Hershey Gardens

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  • October 19, 2018
Photograph Hershey GardensHershey Gardens Outdoor ClassroomHershey Rose GardenSwan Lake at Hershey Gardens

Hershey’s Dream-Come-True

Hershey Gardens Tours
The Milton & Catherine Hershey Conservatory opened in 2016. Hershey Gardens is an operating division of the nonprofit M.S. Hershey Foundation.

Hershey Gardens goes above and beyond what Milton S. Hershey envisioned as a “nice garden of roses.” His request was simple and gave birth to three-and-a-half acres of meticulously groomed roses.

By 1944, the garden expanded to 23 acres and by 1979, the simple rose garden had morphed into six themed gardens and a name change to Hershey Gardens.

Step inside The Milton & Catherine Hershey Conservatory – the gateway to the fabulous Hershey Gardens Chocolatier, Milton S. Hershey opened in 1937 as the Hershey Rose Garden. Highlighting one particular garden would be difficult because they’re all quite spectacular and open to the public 363 days a year.

So, why did Hershey want to create a garden? He was approached to sponsor a national rosarium in Washington, D.C., but Mr. Hershey decided he’d prefer to have his garden closeby to his home and heart in Hershey, PA. His goal was to design a simple rose garden he and his community could enjoy.

Visitors to Hershey Gardens can navigate with a map provided at the ticket office adjacent to the entrance. You can begin your garden tour at the historic Hershey Rose Garden located behind the fountain once you pass through the lobby.

Hershey Gardens
After exiting the lobby, the first stop on your garden tour is the water fountain in Swan Lake. Shown is a view of the patio that overlooks the lake.

Themed Gardens

The Bill Bowman Garden, Children’s Garden, Herb Garden, High Point Garden, Historic Hershey Rose Garden, and the Japanese Gardens will appeal to Everyone, particularly those who have picked up a trowel and attempted to grow and maintain even the smallest garden. Hershey Gardens is a thoughtful and eloquent presentation of Milton Hershey’s passion for plants and a reflection of our fascination with gardening and the joy it brings to our lives.

You should allow AT LEAST two hours to meander through the gardens. Unfortunately, the forecast called for rain the day we visited and we were not able to spend as much time as we needed to appreciate every detail in each of the gardens during our self-guided tour. We spent the most time in the historic rose, Japanese, and M.S. Hershey Tribute Garden, but as you scroll down, you’ll find images I took throughout Hershey Gardens before we left.

Historic Hershey Rose Garden 

If you choose to follow the guide map, your first stop along the garden path will be the Historic Hershey Rose Garden, a sight to behold, even in the waning days of September. We discovered three-and-a-half acres of prolific blooming roses in a variety of colors and buds that were eager to open. Rows and rows of roses and greenery are an unforgettable treat for the eyes. Hybrid Tea, floribunda, shrub, and miniature roses are among the varieties you’ll find.

Hershey Garden Rose Gardens
The Historic Hershey Rose Garden is one of 11 themed gardens.
Hershey Rose Garden
One of Hershey Gardens theme features more than 3,500 roses and 175 varieties.

The Children’s Garden

The Children's Garden Hershey Gardens
The Children’s Garden is nature’s playground for kids of all ages.
Hershey Children's Garden
Easy-to-read labels tell the story of plants and flowers displayed in the Hershey Children’s Garden.
Hershey Gardens Children's Garden
Elements of “fun” trigger the imagination and are a reminder of Milton S. Hershey’s mission to inspire learning.

The Children’s Garden is playful and educational with an element of surprise at every turn, from the Misting (Hershey) kisses to the caterpillar-shaped living “tunnel,” each sculpture and learning station within the garden encourage children and their families to PLAY AND LEARN together.  Within the one-and-a-half acres dedicated to the children’s garden are 25 themed gardens guaranteed to entertain your child and expose them to the wonders of nature.

Japanese Garden

Simplicity and tranquility are two hallmarks of a Japanese garden and Hershey Gardens offer many of the same elements you’d see at any one of the famous temples throughout Japan. Ornamental koi darting about, Japanese Maple trees, Dawn Redwood, and giant Sequoia are modeled after a traditional Japanese garden “(Nihon teien).

Lush Bamboo Forest Hershey Gardens
A bamboo forest is one of the features of the Japanese Garden.
Hershey Gardens Japanese Garden
The Japanese methodically place their garden elements so they are in harmony with nature. You’ll find those authentic touches in the Japanese Garden at Hershey Gardens.
Hershey Gardens' Japanese Garden
Japanese gardens often include a stream or pond.
Traditional Japanese Gardens
The pond at the Japanese Garden features a variety of trees and plants that are featured in many traditional Japanese gardens you’d find in Kyoto, Japan.

M.S. Hershey Tribute Garden

M.S. Hershey’s affinity for horticulture and beauty is reflected in the M.S. Hershey Tribute Garden located above the Gazebo. You won’t mind the pleasant stroll up a gentle hill to this garden. It’s well worth the brief trek to see the newly revitalized M.S. Hershey Rose, colorful shrubs and plants, and a special seating area for visitors to relax and examine their surroundings.

Recommendation: Take as long as you need to absorb the sights, smells, and sounds around you. Listen for the nearby stream and tune into the sounds of children’s voices. If you visit during the spring, summer, or fall, look for butterflies and birds that flourish in each of the gardens. You’ll find a changing landscape altered by weather conditions from season to season but the beauty of Hershey Gardens is a year-round pleasure.

Hershey Gardens Outdoor Classroom
Children thrive in natural settings and the gardens are an ideal outdoor classroom.
Photograph Hershey Gardens
This photographer stopped to photograph the roses. There’s a photo op around every turn. Don’t forget your camera and allow ample time for each garden. The roses, alone, could take several hours to capture.
Girlfriend Getaways Hershey Pennsylvania
My lifelong friend, Pennye and I enjoyed our afternoon at Hershey Gardens. Pennye is shown on the footbridge in the Japanese Garden. Schedule a girlfriend getaway.
Swan Lake at Hershey Gardens
Hershey Gardens’ designers incorporate each season’s bounty into their decor. Fall is represented in this seasonal display on the veranda behind the conservatory and overlooking Swan Lake. Celebrate the holidays at Hershey. Details about upcoming exhibits and programs can be found online using the link provided below.

Wind your way along the path to the Bill Bowman Garden, named in honor of the former Hershey Gardens’ director; the Herb Garden with its array of medicinal, household, dye-making plants, and culinary herbs; the High Point Garden, a tribute to Catherine (Kitty) Hershey, M.S. Hershey’s wife; the Ornamental Grass Garden with fescue grasses to 20-foot high giant reed grasses; Perennial Garden, where you’ll find dazzling Daffodils, Rhododendrons, Black-eyed Susans, or hardy Chrysanthemums, depending on the season; Rock Garden, a display garden for a variety of plants; and the ever-evolving Season Display Gardens that features many favorites from 20,000 tulips to annuals.

Visit the Hershey Gardens events and programs’ calendar to see what’s currently happening at Hershey Gardens or find details on Facebook.

For more information about Hershey and Harrisburg lodging and attractions, visit

My trip was hosted and comped by Visit Hershey & Harrisburg but my opinions are my own and are based on my personal experiences. 

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