Hersheypark

Hersheypark
HersheyParkLogo.png
Location
Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA
Status Operating
Opened May 30, 1906
Owner Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company
Area 121 acres (49 hectares)
Website http://www.hersheypark.com/

Hersheypark is an amusement park located in Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA. The area that became the park was initially designated to be a leisure park for the employees of Hershey Chocolate Company. On May 30, 1906, the park was formally opened to the general public, welcoming travelers and groups from across Pennsylvania and other states to hold picnics and reunion events. After 65 years of operation, the park underwent a renovation program: in 1971, the park was gated, and under a plan created by R. Duell and Associates (later modified due to economic conditions of the mid-1970s), converted into a theme park. Today, the park's area covers 121 acres (49 hectares), with over 70 rides and attractions, including 14 roller coasters, and 15 water rides.

History

Creation of Hershey Park

On February 19, 1903, Milton S. Hershey, founder of the Hershey Chocolate Company and Hershey Entertainment & Resorts (originally named Hershey Estates), announced that he had purchased 800 acres of land and had begun constructing a chocolate factory in an attempt to build a new town just outside of two small towns, Derry Church and Spring Creek. Of the 800 acres, one portion that was surveyed was a site along the small creek named Spring Creek that would be suitable for a park. An area to the northwest of the town square, just beyond the railroad tracks, was designated for the park.[1] Little work was put into the park at that time, as focus of most of the work was on completing the chocolate factory. Once the factory was considered complete in 1904, construction within the new town of Hershey was able to begin in earnest.

During the summer and fall of 1905, several bridges were constructed over Spring Creek,[2] connecting land Hershey owned with land which was owned by John ("J.H.") H. Nissley. This land was what later became known as Comet Hollow, as well as the land from where Hersheypark Arena and Stadium were built up to the base of Pat's Hill. (Pat's Hill is where The Hotel Hershey and Hershey Gardens were eventually constructed, as well as Catherine Hall (previously known as Senior Hall) of the Milton Hershey School.) The park's first pavilion, a building which existed until 1989, was constructed and opened in the fall of 1905. It was built on the edge of the hill, overlooking the Spring Creek hollow, and several paths were constructed to connect the pavilion to the roads closest to the center of town.[3][4]

In February 1906, Hershey and Nissley came to an agreement in which Hershey purchased nearly all of the land along Spring Creek, which included the land the park occupies today.[5] The newly formed Hershey Athletic Club's baseball team quickly staked out a location for a permanent athletic field; a grandstand was built and the field opened on May 5, 1906.[6] On Memorial Day (also called Decoration Day), May 30, 1906, Hershey Park formally opened to the public. While no rides were yet installed, amusements included music in the pavilion dance hall and band stand, two baseball games on the athletic field, and tennis courts to play various games.[7][8][9][10]

The Hershey Park Years: 1906-1970

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.

The Hersheypark Years: 1971-present

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 Revolution 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 1977.

1980s-present

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).

Storm Runner with the Kissing Tower in the background

The 1990s started off with the creation of Minetown, which is currently known as Kissing Tower Hill. 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.

Six more roller coasters were added in the 21st Century – Lightning Racer (2000), Roller Soaker (2002), Storm Runner (2004), Fahrenheit (2008), Skyrush (2012), and Candymonium (2020), continuing the rapid expansion of the park from the mid-1980s. For the 2020 season, a new entrance area was built and named Chocolatetown.

Roller coasters

Present (14)

Name Manufacturer Type Opened Status
Candymonium Bolliger & Mabillard Hyper July 3, 2020 Operating
Cocoa Cruiser Zamperla Family May 10, 2014 Operating
Comet Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters, Inc. Wooden May 30, 1946 Operating
Fahrenheit Intamin Sit-Down May 25, 2008 Operating
Great Bear Bolliger & Mabillard Inverted May 23, 1998 Operating
Laff Trakk Maurer AG Spinning
Enclosed
May 23, 2015 Operating
Lightning Racer Great Coasters International Wooden
Twin
May 13, 2000 Operating
Sidewinder Vekoma Shuttle May 11, 1991 Operating
Skyrush Intamin Hyper
Semi-floorless
May 26, 2012 Operating
SooperDooperLooper Schwarzkopf Terrain May 8, 1977 Operating
Storm Runner Intamin Launched May 8, 2004 Operating
Trailblazer Arrow Dynamics Terrain May 18, 1974 Operating
Wild Mouse Mack Rides Wild Mouse May 8, 1999 Operating
Wildcat Great Coasters International Wooden May 26, 1996 Operating

Past

Name Manufacturer Type Opened Closed Fate
Mini-Comet B.A. Schiff & Associates Kiddie May 18, 1974 October 1, 1978 Scrapped
Roller Soaker Setpoint Suspended May 11, 2002 September 3, 2012 Scrapped
Toboggan Chance Rides Sit-Down May 7, 1972 October 2, 1977 Scrapped
Toboggan Chance Rides Sit-Down May 7, 1972 October 2, 1977 Travelling El Salvador
Wildcat Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters, Inc. Wooden June 16, 1923 September 9, 1945 Scrapped

