Showing posts with label Pennsylvania. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pennsylvania. Show all posts

Hersheypark Announces 2020 Seasonal Events

Hersheypark Seasonal Events - Image from Hersheypark


The "Sweetest Place on Earth" may have had an abbreviated summer season with COVID restrictions delaying the opening this year, but Hersheypark is making up for it with expanded seasonal events and all of sweet fun we know and love gearing up for the fall and winter seasons!  This year, Hersheypark debuted it's 15th coaster, Candymonium, and the new Chocolatetown entrance to the park which you can also see during seasonal events if you missed them this summer!

Learn more about Candymonium and Hersheypark's COVID safety measures here!


Hersheypark In The Dark


Hersheypark In The Dark Trick-Or-Treating - Image from Hersheypark


Halloween is synonymous with candy so what better place to spend this holiday than in Hershey, PA?  Hersheypark will be open weekends from October 2nd - November 1 for guests to enjoy the fall festivities.  Both kids and adults alike will delight in family-friendly rides, shows, games, and of course, the coasters!  Don't forget to dress in costume and get your kids 12 and under ready for chocolate overload when you walk through the trick-or-treat trail.  One of my favorite things to do during the fall is to also visit Zoo America where the animals get into the Halloween spirit as well - and admission is included with your Hersheypark In the Dark ticket!

Tickets for Hersheypark In The Dark are on sale for $44.95 (ages 9-61), $36.95 (3-8 and 62 and older), and free for 2 and younger.  Like in the summer, guests will need to reserve their entry date due to capacity restrictions in place with COVID protocols so don't delay in planning your day!  This is also a great time to think about purchasing season passes for 2021.  There are big savings on 2021 season passes now and you can add on unlimited visits for the 2020 seasonal events for only $65 more!  Learn more about season passes here.  

Hersheypark Christmas Candylane


Hersheypark Christmas Candylane - Image from Hersheypark


Following the fall events, Hershey, PA quickly transitions into a winter wonderland!  On select dates from November 13 - January 3, guests to Hersheypark will be able to explore several fun themed events.  Christmas Candylane is a chance for guests to visit Hersheypark and enjoy rides, shows, and attractions - all with a seasonal twist.  Trust me when I tell you to check out the wide array of hot chocolates - they won't disappoint!!! Christmas Candylane tickets are on sale for an early discounted rate of $31.95 for guests 3 and older with children 2 and under having free entry.  

Looking for more winter fun with your family in Hershey?  You can add on a ticket to the drive-thru Hershey Sweet Lights exhibit.  With nearly 600 lighted displays, it will dazzle both young and old.  Tickets will be available for this late September.  

Check out my visit to Hersheypark's Christmas Candylane last year for tips to make the most of your visit!


This is also a great time of year to make it Hershey getaway by visiting the Official Resorts of Hersheypark.  You may not have realized it, but there are several options when visiting the area which offer great benefits to Hersheypark guests including guaranteed admission reservations and free parking at the park!  Learn more about planning your Hershey, PA visit here.

Will you be visiting the Sweetest Place on Earth this holiday season?  I can't wait to see the families getting their "Hersheypark Happy" on this year.  If you're still not feeling ready to visit a theme park yet, you can also check out these Hershey at Home activities I shared during the closure including virtual coaster rides, coloring pages, and even a recipe for Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Brownies!  



Biking the GAP Trail with Kids

Cycling the Great Allegheny Passage - Finishing in Cumberland, MD

Cycling has become a big part of our family's lives during this pandemic.  Both of our boys (ages 5 and 8) learned how to ride a bike at the start of COVID and before long we were hitting up trails and racking up the miles.  They even convinced their old mom to get back on a bike for the first time since I was a kid!  We spent weekends cycling the York Heritage Rail Trail in PA, the C&O Canal in Maryland, and some local neighborhood trails.  My 8 year old became especially enamored with the sport and started challenging himself with longer and longer rides.  By July, he was ready to tackle a big challenge - riding all 150 miles of the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP Trail) with his dad over 5 days.  Since our vacation plans were cancelled this summer, we pivoted and decided to make it a family road trip.

If you're not familiar with the Great Allegheny Passage, it's a 150 mile trail from Pittsburgh, PA to Cumberland, MD where it then connects to the C&O Canal.  Planning a trip like this, my husband and I mapped out segments they would ride each day - ranging from 18 to 44 miles depending on the day.  There are long stretches of this trail that do involve up hill grade so you'll want to check out the maps on the GAP Trail website for more details about where to expect those.  Despite the climb, the trail is incredibly well maintained so you won't be spending time or energy fighting poor conditions.

Biking the GAP Trail? See how to make the most of your time in Cumberland, MD!


We opted to stay in two different hotels over the 5 nights we were away.  We spent the first two nights in the Hilton Garden Inn in Uniontown, PA for the northern part of the trail and then moved to the Hampton Inn in Somerset, PA for the remaining three nights.  These locations kept travel reasonable to trail access points.  They also gave us the opportunity to visit some other cool areas in Western PA including Ohiopyle, Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater, Laurel Hills State Park, Flight 93 National Memorial and Fort Necessity Battlefield.  The day that Brody and Dan rode in Pittsburgh, my youngest and I visited the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.  Needless to say, there were plenty of outdoor activities to do keep us busy when the boys wrapped up their biking each day!  When you end in Cumberland, there is a ton to do including a great little restaurant in The Crabby Pig, a cycling shop, winery, and ice cream. . .all directly at the trail's end.

Staying in a hotel during COVID? Read more about our first COVID travel experience here!


To hear more about biking and the Great Allegheny Passage, check out what my son had to say about the experience!


Want to donate to the C&O Canal as part of Brody's 50 mile ride fundraiser? 



Cycling is a great way to get outside, burn some energy, and stay active - especially during this time of social distancing!  We look forward to highlighting more cycling destinations as we travel and sharing our adventures with you.  Happy riding!

Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium - Great Family Fun!


On a recent trip to Western Pennsylvania, my youngest and I found ourselves with a morning to ourselves and decided to make an impromptu visit to the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.  Unlike most places we visit, I didn't take any time to plan ahead - we simply showed up and figured it out as we went.  The morning was exactly what we were looking for: plenty of time together, lots of animals, and a safe environment during this summer of COVID.

