Category Archives: Family Fun Travel
1. Slow Down
Plan for a slower pace than you might usually attempt if solo or as a couple. Be realistic about what you can see and do with kids in tow. Don’t try to cram too much into your itinerary. The less you feel you have to see, the more enjoyable and stress-free for everyone.
For the most part, the pace of the trip should be set to what your youngest child can handle. Build into your agenda time for stops along the way for bathroom breaks, snack breaks, and nap time. If you can avoid cranky children it will make for a much more pleasant experience.
2. Determine Your Preferences
Sit down with your whole family and discuss your ideas and interests. Memorable trips are those where each member of the family gets to experience something they love. Talk about budgets, expectations, and how you can work with the dollars available to plan an exciting family trip.
Travel experts have found that the most successful family vacations are those that involve both parents and children in choosing destinations and planning for their trip. Through these conversations, you will learn more about each others needs and find destinations and activities to suit the whole family.
3. Be Flexible
Avoiding holiday periods and traveling off-season can yield big savings on flights and accommodation. Even if your kids are in school, consider traveling just outside of major school holiday periods.
Give yourself the best chance to capture a cheap flight. Leaving a few days or even weeks before or after your ideal date could mean the difference of hundreds of dollars. Think about using airfare sales to help determine your family’s vacation destination and time of departure rather than the other way around.
4. Pack Smart
Pack the bare minimum because you can always buy it there. Roll clothes and stuff socks and underwear inside shoes. Wear your heaviest clothes on the flight. Encourage kids to choose and pack their own clothes to minimize complaints and to teach travel skills.
Select versatile and comfortable clothes and color-coordinated separates so if something gets dirty you only have to change part of the outfit. And pack bags with what is needed first on the top — a change of clothes for dinner, pajamas, or what is needed during the day including a change of clothes in case of accidents.
Hot Tip: Halve your clothes, double your budget
5. Hotel Tips
Pick a Kid Friendly Location – Stay in a safe and central area that’s close to local attractions, food outlets, the beach, the park, and all preferably within walking distance. This will save you time, money, and your kids from getting bored.
Stay More Than 1 Night – Many hotels provide their best deals when you stay over more than one night.
Stay over Sunday – Many hotels receive Friday and Saturday night bookings from leisure travelers and Monday-Friday bookings from their business travelers, so there can be a void on Sunday nights.
Check for Family Deals – Always ask about discounted rates, free meals for children, and an upgrade at check in – they can only say no.
A Pool and games room – Kids love both of these options. Does the pool have any special features (like a slide or waterfalls)?
Make Sure it Has a Lift – Carrying strollers, toys, and luggage up several flights of stairs is NO FUN!
What’s the room configuration? – For our family of four two double beds is required or a portacot. If you have a baby make sure this is available, and for free.
Coupons and Discounts – Check out the brochure shelf in the lobby and any tourist literature in your room for ways to shave a few bucks off the price of your family vacation.
Enroll in a Loyalty Program – Many hotel chains are now offering free loyalty programs with incentives like earning free rooms after multiple stays. If you travel often and stay at the same chain, or one of its participating partners, you may save on future family vacations.
Check the Dining Options – Does the hotel restaurant and room service have a kids’ menu?
TV Channels – Does the hotel offer several family-oriented cable stations, like Disney, Nickelodeon, AMC, Discovery and Lifetime? Is there a movie library with kids’ movies?
Bathtub? – You’ll want to be sure that your room will include a bathtub.
Laundry – For longer vacations, check to see whether the hotel has coin operated machines for hotel guests.
6. Consider a Cruise or All-Inclusive Resort
With activities to appeal to every generation, food choices to suit all ages, and itineraries that can be full-on or you just sit around and do nothing, a cruise or a resort can eliminate daily decision making that can cause conflict. Look for Kids Eat Free, Stay Free, and Play Free deals.
