Hershey Park!

The fiance and some friends and I like to travel to one theme park per summer for some prime rollercoaster riding. This year, the trip was to Hershey Park in Pennsylvania.
I'm not a big fan of candy, so it wasn't a magical wonderland of sweets for me, but I was surprised by how much of Hershey Park is doable for vegans. In the candy category, Jolly Ranchers and Twizzlers and I think a couple other iconic Hershey candies are vegan, so they've got you covered if you're into the whole candy thing.

Beyond candy, the biggest reason to go to Hershey Park for me is the ROLLER COASTERS! They have eleven. The fiance and I made it to ten of them, but opted out of the one where people can squirt you with water jets as you go.

Any sort of trip leaves me anxiously wondering "What will I eat?" Hershey Park has a strict "no outside food" policy, so I was a little worried about finding actual food for myself there at first. But the Hershey Park website is a vegan/allergic person's dream come true. On their "Food" page, they list the ingredients for all of the food served in the park. Which meant, from a brief visit to the website, that I knew exactly what I would be able to eat, from meals to snacks to vending carts. (Especially exciting: chocolate-dipped bananas, pretzels, sugar-glazed nuts, and kettlecorn.)

With the help of their website, eating vegan at Hershey Park is pretty easy-- you'll end up with a decent selection of places to eat. Being vegan and nightshade-free, however, you have pretty limited options. Koshermart is your best bet--it's a kosher food stand that serves falafel and some other vegan (as well as non-vegan) fare. It looked okay on the website, with the exception of "spices" in some of the foods, which can contain nightshades. I emailed Hershey Park's to ask about it, very quickly received an email from the food concessions manager promising to look into the "spices" for me! Within a few days, he had talked to the vendor that provides that food and could assure me that there are no nightshades in the "spices" I'd asked about. But the vendor didn't tell him what the spices were exactly, and he was concerned it might not be a good enough answer for me, so he offered to write me a letter of exemption allowing me to bring food into the park. He was so nice! I told him I would be fine the falafel, thanks. The next day he emailed me back because he remembered I said I'd be there "on the weekend," and wanted to make sure I knew Koshermart is closed on Saturdays--he was worried I would go on Saturday and end up with nothing to eat. (My friends and I went to the park on Sunday to avoid lines, so no problem.) The level of attention, concern, and willingness to work with me that I received from Hershey Park staff members even before my arrival made for really safe and happy eating when I did get there.
Falafel! They give you a lot of litle ones--one of my friends on the trip called them "falafel tots." The pita bread was vaguely sweet, which made it unexpectedly delicious. The tahini "sauce" is actually almost as firm as hummus--that's the ball on top of the pickle slices. It was tastier than it looked. It wasn't a gourmet meal or anything, but it was good. And I knew I wouldn't be poisoned by my meal!
The menu claimed they only sold half-pickles, but they gave me A HUGE WHOLE ONE. Yessss.

So, the moral of this story is that with a small amount of advance research on the Hershey Park website, a vegan, even one with unusual food allergies, can eat there easily. And if you have any questions or concerns about the food, the employees seem really committed to helping you work something out.

Also, the rollercoasters are great.


sara said... Best Blogger Tips

that's awesome that the park is so willing to assist those with special diets, so everyone can relax and enjoy themselves!