Jun 242011

Hersheypark from a distance

I see lots of people having problems deciding between Dutch Wonderland and Hersheypark.  They are both large, expensive parks owned by big corporations.  The difference is that Dutch Wonderland is a little kids park and Hersheypark is a family park.

What does that mean?

Well, you can check out my trip report for Dutch Wonderland here to see specifics, but basically Dutch Wonderland is for kids 8 and under.  Even 8 might be pushing it.  The rides are good for smaller heights and there are no thrill rides at all.  The park is a theme park for young children with a dragon, princess and knight theme (with a little PA Dutch thrown in.)

Kids can see chicks, bunnies, ducks and ride ponies at Dutch Wonderland

Hersheypark has a mix of kiddie rides, family rides and thrill rides to please all ages.  They are a little light on rides for the smallest children and a little heavy on the teen stuff.  If you have a wide range of ages in your family you will definitely get more mileage out of a trip to Hersheypark.

Both parks have water areas but Hersheypark’s are bigger and more geared to older children and teens.  They do have a small child section including a pool of water to please the little ones at Hersheypark – and they have a slow floating river too.  Dutch Wonderland’s water area features a slide but it is primarily for children and is not that exciting.

So if you have little kids only, try Dutch Wonderland.  If you have older kids, definitely choose Hersheypark.  If you have a mix, well, I’d lean toward Hersheypark especially if most are at or near 8 years old.

Knoebels award winning Haunted House

And if you have a lot of non-riders or hesitant riders?  Head to Knoebels where it is free parking, free admission and pay as you go for rides.

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  4 Responses to “Dutch Wonderland or Hersheypark? It depends. How old are your kids?”

  1. Which would you recommend for a family with a 5 year old and an 8 year old…Hershey or Dutch Wonderland? Thanks in advance.

  2. Hi Tia. Eight is a tough age and can go either way but that child should probably help choose. First make sure to measure each of your children so you know which rides they *can* go on. Then I would share the websites of both parks with your eight year old to see what is more appealing. Some eight year olds still love the fantasy of Dutch Wonderland but others would do better with the thrills of Hershey. I hope that helps!

  3. Do you have any recommendations on where we can look for discounted tickets for Dutch Wonderland or discounted hotels nearby? Thanks!

  4. Hi there. Discounts for Dutch Wonderland are not easy to come by and the most you’ll likely save is $3-5. I don’t have any codes for the 2015 season yet but I’ll be sure to share any I find so keep checking back. Last year the PA Dutch Boy Scout Council was selling discounted tickets that you picked up in their office but I haven’t heard if they will be doing that again for 2015 or not.

    Since I’m local I don’t stay overnight nearby but I’ve always found the best deals on hotels by comparing online and booking ahead whenever possible. Places like Tripadvisor.com give good reviews as does AAA.com. I’ve found my AAA discount to be fairly good but Expedia.com often beats it. I just suggest looking for hotels in the Lancaster County area on one of the big travel sites and Mapquest the distance to Dutch Wonderland to see how far away you will be. DW is right on Route 30 so traffic is quite snarled whenever you go.

    Hope your family has a wonderful trip!

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