Pittsburgh Zoo - The Basics


The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium are located on the outskirts of downtown Pittsburg in the Highland Park area.  Getting here was super easy which was good news for me as I absolutely hate city driving.  It was really simple to find off the highway and features plenty of free parking for zoo patrons.  We visited in July 2020 which means that COVID procedures were in full swing - and there were a few differences from my visit to the Maryland Zoo just a few weeks earlier.  Guests were required to wear masks the entire time they are in the Pittsburgh Zoo except when eating or drinking.  In addition, there was no timed entry required as they found that they had been running well below capacity so we purchased our tickets at the main gate.  After entering there is a steep incline to get up to the main zoo property which guests can navigate either via one of the steepest escalators I've ever seen, an elevator, or a walking path.  Once up the escalator, one way traffic kicked in to minimize guests passing back and forth by each other.  I didn't really see staff out enforcing the one way traffic, but I also didn't see any guests out of compliance with following it. I was also happy that many of the food service options in the park were open and there were frequent reminders in the front half of the park that you can mobile order for the main dining option - Jambo Grill - which is located halfway through your park visit.  

Pittsburgh Zoo - The Animals



I don't know if it was the low crowds and the animals were just excited to see us or if this is the norm, but we saw lots of animals up close and having a blast playing!  It was an incredibly hot morning, so I had mentally prepared that it was going to be a tough go to spot animals, but was pleasantly surprised.  The flamingos were among some of our favorites.  They were super friendly came right up to the fence.  There was also great viewing of the tigers, elephants, and several different types of monkeys.  My son loved watching the orangutan play with his green blankie which reminded him of his green blankie!  On the walk through the zoo, you can also take a visit inside the PPG Aquarium.  I thought this was a great little addition.  While it wasn't as big as visiting a standalone aquarium, it was a nice break from the heat, showcased animals you don't always see at a zoo, and was very well done.  

Want more Mid-Atlantic zoo fun?  Check out my reviews of the Smithsonian Zoological Park (Washington, D.C.), Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, and the Philadelphia Zoo.  



Like most zoos, there is also a kid's area / petting zoo component, but you weren't able to pet the animals currently because of COVID restrictions.  In total, it took us about 3 hours to complete our visit to the zoo - including the snack breaks we took along the way!

Final Thoughts


I'd definitely recommend a visit to the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium if you are visiting the area.  The price was right, park was clean, and animals were great!  You are able to bring in your own drinks which is another recommendation I would make - especially if visiting in the heat of summer.  You shouldn't need more than a 1/2 day to visit the zoo unless you are planning on scheduling one of their animal encounters / behind-the-scenes tours.  Just be sure to check their website for the most up-to-date schedules as many of these programs are currently canceled.  


What It's Like To Stay In A Hotel During Coronavirus

This past weekend we did something we hadn't done in months. . .stayed in a hotel.  As you know, my family loves to travel and we are always on the go having new adventures.  But coronavirus has sidelined us, as well as everyone else, from our "normal." So for Father's Day we decided that we were going to load up the bikes and head on a quick road trip up to Jim Thorpe, PA in the Pocono Mountains for some trail riding.  Along with that road trip, would be our first hotel stay in the era of coronavirus.  Long story short, travel fans can rejoice that while hotel stays are different thanks to COVID, they are still doable in my opinion.

Where did we stay?


Readers of my website will know that we are a Hilton family thanks to their great loyalty program and the amount of Hilton points we accumulate.  We used our points to stay at the Hampton Inn-Lehighton for two nights.  This hotel is just a few miles outside of downtown Jim Thorpe and provides a convenient location for cyclists and families that may want to check out the Lehigh Gorge Trail, part of the much larger D&L Trail.  The hotel staff could not have more friendly!  They were accommodating even before we arrived, talking us through some questions we had about the area and bike storage in the days leading up to our visit.  The room was a nice size to accommodate our family of four and there was easy access to the highway.

Hotel Cleanliness During Coronavirus



Top on everyone's list of concerns right now is keeping this clean and sanitized wherever you go, so traveling to a hotel can feel like a big decision.  You'll be happy to know that we were really pleased with the efforts of Hilton as a brand and this Hampton Inn location in particular.  When we arrived, the check-in area was blocked with sheeting so that germs could not pass back and forth.  Even with the barrier in place, employees wore masks and guests were required to wear masks in the lobby area.  The employee who checked us in was warm and welcoming.  She explained that with concerns about transmitting germs, they have currently opted guests out of daily housekeeping - that way once you enter your cleaned and sanitized room, no one but your family will be in there until you check out.  I really liked that option.  Now, if you're someone who isn't worried about having someone enter your room and you really like a "freshen up" each day - you could opt in to housekeeping, but you need to request it and alert the front desk.  If you have an extended stay and would just like fresh towels on different days, you can also call and request them from the front desk and they will be delivered outside your door in a sealed package.



Despite all the measures that were in place, we still brought our own Clorox wipes and wiped down high touch surfaces like the vanity area, dresser, nightstand, desk, etc. before be began unpacking and settling in.  I will also say that every time we were in the lobby, we saw employees wiping surfaces and cleaning.  It's easy to see that Hilton is taking the precautions seriously and we felt good about how clean everything was being kept.

Hotel Amenities During Coronavirus


Something worth noting as you decide whether or not to travel is that some of your typical hotel amenities may not be operating or may be different than what you're used to seeing.  In our case towards the end of June, the indoor pool, fitness center, and business center were all closed.  The commons area also featured socially distanced seating which means less seats available.  We went down to the lobby to eat delivery our first night and were the only ones there and both mornings we ate breakfast in our rooms so we never felt crowded or like seating was an issue during our stay.


One of the biggest changes worth noting is modified breakfast service.  Hotels that typically offer breakfast to guests may have some modifications in place.  Usually, Hampton Inn offers continental options and a daily hot option to guests on a buffet.  This trip, we found the experience to be different - which we expected and is completely understandable.  They had three types of cereal in individually wrapped bowls, a few types of pre-packaged muffins, one hot option individually wrapped in a warmer, and then fruit, yogurt, juices, and milk in a small refrigerator.  Coffee and hot tea were also available with coffee cups individually wrapped in plastic and stirrer / sweeteners also offered in one prepackaged set.  We anticipated that options may be limited so we took advantage of the fact that we were driving and brought some items with us - the kids' favorite cereals, protein bars, and protein shakes.  We grabbed drinks from the lobby each morning, but otherwise ate breakfast in our room.

