Family Guide to Roller Coasters at Hersheypark

Candymonium - Image from Hersheypark

What roller coasters are OK for kids at Hersheypark?

Visiting theme parks is one of our favorite things to do as a family. . .and one of our favorite theme parks to visit is Hersheypark in Hershey, PA!  That's right - the SWEETEST place on earth is home to some of my sweetest memories.  I remember visiting Hersheypark as a child, going to college in nearby Lancaster County which meant spending countless weekends there, and now heading up to Hershey with my family.  Over the years, Hersheypark has grown from a fun local attraction to one of the best theme parks on the East Coast with several expansions and the addition of numerous coasters.  

Here, we'll break down the roller coasters in Hersheypark from a family perspective.  Which coasters are the best for your young, new coaster riders?  How much "thrill" will you find in the ride?

Thrill Scores: 1 = Easy Peasy through 5 = Hold on to Your Chocolate Bars!

Most Kid-Friendly Coasters at Hersheypark

Cocoa Cruiser - This tiny coaster can host riders as small as 36" and has just a few small ups and downs around a short track.  In fact, the track is so short, you ride around twice.  This is not much more than one of the little pop up coasters you may find at a local carnival, but it's perfect for small children who want to ride a roller coaster but aren't quite big enough to tackle the big ones.  Thrill Score = 1

Brody on Cocoa Cruiser (2018) -

Comet - An iconic classic at Hersheypark, Comet has been around for over 75 years.  The large wooden coaster sits towards the front of the park in The Hollow and can welcome riders beginning at 42".  Wooden coasters can be great to introduce young riders because they don't look as intimidating.  Comet is a simple wooden coaster - no high banked turns, simple ups and downs, and only a few big drops.  It's an easier wooden coaster than the other two in the park, so if you want to give a wooden coaster a try with a young rider, this is the best first bet.  Thrill Score = 2

sooper dooper looper - This was my very first upside down coaster when I was a kid and I'm delighted it's still here to introduce kids to the fun of loops in a roller coaster!  If your child is ready to give a loop a try (and they're at least 42" tall), this is definitely the one to try.  Opened in 1977 as the first looping roller coaster on the East Coast, this is another "classic" choice at the park.  It's not as "aggressive" or "thrill-packed" as newer rides, but it's still one of my favorites each time I visit.  Thrill Score = 2

Trailblazer - I'll be honest, this is probably my least favorite coaster in Hersheypark - but it's one my kids enjoy as they are just transitioning to roller coasters.  Trailblazer is a steel coaster located over in Pioneer Frontier and is really just a faster version of a train ride with some tight turns.  At just 45 mph and without any big drops or loops, Trailblazer is available to riders as little as just 36".  I shouldn't be hard on it - it's a good choice for little kids, but skip if your family is looking for some action and excitement in their ride.  Thrill Score = 1

Fun Hersheypark Tip - Did you know that several attractions feature FREE lockers to store your personal items for up to 2 hours while you ride?  

Medium-Level Thrills for the Budding Coaster Fan

Laff Trakk - OK, I'm going to blame the popularity of this ride for me skipping it until 2021.  I just rode this coaster for the first time and WOW, it was fun!  Laff Trakk is an indoor coaster that is unlike most experiences you will have in a theme park.  Featuring individual cars for 4 riders - you will rock and roll, twist and turn through this "fun house."  New coaster fans may find the fact that your car direction changes during the ride (i.e. - you twist and turn along the track - sometimes going forwards and other times riding backwards), but there are no loops.  Thrill Score = 3

Lightning Racer - For many years, Lightning Racer was my favorite ride at Hersheypark.  What makes this wooden coaster unique is the dueling tracks.  That's right - two coasters take off at the same time and "race" to see who will finish first.  You have to be 48" to ride and it's a really fun experience to compete while you ride.  It's faster than Comet with bigger drops and more thrills, but not anything over the top for newer riders.  Thrill Score = 3

