Hershey’s Chocolate World is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, so what better time to go and get your chocolate on? Hershey’s Chocolate World opened in 1973 as a visitors center for the Hershey’s chocolate factory. Now, it is part of a series of attractions, including Hershey Park and Hershey’s Chocolate Town.

Walking into Hershey’s Chocolate World is as close as we will ever get to walking into Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. It is filled with candy and adventures of its own that are thankfully much safer than that of Wonka’s. You may wonder what Hershey’s Chocolate World can offer, especially with Hershey Park right outside the door, but rest assured, it is a magical experience in itself and, perhaps just as importantly, is completely free to enter. If you are looking to take a trip to the sweetest place on earth, read this first. We’re giving you the full rundown of everything Hershey’s Chocolate World has to offer so you can take full advantage of your time there.

Tickets and pricing

While it is completely free to enter Hershey’s Chocolate World and there are free activities inside, there are also individual attractions that cost money. Tickets for different attractions can be purchased on the Hershey’s Chocolate World website. We will discuss the individual ticket prices of each attraction, but the tickets generally range from $19 to $30. Tickets also come with a designated time for each event, so be mindful of this when you plan out your day.

If you know you want to try more than one event, Hershey’s offers three ticket bundles that can save you between $8 and $18 on attractions, depending on which bundle you choose. These bundles are $5 cheaper when purchased online ahead of time, so if you want to save some additional money, plan ahead. In addition, most attractions are free for children under the age of three when paired with a paying adult.

Unlike other attractions in Hershey, Hershey’s Chocolate World is open year-round. However, hours do vary based on the day and season.

Hershey’s Chocolate Tour

We are going to start this guide with the Hershey’s Chocolate Tour, a ride that takes you through the process of making Hershey’s Milk Chocolate. Each passenger hops into one of the chocolate-themed carts, which pulls you on a track through a chocolate factory display.

The adventure starts at the farm, complete with animatronic cattle, and explains the steps involved in making Hershey’s milk chocolate. It combines animatronics and holographic images to build a chocolate factory without being in a chocolate factory. This attraction is slow and easy to ride, making it appropriate for children of any age. In fact, it will likely appeal to the youngest members of your group. Best of all, it is completely free. Plus, at the end, each rider is given a complimentary mini bar of Hershey’s Milk chocolate.

The Hershey’s Chocolate Tour is under 10 minutes to ride; that said, the line can take around 30 minutes to get through. In our experience, though, you will not have wait that long.

Hershey’s Great Candy Expedition

Inside the HersheyLand Express

Hershey’s Great Candy Expedition is the newest attraction in Hershey’s Chocolate World. This is a cinematic experience, but Hershey’s does a great job of making it feel as real as possible. The experience is based on a classic Art Deco-inspired train ride that takes you through several different candy worlds: Kisses Valley, Jolly Rancher Junction, Reese’s Ridge, Almond Joy and Mounds Cove, Kit Kat Timbers, and Twizzlers Forest.

Upon entering the train station, each guest is given a cup of fresh Reese’s peanut butter to try while they admire the details of the station. Guests are then led to Platform 73, where they "board" the Hersheyland Express, which is the main theater.

The theater includes screens on three of the four sides and uses sights, smells, and sounds to create a full sensory immersive experience. In addition, each chair in the cinema is equipped with buttons, allowing viewers to vote on which of the candy worlds they want to experience. In the end, you are given a cute baggie filled with candy from each world to enjoy.

Individual tickets are $19.95 when purchased online. This is one of two experiences that are included in all the ticket bundles.

Create Your Own Candy Bar

Create Your Own Candy Bar

If you want the full candy factory experience, then the Create Your Own Candy Bar attraction is definitely up your alley. Before entering, each guest is given a hair net and a spiffy Hershey’s apron to help keep the area clean. Your ticket contains a QR code that will be scanned at different points in the creation process. This allows you to choose from one of the three chocolate bases: dark, milk, and white; choose from a selection of fillings; and even design the wrapper you like.

Once all of your selections are set, the fully-automated system sets to work, pulling your chosen base, adding your fillings, and topping it with more velvety smooth chocolate (and sprinkles if you so choose). Finally, the bars are cooled, wrapped in a box, and laser labeled with the date and your name before being placed in a protective metal case.

This activity is fun to do after the Hershey’s Chocolate tour and pairs really well with Hershey Unwrapped, where you learn about different chocolate flavors. You can apply your knowledge from there to create the bar of your dreams.

Create Your Own Candy Bar is the most expensive of the attractions. Individual tickets for this attraction cost $29.95 online, and those without tickets cannot participate as they will not have a QR code to scan through the process. The chocolate bars created here are Kosher certified.

Hershey’s Unwrapped

Hershey's Unwrapped Sign

If you came to Hershey’s to eat chocolate, then this is the place to start. Hershey’s Unwrapped Gives you a taste of the products made by Hershey’s and teaches you how to do it. This is no boring class, though. On the contrary, the whole experience is designed to entertain as well as educate. A clumsy, yet endearing, tasteologist leads you through an explanation of the five senses and the six tastes invoked when eating chocolate. You are then sent into a mad chocolate laboratory to experiment with flavors.

