The Bug at Hersheypark | 1933 – 1981

In 1933, the town of Hershey celebrated its 30th anniversary. What was unique about this anniversary – it was being celebrated around Labor Day. The previous celebrations for the town’s 10th and 20th anniversaries were celebrated around Memorial Day.

This change left Hersheypark with making some improvements early in the 1933 season and late in the 1933 season.

Introducing the Tumble Bug to Hershey

One such improvement which occurred in August 1933: the addition of The Bug, a ride which had operated at the Century of Progress World’s Fair in Chicago. The ride was manufactured by Harry Traver, and this was one of several rides Traver made through various companies he owned. Other Traver rides included wooden roller coasters and circle swings.

Traver sold this kind of ride to parks under the name Tumble Bug. Hersheypark chose the name The Bug for their ride.

1935 circa The Bug
The Bug, circa 1935
1961 ~ Hershey Park
An aerial view of Hersheypark from circa 1961. You can see the bug right next to Comet, the Mill Chute, and Auto Skooters.

Hersheypark’s Bug had 5 cars which could fit between 4 and 6 persons. The cars went around on a circular track with hills. It moved at a brisk pace, and kids could ride The Bug with families, though this was more of an adult ride.

This was considered a classic ride by most, and the park even constructed a kiddie version in 1976 called Ladybug (which is still in the park today).

1973 Hersheypark map
The bug as seen in the Hollow from 1973. Other nearby rides include Skyview and Comet, which are still in the park, Auto Skooters, Twin Ferris Wheels, and Rotor, the three of which are no longer in the park.

Removal of The Bug

The ride operated from August 1933 until October 1981. During the 1981 season, Hersheypark planned a significant update to the area of the park The Bug was in – the Hollow. This included removing The Bug from operation, replacing it with a Zierer Wave Swinger. The Bug was dismantled with much difficulty and placed into storage near the Monorail garage in ZooAmerica.

Circa 1984 The Bug scrapped near Monorail [large] [JWGreen]
The Bug, in storage near the Monorail garage in ZooAmerica, circa 1984. Photo courtesy of J.W. Green.

Park management considered reinstalling The Bug. In a long range plan for the 1983-1988 seasons, there was a potential proposal to install The Bug for the 1985 season. However, that proposal never got any further than the drawing board. The Bug was never reinstalled.


Parts of The Bug sold

Parts of The Bug were sold to Kennywood Park while the cars for The Bug were sold to Whalom Park for use on that park’s Tumble Bug. Whalom Park then sold their ride to Edaville Railroad but the ride was never installed. According to a comment below, Hersheypark considered purchasing the Whalom Park Tumble Bug but it did not materialize, as many ideas often do. The Tumble Bug was scrapped in 2010. 

There is only one Tumble Bug in operation today. Should you be interested in traveling to ride it, The Turtle operates at Kennywood Park in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, just outside of Pittsburgh.

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6 thoughts on “The Bug at Hersheypark | 1933 – 1981”

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  5. Correction: There is now only one operating Bug. Conneaut Lake’s was scrapped a couple years ago. The cars were the only thing saved, by an individual from Ohio. Also there was a consideration to purchase the Whalom Bug from Edaville in the early 2000’s. This idea was never followed through on.

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