While these experiences were in one hotel, I have a feeling that you could expect similar realities wherever you travel.  My best advice, call your specific hotel and ask questions ahead of your arrival so you know what to expect!  Happy Travels!


Hersheypark Announces July 3 Opening!

Image Courtesy of Hersheypark

Fans around the Mid-Atlantic can start rejoicing as one of our favorites, Hersheypark, announced today their plans to reopen July 3rd!  Season Pass holders will have special days ahead of this opening on July 1st and 2nd.  We have been long time fans of Hershey, PA and there is even more SWEET fun to be excited about this year.  

Hersheypark Chocolatetown and Candymonium Opening


Hersheypark Candymonium
Image Courtesy of Hersheypark

With the opening of the park announced just in time for the 4th of July holiday, Hersheypark is excited to debut it's 15th roller coaster, Candymonium.  This ride is going to be epic at 210 feet tall, speeds of 76 MPH, and a length of 4,636 feet.  I can't wait!  Candymonium joins an already stellar cast of coasters of Hersheypark including my favorites - Storm Runner, Skyrush, and Farenheit!  

Along with Candymonium, Hersheypark will also be opening Chocolatetown which will feature a new restaruant, ice cream parlor, and shopping!  For more about these exciting additions, check out this video!


Looking for tips for visiting with your kids? Check this out!


Enhanced Safety Measures and Reopening Protocols for Hersheypark


Hersheypark Reopening
Image Courtesy of Hersheypark

Like other theme parks around the country, Hersheypark has established a new way of doing things this summer.  Here are a few of the highlights:
  • Increased cleaning and sanitation around the park 
  • Guest Reservation System - Find out more about making a reservation here!
  • Social distancing signage and reminders throughout the park
  • All guests over 2 must wear a face mask while enjoying the park 
  • Visitors can expect temperature screenings
  • Ride protocols will be determined on a ride-by-ride basis in relation to social distancing and sanitation
  • Additional training for Hershey employees on new protocols

Can't wait for Hersheypark to reopen?  Check out these ways to have some SWEET fun at home!


Around Hersheypark


Image Courtesy of Hersheypark

While Hersheypark is the premiere attraction for many visitors to Hershey, PA, there is plenty more to see and do which is also reopening at this time.  Hershey Gardens announced a reopening date of 6/20 and ZooAmerica will follow closely behind with an opening date of 6/22.  Hershey's Chocolate World already has opened it's doors as of June 5th and Hershey resorts including The Hotel Hershey, Hershey Lodge, and Hersheypark Camping Resort are open too!  Please websites for each of these locations before visiting for the latest in reservations and safety protocols.  You may even find SWEET deals to make you vacation even more affordable - like these

Want to plan ahead? Don't forget about Hersheypark's Christmas Candylane!


I know I can't wait to get back to Hershey!  Who is with me??


Have a SWEET Quarantine - Hershey Fun to Have at Home!


I don't know about you, but I've been missing a lot of my favorite places during this time while we're at home with the safety measures in place from the coronavirus pandemic.  Like many of you, I've had travel plans upended - including a birthday weekend visit to one of my favorite local destinations, Hershey, Pennsylvania.  We like to visit Hershey several times a year for trips to Hershey's Chocolate World, Hersheypark, and more.  So while we can't go experience the fun of Hershey in person, we brought the fun of Hershey to our house with these fun activities!

Hershey At Home Activities


Hersheypark Coloring Pages - Thanks to the wonderful folks at Hersheypark, here are some free printable coloring pages.  We love planning our visits to see our favorite characters and ride the exciting roller coasters.  These coloring pages keep the excitement alive until we can visit again!

Planning a visit to Hersheypark?  Check out my guide for visiting with kids!


Ride the Roller Coasters - I know what you're thinking. . .ride the roller coasters?  But the park is closed?!?  No worries, Hersheypark has released POV videos on their YouTube channel of their roller coasters so you can feel like you're a part of the SWEET excitement.  Check it out!!!

Make Some Hershey Sweets - We all know one of the best things about visiting Hershey, PA is the chocolate!  I mean, what other theme park is entirely inspired by and centered around chocolate? So when you can't visit Hersheypark and Hershey's Chocolate World right now, you can still make some yummy Hershey chocolate treats.  Some of our favorites:

  • S'mores - You know the drill.  Grab some graham crackers, marshmallows, and a Hershey's chocolate bar!  No fire, no problem! You can preheat the oven to 400 degrees and place the bottom part of the s'more and the marshmallow in the oven for 3-5 minutes until just softened.  Then top with your favorite chocolate and the second half of your graham cracker.  
  • Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Brownies - OK, these may be a new addiction in my house.  I made these from scratch, but you can easily use a base brownie box mix instead.  I found the base brownie mix on Pinterest which linked to this site.  After making the mix, I added crunched up Reese's cups to the batter then poured in the pan.  I cut up two more Reese's cups to top the batter and then baked following the directions on the website.  They turned out delicious!
I can't wait to be back in Hershey soon!  Until then, I'll be making my own SWEET moments at home.  Enjoy!

5 Tips to Maximize Your Visit To Christmas Candylane at Hersheypark

Hersheypark has been a favorite of mine going all the way back to my childhood.  I remember visiting with my parents as a child, hanging out there as a college student at nearby Elizabethtown College, and am now making even more memories visiting regularly with my own children.  Over all of the years though that I've been going to Hersheypark, I have never been to the annual Christmas Candylane.  I was excited this year to partner with Hersheypark to attend this holiday tradition with my family.  We had a great afternoon and evening, while also learning a lot about maximizing your time at Christmas Candylane.  Here are my 5 tips (in no particular order!) to make the most of your visit.

My family and I received complimentary admission to Hersheypark's Christmas Candylane and Hershey's Sweet Lights so we can share our experiences with you!


1. Arrive Early


On weekends, the park is open beginning at noon.  Some of you may be asking why you would visit a holiday lights event that early in the day, but the answer is simple - there's so much more to see and do besides the lights!  There are 47 rides and attractions open during Christmas Candylane.  While many of these are kiddie rides, you'll also find several roller coasters including sooperdooperLooper, Sidewinder, Wildcat, and Laff Trakk.  When you arrive early, I would recommend heading straight for the most popular attractions - and right now that means Reese's Cupfusion which just opened this year.  As the afternoon goes on and night begins to fall, the park becomes more crowded and lines can grow.  Those early hours are perfect for kiddie rides, roller coasters, and some of your fan favorites.  Remember to download the Hersheypark app prior to arriving so you can have a map, park details, and current ride wait times at your fingertips!  Just save some rides for after night falls, which leads me to tip #2. . .
Bring back the Crystal Cup on
Reese's Cupfusion!

