The Hershey Story Museum is located in Downtown Hershey on Chocolate Avenue. It’s open daily, year-round with some holiday exceptions, making it a perfect addition to your Hersheypark® or Hershey’s Chocolate World Attraction visit.
Immerse yourself in the world of Milton Hershey, starting with his humble beginnings through to his sweet innovations at The Hershey Company and the legacy that lives on today.
Throughout the Museum Experience exhibits, you’ll find interactive stations including more than 30 animated stories about his life delivered in a fresh and clever way. When you visit the front desk, you’ll receive a coin that you can customize and use to activate the exhibits.
Milton S. Hershey was born September 13, 1857, in Derry Church, what this area was known as before the town of Hershey was Hershey! Mr. Hershey’s parents encouraged him to pursue his dreams, instilling in young Milton an insatiable entrepreneurial spirit that eventually led him around the country and through two bankruptcies before finally finding the formula for success.
Although Mr. Hershey didn’t invent chocolate, he revolutionized the confection from a luxury to an everyday treat. He created a recipe that used fresh milk, which was innovative for the time. Mr. Hershey had a pivotal “Aha!” moment at the 1893 Columbian Exposition where he purchased his first chocolate-making machines.
In addition to chocolate making, Mr. Hershey excelled at promoting his products. He emphasized the health benefits of cocoa products, featured intricate artwork on his packaging, and encouraged elaborate storefront window displays of Hershey products. Guests of The Hershey Story can even try their hand at packaging design using interactive create-your-own-wrapper stations.
Hershey (or Derry Church) was an ideal location for chocolate production due to its proximity to dairy farms and rail lines. When Mr. Hershey returned to his hometown to expand his chocolate business, he didn’t just open a factory; he built a community. He envisioned the town of Hershey to be an ideal place to work, live, and play.
In addition to his legacy as a chocolatier, Milton Hershey touched the lives of countless children through his philanthropy. Milton and Catherine Hershey didn’t have any children of their own, and in 1909, they established the Hershey Industrial School for orphaned boys. Today, Milton Hershey School, as it is now known, provides cost-free, private education and housing for underprivileged children.
We bet you didn’t know there’s a town in Cuba also called Hershey! In 1916, Mr. Hershey established a community in Cuba—similar to the community he created in Pennsylvania—after purchasing a sugar mill and plantation. His Cuban venture supplied the sugar for his chocolate. Similar to Hershey, Pennsylvania, the town of Hershey, Cuba, was built for the employees. His influence on Cuba was so significant that he was awarded the “Grand Cross of the National Order” by the Cuban president in 1933.
Once you’ve learned about the man behind the chocolate bar, you’ll be ready to taste some chocolate. The Hershey Story Museum offers some interactive—and tasty—activities involving America’s favorite treat: chocolate, of course!
Did you know that Hershey’s Milk Chocolate is made using a variety of beans that come from around the world? In Tastings, guests can sample warm drinking chocolates that are made using beans grown in one specific area of the globe, or single-source beans. Each single-source bean has a different flavor based on climate, rainfall, and surrounding vegetation. Countries of origin include Mexico, Venezuela, Ghana, Tanzania, and Indonesia, each with a different percentage of cacao and unique flavor notes. While Mom and Dad sample exotic sweets, the kids can transform a mug of warm milk into hot cocoa with a special chocolate stirring lolly.
Learn all about chocolate—and make your own chocolate treat—in the Chocolate Lab at The Hershey Story. These 45-minute, instructor-led workshops teach guests how chocolate is made from “bean to bar” and some of the secrets behind what makes Hershey’s chocolate so delicious. Then, class participants get to make their own chocolate treat to take home. Class themes change seasonally, so make sure to check the Events Calendar regularly. Have fun in Chocolate Cobweb Creations during Halloween and Candy Cane Bark and Chocolate Reindeer during the holidays. In summertime, make your own s’mores-inspired treat!
The Museum’s littlest visitors can enjoy an “I Spy” activity designed for preschoolers. With the help of Mom and Dad, kids can spot some of the Museum’s more colorful and easy-to-locate items. Ask for your free I Spy guide when entering the Museum Experience.
There are even more fun activities to enjoy in Downtown Hershey along Chocolate Avenue, the sweetest street in town.
ZooAmerica® North American Wildlife Park: This 11-acre zoo, located adjacent to Hersheypark is open year-round with separate access from Downtown Hershey. Explore the indoor/outdoor exhibits of more than 200 animals from different regions like Big Sky Country and Southern Swamps.
Hershey Theatre: With a little bit of planning, you can take in a show at the historic and beautiful Hershey Theatre. Their year-round lineup includes Broadway shows, musicians, comedians, children’s shows, world-renowned entertainers, and the Hershey Symphony. While you’re there, be sure to take in the Theatre’s stunning, opulent décor including Italian lava rock marble floors and heavenly ceiling murals. And that’s just the lobby!