Thursday, March 24, 2016

Let's Visit Hershey Gardens: A Jersey Momma Review

If you've read my blog before, then you know we are big fans of Hershey and love visiting there whenever we can.  You might have even read my reviews of The Hershey Lodge, Hershey Hotel and Chocolate World, as well as my overview of Hershey Sweet Lights during the holidays. But one Hershey attraction I have yet to cover is Hershey Gardens!  Want to come along and see what it's like?



My usual disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post. No one paid me to write this- I have visited Hershey Gardens many times and I'm just sharing my experience with you, 'cause that's how I roll!


Where is Hershey Gardens?

Hershey Gardens is located in Hershey, Pennsylvania, at the base of The Hotel Hershey, right across from its entrance. If you're staying at the Hotel, you can actually walk to the gardens or take a shuttle down. You can drive, too, of course, since they have a small parking lot out front.


When Can I Visit Hershey Gardens?

Hershey Gardens is open seasonally. Always check their website for their hours of operation and event calendar.  You can also visit their Facebook page for more information.

A view of Hersheypark from the conservatory

How Much Does it Cost to Visit Hershey Gardens?

If you stay at one of the Hershey Hotels, they will usually give you free vouchers for the gardens. Otherwise, admission as of the publication date of this entry is $10.50 for adults. There are prices for juniors (ages 3-12, $7.50), seniors (ages 62 and up, $9.50), and children age 2 and under are free. But always check their website for the most accurate pricing.


What Will I See at Hershey Gardens?

First off, Hershey Gardens has a very informative page on their website that might answer a lot of your questions about when they're open and what you can do there. Be sure to check it out as it answered a lot of my questions before our trip.


The idea of Hershey Gardens is that you walk through it on paths to see all of the beautiful flowers and displays. You can't ride bicycles or wear roller skates or picnic there. It's almost like an outdoor, flowering museum! There is a map you can follow and lots of areas to explore, so wear good walking shoes!

The walking paths at Hershey Gardens

Hershey Gardens is open seasonally, so what you see there depends on when you visit. In the Springtime, there are rows and rows of beautiful spring bulbs to see, and many gorgeous flowering trees. Such amazing photo ops!!!





Visiting in the summer, you'll see a variety of flowering annuals and displays. There is an impressive rose garden with a rich history thanks to Catherine Hershey, Milton Hershey's wife.



If you visit in the Fall,  they have beautiful flowering mums and fall foliage. When we visited in Fall, it was still quite warm, so some of the roses were still in bloom.

Hershey Gardens is not just made up of flowers and trees. They have themed gardens, a children's garden, ponds and fountains, wildlife, a butterfly house, trees and an arboretum, changing art exhibits, a souvenir shop, and much more! But I'll cover some of that in a minute.


Another fun thing about Hershey Gardens is its view. Behind it you can see the majestic Hotel Hershey, and in front of it is an amazing view of Hersheypark.


You can even hear the screams of the roller coaster riders from afar!

A view of Hershey Park from Hershey Gardens.


The Conservatory and Butterfly Atrium

On July 1, 2016, Hershey Gardens opened the Milton and Catherine Hershey Conservatory. Here's a direct quote about it from their website:

"The design for the new 16,000 square-foot conservatory was inspired by the elegant structure built for Milton and Catherine Hershey in 1909. The new conservatory will include an indoor Butterfly Atrium, Welcome Pavilion and a Horticultural & Educational Wing, as well as an overlook and a terrace."

The conservatory  is the building you enter to gain access to Hershey Gardens. Read more about the conservatory here.


Don't forget to look up when you step inside! There is a beautiful, artistic butterfly display right above your head!


The conservatory has stunning views of The Hotel Hershey, and you can also see some unusual plants and flowers.


The conservatory is where you'll find the glorious Butterfly Atrium. Open year round and included with your admission, The Butterfly Atrium is not to be missed! It was a dream come true for a novice butterfly rancher (butterfly raiser? Butterfly lady?) like myself.

Before you enter, a guide will ask you to step into a vestibule area where you will hear a little bit about the butterflies and what the rules are. Then they will open the doors and let you in! You'll enter an indoor garden area, where the butterflies are flying free around you. It's quite warm in there, since many of the butterflies are tropical. Be careful where you step!




 If you're lucky, a butterfly might even land on you! I think this one knew I was a kindred spirit.


Can you see the butterfly on the floor in front of me? That's why you must step with care!


