Does the town really smell like chocolate?

Trip Start Jun 16, 2009
Trip End Jun 28, 2009

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Flag of United States  , Pennsylvania
Monday, June 22, 2009

We got a nice early start today with a plan to check out all things Hershey.  We headed over to the Hershey Gardens and arrived right as it opened at 9 a.m.  Mom got a little nervous upon arrival , thinking it looked a little small and may not entertain us for long.  The fact that we were walking in with an entourage of senior citizens (which we quickly passed) did not help to reassure us. However after entering, it became clear the gardens were much larger than can be seen from the street. 

The kids enjoyed running through the rows of different type of rose bushes at the beginning of the park, we even saw a few bunnies in the area. Following our walk through the rose garden we proceeded to through a canopied trellis into the Children's Garden. The kids made a b-line for the water play area, which consisted of three Hershey kisses that sprayed mist at random intervals (I timed it as I was watching... what else is there to do?).

We then went into the Butterfly Garden, which was great because they provided us with a lamenated chart with pictures of all the different butterfly varieties that were in the Garden.
Sophie was very interested in finding all the butterflies on the page and we spent a good amount of time just looking around everywhere, both at the butterflies and the great flowers and water features in the garden. There was a great goldfish pond, which both Sherri and I enjoyed (summer project... um no) We could tell that the butterfly garden was great because even our 3 yr old Max was looking around and not doing the usual "I-am-ready-to-go" (i.e. climbing structures, walking in the gardens, flailing around, and bumping into other people). The people inside the butterfly Garden were also very informative and helpful, Sophia had a hard time finding one particular butterfly and the woman there walked around with us and pointed it out.
We then made our way through the rest of the Children's Garden: The pretzel maze ( not much of a maze per se, but enough to satisfy Max who had been talking about going inside a maze since we have started the trip... I have no idea how he gets these ideas in his head), the educational center where they colored the life cycle of a butterfly using an ink pad and there fingers (it was creative and cute), a remote control model train (Max and the girls enjoyed this), and a musical garden area where they played a variety of wooden xylophones and other interesting instruments.

The rest of the gardens were pretty expansive and the kids did a good job walking through them without too much complaining. We walked through a Japanese garden with bridge and babbling brook ( it was very zen), although Sophia saw a penny next to the water and wanted to walk into the water to get it we disuaded her from accomplishing this (penny saved is a penny earned, although not very zen).We left the gardens with many pictures and surprised at how well it worked out.  We then proceeded to get a lay of the land and find a place to eat.

We (actually, daddy... it was successful so I will take credit) ended up finding a great place called The Hershey Pantry. The food was really good, priced very fairly, and left us stuffed and content. The kids ordered off of the kid's menu. Sophia and Anya ordered cheeseburgers with fries and were surprised with a cupcake at the end.   Max ordered a huge plate of spaghetti and meatballs, which he proceeded to devour.    Everything was baked fresh on premise (and yes we can tell :)   So we decided the adults should also split a Peanut Butter Cake with Chocolate frosting ( I wonder who picked that?).  It was worth it! 

We then headed over to Hershey's Chocolate World, outside the park, figuring that would give us a good idea of the area.  There was free parking for two hours.  That was enough time to see the Chocolate "factory" tour.  The tour was full of animated cows and recreated factory machinery.  It amused the kids, but definitely not necessary to do more than once. 

We then perused the stores, which actually were not as big as expected.  The girls debated various items to purchase.  All this shopping pooped max out and he finally fell asleep.  Notice his cool new ride, as his stroller broke at Elmo's world and we had to buy a new one.

And yes, the town does smell like chocolate, but only in a small section near the factory :)

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