Last weekend I had a marvelous time in Hersheypark as part of a Sweet Welcome weekend. Eight bloggers were invited by the Hersheypark public relations team to stay at Hershey Lodge for the weekend to get to know more about Hersheypark, the Hershey Lodge, the Hotel Hershey, and other Hershey family attractions. While I did miss my kids, the trip really gave me a chance to dig deep into Hersheypark to learn more about the things I wanted to know and that I know our readers want to know.
The result of my Sweet Welcome weekend has been a new four-part series about Hersheypark and the area, this story is part four. As much as we all love vacationing and trips to Hersheypark it can get expensive. You want all the treats, the extra experiences, and the souvenirs. I don’t blame you. I’m the same way. But there is a way to have an affordable visit to Hersheypark. There are many free experiences included with Hersheypark tickets or a stay at a Hershey property like the Hershey Lodge. I got a feel for some of them the last time I stayed in Hershey with my family. And with this trip, without the kids around, I did a bit more digging. With these tips you really can save money at Hersheypark and do Hersheypark on a budget.
Before we get to that, here’s a brief look at some of the other Hersheypark stories I wrote this week that can help you plan your next trip to Hershey, Pennsylvania.
- Enjoy all the Yumminess of the Hersheypark Gluten-Free Menu
- What’s NEW at Hersheypark?
- 10 Things to Expect at Chocolatetown at Hersheypark
Other older, but still helpful articles include
- 11 Ways to Experience Hersheypark Christmas Candylane
- Hershey Sweet Lights ~ The Must Do Drive Thru During Your Hersheypark Christmas
- Hershey Lodge Water Works ~ Wonderful Water Fun
- Hershey Story Museum ~ Sweet Discoveries, Fun, & Games
- Eat, Stay, & Play in Hershey, Pennsylvania
- Hershey’s Chocolate World Tour… Deliciously New Experiences
- Our Sweet Stay at Hersheypark Camping Resort
Save money at Hersheypark
The regular Hersheypark ticket prices are higher during their peak summer season. Tickets for juniors (ages 3 – 8 years old) and seniors (ages 55 and older) are $46.95. For those 9 years old to 54 years old a one day regular ticket to Hersheypark can cost as much as $68.95, but there are ways to get Hersheypark tickets cheaper AND to make the most of your 1 day Hersheypark tickets.
How to save money on Hersheypark tickets?
- Buy your tickets during your stay at one of the Hersheypark Resort properties. A regular Hersheypark summer ticket is $51.60 or a junior/senior’s ticket is $42.10.
- Make the most of your one day ticket! Visit Hersheypark the night BEFORE for sweet sneak peek up to 3 1/2 hours before closing (Guests of The Official Resorts Of Hersheypark can enter Hersheypark up to 4.5 hours early between Memorial Day – Labor Day.) For example, if you’re planning to visit Hersheypark on a Saturday, you can use your tickets to get into the park the night before.
- Bonus tip: When you pay for parking that first night, save your receipt. Show the receipt the following day to avoid paying for parking on your full Hersheypark day.
- Consider a season pass or multi-day ticket if you plan to visit more than once.
- For example a regular two day ticket is $89.00 making each day’s price $44.50
- For example a regular three day ticket is $134.00 making each day’s price $44.67
- A Hersheypark Season Pass is $171 and can pay for itself in 3 visits. Season pass holders also get free parking, 15% off food, drink, and merchandise, and 1 hour early entry to Hersheypark.
- Do a partial day at Hersheypark with Sunset Tickets. Save more than 50% on Hersheypark tickets when you visit later in the day! Valid for admission after 4 PM or 5 PM, depending on when Hersheypark closes. Sunset Hersheypark regular tickets are $32.95.
- Look for Hersheypark coupons at local fast food restaurants. We’ve seen discount coupons at places like Wawa, Dunkin Donuts, McDonald’s, and Burger King. During the summer months, I have found Hersheypark coupons on tray liners and in stacks near the condiments, registers, and trash cans.
- Keep your eye open at other locations as well like Walgreens or CVS. Giant Foods in Pennsylvania also offers discounted Hershey Park tickets.
- Check with your local parks and recreation department to see if they sell discount Hersheypark tickeets. Visit our New Jersey Towns Offering Discount Amusement Park Tickets to see if your town is one that participates in selling discounted amusement park and museum tickets.
- Form a group! Groups and tours of 20 or more can save more than 45% on pre-purchased Hersheypark® tickets when you purchase by May 31, participate in special programs, and enjoy discounted dining options. Many families band together to pre-purchase tickets at a group rate. These tickets can be used throughout the season from June through September and can result in getting Hersheypark tickets at almost half-price. The best part is that even though you are buying Hersheypark tickets as a group you don’t have to go as a “group”. Learn more here.
- In the military? Military members can take advantage of military discounts on Hersheypark two ways.
- Check in at the local military base for discounted Hersheypark tickets.
- Visit during May 17 – 19 for Military Appreciation Weekend! All military personnel receive 40% off tickets! Learn more here.
