We have many excellent recreational facilities in Derry Township, thanks to Milton Hershey, a healthy tax base and the efforts of many volunteers. One of the better parks in the township (which includes the unincorporated area we call "Hershey") is Cocoa Castle, a wooden play structure built 15 years ago by the Derry Township Friends of Parks & Recreation and funded by hundreds of local residents and businesses.
And all of a sudden, Cocoa Castle has been getting lots of attention from visitors to Hershey. Why? It's really no different than playgrounds in several surrounding communities, aside from the name. In fact, as one of the older "constructed" playgrounds in the area, it's mostly wood -- splinter-giving wood -- rather than more environmentally-friendly, skin-friendly composites.
Well, Cocoa Castle's recent surge in popularity has everything to do with it being featured in an episode of Jon and Kate + 8. So crowds there are up a bit this year, but it's usually not overrun. And if you're there in the early evening, you may find it completely empty -- as I did yesterday when I showed up to get a quick snapshot!
Cocoa Castle is adjacent to the Hershey Recreation Center at 605 Cocoa Avenue. It's free and open to the public, and it's usually nice and shady in the late afternoon and early evening.