Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My Trip to Hershey, Pennsylvania (or...the sweetest place on earth)

For any living, breathing, hot-blooded woman, there are traits and cravings that have evolved over the years and are now just embedded in our DNA as part of our overall make up.  The need for shoes (or handbags), for example.  The complete inability to resist cooing over anything cute and tiny.  The way our eyes tear up during Hallmark commercials. 

And the need for chocolate.

Yes, chocolate.  That saving grace of the stressful day. The sweet that soothes the savage beast.  The confectionery salvation that gets women through that one week of the month when mere mortal men can do nothing but hide until it's over.  And what better way to salute chocolate than to have an amusement park centered around it???

Welcome to lovely Hershey, Pennsylvania; "The Sweetest Place on Earth."

This place is kinda crazy cool....there's an amusement park, a water park, and a wildlife zoo all in one area.  And then never mind that there's also a huge outdoor pavilion (Hersheypark Stadium) and indoor stadium (Giant Center) all within walking distance.  Talk about your entertainment mecca all in one easy location!!!  There really is a little something for everyone.

And before you go thinking..."yeah, amusement park centered around chocolate and commercialism...how tough can these rides be"...let me just tell you something.  This...

was nothing to scoff at!!

Welcome, my friend, to Fahrenheit.

Now I'm not a huge roller coaster fanatic.  As a matter of fact, until recently, I was quite a chicken about them (although it's amazing what having your woman-hood called into question will do for your confidence).  So truth be told, seeking out the thrill ride is not the first thing I'd put on my list of "things I need to do today".  But here I was, staring straight up into the sky at this monstrosity and considering the value of my life. But I considered whether or not I could report back to you about a roller coaster that I couldn't even ride and decided that the challenge needed to be met.  So with imaginary taunting in my ear (and in the vague distance, chickens clucking), I climbed into the car and pulled down the harness.  One quick check on the status of my life insurance policy (yeah, there's an app for that) and I was ready to go.

Did I mention the straight up into the air, part...right out of the gate...after it's too late to get off??  I did?  Oh good. 

OK...so once over the top, you go racing into something that looks like this:

and then this:

followed by this:

and I looked like THIS:

But I survived!!  I lived!!!  I couldn't talk for 20 minutes!!!  And of course once I got a taste of the adrenaline rush, it wasn't going to be suppressed.  The craving had to be fed.

There was Great Bear:

The Sidewinder

Photo recreation--not the writer's actual photo

and Trailblazer.

Finally exhausted and my need for speed satisfied, it was off to explore the rest of the park.  As I mentioned earlier, inside the amusement park, there's also a water park:

It has a GIANT wave pool, complete with cabanas you can reserve and lounge about in all day.  It also has lazy river ride, a roller coaster above the water park at which you can shoot water at the riders (and vice versa, they can dump water on you as you're walking along), and this CRAZY flume ride.  And when I say crazy, I'm not exactly talking about the ride itself. 

When they warn you that you'll get wet, they're not just talking about the people ON the ride...

It freaks out the birds for heaven's sake!!!!

I also mentioned the wildlife park (ZooAmerica)

For all my high school alma mater peeps

And what trip to an amusement park centered around chocolate and chocolate products would be complete without food?

Just goes to show, there really is no wrong way to eat a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup....

So all in all a good day.  A little food, a little fun, and a slightly ragged voice from screaming my life away on a few roller coasters.  Just the type of thing that'll make you forget about your worries...your cares...even work or your old job.  Until you're reminded of it...

I kid you not...as I was leaving, there was a ride of mini helicopters right next to a ride of mini cars.  Helicopters flying over a Traffic Jam.

I can't escape it....I just can't escape it.