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ROUND-UP: Winter & Holidays In the HHR 2017

Published: Sep 8, 2017

We've packaged the Top Spots to celebrate the season in the region in 2017.


  • Media is NOT permitted to reuse, re-purpose, print, publish, or post any of the photos or images included in this document.
  • The images used for this Seasonal Round-Up are intended only as visual representations of events or activities described.
  • Media must contact each attraction directly to request images or search our full library of royalty-free destination images in our Media Lounge.

HARRISBURG, PA (Oct. 1, 2017) — We are happy to present another Seasonal Round-Up of the top holiday celebrations and attractions in PA's Hershey & Harrisburg Region for 2017:

  • Hersheypark® Christmas Candylane®
  • Hershey Sweet Lights® Drive-Thru Light Display
  • Hershey’s® Holiday Chocolate House at Hershey’s® Chocolate World® Attraction
  • National Christmas Museum
  • Koziar’s Christmas Village
  • Central PA Youth Ballet’s Nutcracker Performance
  • Christmas at Fort Hunter Mansion with a Festival of Trees
  • American Music Theatre’s 2017 Christmas Show: Home for the Holidays
  • Holiday Musical Performances
  • Antique Automobiles & Toy Trains
  • And more…

Hersheypark® Christmas Candylane®

Nov. 10 thru Jan. 1, 2018 (select dates): The new Hershey Triple Tower(TM) and the Sidewinder(SM) coaster will be joining five (5) other coasters and the usual 50+ rides that are offered each year during this special winter & holiday season at Hersheypark. Check the park's web site for select dates & times of operation during this period before planning your visit.

Hersheypark Christmas Candylane includes:

  • Four million sparkling lights throughout the park.
  • A special choreographed light show entitled "NOEL" every half hour after 5pm.
  • A new "Music Box Christmas" show at The Music Box Theatre inside the park.
  • Santa and his live reindeer.
  • Rudolph’s Skating Pond.

Candylane newsletter

Please note that the total number of rides operating at any time throughout this period may vary pending weather conditions. Media can contact Kaylee Dugan, Communications Specialist at Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company at 717-520-5158.

Hershey Sweet Lights®

Nov. 10 thru Jan. 1, 2018 (nightly): A winter wonderland awaits at this annual Holiday Drive-Thru attraction featuring nearly 600 illuminated and animated holiday light displays winding two miles throughout the fields and wooded trails around The Hotel Hershey. Check the Hershey Sweet Lights web site for ticket prices and times. Media can contact Kaylee Dugan, Communications Specialist at Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company at 717-520-5158.

Children enjoying the Hershey's Sweet Lights Display

Holiday Shows & Performances in Hershey, PA

Visit www.HersheyEntertainment.com for tickets and details on the following performances:​

  • Rudolph at Hershey Theatre -- Dec. 6 & 7, 2017 
  • Hershey Symphony presents Holiday Spectacular at Hershey Theatre -- Dec. 9, 2017
  • Trans-Siberian Orchestra at GIANT Center -- Dec. 15, 2017 
  • George Balanchine’s “The Nutcracker” at Hershey Theatre -- Dec. 16 & 17, 2017
  • Amy Grant & Michael W. Smith Christmas Tour at GIANT Center -- Dec. 17, 2017
  • Straight No Chaser at Hershey Theatre -- Dec. 23, 2017

Giant Center SportsZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park 

Dec. 23 - 29, 2017: Wild Winter Treats allows visitors to watch the resident animals get into the holiday spirit with a special winter treat.

Dec 16 - 17 and 27 - 30, 2017: Wild Winter Adventures is a special program for visitors to learn how animals survive in the cold winter months and get up-close with animal encounters and more.

For more information on these programs and seasonal opportunities, visit www.ZooAmerica.com.

Zoo America Alligator in Hershey, PAThe Hershey Story Museum

Nov. 18 thru Jan.1, 2018 (select dates): Visitors will discover the full spirit of the holiday season by engaging in a number of the interactive experiences offered at The Hershey Story Museum. Check the attraction's web site for times, ticket prices, and details for these special seasonal offerings before planning your visit.

  • Little Elves Workshop at The Hershey Story Museum - additional fees apply.

DATES: Nov 18, 19, 24 - 26, 2017 // Dec. 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24, 26 - 31, 2017 // Jan 1, 2018

The elves will once again set up shop at the museum for kids of all ages to create their own unique ornament out of chocolate clay. Participants will roll, cut, and ice their creations and design their own packaging.

