We’re pretty fortunate that we live only 15 minutes from downtown Hershey and most of the tourist attractions in the chocolate town area. Within a 30 minute drive from our home we can visit 2 different zoos & wildlife parks, 12+ museums, Hersheypark (the amusement park), several chocolate & candy factories, sporting arenas, concert halls, theaters, waterparks and all sorts of different things. There is always something to see and do in Hershey, Harrisburg and Lancaster Pennsylvania.
Every month we get our two grandchildren and plan a family fun date. Just a couple of weeks ago we had an entire week here in south central Pennsylvania where our temperatures were in the 60’s and 70’s. We didn’t want to sit indoors, so we headed out for a fun day at ZooAmerica in Hershey Pennsylvania.
ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park is a small zoo attached to Hersheypark. When you pay admission into the amusement park, you get free admission into the zoo. However, if you don’t want to go into the amusement park, you can go through a separate entrance, pay a small admission fee and just visit the zoo.
All of the animal species that you find at this zoo are native to North America, so you won’t find elephants, zebra, hippos and animals of that nature. You’ll see North American bears, deer, bobcats, Canadian lynx, various species of snakes, turtles, skunks, elk, wolves, foxes, several different species of owls, river otters, eagles and birds, along with other’s.
Some of the exhibits are held indoors…like the desert southwest exhibit where you’ll see some turtles, owls, lizards, snakes, birds and other animals that you typically see in the southwest desert. As a teenager, I lived in Arizona and this exhibit totally reminded me of my time that I spent living in Arizona…kind of made me homesick a little bit!
There in another indoor building that houses several exhibits that feature an alligator, flamingo’s, fish, snakes, owls, the skunk and a few others. I found this building interesting…except for the snakes. Sorry folks, I just don’t like snakes!
The rest of the zoo and wildlife park is outdoors! The paved walking paths have signs along the way showing you the suggested route that you should take. There are plenty of areas along the routes for you to sit down to rest or pose for family photographs. Need something to eat or drink? You’ll find vending machines and food areas along the way.
About halfway through the wildlife park…you’ll come across a large exhibit that houses the Prairie Dogs. My 7 1/2 year old granddaughter (The Princess) loves seeing Prairie Dogs and this was one of her favorite areas. We spent quite some time watching the Prairie Dogs run in and out of their holes and snacking on their lunch. Her favorite animal to see on this particular day was the River Otters and I have to admit…those otters are darn cute!
From start to finish…we spent about 2 1/2 hours at the zoo. This is a small zoo that only features animals from North America. It is NOT a large zoo like the Philly Zoo or the Baltimore Zoo…much, much smaller than that. However, if you’re looking for a nice little zoo to take the children too that doesn’t cost you a fortune, I think you’ll enjoy your visit here.
The ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park is located in Hershey Pennsylvania and is open year-round. If you want to visit just the zoo, I recommend parking at the gift shop entrance which offers free parking. You’ll enter the park through the gift shop entrance and pay your admission fee there. You’ll also find public restrooms and after your visit & on your way out…you can shop for some souvenirs in the gift shop before heading home.