Family Activities:

Hotel Hershey Activities Photo Courtesy of Hershey Entertainment & Resorts
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All Hotel guests -- both in the main Hotel and the cottages -- enjoy free admission to Hershey Gardens and The Hershey Story, The Museum On Chocolate Avenue; access to Hershey Golf Collection's distinctive golf courses; the best price on Hersheypark tickets; complimentary shuttle bus service to the Park; exclusive early Park admission via Hersheypark Sweet Start; priority access to rent a private cabana at The Boardwalk at Hersheypark; and more.

The shallow end of each pool starts at three feet; there is no zero-entry. Lifeguards were seen at all of the pools, which aren't overly-crowded because the majority of guests tend to spend their time at the amusement park.

The Chocolate Spa
One of the highlights at Hotel Hershey is the spa. I indulged in a chocolate massage. Tracy, my massage therapist, gently rubbed chocolate scented oil on my body. It felt and smelled wonderful, and not too sweet. The spa is elegantly appointed with a quiet room (no talking), an inhalation room (soft fragrances open the sinuses), and a seating area that serves coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and muffins. The spa has a full menu of body treatments and facials, a handful of which are centered around chocolate. For instance, you can indulge in Chocolate Fondue Wrap, which is basically a massage and mud wrap with the essence of chocolate. The one hour wrap costs $115. The cost of a 50-minute chocolate body massage is about $100 with tip. The spa is designed for adults but there are a few treatments dedicated to 13 to 17 year olds, like manicures and facials.

The Boardwalk
The amusement park is just over 100 years old. It celebrated its 100th birthday in 2007, and has continued to grow and change over the past century. The latest addition is the Boardwalk, a water park that debuted in 2007. The Boardwalk pays tribute to east coast beaches like Coney Island and the Jersey Shore. Open from May through September, the Boardwalk features an assortment of water rides from tame to daring, Carney games, and places to eat. All are casual with a lot of kid-friendly fare like hot dogs and grilled cheese. Guests at the Boardwalk wear their bathing suits. The changing room/locker area is situated at the entrance to the Boardwalk. Admission to the Boardwalk is included in the one price admission to the park. If you go, bring towels, bathing suits and suntan lotion.

Hershey Gardens
Families who stay at Hotel Hershey or the Hershey Lodge get free admission to Hershey Gardens. (If you are not a guest of the Hotel or Lodge, prices are $10 for adults and $6 for children ages between 3 and 12.) Most guests tend to skip a visit to the gardens, which is a shame. This was one of my family's favorite places because of its peacefulness and beauty. Also the arboretum has plenty of places for kids to run. The Children's Garden has chimes on the floor that children can dance on, and many hidden treasures. One exhibit had a cement tub filled with herbs used to create soaps. Nearby was a clue for children to find a pair of cement slippers that they could try on. The Children's Garden had many playful areas with objects to climb on. It is also right next to the Butterfly Garden. As I was about to leave, I was stopped by a docent who gently lifted a butterfly that clung to my backpack. The 23-acre botanical garden opened in 1937 also devotes 3.5 acres to a wide array of fragrant roses. From up on a hill in the rose garden, you can see the amusement park down below in the distance.

The shuttle bus drops guests to and from the garden. Or if you choose to stay at another hotel, the drive up the hill from the amusement park is an easy one. If you go, bring food. The gift shop only sells bottle water and ice cream.

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