7. Consider Apartment Rental
Most big-city hotel rooms were not built for families with young kids. They usually have no refrigerator or microwave, floor space is at a premium, and neighbors can hear every tantrum. But with an apartment you get more space, thicker walls, a kitchen, a washing machine, and separate bedrooms.
These extra facilities on a long stay can make your trip so much more enjoyable.
8. Do a Test Run
If this is going to be your first serious trip as a family, consider starting with a shorter trip such as a weekend away or even just a day trip to the zoo as a trial run. This will help you figure out packing choices, daily routines, how fast you can move around, and how you all get along and interact together.
9. Set a Budget
Travel with kids does not have to be expensive. Decide on a comfortable budget that works for your family and include items such as souvenirs, entertainment, and a few unexpected activities. Once again involve your kids to make sure they feel comfortable with your travel plans.
Hot Tip: Every now and then blow your daily budget. We go away to experience things and create lifelong memories. Don’t limit yourself to just traveling for the sake of traveling. Go splurge on a famous restaurant, see a big concert, attend a mega sporting event, go on a safari, jump out of a plane, do something incredible.
10. Build in Some Private Time or “apart” time
No matter who you are, everyone needs a break from each other at some point. While the goal of your trip is to create shared memories, it is also important to remember that children need time to burn off energy and enjoy the company of kids their own age.
Likewise, us parents need quiet periods for rest and some adult company as well. Keep this in mind and be a little flexible on your trip, as children’s moods and interests can change constantly. If you and your children find something you’d rather do, be spontaneous and go with the flow.
In 2010, we traveled with our four children to a beach location and, yes, we have photos of sun-kissed children and gorgeous tropical sunsets to help us remember our vacation. What the photos don’t show, though, is all the work that goes into a family vacation. I spent four months planning the trip, two weeks packing for the trip and two weeks recovering and doing laundry after the trip. Our vacation photos don’t reveal the cost of schlepping our family across the country either. Our costs fit neatly in the range of what an average American family spends on a vacation — $1,000 to $1,600 — according to surveys by AAA, “Money” magazine and Visa.
In 2011, we’ve decided to try the latest vacation trend: staycationing. We’re staying put. No packing, no airports, no uncomfortable hotel beds. We’re not alone in that choice.
As gas prices soar and incomes shrink, more families are opting to stay home. Gasoline prices have spiked recently because of increased demand from developing countries and Middle East unrest. Fred Rozell, a gasoline analyst at the Oil Price Information Service, predicted at The Huffington Post in December 2010 that at least 15 states would see gasoline prices exceed $4 a gallon by Memorial Day 2011.
While the unemployment rate may be going down, wages are not keeping up with increasing inflation, meaning that many families are still feeling a financial pinch, according to a March 2011 article in “The New York Times.”
But money isn’t the only thing to be saved by planning a staycation. Kaamna Bhojwani-Dhawan, founder and CEO of Momaboard.com, said, “A staycation is sometimes more fulfilling than an exotic destination because you can focus on family members without the distractions of travel logistics.”
Make a Plan
The first step is to develop a plan for your staycation. Structure it just as you would a regular vacation with defined priorities and goals.
The key to a satisfying family staycation, said Jana Lusk, an Austin, Texas, mother of four, is getting the kids involved in the planning. “Nothing makes a kid feel more important than contributing his opinion and being taken seriously,” she said.
Lusk suggests brainstorming ideas as a family and letting each child choose an activity. Decide ahead of time what is most important to you and make specific plans so you don’t get sucked into routine tasks and activities.
Bhojwani-Dhawan recommends breaking up the time into four parts: Spend 25 percent of the vacation doing activities, 25 percent catching up with family and friends, 25 percent on personal time (yoga, massage, pottery class) and 25 percent working on a family project.
Decide ahead of time how to handle mealtimes and routines. Some families prefer to eat every meal out, eliminating the chore of cooking. On the other hand, if you like to cook, a staycation can allow you to spend time in the kitchen making special dishes you normally don’t have time for. Fire up the grill; try an exotic, ethnic dish; or make homemade ice cream.
