If I were to select some of the happiest moments of my childhood in Pennsylvania during the late 1950s, they would certainly include annual summer visits to Hershey Park. I was blessed to grow up in amusement park nirvana, with Rolling Green, Knoebels Grove, Williams Grove, Willow Mill and Hershey Park all within an hour’s ride away. Hershey was only a 50-minute drive from my hometown, but at age eight the trip there seemed endless. As you approached the town of Hershey the smell of chocolate permeated the air, especially on warm summer days. The towering cocoa bean silos and twin smoke stacks of the factory dominated the Hershey skyline, and back then visitors could actually tour the factory where chocolate was produced.
Hershey, like many other parks at that time, had free admission, free parking, free entertainment and free picnic facilities. With no admission entry, guests at these parks could roam ‘free range’ to choose and pay for each ride of their choosing individually. At 25 cents per ticket the Comet roller coaster was the most expensive ride in the park.