Amusement parks will stay closed Memorial Day weekend

Hershey Park like other parks in the state, won’t be opening Memorial Day Weekend. PHOTO/FILE –


Memorial Day weekend should mean the official opening of the summer season for Pennsylvania’s amusement parks, but this year the festivities are at a standstill. Those who run the parks don’t know when or if they can open for the year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Park operators are being cautious about saying too much about what kind of season, if any, they may have. But they do say they are preparing as much as possible for the day they are given the green light to reopen and are trying to give their parks’ fans as much information as they can.

“Given the uncertainty created by the pandemic, the situation remains very fluid and there is still a great deal of unpredictability on the horizon,” said Garrett Gallia, vice president of communications and corporate relations at Hershey Park.

Parks such as Hershey in Derry Township, Dorney Park & WildWater Kingdom in South Whitehall Township and Knobels in Elysburg all have an indefinite start date at this point. All three are located in counties that remain in the red zone in Pennsylvania’s reopening plan in which stay-at-home orders are still in place.

Opening isn’t a word they’re tossing around.

“We continue to work closely with local and state health authorities to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on the best information we have currently, we do not anticipate resuming operations at any of our parks in the near term. This projection remains fluid and subject to change as the situation evolves, including if state and local guidelines are modified.” Richard Zimmerman, president and CEO of Cedar Fair, Dorney’s parent company, said recently in a statement to investors.

Tana Korpics, public relations manager for Dorney, said she is keeping the public up-to-date on the latest news about any potential for activity at the park, but so far there hasn’t been much to report.

Knobels said it is also posting any updates on its social media, but it is advertising for virtual interview for potential employees for if and when they can reopen.

If and when they can reopen, however, the parks are thinking ahead about what kind of health and safety protocols need to be in place to keep employees and park visitors safe from the spread of COVID-19.

One of the biggest concerns they have is social distancing in parks that can get very crowded in the summer, especially on weekends. Social distancing plans include capacity management, queue line management and a planned park and ride reservation system at Hershey.

Cedar Fair said it had similar plans for its parks, including Dorney, that also included COVID-19 training of staff, cashless transactions. All of the parks’ plans include increased cleaning and sanitation.

“As we contemplate what new measures could be necessary, our overarching goal is to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone inside our properties, while still providing our guests a best-day experience,” Cedar Fair’s Zimmerman said.

What to do about season ticket holders who’ve already purchased tickets for the summer 2020 season is another issue. Dorney and Hershey both said they will be honoring this year’s season passes through 2021 to make up for any lost time.

Knobels does not charge general admission or have season passes.

New coaster and mat racer planned for The Boardwalk water park at Hersheypark 2018


Memorial Day weekend 2018 at Hersheypark promises to be splash-tastic!

The Hershey amusement park recently announced plans for two new family thrill attractions for The Boardwalk At Hersheypark water park – Breakers Edge Water Coaster and Whitecap Racer.

Breakers Edge Water Coaster will be the park’s 4th coaster, a HydroMAGNETIC water coaster with flying saucer turns. The four-person inline raft promises a bobsled ride feeling with gravity drops and turns.


Hersheypark says Whitecap Racer will be the world’s longest mat racer, first taking guests 70 feet high before they race to the finish in six side-by-side tunnels to the bottom. Riders will speed through two 360-degree loops, while open racing lanes with low separator lanes allow racers to see and hear each other.


The new attractions will be located between Shoreline Sprayground attraction and Intercoastal Waterway lazy river.


Sesame Place: What to know before you go

Sesame Place recently kicked off its 37th season, introducing a line-up of special events, themed weekends and programs for the 2017 season. With the new 123 Trade with Me pin program guests can collect and trade pins with Sesame Place team members and other guests.

Central Penn Parent travel blogger Stephanie Conroy and her family visited the park on opening day. She’s written up a helpful “know before you go” guide  for planning your visit to see Elmo, Big Bird and the whole Sesame Street gang!


Easy to find. The park is in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, and is right off the PA Turnpike. It was a quick 90-minute drive from Lancaster for our family.

Parking. Parking was hassle-free. As with most amusement parks, there was a parking fee. Options include general ($18), preferred ($20) and VIP ($30) parking. The more you’re willing to pay, the closer you get to park!

Ticketing. Tickets are required for all guests ages 2 and older. Tickets at the gate cost $70. Online ticket prices range from $50 – $65 (depending on the day you want to visit; online prices increase will generally increase as the date approaches.) Elmo’s 2nd Visit FREE tickets include a free 2nd visit and can be used on any operating day during the season through December 31, 2017. Additional discounts are offered for guests ages 55 and older (30% off), as well as discounts for military families (up to 4 people). Check out Sesame Place’s online FAQ for more information on ticketing.

