As in years past, we packed the chillun' into the family vehicle and headed out. This time we settled on Hershey Park. This time I had left the planning to G. (Work has been out of control that I barely had time to absorb our itinerary.)
First stop - Chocolate World. Having been to Hershey Park previously, we decided against doing another amusement park. The kids are too small for most rides and the adults will be tending to the kids who won't be able to ride. We went to the chocolate tour. It is much like the "It's a small world" ride in Disney. The kids enjoyed it. Their favorite part - free chocolate samples.
We went to the Hershey Trolley Tour next. The reviews on the tour had said that it was a little hokey. Well, the reviewers spoke the truth. It was a lighthearted jaunt through the life of Milton Hershey and the town that he built. If you are not into lighthearted jaunts with a generous dash of "moonlight bay" sing-a-longs, I would recommend that you pass. A bit longer than the kids could tolerate as well.
Serendipity! We discovered that a music festival/fair was happening in Harrisburg. A short drive from Hershey, it was also where our hotel was. It was a small scale affair but houses in Harrisburg was a treat. The kids watched a puppet show (with a rather disturbing song about marrying one's cousin - appalachia joke?), went on a few rides while enjoying a beautiful view of the Susquehanna River.
Another lovely discovery is the Children's Garden at Hershey Park. It is part of a bigger garden but the kids could have stayed in the Chidren's Garden. It had a small butterfly garden, funky fountains, whimsical sculptures and a variety of "please touch" plants. There was even a little outdoor theatre.
There was also a nice safari/zoo park close by. Lake Tobias has a small safari. There were only a few wow animals. They had some bears, a tiger, lions. It is a nice size for preschoolers and toddlers but bigger kids might find it too simple. I do love the petting zoo at this place though. It can be best described as a farm experience. You enter a corral of goats and llamas. They roam freely around you and you are free to feed and pet them. Cool.
However one of my favorite part was the almost traffic-free drive home. That was the last bit of happy to complete a great trip.