“Leave the laundry and unnecessary cleanup. Unless a typical household task has to be done, don’t do it,” recommended Judy Woodward Bates, author and radio and television guest.
A staycation is not the time to clean out closets or do major home projects, but if the sight of unmade beds and piles of laundry seems anything but relaxing, institute a 30-minute “quick clean” every morning and evening to corral the chaos.
Tell friends and co-workers that you’re going on vacation, but be vague about the specifics. Set your email and phone to relay messages that you are out of the office and limit time spent on your computer. The point of a staycation is to relax and refuel.
Make It Meaningful
Once you’ve developed an overall plan, narrow your choices to provide a good mix of activities.
When selecting activities, strive for a balance between recreational, fun activities and learning opportunities, said Lusk, whose family visited an animal shelter and learned about responsible pet ownership. She said her family has had similar learning experiences at botanical gardens, museums, public libraries and historical landmarks.
Lusk also advocates service projects as a worthwhile family project.
“Teach kids early where the opportunities are to make a difference, then make a difference together, as a family,” she said. “Nothing builds self-esteem better, and these are incredible experiences and memories that cannot compare to just another vacation.”
The Law family of Gilbert, Arizona, spent part of their vacation working at an orphanage. They painted, made repairs and played with the children.
“The experience was unforgettable,” Patrick Law said. “The kids were so happy to see us and so grateful for every small thing they had. We have gone on a lot of family trips, but none that left an impression like that one did.”
A Hassle-Free Vacation
Time away from work and school responsibilities is important for parents and kids alike. Through vacations, families reconnect, create memories and refuel.
However, planning and implementing a vacation are often stressful and costly. A 2010 study by Visa found that over 50 percent of Americans don’t take all their allotted annual vacation time. In addition to pressing work responsibilities, the financial burden of going on vacation, as well as the time required to plan a vacation, are likely reasons for not taking time from work.
Staycations offer the benefits of a vacation without the stress of planning or the cost. By reducing travel, food and lodging costs, families can spend money on memorable activities instead. Staycations allow families to plan ahead and keep better control of their finances.
I’m excited about the prospect of a family staycation. It offers all the things I want in a vacation — adventure, relaxation and time to reconnect with my family — without all the things I don’t want — crowded airports, big credit card bills and the incessant cries of “Are we there yet?”
Who knew I could find Shangri-la right in my own backyard?
- Understand that the challenge is to find a place where small children can safely blow off steam. The geyser basins are not usually safe places for them—they do not understand how dangerous the boiling water is—but the Old Faithful area has a couple of excellent options.
- Try some of the more stroller-friendly parts of Old Faithful (also called the Upper Geyser Basin). You can, for instance, walk the trail that runs northwest along the Firehole River to Morning Glory Pool. This trail is actually the former route of the highway, and is paved.
- Toddlers need to run around, though, and a good place to do that is actually indoors. Try the Old Faithful Inn, the big log hotel that is the most prominent building in the area. The lobby is a good place for small children to exercise, and adults will find it impressive, too (be a little more cautious on the upper levels of the lobby, where the balcony rails are not quite toddler-proof).
- Go to hotels elsewhere in the park, where similar opportunities present themselves. The Lake Lodge and Lake Hotel, both on Yellowstone Lake, have lobbies where toddlers can take a break, as does the hotel at Mammoth Hot Springs. At Mammoth, you will also find expansive lawns where kids can play without getting too close to the abundant car traffic.
- Try playing the “spot the animal” game while in the car. This will work for slightly older children, 4-year-olds, and possibly 3-year-olds. Some of the animals of Yellowstone, like elk and bison, are so big and plentiful that small children will be able to spot and maybe even identify them.
