If you’re in eastern Pennsylvania, you’ve gotta visit “The Sweetest Place on Earth” and head to Hershey, PA. There are SO many great things to do, but an absolute must-do, if you’re looking for the full Hershey experience, is to visit Chocolate World. Found at the hub of the entertainment complex, and owned directly by The Hershey Company, Chocolate World is a neat place to pop in for experiences that are… sweet! (Forgive me.) Let me break down the details and answer the questions for you: What IS Hershey’s Chocolate World? Is it worth the visit for your family?
Everything You Need to Know Before You Go
Where is Hershey’s Chocolate World located?
101 Chocolate World Way
Hershey, PA 17033
If you watch for signs as you drive, it’s hard to miss, but you’ll find Chocolate World directly next to Hershey Park. Look for the roller coasters. Then look for the brick building and parking area. Tah-dah! All attractions are directly off the highway and have a designated lot. Everything is well lit and feels very safe. When you’re on property, you’re in the “Hershey bubble,” which is separated from the rest of the township’s atmosphere (which is also very pleasant).
How much does it cost?
You can enter Chocolate World for FREE! Everyone is welcome to head in the building, snap photos, peruse the shop, and even enjoy the Chocolate Tour ride at no cost (ride photo available for purchase)! Depending on the time of year, there may even be some SEASONAL happenings you can experience without spending a dime.
If you’d like to expand on your sweet experience, you can also purchase tickets for the other attractions inside the building. These can be purchased individually or in discounted bundles, either on their TICKETING page online or at the ticket desk inside the building!
Here’s a quick look at pricing for some of the paid attractions (prices are accurate at time of publishing but may change any time):
Create Your Own Candy Bar: $28.95/per guest (2 and under free if not creating a bar)
HERSHEY’S Unwrapped- Reimagined: $17.95 (13+), $14.95 (3-12), children 2 and under are free
Hershey Trolley Works: $18.95 (13+), $15.95 (3-12), children 2 and under are free
Don’t forget to bring extra cash for souvenirs, candy, and food from the cafeteria and bakery area (yummmmmm)!
What’s the best age to visit?
Chocolate World is open to ALL ages. I recommend checking out the details of individual attractions when deciding whether or not to bring little ones. You know your kids best!
(Here’s a personal example: I am a MEGA FAN of Hershey Trolley Works. My first son has been on the trolley ride multiple times from baby to toddler and he loved it every time. He’s quiet and curious and entranced by people talking and watching out the windows.
My second son rode as a baby and napped his way through. He’s been a more energetic little guy than my first and way more hands-on as a toddler. I would be willing to take him on the holiday version with songs and a little more action, but will probably skip the traditional ride until he’s a bit older!)
Is Chocolate World open today?
Hershey’s Chocolate World is open year round! The best way to find out their hours on any given day is by checking the handy CALENDAR on their site!
Okay, what’s the parking situation?
An average outdoor lot is available next to the building and it’s an easy walk across the pavement to get inside. READ THE SIGNS to get into the correct lot. Once you turn in to the Hershey complex, pay attention to signs to get you to the right parking area! If you’re looking to just visit Chocolate World, you’ll keep generally to the left. Stop at the booths as you enter the lot to grab your parking pass and drive on in. (During the off season, booths are not always manned. Signs will be posted stating that parking is free on these occasions.)
RV and bus parking are available, as well as designated spaces for guests with disabilities. Limited spaces are available for charging electric cars.
Concerned about cost? If you’re heading in for a quick visit, short term parking is FREE! Planning a little longer trip? Expect to pay $25 for all day parking during summer, holidays, and special events. If you’ve purchased their attraction bundle, parking is free.
. This parking lot isn’t meant for an all day visit to Hershey- hence the high fee if you try to park there all day. Get in, get your Hershey chocolate on, get out. You’ll find other cheaper parking options available if you’re visiting for Hershey Park or looking to explore the town. Overnight parking is not allowed.
Let’s Head Inside!
What’s it like inside?
Chocolate World is essentially a giant visitor’s center and gift shop. The main part of the building is a large, high ceiling (think warehouse or… chocolate factory… style building) with an open layout. The paid attractions are in closed off areas around the edge of the building. You enter through a large welcome foyer area, where you can head off to the right to purchase attraction tickets and visit a dessert counter or continue ahead to do some shopping and eating.
It’s a busy location with people mulling around. There’s noise and music and some bright colors, but not anything that I found overwhelming, and my kids seem to do okay with it, too. They are also a CERTIFIED AUTISM CENTER and ready to help, should you need it.
Strollers are not allowed inside the building attractions. Bring a carrier or some strong arms if you are visiting with a baby. Stroller parking is available just outside the building and is the only appropriate place to leave a stroller to enter any of the shows or rides. You may bring a stroller inside the building if you are just shopping and will not be participating in any of the attractions.
Is it clean?
This is always a biggie for me with kids who touch EVERYTHING. Yes, Chocolate World passes the test! All areas are clean, everything is in good condition, eating areas are kept wiped down and sanitized. I’ve never run into anything that made me say “Ew.”
Are the staff friendly?
Yes! My experience has always been pleasant. Cashiers and food service employees have always been polite and helpful and attraction staff, in my experience, have always been fun and smiling.
