Overlooking the town of Hershey and the world-class amusement park of the same name, color pops across a 23-acre botanical garden that’s been turning out blooms since 1937. Stroll through the gardens to find hundreds of varieties of flowers and plants, or attend an educational event to learn about gardening tips or the bugs and insects that play an important role in horticulture. Step inside the tropical butterfly atrium to see magnificent butterflies flitter about.
Milton S. Hershey is best-known to the world as the man who gave us HERSHEY’S chocolates and candies. But locally, his record of philanthropy and dedication to his community is his most inspiring legacy. True to form, when Mr. Hershey was approached to sponsor a rosarium in the nation’s capital, he declined and instead forged ahead with a project in Hershey that would be accessible to the local community. He famously asked for “a nice little garden of roses,” which started as about 3.5 acres in 1937 and grew to a 23-acre botanical garden over the next 5 years.
The grounds feature many themed gardens bursting with rows of beautiful flowers and displays. The award-winning Rose Garden features more than 3,500 roses in 175 varieties. It’s become a tradition for many guests to visit in the spring for a photo in front of the colorful tulip beds. There is also an herb garden, perennial garden, rock garden, Japanese garden and more.
Mr. Hershey dedicated much of his life to helping children, so it’s natural the Hershey Gardens features a Children’s Garden. Whimsical displays are kid-approved and family-friendly, with educational opportunities that teach young guests tips and tricks for creating their own garden at home.
The Conservatory features three areas including a Welcome Pavilion, Butterfly Atrium, and Educational & Horticultural Wing. The Butterfly Atrium is temperature-controlled to create an indoor tropical paradise for a rotating display of hundreds of tropical and North American varieties of butterflies. The space also showcases a soothing water feature and colorful plants along a winding path. The facility is one of only 25 indoor, tropical butterfly atriums in the country.