Driving through the endless amounts of farms, fields, corn, and greenery of Pennsylvania, with cows passing you at every turn, chocolate doesn’t usually come to mind.
But then you discover the town of Hershey in Pennsylvania, and it is the only thing that comes to mind.
Attention all chocolate lovers: Welcome to the chocolate capital of the US. A town named after and built around one man and the business he created and developed, without both of which the town would not exist. That company would of course be Hershey, which now sells so many different candies, and not just chocolate. Although it did originally start with the basic Hershey chocolate bar.
Hershey’s factories are now scattered all over the US, but right here in the town is the tourist center. Not only do they have “Hershey’s Chocolate World”, the makeshift factory on display for all tourists, but they also have the huge “Hershey Park” amusement park right next to it.
Scorn me if you want, but I’m most definitely not an avid chocolate lover. I’m not saying I don’t like it (everyone likes chocolate to some extent), it’s just not my favorite sweet. Those that know me well, however, know that I am an extreme roller coaster fanatic, meaning it was absolutely KILLING me to walk into the Chocolate World, away from all of the sky-high roller coasters towering in the distance behind me. And my extreme desire to ride every single one of those roller coasters was not satisfied the entire time I was in Pennsylvania due to the extremely high admission fee into that amusement park ($60! sigh…)
But avid chocolate lover or no, I’ve still got all the insider details about the best and the worst of this little tourist spot in the heart of Pennsylvania.
DO Hershey’s Great American Chocolate Tour
It’s FREE! Yes, all you people out there on any extreme budgets can afford to come see how Hershey bars are made, ’cause it doesn’t cost a cent. But not only is it a free attraction, it’s also a really interesting free attraction that is worth your time. That’s always a plus! It does get a little cheesy and kiddish at times, with these random singing cows popping up everywhere, but besides those random cows and the outbursts of ridiculous laughter following each of their appearances, it truly was interesting. The tour doesn’t just show you the basics of how they make the chocolate bars – they start at the very beginning with info about how the cacao beans are harvested in the jungles of Central America and Indonesia. That definitely peaked my interest. It’s also pretty cool to watch the whole mixing and pouring of the liquid chocolate and its eventual creation into a solid chocolate bar. Like I said before, it’s FREE and you get a little piece of chocolate once you have completed the tour. I’d say it’s a pretty good deal.
DON’T DO the Tasting Adventure
As well as the majority of things they want you to pay for. The tasting adventure, for example, is not an adventure at all. They have you pay $10, expecting an “adventure”, and you’re thrown into a classroom of all places, with a teacher and everything. I got to watch a cheesy little video (notice the cheesy theme going on here) and try some disgusting little pieces of very dark chocolate. A fun adventure? Not exactly, if you didn’t catch on.
The “3D Animated Musical Adventure”, although I didn’t go see it, sounds like it’s also tagging along with this whole cheesy theme going on. Unless you’re trying to entertain a 3 year old, my guess is it’s not a very good movie. I also didn’t take a ride on Trolley, but that is probably worth it unlike these other two activities.
The one activity which I would actually recommend is the Create Your own Candy Bar attraction, which explains itself. My aunt and grandmother had a blast being able to go through the basic process of making their own candy bar, and choosing the flavor and whatnot.
So for all you chocolate-lovers out there, I hope this gave you some insight into the 100% chocolate destination in the United States and what it offers for you guys. And for my fellow roller coaster fans, we can all sit together and stare longingly out at the roller coaster loops in the distance while we munch on our chocolate.