The End to Birthday Parties (Hershey Park in the Dark)

While I should be writing some sort of Thanksgiving post, or showing you the follow up pictures of my daughter’s room, which, by the way, I finished, instead, I’m going to write about Hershey Park and birthday parties.  Once upon a time, I threw my children birthday parties at places like Chuck E. Cheese, the local funplex, and the children’s museum.  I would lay down a few hundred dollars so my kids could go wild, be sung to by weird looking animatronics (which happen to scare the heck out of my kids), blah, blah, blah, you get the picture.  But, then, one year, I had an epiphany.  My son had been invited to a birthday party at a big multiplex that houses a climbing apparatus, games, soccer field, skating rink, and inflatables.  When I told him where the party was, he said he had never been there, which was a joke since we had celebrated his birthday there, two years, prior.  He had no recollection, which frankly, annoyed me.

Now, I know there are easy breezy parents out there, who think nothing of throwing parties, don’t care if people show up, and put together party favors like a professional party planner, but I’m not one of them.  I stressed over my four year old’s party. I waited for responses more eargerly than I did for my own wedding, and spent the day of said party sweating and making small talk with parents, 99% of whom I’m not even acquainted with anymore, and for what?  So my son could enjoy a few hours of playing along side other kids?

So, that year, I gave him an option, he could either have a class party, or, we go to a nearby funplex with just family and play all the games, laser tag, and go cart rides that he wanted, something that is way too expensive to do with a large group.  He chose option two.  Second Son, never having had a birthday party at that point (because somehow it’s just not as much of a priority to have a birthday party for your second child, when he is three years old) decided he wanted the Chuck-E-Cheese thing.

The next year, determined to eliminate all birthday parties and save a little money, I made a new offer, instead of a class party, we spend one night at Great Wolf Lodge (you remember that trip).  One glance at the website and they chose Great Wolf.  Not only was it cheaper to spend one night at Great Wolf Lodge, but they still talk about that trip to this day, and would love to go back (if only there mother was as fond of it as they were).

This year, when birthday season came around, I made the same offer, this time, though, a night at Hershey Park in the Dark, which is basically Hershey amusement park decorated for Halloween.  It was awesome.

We stayed at the Hershey Lodge.  This was our second visit and I have to say, I was very pleased.  The rooms were nicely appointed and clean, the amenities good, and the lounge area, with its large fireplace, perfect for warming up after a cold night at Hershey Park.

We arrived at about 1pm, had lunch and headed over to the park.  My parents were with us which made riding the rides much easier.Anyone who has kids whose ages are varied, knows that it can be difficult to accommodate everyone on rides.  So the adults took turns trading off between Little Lady and the boys.Somehow in this arrangement, it ended up that Second Son and I went on a roller coaster called the Wild Mouse.  It looked tame enough, but don’t be fooled, it was scary, but not nearly as scary as Storm Runner, which my dad and I rode.  Talk about adrenaline rush, my knees were weak after getting off that roller coaster.

We returned to the hotel after eight, which is very late for my guys, and headed down to dinner at a restaurant in the hotel called the Bear’s Den, followed by ice cream at the Cocoa Beanery.  The girl behind the counter earned high marks for customer service and made my son’s night, by not only enduring all my allergen questions, but actually lifting each container out of the freezer so I could read the ingredients of all the ice creams being served that night, so that I could be sure that he wasn’t consuming any tree nuts through cross contamination. She, along with Hershey get an A+ for handling food allergies.  We felt confident in each restaurant we ate, and at the Hershey Grill they actually made french fries separately for my son so that he could eat them free of contamination from the fryer.  This was a big change from just two years ago, when we visited (and stayed at the Hershey Hotel).  There was so much confusion over the breakfast menu, that in the end, I wasn’t sure what was safe for him to eat.  The next, tired day, because of course no one sleeps in to account for the late night, we visited chocolate world, before driving home.  It was a successful trip!

If you get the chance, Hershey Park is definitely worth a visit.  I hope we keep this tradition of celebrating all my fall birthdays, together, as a family, because in my opinion, it’s a birthday party that’s worth every penny.I hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving! I’ll catch up with you after the holiday, when I’m sure I’ll have a post about summer. Just kidding. I’m sure I’ll catch up one day….

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