Wednesday, June 2, 2010

the sweetest place on earth

I love roller coasters. I also happen to love chocolate. What better place to satisfy both desires than Hersheypark? I took my first trip to Hersheypark when I was in 8th grade. In Northwest Arkansas, the places to go were Six Flags over St. Louis and Silver Dollar City. They are great, fun parks, but Hersheypark was so different than the others. It was clean, shady, and I swore it smelled like chocolate. It had lots of roller coasters, but lots of other rides, too. A park for everyone.

This was my third trip to Hershey since moving to Pennsylvania. It is still as great as I remember, but growing rapidly. There is now a water park and another new coaster since my last visit. The other impressive attraction is the Zoo America, which is included in your park ticket. It's a small zoo park featuring different animals and habitats from North America.

But one of the best things about Hersheypark is known as Chocolate World. The Hershey Chocolate factory doesn't offer tours, so Chocolate World was born. You take a ride through a colorful, musical world of chocolate-making. Chocolate smells are pumped through the ride and animatronic cows sing about the joys of milk chocolate. It is so dark and cool and sweetly-scented that it is hard not to fall asleep.

Just when your eyes are fluttering closed, you're ushered off the ride and through a labyrinth of hallways until you reach a very bored teenager handing out fun-sized Hershey Bars. Free chocolate! What could be a better ending to a hot, sweaty day at the park?

I've been to many parks, but Hersheypark remains my favorite.

It should be noted that I seem to be getting older and therefore unable to withstand the jerking, twisting, dropping, spinning and banging of your average amusement park ride. Somewhere within the last five years, I seemed to have develop a gag reflex. No, I didn't vomit, but I sure felt it was touch-and-go at times. I'm hoping my tender stomach was merely a side effect of eating bad food and getting very little sleep the night before, but it could be the simple fact of age.

I guess I will need to visit again soon? For experimental purposes, of course.

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