2. Rides to Ride After Dark


Hersheypark is truly beautiful with all of the lights at night.  A well laid out and picturesque park in the daytime lends itself well to be gorgeous at night.  There are a few slow moving rides that will offer you breathtaking views of the lights as you travel around the park after dark.  Make sure you save Skyview, Capital BlueCross Monorail, Kissing Tower, Ferris Wheel and Dry Gulch Railroad for nighttime to see dazzling light displays.  The Sunoco Speedway and Classic Cars are also fun as night falls with their own "Sweet Lights" display on the driving tracks for families to enjoy.  Bring your cameras with you on these rides to grab some great photos of the festive Christmas lights!

3. Enjoy the Shows Mid-Day


The Littlest Tree at
Chevrolet Music Box Theater
Each season at Hershey always brings it's own fun when it comes to special entertainment and Christmas Candylane is no different.  Over in Pioneer Frontier, you'll be able to find Santa's Reindeer and an ice skating rink (extra fee for skate rental - $3).  The Chevrolet Music Box Theater is home to a Christmas musical show, The Littlest Tree.  It is full of fun, familiar music the whole family will enjoy, and a cute story about the littlest tree at Santa's Tree Farm.  Speaking of Santa, you can meet the man himself in Kissing Tower Hill right near the arcade games building.  There's also a special Hershey's character meet and greet in Kissing Tower Hill as well.  So my advice is to ride your must-do rides when you first arrive, then hit up some shows and character greetings before dark when you'll want to be out and about enjoying all of the holiday glow!  The NOEL light show begins nightly at 5PM and can be viewed best on the bridge near sooperdooperLooper.  This show features lights set to popular holiday music and the beauty is amplified with reflections on the water that runs through this part of the park.

4.  Bring Your Sweet Tooth


Reese's Extreme
Hot Chocolate
Of course you can't visit Hersheypark without enjoying some chocolate, right??  In fact, Hershey loves chocolate so much, you can even purchase a souvenir mug and drink hot chocloate all day for $12 or all season for just $17.  There were too many sweets around the park that we didn't have a chance to sample it all.  My personal recommendation on something you don't want to miss is the Hot Chocolate Bar located in Founder's Way across from the entrance to Reese's Cupfusion.  While you can get a traditional hot chocolate here, that would be a boring option.  This location takes hot chocolate to the next level featuring punches of Hershey's goodness literally sprinkled on top in a variety of ways.  I opted for the Reese's Extreme because, those of you who know me, know my deep love of all things Reese's.  My son opted for the Caramel choice and my husband went with the Toasted Marshmallow.  These drinks will cost you a few more dollars than your typical hot chocolate (and they aren't included with the souvenir mug deal), but trust me when I tell you it's money well spent!

5. Add on a ticket to Hershey's Sweet Lights


Located across from Hersheypark and tucked in the woods behind The Hotel Hershey, you'll find one more tremendous light display - Hershey's Sweet Lights.  This drive through experience does come with an extra price tag.  If you're visiting Hersheypark, make sure you purchase your event ticket for the discounted price of $18.15 per car (plus tax) before you leave the park or you'll find higher prices at the entrance for this attraction.  It took us about 30 minutes to complete the drive through light show which features over 600 animated light displays.  You even get special viewing glasses that make bright lights look like snowflakes - my boys were fascinated by these!  Our favorite lighted displays were those which showcased some of our favorite rides from Hersheypark, but we enjoyed each different section which included an enchanted forest, the "12 Days of Christmas," a victorian village, and an area devoted to our favorite fairytales.  This was the perfect way to end our evening!

Hershey Sweet Lights
Remember that while Hersheypark's Christmas Candylane can certainly fill a whole day on it's own, there are plenty of other attractions to enjoy around Hershey while visiting.  You can access ZooAmerica for free with your admission to Hersheypark from within the park back by Kissing Tower Hill.  Hershey's Chocolate World is a must-do for us on every visit to Hershey, PA.  This is so much more than the ultimate chocolate gift shop!  It includes a FREE ride that teaches you how Hersey's chocolate is made as well as paid experiences like Make-Your-Own Candy Bars, a 4-D movie, and a chocolate tasting experience.

A visit to Hershey, PA will definitely make your holiday even sweeter!  Hope you have a wonderful holiday season at the Sweetest Place on Earth!


Family Guide to Winter Wonderland at Dutch Wonderland

Our family had the pleasure of being invited by Dutch Wonderland to enjoy opening day of Winter Wonderland during the holiday season.  Even though Dutch Wonderland is not a new destination for our family (check out my coverage of past visits here!), this was our first time enjoying the park during the holidays.  Staying true to it's slogan as a "Kingdom for Kids," there is plenty for families to enjoy together.  We were delighted with so much during our visit and I can't wait to share some of my tips to make the most of your day at Winter Wonderland as well.

We arrived just a few minutes before park opening and were among the first to enter.  I wasn't sure what to expect crowd wise for the day - it was opening day of the season but there was also a chance of rain throughout the evening - so we tried to think of a plan that would maximize our time in the park.  Upon entering, we headed straight to Merlin's Restaurant where we had the chance to meet the big guy himself - SANTA!  In fact, we had the distinction of being the very first guests of the season to meet Santa.  It was a fabulous visit.  Not rushed at all and several photos taken throughout the time with him.  When it comes to purchasing photos, you have a few options to consider.  If you purchase a day long photo pass for the price of $25, your Santa photos are not included, but digital downloads can be added at just $5 each.  If you don't want to purchase all of your photos from around the park for the day, you can purchase your Santa photo for a $15 digital download price.  I thought this was a great bargain compared to the pricing in malls around us!  Before we leave the topic of visiting Santa, I will say that we were in Merlin's Restaurant later on in the evening too and, again, never saw a line of more than a 2-3 families waiting to meet him.  Maybe we just had a light crowd day, but I was impressed with how easy it was to say hi.  In fact, my boys went back a second time in the evening to talk to Santa and they bought him a hot chocolate because they said "he's been working hard all night!"
First ones of the season to meet Santa!