Children also can test some vintage toys and the whole family can pose in front of a snowy Hershey scene for a holiday photo opportunity.

PRICING: $5 per ornament and adults may accompany participating children at no additional charge. 

HOURS: 10am - 2pm

  • Snowball Saturdays at The Hershey Museum  - Dec 2, 9 and 16, 2017

Kids will have a blast participating in friendly indoor snowball fights, and visit with the Hershey Bears Hockey mascot Coco and his special guest snowman who will tell stories of wintertime fun.

There are also special Chocolate Lab activities offered exclusively on Snowball Saturdays (additional fees apply and children must be 4 years old to enter the lab activities.) Let It Snow Chocolate is a lab that allows participants to create a deliciously edible winter scene using chocolate and snow flake candy sprinkles. Marshmallow Mischief is another lab activity involving dunking giant marshmallows in melted chocolate and rolling them in holiday toppings. Lab participants will finish their activities by packaging their custom marshmallow treat in a holiday package to take home. 

PRICING: Free (Snowball Saturdays activities + fees for Lab and regular Museum entry) 

HOURS: 10am - 2pm

  • Breakfast with Santa in THE PANTRY CAFE at THE Hershey Museum - Dec. 2, 9, 16, and 23, 2017
  • Chocolate Lab Holiday Themed Classes at The Hershey Story Museum - Nov. 11 thru Jan 1, 2018

Special Chocolate Lab classes themed for the holiday season provide guests with a 45-minute class where they learn about chocolate and make their own chocolate treat. Visit the museum web site for a daily class schedule and restrictions. Additional fees apply. Children must be at least 4 years old to enter lab. 

Candy Cane Bark - Layer milk and white chocolate with chunks of peppermint candy to create your own fresh candy cane bark.

Chocolate Reindeer - Use white and milk chocolate and toppings to create an edible reindeer. 

Create a Kris Kringle - Mold a vintage chocolate Santa to take home. 

Make a Very Merry Bar Mold and customize a milk chocolate bar using holiday decorations. 

  • New Year's Eve Countdown at The Hershey story Museum - Dec 31, 2017

Families can celebrate the New Year throughout the day at The Hershey Story Museum. Kids can make some noise with the Hershey product characters and "bubble-wrap stomps" being held at 11 am, 1 pm and 3 pm. Activities take place on the patio (weather permitting). 


A 12-foot-tall poinsettia tree featuring 160 vibrant poinsettias, visits with Santa, joyous holiday music and fun crafts promise to create a memorable experience for families who visit Hershey Gardens during the month of December.

In the Milton and Catherine Hershey Conservatory, guests also can visit the indoor tropical Butterfly Atrium year-round and see beautiful butterflies from around the world.

Daily in December, a 12 -foot tall poinsettia tree will be on display in the conservatory, providing the perfect holiday photo-op.

Outside in front of Swan Lake, a lit evergreen offers another scenic backdrop for taking picture.

Hershey Gardens is open daily in December (except Dec 25) from 9am-5pm with the following featured holiday activities:

Holiday Happenings with Santa - Dec. 2, 9, 16, 2017 from 3-5pm

Visit with Santa at Hershey Gardens - Kids can share their Christmas wishes as they visit Kris Kringle and listen to the music in the Milton & Catherine Hershey Conservatory. each child will receive a small garden gift. Included in the admission. 

Holiday Craft and Story Time - Dec 3, 10, 17, ,2017 from 1-3m

Kids can make a holiday craft and enjoy story time with Mrs. Claus. Included in admission. 

Hershey’s® Chocolate World® Attraction

Nov. 10 thru Dec. 31, 2017: The Holiday Chocolate House is returning for the 9th year to Hershey’s® Chocolate World® Attraction.

This human-sized candy house is covered entirely of Hershey products and built on location for display during the holidays at Hershey’s® Chocolate World® in Hershey, PA.

Media can contact Todd Kohr, Marketing Manager at Hershey’s Chocolate World at 717-534-4006 and get more details on the house & holiday happenings at www.hersheys.com/chocolateworld including:

  • Photos with Santa
  • Breakfast with Santa
  • Holly Jolly Trolley
  • Sweet Lights Trolley                                                  
  • New Year’s Eve Celebration (Dec. 31)                                             

National Christmas Center Family Attraction & Museum

May 2017 – Jan. 7, 2018: This is sadly the final season for this truly unique museum collection located in nearby Paradise, PA that celebrates the true meaning of Christmas.