If all of this makes you hungry, you are in luck! The show comes with a metal kit filled with different types of Hershey’s candy to be eaten throughout the show. If this isn’t enough, at the end of the show, you receive your MFA in chocolate tasting from the Hershey’s Chocolate Academy, which comes with a surprise: a full-sized bar of Hershey’s milk chocolate.

The show is definitely family oriented, meant to appeal to the younger members of the crowd. Tickets for Hershey’s Unwrapped are $18.95 for those three and older. They are also available as part of the larger two-bundle options, which also include Create Your Own Candy Bar and Hershey’s Great Candy Expedition.

Hershey Trolley Works

Trolly waiting outside of Hershey's Chocolate World

Hershey Trolley Works is the only attraction at Hershey’s Chocolate World that takes you outside the main building. It begins on a retrofitted old-school trolly that is stationed right outside the entrance. In case of bad weather, there is a covered space to wait under until it is time to board.

There are four trolley rides available. The Historical Trolley Tour, which is a 75-minute tour that shuttles you around the town of Hershey, is available all year long; it lets you take in important sights and learn about the history of the town and candy company. The Original Trolley Show, which is more family-friendly and is 45 minutes long, includes characters and songs. This show runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Also offered are special occasion trolleys, including the Halloween-themed Trick-Or-Treat Trolley, which runs specific days in September and October and is 40 minutes long, and a Christmas-themed Holly Jolly Trolley, which runs specific days from November through New Year’s Day and is 45 minutes long.

Each of these shows comes with chocolate throughout the ride and an engaging conductor dressed in period clothing. Tickets are $22.95 for chocolate adventurers three and up, or they can be purchased as part of the largest ticket bundle and is paired with Hershey’s Great Candy Expedition, Create Your Own Candy Bar, and Hershey’s Unwrapped.

Stuff Your Cup

Massive Reese's being filled

Have you ever had a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and thought to yourself, "This is good, but what if it were obscenely large?" Well, then, Stuff Your Cup is for you. Stuff Your Cup allows you to design your own mammoth-sized Reese’s cup.

It starts with a large chocolate shell. From there, you get to pick four mix-ins, which include chocolate chips, bacon bits, potato chips, marshmallows, and so much more. This gets mixed with an immense amount of Reese’s peanut butter, smooshed together, and placed into the shell. Then, as if this is not enough, you get to choose two of three syrups — chocolate, peanut butter, or caramel — to layer on before the final chocolate shell is placed on top.

When we say large, we mean it. We weighed our final creation, and it was nearly 2 pounds of chocolate peanut butter goodness. You may wonder how to eat this, and we have some suggestions. First, remove the top disc and break it into pieces. Use this to start scooping out your peanut butter filling as if it were a dip. Then, when you run out of the chocolate top disc, move on to the shell.

This attraction does not require a ticket but does cost $19.95 per Reese’s cup, paid for at the register at the end of the process. Honestly, though, for the price you get a lot of peanut butter cups and they’re custom-made to your specifications. So, if you are a Reese’s fan, leave moderation at the door, do yourself a favor, and Stuff Your Cup.

Dining options

Of course, with all this candy and adventuring, you may want to take a break and grab some food or drink — and the Hershey’s Chocolate World Food Hall has you covered. Different stations throughout the hall allow you to savor foods such as vegetarian chili, pizza, macaroni and cheese, and salad. Do not make the mistake of thinking this is where the chocolate stops, though. The chicken salad includes cocoa-dusted chicken and the beef sliders are made with a Hershey’s Yuengling chocolate porter.

In addition to fountain drinks and milk, adults are free to enjoy a wide range of adult beverages, including Hershey’s Yuengling chocolate porter, Twizzlers peach hard lemonade, and Jolly Ranchers margaritas.

Of course, there are sweet treats, too, including delicious ice cream sundaes and milkshakes, stunning hot chocolate that would put Ned Flanders to shame, a s’mores station, and a full bakery serving up cakes, cookies, and more. This is just a tidbit of the delectable foods available at Hershey’s Chocolate World. And don’t worry: There is also coffee to help keep you going.

Food can be purchased individually or added as part of a Meal Deal to ticket bundles. Adult meals come with an entree, snack, cookie, and drink, and children’s meals include a souvenir lunchbox, pizza or mac and cheese, apple sauce, bottled water, and a mini Hershey’s chocolate bar.

Candy store

Hershey’s Chocolate World is home to the largest Hershey’s Chocolate store in the world. Here you will find everything a Hershey’s lover could want and more! This is not just any candy store; it is an experience unto itself. You could spend hours going through all the products available, spread throughout the vast landscape that is Hershey’s Chocolate World. Here you can find swag, such as shirts, stuffed animals, Hershey Factory building blocks, and Hershey’s branded board games. There are build-your-own candy containers, direct-from-factory flavors, jars of Reese’s peanut butter, Hershey’s Kisses flavors from all over the world, hard-to-find candy bars, such as Skor, 5th Avenue, and Zagnut, and Hershey’s Chocolate World exclusive flavors. There are more than 500 types of candies from 40 different brands, and you are sure to leave with a sugar rush.

We recommend reserving your shopping for after your other experiences, as it will be hard not to walk out with bags of goodies that you won’t want to lug around with you all day. And don’t worry, this Hershey’s shop definitely won’t run out of chocolatey goodness for your to grab to take home.