After stopping by to see Santa first, we headed towards to the back of the park.  This is one of the my common strategies when visiting theme parks - start from the back and work your way forward.  Honestly, there was never a crowd to speak of all night (I think the threat of rain was holding some people off), but we definitely were one of only a few that headed to Exploration Island and were able to walk right on several rides.  Those that we did have to wait for were never more than a 5 minute wait.    You obviously won't find water rides open, but besides those and the larger roller coasters, Merlin's Mayhem and Kingdom Coaster, most everything else was open to ride.  We covered a lot of ground in a short amount of time and worked up an appetite by the time we hit almost every ride and made our way back to the front of the park.  Want a quick way to see what the whole park has to offer?  Don't miss the Wonderland Special train ride or the Sky Ride - they are especially beautiful with the lights!

The lights were beautiful!
This was the perfect time to stop back into Merlin's Restaurant for a treat.  When we were here earlier visiting Santa, the cookie decorating station caught my eye and we decided to give that a try along with having cups of hot chocolate to warm up on the chilly November night.  Cookie decorating is $3.99 per person.  You get a very large cookie and then can head to the "buffet" of icing and sprinkles to create your own masterpiece.  My boys had a lot of fun making their cookies and even more fun eating them!  Fun bonus - you even get a cute apron to wear during the experience!

Once we were done, we ventured back outside to find the rain had started up.  We took a quick stroll through the park again to get a final look at the Christmas lights in all of their nighttime glory.  The Christmas light show with dancing lights to music was a lot of fun, but my favorite lights were found on the trees.  There is one tree with gorgeous blue lights and lighted icicles on it as well.  Don't forget to venture back to Exploration Island and walk through the dinosaurs at night too!

We spent 3 hours in the park before the rain really started to dampen the evening, but we pretty much got to see and do everything except the two stage shows that are offered.  This is a great way to celebrate the holidays and have a fun-filled family evening.  Remember, Dutch Wonderland is truly a Kingdom for Kids so most of the rides and attractions here have your youngest family members in mind.  At 4 years old, Caleb couldn't have been happier all night long! Ready to check it out? Season pass holders for Dutch Wonderland have access to Winter Wonderland included.  If you need to purchase tickets for this event, check out my blog reader discount here (Promo Code: DWWBlog19) to save $3 off of the gate price - only $12.99 per person!!  Enjoy and happy holidays!



Website - www.dutchwonderland.com

Twitter - http://twitter.com/funatdw

Instagram - www.instagram.com/dutchwonderland

Facebook - www.facebook.com/dutchwonderlandpa

My family received complimentary admission to Dutch Wonderland's Winter Wonderland so we could share our fun adventures with you! As always, thoughts and opinions are my own!

All Aboard for FUN at Strasburg Railroad

"All aboard!" Can't you just hear the train whistle?!?  When you travel to Ronks, Pennsylvania in tranquil Lancaster County, you won't have to use your imagination because trains are all the rage in this small town.  Ronks is home to the Strasburg Railroad, America's oldest railroad still operating under it's original charter - dating all the way back to 1832!  Still an active rail yard, Strasburg is a popular destination for families throughout the Mid-Atlantic to learn a little bit about trains while having a whole lot of fun!

My family and I were provided complimentary tickets for the train ride and fun extras pass to share with you all the fun at Strasburg Railroad! 

The main attraction at the Strasburg Railroad is a 45-minute roundtrip train ride through the farmlands of Lancaster County.  Guests can select from a variety of options including coach, dining, and luxury choices to travel the rails.  Tickets are purchased at the station and passengers board the train from their assigned platforms.

Train Tip: Seats on the train can be flipped so that you can always be riding "forward" if you are someone who doesn't handle riding backwards well.  This is especially helpful on busy days so you don't have to worry about changing seats!

During the ride, guests will learn a bit about the history of the railroad and the Amish farm community that surrounds the area.  If you chose to purchase tickets on the dining car, you can enjoy a meal during your ride.  More into packing your own food?  Not a problem at all! The train actually stops at a picnic destination where guests can hop off and enjoy a picnic lunch and play time on some playground equipment.  When you're ready to return back to the station, your family can just pick up the next train.  My boys loved riding the rails and especially loved the ghost story that was shared when we passed a certain spot on the ride. . .don't worry, it's not too scary!! There are also themed train rides and special events throughout the year including a Day Out with Thomas, holiday train rides, and much, much more!  To learn more, visit Strasburg's Events page of their website here.

History of the Strasburg Railroad
Train Tip: Purchasing your tickets ahead is a great timesaver for a visit any day of the year, but is very important for those busy special event trains!

But the fun at Strasburg Railroad isn't limited to the train ride itself!  Guests can purchase a "fun extras" pass which gives access to three attractions in the yard.  First up is the Pint-Sized Pufferbelly.  This "junior" train ride takes you on a brief journey on a small train.  Next, you'll want to head on over to the Cranky Cars for a chance to power your own little engine around a small track.  This was the favorite of my boys as they worked hard to see just how fast they can go!  Finally, the fun extras pass includes a turn powering your own pump car.  My kids were too short to participate in this activity, but look forward to trying it in the future! These three attractions certainly add to the excitement of the day for little ones!

Don't miss fun events like the Day Out with Thomas!
Train Tip: There's a special play space that's a bit of a "hidden gem" if you have extra time before or after your train.  Check out the playground which features slides, swings, and it's own train to climb and play on!  It's tucked back behind the bathrooms and the pump car - don't miss it!

While you're waiting for your train and enjoying the fun extras, there are also gift shops and a small diner option.  The restaurant is small on the inside, but also includes outdoor seating.  Here, you'll find some classics like hot dogs, chicken tenders, and grilled cheese along with smoothies and ice cream to cool off on a hot day!  Train enthusiasts young and old can also find plenty of toys and model trains to purchase as well in the gift shop.  During your visit, you can also purchase a picture from the train ride with your family or pose for an "old time" photo before or after your ride in a studio.

All in all, we spent about 3 hours at Strasburg Railroad and had plenty of time to see and enjoy everything.  Special events, like the Day Out with Thomas, can bring larger crowds and may impact the amount of time it takes to be able to do it all at the tracks.  We have loved visiting the Strasburg Railroad for several generations now in our family and look forward to continuing to make memories there for years to come!  



5 Tips to Have a Dutch Wonder-ful Day!

Since Dutch Wonderland opened it's gates in 1963, they have been known to delight families visiting Lancaster County.  While many new rides have been added and the park has undergone numerous expansions, the family fun atmosphere has only grown too.  I remember visiting Dutch Wonderland as a child myself and enjoy being able to bring my kids there to make new memories with them.  There's a lot to love about this Kingdom for Kids and I have a few tips to make to your day truly Dutch Wonder-ful!

