A Guide to Sweet Educational Programs in Hershey, PA
This post originally appeared on mommyuniversitynj.com
In high school, the field trip I looked forward to the most was the Physics trip to an amusement park. Besides being packed with fun, an amusement park is the perfect place to learn STEAM concepts. From design and architecture to velocity and speed to gravity and friction, there is so much to learn at an amusement park, and one of the sweetest amusement parks to play and learn is Hersheypark! The learning in Hershey, PA doesn’t stop there though. There are a wide variety of educational programs throughout this amazing town that are perfect for school groups, scouts and college students!
Educational Programs in Hershey, PA
As it says on the website, “Learning is FUNdamental at Hersheypark!” From field trips to internships to scout days, there are so many ways to learn and play at Hersheypark.
Education Days– Students can enjoy amazing hands-on learning activities that are curriculum based. A day at Hersheypark is the perfect field trip especially for high school students. Here is this year’s list of Education Days:
- May 1 – History Day: Students will develop a better understanding of how the town of Hershey came to be as well as learn more about its founder, Milton Hershey.
- May 8 – Physics Day: Facilitated by Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, students will better understand the principles of physics while riding the rides.
- May 15 – STEM Day: With the help of Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, students will enjoy hands-on presentations and stations including robotics, food science, biotechnology, environmental science, aquaponics and more.
- May 21 – Entertaining Arts Day: Go behind-the-scenes of Hersheypark’s incredible shows including the Aquatheatre, Sound Zone and Music Box Theatre.
- May 22 – Business and Marketing Day: Students can enjoy and participate in the Annual Marketing Campaign Challenge where students can build their own marketing campaign including a name, logo, email, mailer and radio spot.
- May 29 – Health and Wellness Day: Get fit and healthy with a scavenger hunt, Hershey’s characters dance party, health vendors and healthy eating.
Can’t make one of the Education Days? Don’ worry! The Hersheypark website offers manuals so you can enjoy the same learning experience on a day that works better for your school or group.
Camp-O-Ree– Enjoy an EPIC Girl Scout weekend at Hersheypark by participating in their annual Camp-O-Ree. Girl Scouts and their families will spend the day at the park as well as enjoy a picnic lunch, Hershey’s Character Dance Party, special ceremony and more! The group can also enjoy one night at the Hersheypark Camping Resort which will also be jam-packed with learning fun.
Hersheypark Leadership Development Internship – New this year, college sophomores, juniors and seniors can apply for a summer internship at Hersheypark. It is a 13-week program that includes student-centered leadership training and the potential to receive internship credit from their college/university. This is a paid internship starting at $10/hour, and it includes housing.
ZooAmerica has been educating and entertaining guests for over 100 years. With over 200 animals spread across over 11 acres of land, it is the perfect adventure for all ages! While exploring, guests will learn about the 5 regions of North America and the animals that live there. There are also opportunities to meet and greet animals throughout the week. While exploring, kids are boosting their vocabulary, becoming more aware of their environment and being exposed to animal science. Here are some experiences school groups, homeschool families and scout groups can enjoy:
Group Programs and Tours – ZooAmerica offers both guided tours and animal encounters for groups. There are themed programs to choose from to enhance any in-school or homeschool lesson. ZooAmerica also offers 1-hour group tours that are perfect for scout groups. Each tour offers a unique immersive learning experience which usually includes animal encounters.
Sensory Friendly Morning – ZooAmerica offers Sensory Friendly Mornings! Guests with autism and other sensory needs are able to explore the zoo with lower lights and sounds in select exhibits and experience special animal encounters. Calming rooms are also available for sensory breaks.
The Hershey Story
Located on Chocolate Avenue, The Hershey Story Museum offers endless opportunities for learning through play! There are hands-on, multi-sensory learning experiences for all ages including tastings, scavenger hunts, chocolate classes and more but here are what school groups can enjoy:
Museum EduQuests – For EduQuests, students can enjoy curriculum themed hunts around the museum. Each quest focuses on a specific academic concept such as letters/numbers/shapes, technology, history, geography and marketing. This is a fun and affordable field trip options for local schools. Quests include A-B-See Quest, Community Quest, Community Quest, Hershey Quest, Geography Quest and Economics Quest.
Gifted Program – Expand and enhance young minds with this unique educational program. During the Gifted Program, students will build problem solving skills, enhance creativity and increase academic knowledge. This program is offered to students in 4th – 12th grade.
Chocolate Lab Classes and Interactives – Throughout the year, chocolate lovers ages 4 and up can take a fun hands-on Chocolate Lab Class at The Hershey Story Museum. The class is 45 minutes long and tickets are required. During each class, guests will learn all about the chocolate making process including its rich history. Then, each budding chef will make their own chocolate creation. Chocolate Lab Interactives takes Chocolate Lab classes to the next level by incorporating even more learning fun. Through this program students will learn more about art, history, economics, chemistry and geography.
Early Childhood Program – The Hershey Story offers learning programs for ages 3-5. Little ones will engage all their senses with sweet hands-on activities.
The Hershey Gardens offers amazing educational opportunities for families but also for scouts, homeschool groups and school groups. Here are some options:
Homeschool and School Programs– The Hershey Gardens offers year-round Homeschool programs for groups of 15 or more in or around the same grade. Students in preschool through high school can also enjoy themed programs throughout the school year to enhance their knowledge of the world of horticulture. Each program includes a guided tour, self-guided quest and admission to the Gardens for one day. Students can enjoy activities such as planting their own flowers, touring the Butterfly Atrium and exploring the Arboretum.
Scouts– Hershey Gardens offers wonderful opportunities for scouts. Year round scouts can enjoy a scavenger hunt around the Gardens including the Butterfly Atrium. Once completed, scouts can earn a special patch. Girl Scout Badge Workshops are also available in May and June.