Family Fun at Hersheypark in the Dark

Fall is the perfect time to connect as a family as we start the new school year and there are so many family friendly Halloween events to chose from. This year we spent the weekend visiting Hershey, Pa to attend the Hersheypark in the Dark Halloween celebration.

I received complimentary tickets to Hersheypark in the Dark. The opinions expressed here are honest and my own. 

Hersheypark in the Dark is a weekend Halloween celebration located at Hersheypark, Hershey Chocolate World, and ZooAmerica. It has 13 trick or treat stops throughout the locations, musical entertainment, character meet & greets, and many of the rides and attractions are open.

Hersheypark in the Dark

We arrived in Hershey at around 5:00pm and checked into our hotel. We have stayed at three different hotels in Hershey and they have all been great. Make sure you book your hotel early. The events at Hersheypark bring in a lot of people are rooms sell out quickly. The hotels are all on the pricey side during the events so shop around. I suggest booking a hotel between 1-2 miles away. We have found this to be easy to get to and from the parks and have saved a little money as well. Typically you should be able to find a room between $150-$200 a night.

This was a quick visit for us and we booked one night. We checked into the hotel and then made our way to Hersheypark in the Dark. Evenings in the fall can get chilly so be sure to dress for the weather. I packed hats in the backpack and layered up for the evening.

Hersheypark, Hershey Chocolate World and ZooAmerica are located in the same area. When you arrive follow the Hersheypark signs and park in the Hersheypark area. Save time by purchasing your tickets online.

Things to Know About Hersheypark and Hershey Chocolate World

  • You can enter Hersheypark 2.5 hours before close. For example, our ticket was for Saturday but we used it to enter Hersheypark at 7:30. Tell them at the ticket counter and they will let you keep your ticket for the next day.
  • Hershey Chocolate World is free to enter. There is a Hershey Factory Tour that is also free. The other attractions-trolley tour, 4D show, etc. require admission tickets. I wrote a post about visiting Hershey Chocolate World that you can read here.
  • You can use your parking pass the next day. Park at Hersheypark on your first night. Save your parking ticket. The next day park at Hersheypark again and show them your parking ticket and Hersheypark admission ticket.

Hershey Chocolate World

We always start our visit to Hersey with a ride on the Hershey Factory Tour. What better way to start with a tour and free chocolate samples. At the end of the tour you are treated with a sample of Hershey chocolate. During events we like to arrive around 5:30-6:00pm to give us an hour to explore Hershey Chocolate World.

Herhseypark in the Dark

Hersheypark in the Dark has 3 trick or treat stations at Hershey Chocolate World. As we entered there was a table set up to pick up your treat bag. The 3 stations were located in the back of Hershey Chocolate World. We collected our treat bags and made our way to the factory tour ride. The line was short and we wanted to take advantage.

We love the Hershey Factory Tour ride. It is a basic dark ride that takes you through the process of making Hershey chocolate. The best part is the chocolate smells. It’s fun for all ages and the kids have always loved it! I think it is a great first stop when you arrive to Hershey Chocolate World.

Herhseypark in the Dark

After that we stopped at the 3 stations and then made our way to Hersheypark. Hersheypark is on the same property as Hershey Chocolate World. You don’t have to drive to another location. As we walked over we made a quick stop to see what size my kids were. Ride height requirements are measured with candy. This year we had a Twizzler, Hershey, and a Reese.

Hersheypark in the Dark

Hersheypark in the Dark

Around 7:00 lines begin to form at the gates for early entry. Arrive early and enjoy a few samples of candy that you received from the factory tour. You may want to bring a backpack to store your treats. Bag checks are located before the gate. Once your bags are checked you are ready for the park.

Hersheypark in the Dark

Hersheypark is a huge park. Before you arrive take a look at the attractions and locations on the park map. It will be a huge help for you to know which direction you are goinig as you enter.

We start with Laff Trakk. Laff Trakk is an indoor roller coaster comparable to a wild mouse coaster. It is located in the very back of the park to the left. For the Hersheypark in the Dark event Laff Trakk was “in the dark”. They turned off the lights to enjoy the coaster. This year was the first time all 3 kids could ride. It is a little scary for younger kids. We all had fun on it although my youngest said he would only ride it once…with each parent!

After that we headed over to the Trick or Treat trail. When I visit any of the Hersheypark events I always plan on attending the special event activities the first night and doing more rides on the second day.

Hersheypark in the Dark

The Hersheypark Trick or Treat Trail was so impressive. I have to admit I was a little nervous that the treat lines would be really long and it wouldn’t be worth it but that was not the case. It was organized and really well done. You start at the pumpkin and work your way through a decorated trail. Along the trail are trick or treat stops. They kept the scare factor low to make the event fun for all ages.

At this point it was getting late and close to park closing. We headed to another family favorite-Resse’s Xtreme Cup Challenge. On this shooting ride you challenge the other cart to see who can get the most points. If you have a backpack with you there are lockers outside the ride. They are free for the duration of the ride. We rode a few more rides and then made our way back to the hotel for the night.

Hersheypark in the Dark

Our next day we arrived 30 minutes before park open. We looked through the maps and picked out the rides we wanted to do before we had to leave for home. Walking around Hersheypark in the day is much easier then at night. It is a very large park and can be a challenge to navigate. We made our way to different areas of the park and rode the rides on our list.

Hersheypark in the Dark is not only at night. The trick-or-treat trails are open when the park opens. There are also characters dressed up in their Halloween costumes. Near the back of the park we met Hershey, Resse, and Kiss. They were located by the drop towers. My kids enjoy meeting the characters and having them dressed up was really fun.

The entrance to ZooAmerica is also located in this area. We have never visited ZooAmerica and decided to check it out. It is a small sized zoo and a nice addition to Hersheypark. If you have a ticket to Hersheypark you can also use it to enter ZooAmerica for that day. (You can’t use a ZooAmerica ticket to get into Hersheypark.) We stopped at the final trick or treat trail location and then made our way back through the park.

Tips for planning your visit to Hersheypark in the Dark

  • Arrive the day before and take advantage of early entry hours.
  • Plan your day before you arrive.
  • Purchase tickets online to save money.
  • Feel free to dress up. There was a good mix of kids in costumes. Make sure you consider the size of costumes for riding rides.
  • Hersheypark in the Dark Dates: October 19-21, 26-28, and November 2-4.
  • If you have a child with food allergies they do offer alternative candies.

Hersheypark in the Dark was a really fun event for us. We loved the trick-or-treat trail and seeing all the characters dressed up. The trails through Hersheypark, Hershey Chocolate World, and ZooAmerica made it a packed weekend of family activities. It was a great way to enjoy some well needed quality family time.

Are you planning a visit to Hershey? Check out my post on Visiting Hershey Chocolate World and Hersheypark for the Holidays.

hersheypark in the dark

Hersheypark in the Dark


  1. livewellplaytogether | 23rd Oct 17

    I really want to take a trip to Hershey! I really appreciate parks that let you enter late in the day and use the tickets again the next day. That’s especially helpful for families with kids that might need to leave during the day for a nap!

    • Leah | 24th Oct 17

      Yes! We love that perk too! It makes it a lot less rushed day. We end up getting a lot done the day before. Hershey is great to visit any time of year!

  2. Momma To Go | 21st Oct 17

    I havent been to hershey park since i was a kid! No wait, we took my friends kids there once, around the December holidays. Might have to go back soon with my own kids! They would love all the candy! I really cant think of a better place to trick or treat!

    • Leah | 24th Oct 17

      I loved visiting during the December holidays! You should take the kids this year!

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