You might recall that we raise monarch butterflies of our own in the Summer and Fall (we have also raised painted lady butterflies and swallowtails). You can read all about that here. I enjoyed seeing the many different chrysalids on display, and even those emerging ('eclosing') before our eyes!


Also worth noting is that butterflies don't live very long. Their life cycles vary, but obviously the atrium houses some tropical species that are not native to Pennsylvania. The butterflies reach the end of their life cycle and then new butterflies are brought in, and new chrysalids, too.  So you might not always see the same type of butterfly when you visit the atrium. We visited in the Summer and in late Fall. There were significantly more butterflies to be seen in the summer. We might have just caught them 'between batches' when we visited in November, though.

The Children's Garden

Not to be missed within Hershey Gardens is the Children's Garden!


There are giant sculptures of animals to climb on and Hershey Kiss shaped misters to cool you off on hot days.  There are fun themed displays and hands-on activities, including giant natural instruments and more.

The Hershey Kiss misters!
The ball bouncing on the fountain was a fun, added touch!

Where Can I Eat at Hershey Gardens?

There is no outside food allowed within the gardens, and understandably so (who wants all that garbage floating around such a beautiful place?).  There are picnic benches outside the gardens available on a first come, first served basis if you want to bring your own lunch.

In my personal opinion, it's worth the trip to travel up the hill to The Hotel Hershey to eat at one of their many restaurants.  The Circular is amazing and so is Harvest.  I also love the wood-burning pizza at Trevi 5. But just be sure to call ahead if you're going during a busy time in case reservations are needed.  Don't worry about it being overly fancy.  Although the Hotel Hershey is elegant and beautiful, it is also very kid-friendly. They offer kid menus and even coloring pages and crayons to their young diners. There is also a small quick-service type cafe in the hotel where you can get coffee, small sandwiches, and other goodies, if you're looking for something faster.

Gift Shop

Hershey Garden has a gift shop within the conservatory that sells some unique garden gifts.  Garden statues, flags, wind chimes and other whimsical decorations can be found here.  There is also some beautiful butterfly jewelry, and plenty of books and educational toys for the kids.

My stained glass butterfly magnet from Hershey Gardens

Jersey Momma Tips

-There is a lot of walking involved, so be sure to wear good shoes.  You can bring a stroller if necessary, since paths are well paved.  There are some grassy areas and rocky areas to go over, but a good stroller should do fine on them.

-There are real restrooms on the premises (in the conservatory), so don't worry about not finding a bathroom or having to use a portable potty!

-The Gardens are open when it rains, too, so if it happens to be icky weather on the day you planned to visit, never fear!  Just bring an umbrella and some boots.  They may close during severe weather, though, so just be aware before you go.

-The Butterfly Atrium is open daily, year round! Check their website for hours.

-If you have a child who is nervous about bugs or bees, be sure to wear your insect repellent.  It wasn't overly buggy here, but you will encounter some bees and flying insects because of the flowers.  The Jersey Momma's Boy has a terrible bee fear, but he did just fine at the gardens.

-There are shaded areas and non-shaded areas while walking, so be sure to wear a hat and sunscreen if you're going on a hot day.  Many of the paths are paved paths, too, so they can be extremely hot to walk on during the heat of the summer.

-Guests of the Hotel Hershey and Hershey Lodge are usually given free admission passes to the Gardens. Another perk to staying on site!

Disclaimer:  I was NOT compensated in any way for my review of Hershey Gardens or any of my previous posts about Hershey.  I am just sharing my personal experience with you because I love this place and I think you will, too.  I did, however, include some Amazon affiliate links below just in case you have a strong urge to buy some Hershey stuff now.  So go shop.

9 comments:

  1. Very informative, was I could go. The butterfly house sounds amazing.

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    1. Thanks, Marie! You never know, maybe someday you'll be in the area!

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  2. It looks beautiful. I especially love the children's garden part. I would love to go visit the whole city some day, and this would definitely be a spot we would visit.

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    1. Thanks, Shann! The whole city is so cute- the town has Hershey Kiss shaped light posts!

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  3. Oh wow!!1 What a gorgeous place!! We have a butterfly world down in south Florida and it's also beautiful but those flower gardens.. tulips are my fave! Just beautiful.

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    1. I LOVE Butterfly World! Such a beautiful place. Thanks for stopping by, Young Love Mommy!!

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  4. Oh my goodness, it is so beautiful there! Next time we're up that way, the hubs and I and our little guy are going to have to go!

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