As a Royal Ambassador, my family and I received complimentary admission to Dutch Wonderland in exchange for sharing our experiences with you.  As always, thoughts and opinions are true to our experiences!

Arrive at Park Opening - We pulled into the parking lot at 9:40 for a 10:00 opening.  By the time the park officially opened we had cleared security, entered the gates, and my family was in in line for our first ride - the Wonderland Special - a train ride around the park.  Coming early to Dutch Wonderland offers a few great perks.  First, we were there to open the park with a special announcement from Princess Brooke as we joined her countdown to begin the day.  Second, we beat the crowds to some of the most popular rides.  While lines weren't a big issue throughout the day, we certainly experienced faster lines and lower crowds within the first 2 hours.  For example, we rode Merlin's Mayhem 3 times in a row - walking right back on each time!  And rode the Kingdom Coaster twice with the same experience.  Lastly, it allows you to beat the heat.  We took a park strategy of riding rides until about 1, then breaking for lunch and a visit to Duke's Lagoon in the heat of the day.  We left Duke's Lagoon around 3:30 and went back to the rides for a few hours before departing.  As the summer weather only gets warmer, this will certainly make your day more enjoyable.

Take Time to Visit Duke's Lagoon - While this wasn't my visit to Dutch Wonderland, this was my first visit to Duke's Lagoon and all I have to say is WOW!  Dutch Wonderland took their concept of creating a Kingdom for Kids and expanded it beautifully to this water play area.  Without an actual pool, Duke's Lagoon is a really a giant splash pad with play features, water slides, geysers, fountains, and, yes, dumping buckets.  The beauty of this play area is that it is entirely safe for little ones!  The concrete becomes a soft pad where the water features are located so little feet don't get burned.  And here's the great part grown-ups - you can totally decide whether or not you want to get wet.  I spent about the first hour in my street clothes and was totally able to keep track of my 4 year old and 7 year old and their friend without getting anything wet but my feet.  Now, because I'm a big kid at heart, I couldn't sit on the sidelines long and I joined in the fun in my bathing suit as well.  We took our 7 year old on Pipleline Plunge as well, which is a large water slide.  Even on this though you don't get soaked.  The water slide is in a raft and you don't end in a large pool, but rather in a chute with just a little water when you come out - again making this not scary and totally safe for little riders - despite the fact that it is a SERIOUS slide from the size perspective.  There are lockers and changing areas in Duke's Lagoon.  It's important to note that lockers are cash only - no cards accepted - especially because I'm usually a cashless person.  My husband actually commented too on how much he appreciated the changing rooms having individual changing stalls for an element of privacy instead of a "locker room" feel.  You can find lunch and snacks over here too.  We easily could have spent way more time than the 2 1/2 hours we already did at Duke's Lagoon and my littlest said it was his favorite part of the whole day!

Don't Miss the Shows - While it's easy to get caught up in so many other fun things around the park, you definitely want to make time to enjoy some of the shows during your day at Dutch Wonderland.  From comedy, to dance, to a little bit of magic - there's a lot to see.  Each show is timed perfectly for little attention spans too with typical run times of 15 minutes or so.  Our favorite show of the day was at the Aqua Theater where they had a diving story presentation.  Yeah - you  read the right.  We heard The Adventures of the Frog Prince, but instead of it just being acted out, it was presented complete with entertaining (and funny!) diving frogs.  The kids and adults both LOVED it and we laughed the entire time.  Be warned though that those red "splash zone" rows are serious splash zones.  If the divers don't get you with their dives, they will come over and give you a few splashes just for fun!  Shows also offer the perfect opportunity to rest your feet during a busy day and most feature some shade from the summer sun.  This is also a perfect time to reapply that sunscreen right before the show begins and let it soak in good during the show before going back out to the heat!  A few of the show locations also offer character meets throughout the day.  We met up with Merlin and Duke the Dragon at one of the stages.  But these locations aren't your only chance to meet characters as they roam throughout the park and are happy to stop for a quick conversation and a photo opportunity! 

Bring Your Appetite - Like most theme parks, there are a lot of great food options here.  While many of the restaurants feature your theme park standard chicken tenders, burgers, corn dogs, french fries, etc., you can also find locations featuring healthier choices like at Bean Sprouts located in the Mill Stream Eatery.  There are also several familiar favorites around the park.  Our boys are addicted to Auntie Anne's pretzels and were delighted to see not one, but two, different locations to get their favorite snack in the park.  We also found a Rita's for a familiar cool, sweet treat later on in the day.  Dutch Wonderland also offers a character breakfast on Fridays and Saturdays throughout the summer from 9:00AM - 10:00AM.  At only $15.99 per person this is an affordable option to get your day started right!  There's also refillable drink cup options in both adult and toddler size to save you money on drinks throughout the day and season pass holders may be interested in looking at an All Season Dining Pass which offers 2 combo meals each day they are in the park.  

Enjoy Being a Kid Again - Everything at this park is geared with little ones in mind.  I would say Dutch Wonderland is the perfect theme park for elementary school and younger.  My 7 year old was big enough to do any ride he wanted to and my 4 year old was big enough for most rides throughout the park.  This isn't the park to take thrill seeking teenagers as Kingdom Coaster and Merlin's Mayhem are probably the only two rides that would excite them, but those two coasters are perfect introductions into the "adult" roller coaster world that upper elementary school kids will be wanting to start to explore.  Whether it's driving a car, walking a dinosaur trail, laughing on the frog hopper, or getting a little wet on the log flume, the rides are designed to have fun as a family - something really important to us and to many of you!  We visited on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend and lines were very manageable throughout the day with our longest waits being about 30 minutes and most wait times being between 5-10 minutes.  With wait times like those, it's easy to let kids enjoy their favorites over and over again.  I sometimes feel very rushed at theme parks trying to get from ride to ride and keeping an itinerary, where here we were able to slow down, let the kids take the lead, and really had an enjoyable time meandering through the park to experience it all.  

So are you ready to have a Dutch Wonder-ful day with your family?  I have a great deal exclusive to blog readers to save money for your whole family to enjoy making memories together.  Don't forget to use promo code summerblog19 to get the best deal. As you're capturing your fun that day, don't forget to share on social media with #DutchWonderland so everyone can see the royally good time you are having!  For the latest information, park hours, and magical details, check out Dutch Wonderland's website and social media channels.  