Free Hersheypark activities
- Meet & Greet with Hersheypark characters ~ There are up to 10 different characters you can meet at Hersheypark and 2 NEW characters coming this summer. Pose for a picture. Take a selfie. Get their autograph. It’s all free. Look for them near Founder’s Way, the Kissing Tower, or the NEW Reese’s Cupfusion. There’s even a Hershey’s Character Party in Founder’s Way, three times an evening, May – August.
- Take a seat and enjoy up to 5 different entertaining FREE shows at Hersheypark.
- The Ed-ZOO-Cation Team – Juggling and comedy combine with an eco-friendly message in a show that’s fun for all.
- Big Top Dreams – Step right up for a one-of-a-kind musical adventure as Big Top Dreams come true behind-the-scenes at the circus!
- Character Quiz Show – Compete against Twizzlers in a sweet game show.
- Character Commotion – Hershey’s Characters and musical groups combine for a twice-a-day extravaganza in the Pioneer Frontier region.
- Our Friends from the Sea – An entertaining and educational show featuring California sea lions and Atlantic harbor seals.
- Fish Feeds are available for an additional feed of $10 for three fish. These can be divided among family members.
- Listen to the music of these bands
- Cocoa Rhythm – Watch and listen as the six-piece drumline marches to the beat of FUN as they roam throughout Hersheypark.
- The Hersheypark Band – Also strolling through the park, The Hersheypark band delights everyone with sweet tunes.
- The Waves – Catch The Waves near The Boardwalk entrance where they’ll be singing everyone’s summertime favorites.
- Now Recording – Join in the fun in the double-booked recording studio session leads us to some rockin’ heartland hits.
- Soda Pops – The Soda Pops bring the funk with classic horn band hits.
- Track and view personalized ride stats and ride photos with a FREE HPGO wristband. Find out more in our article, What’s NEW at Hersheypark?
- Forget the sunscreen? During the summer months, Hersheypark guests can get complimentary sunscreen at the first aid station.
- Head over to ZooAmerica, where it’s always free for guests of Hersheypark, Hershey Lodge, and the Hotel Hershey, to see the animals. ZooAmerica is open year-round. The 11-acre zoo is home to more than 200 animals. Learn more here.
- Visit Hershey’s Chocolate World for even more chocolatey experiences including the FREE Hershey’s Chocolate Tour. Admission is always free. Learn more here.
Cheap Hersheypark activities
One of my favorite discoveries on my last family trip to Hersheypark was the Frog Bog game. I LOVED this game because for $5 we got to launch 14 frogs in the hopes of earning a prize. With three boys we divided up the frogs. Each boy got to launch 4-5 frogs. It was one of the cheap ways to have fun at Hersheypark. This year, I was thrilled to find there are even more cheap, budget-friendly activities at Hersheypark.
Cheap Games at Hersheypark
- Skeeball – 50 cents a game. Skeeball games are located in Founder’s Way and The Hollow.
- Frog Bog – Located in the Pioneer Frontier area, is the game where players launch their frogs and try to land them on the lily pads to win! Launch a bucket of frogs (14 frogs included) for $5.
- Heinz Ring Toss – 10 rings for $2 OR a bucket of 50-60 rings for $5. Land a ring on a bottle and win a prize. This was how my oldest son won a life-size plush Hershey bar. It’s located in The Hollow area.
- Crazy Ball – Located in the Pioneer Frontier area. Crazy Ball challenges players to toss the balls into cups to win prizes. 5 balls for $2 or 15 balls for $5
- Other games like Blockbuster, Bob’s Fishin’ Hole, Rattler’s Revenge, and Captain Splash were $2 per play.
Hersheypark now offers a Games Value Pack. For $19 you can get game play at 13 games. You can buy the back at Hospitality Services, Playdome Arcade, or Overlook Arcade. The pack includes
- 10 coupons redeemable for one game priced $2 or less.
- 1 coupon for one shot in the Pro Shot Basketball Game
- 1 coupon for 3 balls at Milkcan
- 1 coupon for 10 rings at Center Ring OR Winner’s Circle
Cheap Hersheypark souveniers
If you look carefully enough you can find some fun souveniers at Hersheypark that are $5 or less. Here’s a cheat sheet to help you.
- Flip flop and other magnets
- Pencils and pens
Tips for saving money on food and drinks at Hersheypark
- Other than one sealed water bottle per person, Hersheypark does not permit food or drink to be brought into the park. There are picnic areas outside of Hersheypark where guests can eat food brought from home or elsewhere.
- Free cups of water are available at all concession stands.
- The cheapest place to buy bottle water is at Subway. During my visit, Subway sold bottles of water for $3. Other concession stands sold water for $3.25 – $3.50.
- Subway also has cookies available for 75 cents each.
- Take advantage of the dining deals
- All-Day Drink Deal $16.75
- The All-Day Drink Deal includes a Souvenir Cup and free refills on fountain drinks and ICEE® all day throughout Hersheypark on the day of purchase! Must wait 10 minutes between refills.
- $1 refills on return visits.
- All-Day Dining Deal $31.75
- The All-Day Dining Deal is valid at more than 10 tasty locations throughout Hersheypark! Meal includes an entree and side. Valid only on day of first use. Must wait 90 minutes between uses.