- Peruse the Parent and Child calendar, available in each issue of Southwest Florida Parent & Child. The periodical describes family activities and special events happening in a day-by-day format. The free magazine is available at more than 500 different spots, including all CVS locations in the Southwest Florida region as well as doctor offices and schools. To check things about before you travel, you can read the magazine online.
- Browse through the family fun attractions catalogued by the Southwest Florida Attractions Association. Since the association maintains a focus on grassroots marketing, their list will include ideas outside of the typical beach fun. Check out links to the Imaginarium Science Center, several museums of history and Zoomers Amusement Park. Many of the attraction websites sport a tab of special events, detailing the activities families should consider when planning a visit.
- Visit the Southwest Florida Fun Events Calendar. Written and maintained by a Southwest Florida resident, the list of attractions includes special tips and comments about the child-friendly or family-friendly nature of each activity. Click on the home page for a detailed Google calendar. Select an activity to display more detailed information. Sync the Southwest Florida Fun Events Calendar to your own Google calendar to stay current and up to date on family fun events in the region.
- Disney World is considered one of the best destinations for young children. It has amusement park rides for all ages — from the Tea Cups to the Tower of Terror. Numerous exhibits and activities appeal to diverse interests. The famous destination also has a a variety of theme parks and water parks: Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Typhoon Lagoon, and Blizzard Beach. No child can really ever be bored at Disney World because it caters to entertaining families and more specifically, the children.
- Hershey Park in Pennsylvania, also known as “the Sweetest Place on Earth,” is a well known amusement park that is also fun for young kids. The park hosts a number of family shows, a zoo with over 200 animals, Dutch Wonderland which specifically caters to children under 12 with roller-coasters, water play, mini-golf to name a few. There is also a great garden for the children to explore what nature has to offer. It is beautiful indeed!
The National Aquarium
- The National Aquarium in Baltimore draws many visitors yearly including young children. The aquarium reveals some of the Earth’s greatest creatures in the form of Australian animals, a variety of amphibians, birds, fish, invertebrates, mammals, and reptiles. Children will be completely fascinated with what the National Aquarium has to offer because of the beauty and diversity of the animals.
Noah’s Ark, America’s Largest Waterpark
- The Waterpark Capital of the World in Wisconsin Dells, is host to Noah’s Ark, which is America’s largest waterpark. The park consists of such rides as the Black Anaconda, Time Warp, and Scorpion’s Tail. By reading the names, it’s easy to imagine how intense yet amazingly fun these rides are. The children will love them; most will require some supervision from the parents. The park is becoming a popular destination for the entire family.
Sea World Orlando
- Sea World in Orlando is an exceptional destination to see what the marine life has to offer. The children will be captivated by the magnificence of its exhibits and the many shows presented including one starring the famous trained whale Shamu. Children also have the opportunity to interact with the animals and participate in adventure camps according to age. Sea World is a favorite destination for the whole family to enjoy because it brings the ocean to life.
- Founded in 1927, the New Children’s Museum in West Hartford focuses on science and nature education. Kids can enjoy exhibits that cover such topics as electricity, space exploration and wildlife. There’s also an on-site planetarium that hosts digital projector shows and an animal sanctuary that’s home to such critters as lizards and turtles. Stepping Stones Museum for Children is a large, educational institution in Norwalk. Hands-on exhibits give children the chance to alter the path of water in the Energy Lab, construct miniature structures in the Build It! exhibit and explore the inner workings of the human body in Healthyville. There’s also a community garden where young visitors can roam through butterfly gardens and play with sculptures.
All the World’s a Stage
- New Britain Youth Theater gives stage productions for young children that star young actors. Shows are performed at various locations throughout the city, including YMCAs and elementary schools. Seasons may include up to seven shows. Past productions have included plays and musicals such as “Into the Woods,” “Cinderella” and “Seussical.” Run and organized by university students, Yale Children’s Theater in New Haven produces four shows a year for little theater-goers. Performances take place in Yale’s Dwight Hall and have included such kid-friendly fare as “Peter Pan,” “The Ugly Duckling,” “The Wizard of Oz” and “Alice in Wonderland.”
