be a nice place to go during the summer. At that time they will have their outdoor pool open so you will have your choice of 4 different pools throughout the place plus the little indoor waterpark. They have just recently renovated the rooms in the newer atrium building and just read that they are also renovating their Centre building which is the original building with the older rooms. If you need any other info on WV just let me know when the time comes.

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20. Re: Planning a trip with 2 young kids and have lots of questions

Hi Mom,

We just did Hershey Park last weekend with my 2 year old. She simply loved it!

But I feel 1 to 1 1/2 days would be more than sufficient at the Hershey Park. You could use the remaining days for other attractions like the Chocolate world, Dutch Wonderland and even the Indian Echo Caverns.

BTW, Zoo America is already included in your admission to Hershey Park.

Have a great trip!

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