As a requirement for reading this post, please turn on your speakers and click on the logo at left to listen to the song that was playing intermittently at the park ALL DAY! It got to be annoying enough that someone in our group would pretend to hold up a microphone, and someone else would have to sing on cue in our wonderful voices “Dutch Wonderland”. Even after being home for over a month, that song is still stuck in my head!
The obvious choice for a theme park on a family trip to Hershey, PA would be Hershey Park, but since we were able to see the roller coasters and hear the screams from all around Hershey and we had kids aged 3, 5 and 9, we decided on a visit to Dutch Wonderland instead, where the rides and activities are geared towards smaller children. Even our 9-year old is not a daredevil, so it ended up being a great decision. There was plenty to do for the little one and enough scarier rides for the older kids – even the adults.
The plan was for hubby and I to visit the Yuengling Brewery in Pottsville today, but after checking the website, closed-toed shoes are required. Since it was forecasted to be hot and sunny for most of our trip, I only brought sandals. Our son-in-law came to the rescue and said he could be “talked into” visiting the brewery with my husband in their close-toed shoes and meet us at Dutch Wonderland when they were finished. How noble of him!
Turns out two of the owners are super friendly and play an important role in the day-to-day operation. They were in the gift shop at the end of the tour and visited with the guys for quite a while. They left the tour very impressed by the brewery and had a great time.
“Come tour the site of America’s Oldest Brewery. Discover the hand-dug fermentation caves that were used for storage before refrigeration. Wander through time and enjoy a taste of living history in a building that has produced fine beers through times of peace, prosperity, upheaval and world war.
Begin and end your tour in our newly remodeled gift shop and soon-to-be museum across from the brewery in our former creamery, constructed in Pottsville during the onset of Prohibition in 1920.” – READ MORE about the history of the Yuengling Brewery
While they sipped their free samples, the rest of us were headed to a fun day at the park. We could hardly wait to get started on this fun day!
Dutch Wonderland has a neighborhood-park-like feel, with lots of rides – some past their prime – but most are really cute. There is a water park section and since payment is required each time we opened the lockers, we stuffed our swimsuits and towels into a large locker in that area and decided we would come back later in the day when getting wet would be more appealing – after a hot day in the sun.
The two younger kids found plenty to keep them busy right off the bat and our 9-year-old separated from the group with her mom to scout out some more age-appropriate rides for her.
After seeing her older cousin ride the Turtle Whirl (similar to the Tilt-A-Whirl), the youngest wanted a crack at it. Shortly after the ride started, she realized that was a mistake. She said she didn’t want to ride that one again!
Several of the rides allowed a parent to ride with their small kids, so we stretched the rules a tad (with the OK of the person in charge) and our oldest rode as the supervisor, while Evan had his monster truck all to himself.
Then it was time for the adults to get in on the action with the bumper cars and many other classic rides you’d find in most parks. The log ride was a HUGE hit and we went back and back and back… There was also a roller coaster that even I went on, but only once. Evan and his dad went three times and loved every minute of it!
They had several “shows” throughout the day, and although the actors had superior diving skills at the one we saw, the story behind the show was pretty lame. Having to coordinate the showtimes with where we were in the park was a little difficult as well, so we decided that one show was enough for us. As we entered the theatre, several rows were designated not only as “wet zones”, but as “soak zones”. Several of the divers belly-flopped several times to cool off the ones brave enough to sit in those rows. There was one skilled gentleman that would dive from a platform well above where the center tower is cut off in the photo. The grand finale was extremely wet and the kids really enjoyed it.
The photo just above right, shows the brave one of our group who decided to actually go down the huge slide. The others and their mom had to walk down the very large staircase that they had just climbed up.
That about does it for this great day at “Dutch Wonderland”. Hope you enjoyed it and can visit if your kids are a little small for Hershey Park.
Next up: Hotel Hershey and Hershey Gardens