- All-Day Drink Deal $16.75
- Share treats
- The king-size shakes, in flavors of Mint Merciless, Slither’s Squirm, and Cupfusion, were GIGANTIC with treats on top of them and large pretzel sticks in them. Each one is about $15, but could be shared by 3-4 people.
- A large bucket of Kettle Corn is between $11-$14 but can be refilled for $4.
Staying in Hershey on a Budget, consider the Hershey Lodge
When is the cheapest way to stay at Hershey Lodge or Hotel Hershey?
- Book as early as possible. The Hersheypark resorts start booking early, even years in advance. While package rates may not be available that far in advance, your room rate will never go higher. It’s a great way to lock in a low rate for a room at the Hershey Lodge or Hotel Hershey.
- The cancellation policy is such that you can cancel up to 3 days in advance with no fee or charges. You can reschedule your stay with as little as 1 day notice.
- Take advantage of the Kids Stay, Play & Eat FREE package.
- Available select days in May and June. Your kids will have a blast riding the day away at Hersheypark and you’ll love saving big with free breakfast and Hersheypark tickets for the kids!
- Kids 17 and younger receive:
- FREE Accommodations
- FREE Hersheypark Tickets
- FREE Breakfast
- Package includes deluxe accommodations, one-day admission to Hersheypark for two adults and two children. Rates are based on a family of four.
- Learn more about this affordable Hersheypark package here.
- Plan an early summer vacation with the Stay Early & Save More package. Save 45% when you book a Hersheypark getaway in May or June. Learn more here.
Learn about other Hershey Resort stay and play packages here.
7 FREE Benefits to Staying at the Hershey Lodge
- A FREE Hershey chocolate bar for everyone in Hershey Lodge guest in your group.
- Visit Hersheypark BEFORE it opens for the day. With Hersheypark Sweet Start, you can start your day before the gates officially open with up to one-hour early admittance on select rides in Founder’s Way, The Hollow, and Kissing Tower Hill. Available May 26-September 3, 8-9, 15-16, 22-23, 29-30, 2018. Sweet Start is not available in the spring, fall, or winter.
- Get an extra night to enjoy Hersheypark. With Hersheypark Preview Plan, you can get a head start on thrills with access to Hersheypark the night before your planned visit for a fun-filled evening. Present your tickets at the main entrance at least 4 1/2 hours before closing. Effective Memorial Day – Labor Day.
- FREE admission to Hershey Gardens, including the Butterfly Atrium.
- FREE admission to The Hershey Story’s Museum Experience. You can read about our visit the the Hershey Story Museum in this article, Hershey Story Museum ~ Sweet Discoveries, Fun, & Games.
- Complimentary Front Gate Shuttle Service to Hersheypark (on operating days)
- Complimentary transportation to area Hershey attractions, yearround.
- Celebrating a special occasion? Order a free special delivery card. These cards come personalized for the guest and with a special Hershey bar. Custom gift baskets can be ordered for an additional charge.
Over 10 FREE Hershey Lodge activities for kids
- Kids’ Check In – Kids can check in at their own check in table. Doing so lets them participate in games, and get chocolate upon arrival to Hershey Lodge! Each kid even gets a lanyard that can be personalized with their name and contact information and lets them open the door to their hotel room.
- The Indoor Pool Complex, Hershey’s Water Works – At Hershey Lodge is open late and year-round. On rainy or cold days, this is a great option for Hershey fun that is limited to ONLY Hershey Lodge guests. You can read more about Water Works and see our video in this article, Hershey Lodge Water Works ~ Wonderful Water Fun.
- Hershey’s Character Appearances – Characters like Reeses, Hershey Kiss, and more make appearances at Hershey Lodge for pictures.
- Animal Encounters with ZooAmerica – Zookeepers from ZooAmerica visit Hershey Lodge to provide guests with experiences with the animals.
- Games, tv time, Lego building and more in the Family Activity Room
- Chocolate Bingo
- Balloon Animals
- Scavenger Hunts
- Trivia Challenges
- Kids’ Crafts
- Fitness Center – The fitness center is open 24 hours a day.
- Outdoor Pool (currently closed for renovations)
- Basketball Court (equipment is available for borrowing at no charge.)
- Tennis Court (equipment is available for borrowing at no charge.)
- Miniature Golf Course (equipment is available for borrowing at no charge.)
- Board games available (equipment is available for borrowing at no charge.)
CHEAP Hershey Lodge activities for kids
- Family Arcade – Open 24 hours. There’s no charge to get in and most games were about 50 cents.
- S’mores Roasts -S’mores kits can be purchased in the Cocoa Beanery
Other ways to save money on your Hersheypark vacation
- Some Hershey resort restaurants may offer reduced pricing at times. For example, the Fire & Grain restaurant at the Hershey Lodge offers half-price food options during happy hour.
- Both the Hershey Lodge and Hotel Hershey have a Cocoa Beanery with easy grab & go options, that are cheaper than ordering room service.
- Groups of 10 or more can enjoy the best of Hersheypark Camping Resort & Hersheypark for one low price.