- Open from May through early October, the 20-acre Quassy Amusement and Water Park in Middlebury includes more than 20 rides. Little ones can raft down a water coaster or ride on a miniature train, while bigger kids might enjoy the old-fashioned wooden roller coaster or a plunge on the free-fall attraction. There’s also a water park, open from Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend, which includes body slides, spraygrounds and a sand beach along Lake Quassapaug. Based in Bristol and open from May through December, Lake Compounce is a massive amusement park with more than 40 rides and attractions. Kids can test their iron stomachs on Thunder N’ Lightning, a 60-miles-per-hour steel coaster, or cool off on Thunder Rapids, a white-water rafting ride. For smaller kids, there’s also a carousel, bumper cars and Ferris wheel. Crocodile Cove, the attached water park open from Memorial Day to Labor Day weekend, has a large wave pool, lazy river and side-by-side racing water slides.
- Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport is home to 300 animals, focusing primarily on wildlife from North and South America. Kids can walk through the free-flight rainforest aviary filled with tropical birds and monkeys; come face-to-face with barnyard animals, including pigs and sheep, at the children’s farm; and observe wolves in the learning facility. The zoo also has a carousel, public feedings and animal-themed arts and crafts sessions for kids. Children can learn more about marine life at the Mystic Aquarium, home to such creatures as beluga whales, African penguins and eels. Interactive exhibits include shark and stingray touch tanks and Scales and Tails, a section of the aquarium where children can feel the scaly skin of various reptiles. There’s also a sea lion stage show and a 4-D theater.
Two Minute Tens
- In order to play this game, one player challenges the rest of the players in the car to compose a list of ten Disney-related items in a given category. The person chooses the category and allows the others to name ten things in that group. Categories can be anything from movies to characters to types of animals. The players receive points for every item they come up with. The player with the most points wins.
Disney Car Colors
- Another enjoyable game to play in the car with your kids is Disney Car Colors. Allow your kids to choose a common color from the cars that pass by on the road. In one minute, the participants have to name as many Disney-related things are that colour, such as Mickey’s gloves for white, or Goofy’s pants for blue. The player with the highest number of items named wins the round.
Sing It Out
- If your family likes to sing then this travel game is perfect for your next road trip. The first player sings a verse from a Disney song such as “Hakuna Matata”. The next player must repeat the verse, leaving off the last word. The following player leaves off the last two words and the game continues in this fashion. Your family members must sing the song correctly on their first try or else they are out. The singing continues around the car until no words are left. The last player remaining who sings correctly the entire game wins.
I Have Never
- Players go around the car, one by one, saying Disney-related things that they have never done. They can be simple such as never seeing a certain Disney movie or worn Mickey Mouse ears. You earn one point every time you can successfully say “I have never…” The goal of this game is to name something that you think others in the car have done to prevent them from scoring points by repeating your ideas. The player with the most points after six rounds wins.
- The Indianapolis Zoo and Children’s Museum Family Fun Adventure package is a year-round experience for the young and young at heart. Numerous participating hotels offer overnight packages for two adults and two children that include both museum and zoo tickets. Zoo highlights include a dolphin exhibit and elephants, giraffes, polar bear, tigers and sea lions. Feed the family at any one of seven zoo dining sites. The Children’s Museum’s 11 major galleries provide hours of learning and discovery. See full-size dinosaur skeletons, a recreated Egyptian pharaoh, an interactive Hollywood set and a planetarium. The food court offers a variety of kid favorites, like mac and cheese.