The 20,000 sq-ft museum includes 15 main galleries with life-sized walk-through exhibits and numerous smaller exhibits that transport visitors through the ages of Christmas from the past to present and from America’s hometown traditions to the holiday customs of faraway lands.

Some of the highlights include a 1950 Woolworth’s Display, Santa’s Workshop, a life-sized Journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem and Toyland Train Mountain under a giant Christmas Tree.

The quaint town of Paradise, PA is located 50 miles southeast of Harrisburg. The museum is open daily 10am-6pm from May 2017 thru Jan. 7, 2018 when it will close permanently.

Santa arrives Friday, November 24, 2017, and continues to make appearances every Thursday thru Sunday between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Visit www.nationalchristmascenter.com for more information.

Media can contact Heidi Brennan, Museum & Marketing Director at 717-442-7950.

Christmas Museum DisplayCentral PA Youth Ballet – Nutcracker Performance

Dec. 9-10 and 16-17, 2017: The Central PA Youth Ballet brings the 19th century ballet of colorful plum fairies, toy soldiers, villainous mice, and dancing snowflakes to life with unforgettable music by Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

These special performances provide a rare opportunity to see the unique version of possibly the dance world’s most performed work, as it was created in 1954 by legendary choreographer George Balanchine.

While there are many variations on the original 19th century choreography by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, any performance of Balanchine’s version is closely controlled by the Balanchine Trust established following the Russian-born dance master’s death in 1983.

The Carlisle school, which attracts gifted dancers from all over the U.S. who train under school founder Marcia Dale Weary and staff, are one of only a few troupes authorized to perform Balanchine’s works under the supervision of an approved repetiteur, who ensures the performances are true to Balanchine’s vision from exact hand gestures to the footwork.

The performances are December 9 & 10 at the Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts in Harrisburg and three shows featuring live music performed by the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra at the historic Hershey Theatre on December 16 & 17.

Nutcracker Ballet

American Music Theatre’s 2017 Christmas Show: Home for the Holidays

Nov. 1 thru Dec. 30, 2017: Inspired by warm memories of family Christmases together, AMT’s 2017 Christmas Show: Home for the Holidays celebrates the joys and merriment of spending the holidays with the ones we love.

The show takes place on a festive Christmas Eve and features many of the beloved traditions we look forward to each year. 

This live, musical experience will feature some of your favorite sacred and secular holiday songs, superb musical arrangements, outstanding singing and dancing, and the remarkable AMT Orchestra.

For more information contact Donna Haefner, AMT Marketing Coordinator at 800-648-4102 or visit www.AMTshows.com. 

American Music Theatre Holiday Show 2017

Roundtop Mountain Resort: Winter Kick-Off Party

December 9, 2017: The Roundtop Mountain Resort and Tröegs Independent Brewing are teaming up on the 2nd Annual Winter Kick-off with a huge bonfire to appease ULLR, the Norse God of winter who is often associated with archery & skiing.

Guests will enjoy a great selection of Tröegs winter seasonal beers and food specials.

Doors open at 6pm, fire lighting at 7pm, and wrap up around 11pm. 

ULLR Winter Kick-Off Festival at Roundtop

United States Hot Air Balloon Team

Make this Christmas unforgettable and unique with the gift of flight. Present your family or friends with a gift certificate for a hot air balloon ride with the United States Hot Air Balloon Team. This is an ideal gift for the person who has everything, and is a great way to show appreciation to your employees and clients for a great year. Purchase your gift card online today.


  • Christmas at Fort Hunter Mansion
  • Antique Auto Museum: Cars & Christmas
  • Amish Experience at Plain & Fancy Farm: Magic Lantern Christmas Show
  • Koziar’s Christmas Village




Visit Hershey & Harrisburg is the official non-profit partnership-based Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) leading economic growth through destination sales, consumer marketing, public relations, and tourism development in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. The organization, accredited by Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) since 2010, is committed to actively marketing the tourism assets in the Hershey & Harrisburg Region to business and leisure travelers both domestic & international. The bureau also leads regional sales efforts to attract meeting & event organizers, sporting event producers, and group tour leaders. For more information go to VisitHersheyHarrisburg.org or call 877-727-8573.


Author: Rick Dunlap

Public Relations Director
Visit Hershey & Harrisburg
3211 North Front Street, Suite 301 A, Harrisburg, PA 17110

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