Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Cincinnati, Ohio, to Hershey, Pennsylvania

Add a day just for driving (and visiting every Welcome Center in every state we passed-we LOVE brochures!), and two days later you'll find us, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, well-rested and all swum out, at Hershey's Chocolate World:
They're Hershey's Kisses, doncha know?
 I had planned on purpose to make an early day of this, because I had some work that I needed to get done,  so this smallish attraction (surrounding a GIANT interior mall of Hershey products) was just right. Hershey has a free ride showing how their products are made, an interactive movie that costs a ton, a chocolate-tasting class that costs a ton, and a candy bar-making workshop that costs a ton. The movie sounded silly, the chocolate-tasting class sounded too dry (Willow really wanted to take it, but it had a lecture component, so I knew that Syd would just be bored), but the candy bar-making workshop sounded just right--educational, hands-on, super fun for kids--so I signed us up:
First, you use a computer program to set up your chocolate bar. You choose a base--
--and fillings--
--and whether or not you'd like sprinkles.
See my chocolate bar set-up? It was very annoying that an adult couldn't accompany a child into the workshop without paying a separate admission--not only do I not need a giant chocolate bar all my own, but I couldn't really supervise my kids or thoroughly enjoy their experiences with them because I also had to do my own stuff. I'm glad that I did pay to enter, however, since in our group there was another set of sisters, both a little older than Willow, and they were a little lost throughout the entire process, so it was worth the money to make sure my kiddos knew what was going on, at least.

If you can tell from the photo below, Syd was also VERY annoyed at having to wear a hairnet, but Will and I thought they were pretty awesome:
At the end of the workshop there's a bin where you can return your hairnets and aprons, but I made the girls give them back to me to stuff into my backpack.
After you set up your chocolate bar, you enter the factory, where you can watch your bar being created by the machines on the assembly line. It's meant to represent the real factory set-up in miniature:

You can follow your bar, because the computer knows where it is on the line and keeps it labeled.
All our candy bars--Willow's milk chocolate, Sydney's white chocolate, and my dark chocolate

covering the bar in melted milk chocolate
through the drying oven
 While you wait for your candy bar to dry and harden inside the oven, you use another computer program to design your packaging. Will had a lot of fun with this:

machines for packaging the bar--the docent said this is the only part that's different from what's used in the actual Hershey factory
our candy bars!!!
 After the workshop, we rode the factory tour ride a couple of times--

--and then sat down in the giant food court to eat our packed lunches... and of course taste our candy bars:

It has a lot to do with the fresh chocolate, probably, but our candy bars were DELICIOUS!

Sydney's bar with white chocolate, raspberry filling, and sprinkles
 I guess you haven't really done Hershey if you don't have a chocolate-y face to show for it:

After that, it was a fine afternoon for driving on to our hotel, watching cable TV (I let the girls watch National Treasure, pretending like it was useful prep work for our stop in Philadelphia next week), eating our packed microwaveable meals (I knew we'd score a hotel with a microwave SOMEWHERE!), and trying very hard to let me get my work done without losing my mind from kid chaos two inches away from me at all times (thank goodness for hotel wi-fi, headphones, and streaming Spotify).

Next stop: The Crayola Experience!


Tina said...

So much fun and those chocolate bars look huge!

I might have to look into planning a fun trip like this next year. Oh, the places to go...

kirsten said...

YUM! Sydney's looks amazing.

that looks like a ton of fun- the zoo, too!