Celebrate the Big Race
- The Indianapolis 500 is held each Memorial Day weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In the downtown district, Saturday’s Kids’ Day is a free outdoor festival for children. Also on Saturday, the Rookie Run and Mini-Marathon are available for kids of different ages. The annual 500 parade showcases the starting 500 drivers and attracts 300,000 spectators. Prime Sport is the official travel partner of the speedway and offers Indy 500 packages for all budgets. The Hampton, Omni Severin Hotel and Hyatt Regency Hotel offer packages based on two-, three- or four-night stays for up to four guests per room. All packages include race tickets and transportation to the speedway, admission to the Hall of Fame Museum and souvenirs. Pricier packages offer a meeting with race drivers, garage passes and breakfast buffets.
Go on a Spending Spree
- Whether it’s time for back-to-school shopping, holiday gift buying or for a little family retail therapy, the Shop and Drop package from Hampton Inn offers a base station for bargain hunting and after-shopping entertainment. Located downtown across from indoor Circle Centre Mall, the package includes mall gift card and a coupon book that can be redeemed among the mall’s 100 retailers. Choose from eight sit-down restaurants, catch a blockbuster movie at the United Artists Theater or challenge the kids in a game of mini-golf.
Explore White River Park
- White River State Park spans 250 acres in the heart of Indianapolis, offering recreation options that appeal to all ages. Located a stone’s throw from the urban park, JW Marriott offers a Lights, Legends and Lions package that includes deluxe overnight accommodations, tickets to the park’s IMAX theater and admission to the Indianapolis Zoo. Guests also receive tickets to White River Gardens, the park’s botanical landmark where more than 1,000 varieties of plants grow. Packages are based on a per room rate. Breakfast is included in this weekends-only package.
Store-Bought Travel Journals
- You can buy travel journals for kids in stores or online. These store-bought journals already have lines and sections, and you can choose the cartoon character or theme you want. The journals tend to be divided into sections with titles that children fill in. You can buy journals dedicated to kids’ travel for under $10 as of 2011.
Printable Travel Journals
- If the journals in the store aren’t suitable, you can print out journal pages for free from some websites. You can get plain black and white pages for the child to decorate herself, or print out color pages with flower or animal designs. The advantage of printable pages is that the child can choose her own binder.
Homemade Travel Journals
- The kids may enjoy making their own travel journals before the family heads off on the vacation. You can buy a colorful small binder folder from a stationery store, along with paper of different colors and an A4 sheet of cardboard. Cut the paper to the size of the folder and use a three-hole punch on the pages. Cut the cardboard to the same size, punch holes in it, and use it as the front and back layer of the journal. Then place the colored paper into the binder, allowing two pages of each color in a row so the kid has enough writing space for one day. Buy sticky transparent pockets from the stationery store, then stick them onto individual pages so the child can press flowers or leaves from the vacation between the pages. The new journal owner can decorate the inside and outside of the folder with stickers and drawings.
Journal Entry Ideas
- If a journal has lots of different sections and headings, the child will be able to put lots of detail into the journal, making the vacation memories more accessible. For example, you can have a section marked “What I Ate Today,” or a section for “A Fun Skill I Learned.” He can dedicate the first page of his travel journal to the list of items he will need to pack, and write the number of souvenirs he bought in the last page of the journal. Keep every fourth page clear of sections so he can glue menus, maps or photographs into the journal.
- Ask yourself if you want a relaxing getaway or do you want the excitement and thrills. It is quite possible you may want some of both.
- Decide who and how many are going with you. If you and your significant other are going, your itinerary will be vastly different from that of parents with a preschooler.
- Decide if you will use a travel agent or booking service. Many travel agents are able to secure lower airfares, hotel rates and attraction tickets at a reduced price from what the general public might play. You certainly can book all the arrangements yourself, but you may be missing out on some great packages or vacation deals.
- Plan your traveling arrangements. A large family will be costly, if you decide to fly. Of course, the rise in gas prices can be hard on a large family as well. Decide which means of travel is best suited for your family.
- Be aware that if you book a flight over 21 days in advance, you will get a substantially lower rate than if you book the week before you leave. To save some extra cash, try to find a flight that leaves on Tuesday or Wednesday. These are often the cheaper days to fly. If your children are older, you might also consider a red eye flight. Many times these flights can save you another 30 percent off a regular daytime airline ticket.
