Hersheypark is an amusement park located in Hershey, Pennsylvania, near the Hershey Chocolate Factory. It opened in 1907 as a leisure park for the employees of The Hershey Chocolate Company. Later, the company decided to open the park to the public. Today, the park's area covers 121 acres (49 hectares), with over 60 rides and attractions, including 12 roller coasters, and 14 water rides.
Milton S. Hershey, the creator of the famous Hershey's chocolate, fulfilled his dream in 1907 when he opened Hershey Park in his town of Hershey, Pennsylvania, the Sweetest Place on Earth, as a form of recreation for his employees at the chocolate factories. Complete with picnic groves, canoe docks, a playground and bandstand to entertain his employees, Milton wasn't satisfied yet and soon added the first major ride to Hershey Park, a carousel, soon followed by a train ride to take passengers to the end of the park and back.
The park didn't go onto the map for major thrillrides though until the golden age of the rollercoaster arrived in the 1920's and prompted Hershey to construct it's first thrillride ever - the Joy Ride. A wooden wonder of it's era, the Joy Ride attracted swarming crowds to ride and set a record attendance level with Hershey Park boasting to have the longest, most dropping coaster in the country. But it wasn't until 1946 that Hershey Park recieved a new coaster. Replacing the Joy Ride, which was then known as the Wild Cat, the Comet would become one of the world's most famous wooden coasters right after opening.
But with the competition once again heating up for park's accross the country, in 1977 the park went under a major renovation. Fences were built around the park and a new pay one price admission began. But most notable was Sooperdooperlooper, the East's first looping coaster. Then the 1990's saw major additions for the 'new' Hersheypark including the world's tallest water ride, the Wildcat, one of America's best wooden twisters along with Midway America, a completely new theme area, Great Bear a unique inverted coaster, and newest of them all, Lightning Racer, Hersheypark's newest woodie and the planet's first racing and dueling coaster. 2002 brought another coaster to Hersheypark, Roller Soaker, a suspended family coaster relying heavily on water to deliver its thrills.
And with every year, you can be sure to expect the Sweetest Place on Earth to get only more and more sweeter.
In 1903, Milton S. Hershey, founder of the Hershey Chocolate Company, surveyed a site along Spring Creek that would be suitable for his park. Hershey Park opened on April 24, 1907, with a baseball game played on the new athletic field. The beautifully landscaped park was an ideal spot for picnicking, boating, and canoeing. Vaudeville and theater productions were performed on a rustic bandstand and pavilion.
Renovations were made to Wild Cat in 1935 to build up the dips and to more steeply bank the curves.
More attractions were added to Hershey Park each season, and by 1945 the park contained more than two dozen rides. The Dentzel carousel was replaced in 1945 by a carousel built by Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1919, which still operates in the park today. In 1946 the wooden roller coaster Comet replaced Wild Cat.
A five-year redevelopment plan was started in 1971 to convert the regional amusement park Hersheypark into a large theme park called Hersheypark, as it is known to this day. A one-price admission plan eliminated the pay-as-you-ride policy. This five-phase project was orchestrated by Randall Duell.
SooperDooperLooper opened on July 4, 1977, just a year after Revoluion at Six Flags Magic Mountain opened as the first modern looping coaster. Twin Toboggans, Hersheypark's third roller coaster, built in 1972, was removed in 1978.
The 1980s brought big changes to Hersheypark. Smaller sized rides, including the Cyclops (replaced by The Claw), Pirate, Wave Swinger, Conestoga (replaced by the Frontier Virtual Theater and later the Howler), and Timber Rattler (replaced by Rodeo) were added. Canyon River Rapids was built and added in 1987 (replaced by Intercoastal Waterway and The Shore wave pool in 2009).
The 1990s started off with the creation of Minetown. The old penny arcade was replaced by a massive three-story building, housing the Minetown Arcade, Minetown Restaurant, and games. The Flying Falcon replaced Himalaya, and three kiddie rides replaced the Coal Shaker. Four roller coasters were added to Hersheypark in the 1990s. Sidewinder, a Vekoma Boomerang coaster, was added in 1991. In 1996, the wooden coaster The Wildcat was added and was named after The Wild Cat that previously operated from 1923 to 1946. Great Bear opened in 1998, the park's most expensive single ride to date. Wild Mouse opened in 1999. Several rides were also added during this decade. In 1994 the water plunge ride Tidal Force opened. A Ferris wheel and Whip ride were added in 1997. Four other new rides were added in 1999. These include the Merry Derry Dip fun slide, Music Express, Chaos (since removed), and the Frog Hopper.
Five more roller coasters were added in the 21st Century – Lightning Racer (2000), Roller Soaker (2002), Storm Runner (2004), Fahrenheit (2008), and Skyrush (2012), continuing the rapid expansion of the park from the mid-1980s.
Present Roller Coasters (12)
|Comet||Philadelphia Toboggan Company||Wooden||1946||Operating|
|Great Bear||Bolliger & Mabillard||Inverted||1998||Operating|
|Lightning Racer||Great Coasters International||Dueling||2000||Operating|
|Laff Trakk||Maurer Söhne||Spinning||2015||Operating|
|Storm Runner||Intamin AG||Launched||2004||Operating|
|Trailblazer||Arrow Dynamics||Mine Train||1974||Operating|
|Wildcat||Great Coasters International||Wooden||1996||Operating|
|Wild Mouse||Mack Rides||Wild Mouse||1999||Operating|
Past Roller Coasters (5)