The third and final post on our Quilt Odyssey trip will be about all of the fun activities we did while in Hershey, PA that were NOT quilting related. I did drag David out there with me, we had to have some fun together.
The first stop was Friday night after our adventure getting to Hershey. We knew that Hershey’s Chocolate World was open until 11pm, so we figured we could squeeze in a few fun activities before the evening was up. We were able to get tickets for a Taste Test, 4D movie and a Make Your Own Candy Bar that night and tickets for a Hershey Town Trolley Tour on Sunday morning. Here are my thoughts on Friday’s activities:
Taste Test: Anything that gets you chocolate is A-OK in my book. They gave us five chocolates to sample and taught you how to really taste and enjoy chocolate - similar to wine tasting. It started off ok (despite some EXTREMELY annoying people sitting behind us). Unfortunately, I thought what was a great experience was then quickly rushed. Worth it, but could have been slowed down a bit.
|Taste test wheel.|
4D Movie: This was similar to A Bug’s Life or the Muppet Movie at Disney, except they used names from the audience. A cute idea, but a bit hokey unless you have kids. Sadly, this experience was ruined for us by some of the WORST behaved children I’ve ever seen with no effort on the parents part to correct it. I get it, kids are hyper, but they shouldn’t be running around, stepping on peoples’ feet and screaming during a show. :-( They do give you a full sized candy bar at the end, so not all bad!
Make Your Own Candy Bar: This was my favorite paid activity on Friday. You get suited up in these pretty horrible aprons, hairnets and BEARD nets (if you have a beard), pick your chocolate and three additions and watch your candy bar get created on the assembly line. It was definitely a unique experience and you get a yummy candy bar in a custom tin at the end. We also were behind the sweetest family (you could tell they genuinely liked each other and the parents had a great sense of humor), which makes things so much more fun.
|Our lovely hair (and beard) nets.|
|My bar headed down the line.|
|Our custom bars! Can you guess which one is mine?|
Hershey Ride: This is a free attraction and is really nice for a freebie. It was a ride similar to the Haunted Mansion at Disney where there are singing cows ala-Stew Leonard’s and an explanation of how chocolate is made, bean to store. Plus, more chocolate handed out at the end. This was one of my faves and it was free!
Chocolate World is really well done. Large and colorful and something interesting everywhere you look. The sheer amount of chocolate, candy and merchandise is impressive and while it promotes consumerism, you can’t help but get sucked in to at least looking around. We were there late at night and let me tell you - the kids must have been on a MASSIVE sugar crash because everyone was cranky. Our fault for going so late, but wow...I felt bad for the parents as I’m sure they were also kinda done for the day.
|David found his Mecca.|
Saturday after the convention, we headed to ZooAmerica, which is a small zoo attached to Hershey Park. We didn’t have time to go to the park, but we did want to check out the zoo since you can do it in about an hour. I’m really torn on zoos in general. While I hate seeing animals in captivity, I think that responsible zoos do some amazing conservation, breeding and rehabilitation work. Sadly, I don’t think ZooAmerica is that type. Some of the exhibits were small and a few kinda run down and dirty. We of course saw some really neat animals (the ocelot was my fave), but the semi-depressing scene along with our tired moods made for just a lukewarm experience. Glad we did it, but we know not to do it again.
Sunday was yet another early morning. We headed over to our 9:30 am Trolley Tour of the town of Hershey. This was the first activity we did where we learned about Milton Hershey and it was also my favorite activity of the weekend (minus quilting). The hour long tour takes to various sites that were vital to the Hershey story. The highlight were the two tour guides on the trolley - one of which who plays the role of different people in Milton Hershey’s life. A little cheesy, but cute and entertaining for sure!
|The Hershey Homestead.|
The next activity was heading out to a Flea Market that I had read about. What a bust. Tiny on a Sunday and all we bought were some (not antique) veggies. However, we did find a lovely and large antique barn on the way back to town. David and I both LOVE these! He collects albums and I'm always on the lookout for certain things: sewing notions, antique sewing machines, fabric, pyrex bowls and whatever other cutesy stuff strikes my fancy. We spent a good 2ish hours there. David picked up a small stack of albums, including a Deep Purple one he's been hunting for a while. I didn't get anything, but enjoyed looking. I did find this tiny, toy (working) antique Singer machine, but with a $50 price tag, I had to leave it there. Now that I know they exist, my eyes are peeled for a deal on one. How darling is this thing?!?!?!
|Antique baby singer. TOO CUTE!|
Next up, and our last stop on the trip, was a visit to The Hershey Story. This is a museum that focuses on Milton Hershey’s story. There was so much to look at and so much to learn. The one thing that struck me between the museum and the trolley tour was what an amazing man good ol’ Milty was. He was a huge philanthropist - he left his fortune to the kids that attend his school and he pays for every single one’s college education! But he also demanded perfection in everything he did. The chocolate had to be perfect, the students had to be well-rounded and get good grades, etc. He took a not-even-a-dot-on-the-map town and built an empire out of it, which ensuring a happy and solid way of life for the town and everyone he touched. Really remarkable!
We had plans to stop at Amish Country on the way home. I was SO looking forward to this not only because the Amish had always intrigued me (even with my sinner ways), but also because they have some fabric for sale. :-) I was about to look up times Saturday night when it hit me! Amish = religious. Religious = not open Sundays. I was letdown. My own stupid fault. Now we just have another reason to head out there another time.
All in all, the trip was a whirlwind, but lots of fun with tons of stuff jam-packed in a short amount of time. We were already making plans in case we head back to Quilt Odyssey again next year!