- Try to find a hotel located on a Disney property. There are some very substantial benefits to staying there. You will be provided transportation. The park has transportation to and from the hotels. Disney also has the Magic Express, which will take your bags from the airport to your room. It might, however, take up to four hours for you to receive them. A great bonus to a Disney property is how you can have your souvenirs delivered to your hotel room. This is a great way to keep from carrying toys and such from your children all over the park.
- Consider purchasing the Park Hopper Pass. You can enter all the parks, and some of the water ones, too. You can go from park to park at your leisure. If you buy the complete Disney pass, you will find your park passes, room keys, and credit card can be in one Disney card. It is a great way to keep from losing something.
- Check out additional special offers. Disney has many special offers. Extra Magic Hours allow a Disney hotel guest to enter the park after it is closed. This is great fun because you may not experience any lines for the rides. Dining plans are also available and usually will pay for themselves after the first meal.
- Make your first stop in Hershey at Chocolate World.
Chocolate World is very much like a complete pavilion at EPCOT. There are some great experiences, many of which are free. Let your kids make a box of Hershey kisses. You can then purchase the kiss box they made to enjoy later. Take a free ride on the Great American Chocolate Tour dark ride. Go see the Hershey Really Big 3D show, which is really a 4D show so be prepared. You can also experience Hershey’s Chocolate Tasting Adventure or you can choose from a selection of chocolates and treats that only Hershey can imagine at one of their many shops.
There is also a nice food selection in the Courtyard Cafe atrium or in the Kit Kat Cafe.
- Plan to spend an entire family day (possibly 2) at Hershey Park, right next door to Chocolate World.
Hershey Park has as much character as any park you will ever visit. The topography of the park is quite hilly. There are some nicely themed areas that fit well with the landscape and there are some very traditional theme park areas. Overall, the park planners have kept some great vintage rides and architecture, but improved other areas with a modern touch. The rides are diverse and plentiful and the landscaping and bridges provide many scenic views and spots for photos.
- If you have time, enjoy the extra theme parks within Hershey Park. There are actually 3 Parks within Hershey Park including Hershey Amusement Park, Zoo America, and The Boardwalk (waterpark). They are all included with the admission price.
Go to the back of Hershey Park to get to Zoo America. Use the Kissing tower (space needle) as your guide. The entrance is just to the left. Zoo America is an 11 acre walk through wildlife park. They have over 200 viewable animals. Zoo America can also be accessed without admission to Hershey Park through a separate parking lot and gate. There is a fee which is less than Hershey Park tickets.
From Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend you will be able to take your family to The Boardwalk waterpark within Hershey Park. The waterpark has slides, a wave pool, a water playground, and a lazy river.
- Try the Hershey Story Museum. The museum is located in downtown Hershey. There is plenty of free parking in the parking garage next to the museum. The Hershey Story museum is a new attraction dedicated to the life of Milton Hershey and the Hershey Chocolate Company. Be sure to enjoy the world’s only Hershey kiss light posts through downtown Hershey.
- Try some great family accommodations at Hotel Hershey, Hershey Lodge, or Hershey Highmeadow Campground.
The Hotel Hershey is a top notch historic hotel with great views of Hershey gardens, Hershey park and downtown Hershey. They also have 4 and 6 bedroom cottages available for larger families. Hotel Hershey also offers a top notch Chocolate Spa, Cocoa Clubhouse for the kids, multiple swimming pools, and a indoor sports complex with year round ice skating.
The Hershey Lodge is great for families. The amenities include 3 swimming pools, mini golf, 5 restaurants, and visits from Hershey characters.
Hershey Highmeadow campgrounds offers 55 acres (some open and some wooded) for tent sleepers or RV owners. There is a game room, playground, self-serve laundry, and a country store on property.
Any of these accommodations will make your next family fun visit to Hershey PA a great experience.