Royally Excited about Dutch Wonderland!

I'm excited to share with you that I've been selected as a Royal Ambassador for Dutch Wonderland this summer!  What does that mean? Well, Dutch Wonderland will be hosting my family for a day of fun and entertainment so I can share all the excitement with you!  I also get to pass on extra savings to my readers and followers so that you too can enjoy all that Dutch Wonderland has to offer this summer.  Dutch Wonderland opens for weekends starting April 27th and will open 7 days a week starting Memorial Day.  Before the summer season kicks into full swing, let's take a quick look at the basics about this "Kingdom for Kids!"

Dutch Wonderland is located in Lancaster, PA - just about 90 minutes from our house in Maryland.  Generations of families have now been enjoying the rides and entertainment at this family amusement park since 1963. In fact, I remember visiting as a kid and now love that I'm getting to create new memories with my own children.  Like many other amusement parks these days, Dutch Wonderland has expanded beyond just rides and shows to bring guests a water play area - Duke's Lagoon which opened in 2003 and has continued to grow over the years.  This continued expansion without losing sight of the core of being a "A Kingdom for Kids" is part of the reason Dutch Wonderland has been voted "One of the Top Five Best Kids' Parks in the World" by Amusement Today in 2008 and 2009.

Caleb and I visited Dutch Wonderland as guests of the park in October for a day of Happy Hauntings and you can relive our experience here!  We loved the fact that all of the rides were perfectly sized for him to enjoy and the entertainment was fun throughout the park. With 35 rides on 43 acres, I'm sure the whole family will enjoy our time there this summer!

If you are planning to visit Dutch Wonderland, check out a great deal for my readers and followers by visiting http://www.dutchwonderland.com/blogreader and use code "summerblog19" for exclusive savings. I can't wait to share my experience at Dutch Wonderland with you and follow your adventures as well! In the meantime, enjoy this look at our Happy Hauntings video from our October visit to give you a taste of the fun that awaits this summer!



As a Royal Ambassador, my family and I will receive complimentary admission to Dutch Wonderland for a day during the 2019 Summer Season in exchange for my reviews and posts. Reviews and posts are always honest and my own!

Hersheypark with Kids - Make the Most of Your Day

Imagine a world where rides, characters, and everyone's favorite - chocolate! - come together in an amazing park. Lucky for us, this gem is just up the road in Hershey, PA.  Hersheypark is home to a wide array of rides for both kids and adults to enjoy as well as restaurants, Zoo America, Chocolate World, and much, much more.  With so much to see and do, you want to have a game plan that's just right for your family.  We all know that traveling with young kids can sometimes be challenging, but here are all the tips you need to make the most of your day at Hersheypark!

One of the things to keep in mind when preparing for your day at Hersheypark is the presence of The Boardwalk area.  Hersheypark is home to an amazing water area featuring kiddie pools, wave pools, a lazy river, water slides, and even a water roller coaster.  I recommend heading up in the morning wearing your bathing suits underneath of shorts and a t-shirt and packing a dry clothes gallon-sized baggie for each family member.  When you are done in the water area, you can put the shorts and shirts back on and your dry undergarments from the baggie then use the baggie to place your wet bathing suits in so the rest of you contents don't get soaked.  You'll want to be sure to pack plenty of sunscreen to in order to reapply throughout the day - there's not much shade around the park.

We are lucky enough to head up to Hershey several times throughout the year, but if you are only in town for the day, you'll want to plan accordingly to see as much as possible.  I recommend starting at The Boardwalk.  While the family is heading that way and getting situated, this park opening time is a great opportunity for a grown-up or two to catch a roller coaster before the lines get long.  The Boardwalk becomes incredibly popular in the heat of the afternoon and can boast long lines for the slides so hitting it earlier in the day, may be your best bet.  Grab a locker by Tidal Force - a water ride just outside of The Boardwalk.  You can drop off your dry clothes there and walk around in your bathing suit as you enter the water area.  Afterwards, there are locker rooms out by those lockers that are often less crowded than the ones inside of the The Boardwalk area.

Once you are in your dry clothes, head to the back of the park and check out Midway America.  Family friendly attractions here include a number of kiddie rides as well as a large Ferris Wheel that give awesome views of the park.  You can also find several coasters for adults to enjoy including, my favorite wooden coaster Lightning Racer.  From here, head back to Pioneer Frontier where there is another group of kiddie rides and you won't want to miss the Dry Gulch Railroad as a fun trip around the park the whole family will certainly enjoy.  Continue further towards the back of the park and grab lunch at The Overlook where you can pick from a variety of food choices all under one roof before heading up for a ride on the Kissing Tower and taking a spin around the Twin Turnpike.

Now is a great time to take a break from the park and visit ZooAmerica - free with your ticket to Hersheypark! This can be done in as little as 45 minutes or take as long as you want to see all types of animals.  There are some indoor buildings here and the zoo offers a little more shade than the park for the mid-afternoon heat of summer.  When you re-enter the park, head down to the Hollow where two kid-friendly rollercoasters can be found - The Comet and SooperDooperLooper.  Fun fact - SooperDooperLooper was the first roller coaster I ever went upside down on when I was a kid!  Don't let the name scare you - it's really only one loop and is a perfect starter coaster!  Lastly, you'll want to head to Founder's Way where kiddie rides abound!  This is a great place to end your day with so many rides for kids to choose from.  And since most people stop here on the way into the park, lines are often shorter in the evening.



We always like to end our day by having dinner and dessert at Chocolate World.  Chocolate World is free for anyone to visit and features a food court with actual meals as well as chocolate decadence that will make your dreams come true!  There is also a free ride that shows how Hershey's chocolate is made.  If you have some extra time, there are additional experiences at Chocolate Word that carry an extra fee - make your own chocolate bar, a 4D movie, and a chocolate tasting experience.  What a sweet end to the day!

Hershey, PA is home to so much family fun that you can easily spend several days enjoying all there is to offer - and we haven't even talked about Hershey Gardens, The Hershey Story Museum, and the downtown area.  What's your favorite way to spend a day in Hershey?

