With Mother's Day coming up this weekend, there are plenty of people searching for the perfect gift for mom. In Hershey, it's never too difficult to find just the right thing to show mom you love her: a trip to the Hershey Gardens or Hersheypark makes a great gift!
And it's free—at least for mom!
If you'd like to treat mom to a day at Hersheypark, stop by your local Friendly's restaurant: Mom receives a free Mother's Day admission to Hersheypark with a special coupon from participating Friendly's in Pennsylvanianow through May 10 (or while supplies last).
If your mom would welcome a more reflective day, spend some time among the blooms at the Hershey Gardens, which continues its tradition of welcoming moms on Mother's Day by offering free admission for all mothers.
And if you're a drive away, consider spending the weekend in Hershey. And don't make any reservations before you check into Hershey's Family Stimulus Package, which may save you big bucks.
This cute little bus transports visitors from Hershey's Chocolate World to The Hershey Story. It's free and currently runs daily from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., but the schedule will vary in the spring and summer. Not only does the shuttle feature cool graphics on the outside, it's also climate-controlled on the inside and has a 14-person capacity.
February is Hershey's secret season. No, Hersheypark isn't open. Visitor counts are low. We're a little short on hours of daylight.
But that makes February one of the best months to visit! You can get into some great restaurants without a wait, there's an impressive new museum to explore, the trees are often covered in snow or frost at the Hershey Gardens (half-price admission and the makings for some awesome wintry photographs!) and last, but not least -- you can hit some Chocolate-Covered February events!
Chocolate-Covered February is in its fifth year, and it's not just some random tourist bureau "event." There are some outstanding special chocolate-themed meals, seminars and treats around town in February. Whether you'd like to take in a $55 chocolate and cognac pairing with dessert buffet or you want to take the kids to Hershey's Chocolate World for free samples after the ride, there's something for every age and every budget. Guest chefs and notables often appear during the month to offer their expertise as well -- and it's a real treat to watch Joseph Schmidt or John Scharffenberger talk about their passion for chocolate, or to enjoy a meal of Alison Barshak's inspired creations.
So check out the event list and choose a few. Don't forget that many events require pre-registration. And immerse yourself in Chocolate-Covered February.
The "grand expansion" at the Hotel Hershey is proceeding at a good clip.
Cottages have taken shape behind the Circular Dining Room and the valet parking area is being completely transformed. The approach to the hotel will soon be via a less circuitous and more "grand" route — the improved entry drive is taking shape. Mature trees have been taken down (many of them are being relocated to the cottage area) and the front of the Hotel looks more open as the entry drive is formed.
There's a good view of the construction from the upper parking lot at the Hershey Gardens (and that's one more great place in Hershey to take your construction-loving preschooler to watch some earth moving — more free entertainment!)
If you're in Hershey, you rarely have a chance to see Hershey's Kissmobile — normally, the two Kissmobiles are dispensing Kisses and inspiring smiles around the rest of the country. With chocolate-scented air in Hershey, we don't really need extra marketing, do we?
But now, Hershey residents (and visitors, too!) have a chance to see one of the Kissmobiles almost any time: it's on display until March 2009 at the Antique Auto Club of America Museum just north of the Hersheypark complex on Route 39. And if you're lucky, it'll be parked outside with a board of cool Kissmobile facts so you can wander up and take a closer look (but seriously, the AACA Museum is well worth the price of admission — don't pass it by).
If you're not in the Hershey area and don't plan to visit soon, you can check out the Kissmobile's tour schedule here. With any luck, The Hershey Company will update the site soon. In the meantime, you can see the scrapbook of Kissmobile photos and some fun facts about the two Kissmobile cruisers.
Here are a few facts from the AACA display:
It took Prototype Source, Inc. of Santa Barbara about six months to design and build the original Kissmobile cruiser in 1997;
Each Hershey's Kiss is eight feet tall, and each plume is four feet long;
The Kissmobile is built on a GMC W-4 W-Series truck and cab, and it's 25 feet, six inches long;
When they're in active use, each Kissmobile cruiser travels about 30,000 miles annually;
Each Kissmobile has the capacity to store 230,000 Kisses in its refrigerated compartment.
It’s a Hershey landmark, a curiosity to visitors and the symbol of Milton Hershey’s most important legacy. The building with the dome is Founders Hall at the Milton Hershey School, an imposing white marble structure that stands tall on the school’s main campus as a tribute to its founder.
Founders Hall was opened in 1970, constructed over a three-year period as a monument to the school’s founders, Catherine and Milton S. Hershey. As breathtaking as the building can be in daylight, Founders Hall is even more impressive after dark when its massive dome is lit.
In addition to its administrative offices and 2700-seat auditorium, Founders Hall is home to the MHS Visitors Center, a must-see for tourists to our town. The Visitors Center is open from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. year ‘round, seven days a week (except for school holidays). Visitors are welcome to roam the rotunda and view a 15-minute video about the school and its founder, and a host is on duty to answer questions. No reservations are required, and there is no admission fee.
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.