For all your needs…
This might be a weird thing to say, but I’m a fan of the bathrooms. There are PLENTY of toilets and sinks available between the restrooms at the entrance and the restroom in the back near the cafeteria.
They’re generally clean (and taken care of quickly, if not), they’re spacious so you’re not going head to head with someone walking out as you walk in, and they have the best changing tables. The changing tables are like long shallow bowls (baby bowls, heh) at the end on top of the sink counters. There’s space to set down your bag, your kid can’t roll away as easily, and the height works. Ten points.
A family bathroom is also available along with the regular restroom stalls. No nursing room is available, to the best of my knowledge. I’ve tucked myself in on a bench near the ticketing counters to feed my babes.
Outside food and drink are not welcome inside the building, but there are PLENTY of options inside! The food hall area, located at the back of building, has multiple walk-up and order options, with tables available to sit and relax while you eat. Options are basic but tasty and change every so often. They keep a MENU on their site. You’ll usually find choices like pizza, salad, sandwiches, chicken, mac n cheese, pretzels- quick and easy foods that are kid-friendly, too!
But wait. This is Hershey. There’s a bakery counter, a little ice cream and milkshakes spot, and even a place to get a classic (or crazy) s’more!!! *drooooool* Oh, plus there’s candy, candy, and more candy for sale. Of course.
(Side note: I always travel with snacks and drinks in my bag and have never had any issues or had anyone say anything despite the no outside food or drink rules. You wouldn’t bring a lunch box in and eat at a restaurant table without ordering or bring cupcakes to a clothing store- same here. I’m sure some baby puffs or a water bottle are fine, just don’t pack a lunch and take a table from a paying customer or walk around eating near the merchandise.)
What can you do at Hershey’s Chocolate World?
Hershey’s Chocolate World is essentially just a big souvenir shop with fun activities inside. Shop, eat, and experience the sweet stuff in a myriad of interesting ways.
My favorite attraction is the free Chocolate Tour. If I’m in Hershey, I’m riding the Chocolate Tour. It doesn’t matter that I could probably recite it word for word, it’s tradition. If you’re visiting from out of the area, it’s worth a go. It’s a short, calm ride in a giant kiss that walks you through the process of how the chocolate is made. The only downside is that the loading process includes a (very slowly) moving platform. Young children (or maybe just MY young children) are thrown off by it so I just pick them up and pop them in myself. Bonus: You get a little piece of free chocolate at the end. Woo!
My favorite paid attraction also includes free sweets! I’ts the Trolley Works show! This is a ride on a real trolley around Hershey, PA. It’s relaxing and educational and heartwarming. Learn the story of Milton Hershey, his family, and his journey to success (after some serious failure). It’s enjoyable to get a look at the town, hear the history, and understand how The Hershey Company came to exist. During the Halloween and Christmas seasons, they offer adjusted “specialty” shows. I’ve done the winter Holly Jolly Trolley and we really enjoyed that one with my 1 year old. It’s important to note that these trolley rides take about an hour from loading to unloading. Stop for a potty break before getting in line and choose a time for your ticket that everyone is likely to be in good spirits. The classic trolley show may be a bit much for more energetic young children, but the holiday ones bump up the energy and fun factor.
Want even more fun? Check out the Create Your Own Candy Bar experience for a unique souvenir or purchase tickets for the Hershey’s Unwrapped show. HERSHEY’S Unwrapped is a theatrical performance that will “dazzle your taste buds, fill you with laughter and sweeten you with Hershey heartwarming moments” according to the Chocolate World website. Coming Summer 2023: Hershey’s Great Candy Expedition!
Are souvenirs available?
See above about how it’s basically a jumbo gift shop. There are lots of goodies to take home, tons of them. Every candy made by the Hershey Company is available, along with cups, apparel, candles, toys, plushies, chap stick, home decor, pens, bags… Photo mementos and custom candy wrappers are also available for the true candy lover.
Pricing of items is more than fair, in my opinion. General souvenirs seemed to be priced at average retail and you can even get some good deals on the candy! (I got pumpkin pie kitkats for like $.50/bag once. Bahaha.)
There’s tons to do and see in Hershey, PA! My favorite pairing is a visit to ZOOAMERICA topped off with a trip to Chocolate World. If you want something more action packed, stop at Chocolate World on your way in to HERSHEYPARK! Hershey history buff? THE HERSHEY STORY should be your next stop after your Trolley Works trolley ride!
I recommend HERSHEY LODGE or THE HOTEL HERSHEY for the full Hershey chocolate experience. Both provide luxury accommodations with entertainment offerings within the hotel and packages that include other Hershey, PA attractions. If you’re on a budget, though, there are plenty of other local hotels and motels available for booking! We stayed at TRU BY HILTON during our latest visit.
Is Hershey’s Chocolate World worth it?
Yes! We love spending time at Chocolate World when we’re in Hershey, PA! It’s a quick stop in an otherwise jampacked day of fun, an excellent addition to a relaxing day in the area, or its own full day attraction when you purchase tickets to experience all of the offerings!
Have you been? Did you enjoy it? How many sweets did you take home? (Don’t try to fool me. There’s no way you visited and didn’t stock up!) Let me know in the comments below and then check out our other HERSHEY tips, tricks, and stories.