Great parades and shows. As we were there for opening day, we got to see the Opening Day parade, which featured upcoming events that will be held throughout the park’s season. The parade was fun, with all your favorite Sesame Street characters (Cookie Monster, Elmo, and Super Grover were the highlights for our family). Weekend events that will be coming up include Choo-Choo Soul, Elmo’s Friendship Weekend, and various holiday celebrations throughout the year. There are great shows to watch, including Elmo the Musical-Live at Sesame Place.

Rides and Water Park. The water park was not open on the date of our visit, so we could only look longingly at the fantastic attractions. There were many great water slide options for visitors of all ages, water play areas for younger guests and huge lazy river. Upon seeing these attractions alone, my kids (ages 5 and 8) started planning our second trip to Sesame Place. While we couldn’t enjoy the water rides, there were plenty of other amusements to be enjoyed. Among our favorites were the spinning, fast moving Honker Dinger Derby; belly-tickling drops on Blast Off; the relaxing spinning on the Castle Swing; and everyone’s favorite for the day, Vapor Trail, the steel roller coaster that even my 41 inch tall daughter could ride! (Additional age and height requirements for Vapor Trail). All in all, I would say that this park is great for kids ages 10 and under. If your child is on the more adventurous side, this park might be a little “too young” for them.

Food Sesame Place offers standard amusement park fare of pizza, burgers, hot dogs, and chicken tenders. The children’s menu also includes PB&J and corn dogs. All kids meals come with a souvenir plate and cup. Prices are typical for what you’d expect at amusement parks. Dining meal plans are available for purchase for either single meals or double meals and are good at select locations in the park. If you’re not interested in paying tons of money for food, there is a large, shaded picnic area just outside the main gate. Inside the park, I noticed many families with coolers (size restrictions applicable) and we had no trouble coming in with our own water bottles.

Photo Key. There’s no worries about capturing all your favorite memories from your visit when you purchase the Photo Key option (single day $60). With this, all of your pictures from the day are collected and you can access them with your own QR code that is linked to your Photo Key account. Then, after your visit, you can access unlimited viewing of your photos online.

Meet the Characters. In various locations throughout the park, you can meet and be photographed with your favorite characters. We waited in line approximately 15 minutes to meet Bert and Ernie, but the picture and the memory was worth the time! Additionally, you can make an advance reservation to dine with Sesame Street friends at various locations.

Restrooms. Restrooms were clean and plentiful. Diaper changing stations were also available.

Shopping. What would a visit to a theme park be without SHOPPING! There were many stores scattered throughout the park, carrying colorful Sesame Street themed merchandise. We had fun browsing, but did not buy anything because we could not find prices on many items displayed.


Sesame Place
100 Sesame Road
Langhorne, PA 19047
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Stephanie Conroy is a middle school teacher from Lancaster. She’s married to Chris, mom to Dylan (8) and Ella (5).

Hersheypark Springtime In The Park and debut of Hershey Triple Tower


Photo: Hersheypark Facebook

Spring brings us warmer weather, sunshine and the annual Springtime In The Park celebration at Hersheypark amusement park, with the promise of new excitement on April 8 and 9 and April 14 through 16.

Making its debut is the Hershey Triple Tower attraction. This first “choose-your-thrill” triple tower in the United States will be comprised of three drop towers of different heights: Hershey’s Tower, Reese’s Tower and Hershey’s Kisses Tower. The new attraction will be located in Kissing Tower Hill.

Guests will also enjoy the new culinary addition of Chick-fil-A in Founder’s Way. Hersheypark Season Pass Holders receive a 15% discount on food and beverage at the new restaurant, which will be closed on Sundays.

Also new this year is the All-Day Drink Deal. When guests purchase the deal complete with a Souvenir Cup, they get free refills throughout the park all day, plus .99-cent refills on future visits.

Springtime In The Park
April 8 and 9 and April 14 through 16
Friday and Saturdays – 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sundays  – 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on
Admission: $34.95 for ages 9 to 54 and $23.95 for ages 3 to 8 and 55 and older.
Children 2 and younger are free.

Consecutive-day and group admission tickets are available, and parking is additional. Tickets may be purchased in advance online at Hersheypark.com.

For additional information, hours and tickets for the Springtime In The Park celebration, please visit Hersheypark.com.