Caleb at Wild Mouse (2021) -

Wild Mouse - Wild Mouse is a coaster concept I've seen at several theme parks over the years.  Super tight track with sudden, fast, tight turns like you're a tiny little mouse racing through a maze.  The "thrill" in this one is getting whipped around quickly.  There are no big drops, no loops - but it jerks quite a bit and gives a sensation like you might fall over the edge - which may be a little much for young kids and why I bumped it to this category rather than our intro category even though my thrill score will be pretty low.  Thrill Score = 2

Wildcat - If I'm being honest here, Wildcat is one of the wooden coasters I usually try to avoid riding.  I don't know what it is about this one, but it jerks me - a lot - each time I ride.  It's a wooden coaster for riders 48" or taller and motors pretty quickly.  While Lightning Racer is a tiny bit faster and taller - this one just feels a bit more intense.  But, it is a wooden coaster so you don't have to worry about loops or any crazy antics like some of the steel coasters.  Thrill Score = 3

**Wildcat is being replaced with the new Wildcat's Revenge opening June 2, 2023 at Hersheypark!**

Fun Hersheypark Tip - Hersheypark has an app that you'll want to access when in the park to check the latest wait times and plan your day!

Best for Coaster Enthusiasts

Candymonium - I was so excited to finally get to ride the newest coaster at Hersheypark!  Opened in 2020, Candymonium is located in the new Chocolatetown entrance to the park and made for riders 54" and taller.  With max speeds in excess of 70mph, this is the longest, fastest, and tallest roller coaster at Hersheypark.  It doesn't go upside down so there is not a harness system in place - just your lap restraint which means a lot of air time as you race through the track.  It was so fun and so fast!  Thrill Score = 5

Fahrenheit - Image from Hersheypark

Fahrenheit - Another fan favorite at Hersheypark, Fahrenheit features a 97 degree drop - it's the first thing you experience and an amazing rush.  You'll drop, spin, and loop throughout this coaster as you race across the bright orange track.  It's a great choice for riders 54" and up if you're looking for big thrills inside the park.  Thrill Score = 5

Great Bear - This was one of my favorites as a teenager at Hersheypark.  When it opened in 1998, it was just the 6th coaster at Hersheypark and brought big excitement as you dangled beneath the track experiencing zero-G thrills. I can't wait until my kids are ready to tame the Great Bear as it's really a fun coaster for teens to enjoy! Thrill Score = 4

Sidewinder - This is my "skip" coaster in this category because I HATE going backwards on a roller coaster.  Sidewinder is a quick coaster ride that takes you forward through a looping, twisting track and then backwards on the same track.  It's cool for the experience, but riding backwards really messes with me and is just not my cup of tea.  Thrill Score = 4

**NOTE:  New in 2022 - Sidewinder was updated to a new ride, Jolly Rancher Remix!  Learn more about the new coaster here!

Skyrush - Image from Hersheypark

Skyrush - Skyrush is a very similar ride to Candymonium.  Fast speeds, twists and turns, and lots of air time make this a ride that backs a punch.  There are no upside down loops in here, but don't let that fool you into thinking this is a tame ride.  Thrill Score = 5

Storm Runner - Storm Runner is another one of my favorites at Hersheypark.  This coaster features an accelerated boost at the beginning.  Unlike traditional coasters that send you up that slow steady climb to pick up speed, you rocket right out of the gate on Storm Runner.  The steel smoothness and rapid start make this fast and fun as you zip high above the rest of the park.  Thrill Score = 5

Fun Hersheypark Tip - You can purchase a Fast Track option for your day which will give you the ability to skip the lines and save your time waiting in line.

Want More Hersheypark Coaster Information?

If you're looking for even more information about the coasters at Hersheypark, you can check out the coaster page on their website or head to YouTube to experience official point-of-view videos of some of the rides listed here.  

Hersheypark is open seasonally for Springtime in the Park, Hersheypark in the Dark, and Christmas Candylane as well as for the summer season each year - meaning the park is a great destination for your family from April - December!  Learn more about tickets and season passes on their website!

Thanks to Hersheypark for hosting my family for visits over the years that have contributed to this article!

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