A Day of Happy Hauntings at Dutch Wonderland

Halloween decor around the park!
When that crisp chill hits the air and pumpkin spice is suddenly everywhere, you know it's officially time to start the Halloween season!  If you're looking for a place to take the whole family for some festive fun, add a visit to Dutch Wonderland's Happy Hauntings to your to-do list.  Dutch Wonderland is known as "A Kingdom for Kids" and it has plenty to entertain preschool and elementary aged children.  I was excited to visit for the first time since my own childhood - now with kids of my own!

Welcome to Dutch Wonderland!
My youngest and I set out to explore Dutch Wonderland on the first day of the Happy Hauntings weekends.  Happy Hauntings is held select weekends in October on both Saturday and Sunday afternoons.  Caleb was immediately impressed with the decor on the castle as we entered the park and continued to be thrilled throughout the day and evening by all of the entertaining decorations around the park.  We arrived around 1:45 for the 2:00 opening, which I would highly recommend.  Crowds seemed heaviest between 3:00 and 6:00.  By the time we were leaving close to 8:00, crowds were again minimal and Caleb could just about walk on to any ride he wanted.  Around the park, guests could enjoy rides, games, shows, character greetings, food, and trick-or-treating!

Riding his very first roller coaster!
There are so many rides that are perfectly designed with little riders in mind.  From airplanes to trucks, bulldozers to panda bears - Caleb wanted to ride some of his favorites over and over again!  There was also a chance for mom to join in on the ride fun too!  Caleb drove me around the speedway and we enjoyed riding together on boats, the monorail, and the train throughout the park.  If you're traveling with slightly older children that might be up for more of a thrill, there are 3 different roller coasters from the smallest for those just learning to ride up to Merlin's Mayhem which will certainly keep coaster enthusiasts happy! We never waited more than 10 minutes for a ride all day long - a great perk!

Selfie time with Duke the Dragon!
When you wanted to take a break from the rides, there were several shows and character greeting opportunities.  We saw a magic show by Merlin himself which was full of fun songs and cool tricks for kids.  The show was short as I'm sure it's designed with little attention spans in mind.  There were also several characters you could meet, and I couldn't pass up the chance to take a selfie with Duke the Dragon!  There were also several food locations open throughout the park including some familiar favorites like Dippin' Dots and Auntie Anne's pretzels.  We visited the Mill Stream Eatery for dinner as it's home to several food locations where guests can enjoy sandwiches, pizza, chicken tenders, hot dogs, fries, and much more!  I highly recommend the Pesto Change-o Chicken Sandwich which was a nice change of pace from the regular theme park food.

Trick-or-Treat Time!
And of course, what would a visit to a Halloween event be without trick-or-treating?  Here at Dutch Wonderland, Exploration Island is transformed into a trick-or-treat paradise where over 20 dinosaurs are dressed in their Halloween best to greet guests.  I recommend heading here early as the line got long pretty fast.  Kids were allowed a piece of candy at each station along the trail and adults received one ticket that they could trade in for one piece of candy.  It was actually very refreshing to leave a trick-or-treat without being overwhelmed by candy!  And the candy was some of the best - Hershey's!

Happy Halloween!!
We loved our mommy/son date day to Happy Hauntings at Dutch Wonderland and hope you have a chance to check it out soon!  If you're planning on visiting, be sure to visit this link to get a special discount on your tickets - just $22.95 each for everyone 3 and older!  The promo code is "halloweenblog18".  I can't wait to hear about the Halloween adventures you enjoy with your family this year!

Our family received complimentary admission to Happy Hauntings at Dutch Wonderland so that we could share our thoughts with you! As always, my opinions are my own.  


Tips and Tricks for Visiting the Philadelphia Zoo

The Philadelphia Zoo was a fabulous road trip destination for our family!  We have often talked about wanting to go up to Pennsylvania to check it out, but had not made it up there prior to this summer.  This year, my husband's work brought him up to that area and we decided to bring the boys along and make a family weekend out of it by including a trip to the zoo.  If you're like me, I do a lot of research when visiting somewhere for the first time.  After our wonderful day, here are some of my tips and tricks to offer to families venturing to the Philadelphia Zoo for the first time.

Visiting in the Summer?  Visit Early! - We arrived as the zoo opened which proved to work well in the July heat and humidity.  With our early arrival, we were able to grab parking in the garage located right next to the zoo, cutting down on our walking time when we were hot and tired in the afternoon.  The zoo is large and does have several exhibits to visit that are located indoors which does offer a bit of reprieve.  We spent about 5 hours at the zoo and were leaving before 3:00 which left plenty of time to head back to our hotel and cool off in the pool.

Slow Down - There are so many great spots to check out within the zoo that are easy to pass by.  In the KidZooU area, there is a playground, petting zoo, and an education center.  My boys loved learning that day - which was incredible to watch.  The zoo staff was also some of the most friendly and knowledgeable that I've met.  I was surprised by the number of exhibits that had staff talking to guests about the animals.  That day we were excited to hear about tortoises, snakes, hippos, and even the baby giraffe that was just over a month old!

Look Up! - The Philadelphia Zoo is home to Zoo360 which is designed to surround you with animals.  How cool is it that you can look up and watch a few lions lounging above you or a tiger pacing back and forth?? Throughout the zoo you can find a variety of Zoo360 trails that each house unique animals so be sure to look all around during your visit to make sure you don't miss a thing!  With so much to see and do, your family will certainly be entertained the whole day.

Bring Water - Staying hydrated is key to keeping everyone in your family in a good mood so be sure to bring some water with you into the zoo.  Not only will this keep you happy and hydrated, but will also save some money so you don't have to buy as many bottles once inside.  There are plenty of great spaces to eat and drink while visiting so no one should go hungry!  We enjoyed lunch at Tiger Terrace which featured a few different food line options.  Each "station" had a kids menu that even included Uncrustables - a go to favorite for our youngest!  The food was typical of what you would expect in a zoo or theme park and prices matched the tourist location too.  Bringing snacks and water is certainly a time saving, and money saving, idea!

Shop the Best Price - Admission into the zoo is steep for a family of four.  It may be worth talking about a membership if you are close by the zoo and plan to visit at least twice a year.  Another potential money saving option for families is the Philadelphia CityPass.  The zoo is one of a number of attractions in the city that participates.  Visitors to Philadelphia can select the number of days and/or the number of attractions they wish to see and CityPass bundles and discounts them.  If you're staying for a weekend or longer, this is definitely worth checking out!

We had a great time visiting the Philadelphia Zoo and I'm sure we'll return in the future!