Cancelled

Attractions

Operating

Name Manufacturer Type Opened
Balloon Flite Bradley & Kaye Balloon Race 1982
Carrousel Philadelphia Toboggan Company Carousel 1945
Claw Chance Rides Frisbee 2003
Coal Cracker Arrow Dynamics Log Flume 1973
Convoy Zamperla Track Ride 1990
Dizzy Drums Hampton Rides Junior Teacups 1961
Dry Gulch Railroad Crown Metal Products Miniature Railway 1961
Fender Bender Lusse Bros. Dodgems 1978
Ferris Wheel Chance Rides Ferris Wheel 1997
Frog Hopper S&S Worldwide Junior Drop Tower x2 1999
Frontier Flyers Larson International Flying Scooters 2003
Granny Bugs Venture Rides Roundabout 1985
Helicopters Allan Herschell Company Junior Jets 1964
Hershey Triple Tower S&S Worldwide Drop Tower 2017
Howler Wisdom Rides Tornado 2008
Kissing Tower Waagner-Biro Observation Tower 1975
Livery Stables W.F. Mangels Junior Carousel 1979
Merry Derry Dip Fun Slide Frederiksen Industries Giant Slide 1998
Merry Derry Dip Fun Slide Frederiksen Industries Giant Slide 1998
Mini Pirate SBF Visa Group Junior Pirate Ship 2002
Mini Scrambler Eli Bridge Company Junior Scrambler 2002
Mini-Himalaya Venture Rides Junior Scrambler 2002
Minty Bees Hampton Rides Roundabout 1961
Misfit Bug HERCO Junior Tumble Bug 1976
Monorail Universal Mobility Monorail 1969
Music Express Moser Rides Superbob/Musik Express 1999
Pirate HUSS Pirate Ship 1980
Pony Parade W.F. Mangels Roundabout 1979
Red Baron Zamperla Junior Jets 1990
Reese's Cupfusion EOS Rides Tracked Dark Ride 2006
Scrambler Eli Bridge Company Scrambler 1972
Skyview Universal Design Ropeway 1966
Space Age Hampton Rides Roundabout 1965
Starship America Kasper Klaus Jets 1962
Sweet Swing Zamperla Happy Swing 2014
Swing Thing Zamperla Junior Chair-O-Plane 1985
Tea Cups Zamperla Junior Teacups 2014
Tidal Force Hopkins Shoot The Chute 1994
Tilt-A-Whirl Sellner Manufacturing Tilt-A-Whirl 1983
Tiny Tracks Zamperla Junior Railway 1995
Traffic Jam Hampton Rides Roundabout 1968
Twin Turnpike - Classic Cars Arrow Dynamics Track Ride 1975
Twin Turnpike - Speedway Arrow Dynamics Track Ride 1975
Venetian Carousel Bertazzon Gallopers 2019
Wave Swinger Zierer Waveswinger 1982
Whip Rideworks Whip 1997

Closed

Name Manufacturer Type Opened Closed Fate
Canyon River Rapids Intamin River Rapids 1987 2008 Scrapped
Chaos Chance Rides Chaos 1999 2007 Scrapped
Cyclops HUSS Enterprise 1980 2002 Relocated to Calaway Park
Earthmovers Chance Rides Roundabout 1976 2002 Relocated to Dutch Wonderland
Flying Falcon HUSS Condor 1990 2016 In Storage
Lost River Philadelphia Toboggan Company Scenic Boat Ride 1929 1972 Scrapped
Magic Carpet Slide Aero-Mar Plastics Giant Slide 1969 1972 Scrapped
Rodeo Chance Rides Trabant/Satellite 1978 2008 Relocated to Dutch Wonderland
Timber Rattler C.A.H. Polyp 1984 1987 Relocated to Bellewaerde
Wells Cargo W.F. Mangels Junior Whip 1964 2002 Relocated to Dutch Wonderland

References

  1. "A New Town Near Derry Church To Coast A Million." Harrisburg Daily Independent. February 19, 1903. p. 1
  2. "Hershey News." Harrisburg Telegraph. October 6, 1905.
  3. "West End Park is to Have Big Pavillion." Harrisburg Telegraph. September 14, 1905.
  4. "Hershey News." Harrisburg Telegraph. September 18, 1905.
  5. "Derry Church Items. [M.]S. Hershey Purchased Property of J.H. Nissley Estate." Lebanon Daily News. February 28, 1906.
  6. "Hershey News." Harrisburg Telegraph. May 5, 1906.
  7. "The Opening of Hershey Park." Hummelstown Sun. May 25, 1906. p. 1.
  8. Harrisburg Daily Independent. May 28, 1906. p. 4. "Hershey's Park at Hershey will be opened to the public on Decoration day."
  9. "Opening of Hershey Park." Lebanon Courier and Semi Weekly Report. May 30, 1906. p. 5. "Hershey Park will be formally opened to the public on Memorial Day, May 30th."
  10. Harrisburg Daily Independent. June 2, 1906. p. 2. "Hershey's Park was opened to the public on Wednesday and an immense crowd enjoyed the all-day amusements."