Modern Times (1971-1980)

Pinwheel logo1971: Hersheypark is gated, with two types of admission. One was a one-time pay at the gate to have an unlimited opportunity to ride all rides ($3.50). There was also a general admission rate (50¢) which required tickets to be purchased for rides inside the park. There were five entrances for the park. The pinwheel logo is introduced. This is the final season of operation for the Miniature Railroad. This is the final season that Kiddieland was in the park. The following rides from Kiddieland that were removed from the park at the end of the season were: Horse & Buggy, Lucas Motor Boat Ride, Kiddie Ferris Wheel (1959). This is also the final season for the Sunken Gardens and Hershey Park Pool.

1972:  Phase I of Hersheypark renovations were opened. This included the addition of the first themed areas of the park: Carrousel Circle, Der Deitschplatz, and the Animal Gardens. The following rides were added (all to Carrousel Circle): MonsterScrambler, and Twin Towers Toboggans. The five entrances for the park were consolidated into one entrance by Lobby 1 of Hersheypark Arena at Derry Road. Hurricane Agnes arrives in Central Pennsylvania causing historic flooding in the park. The Lost River is destroyed by the floodwaters. Turnpike lost a few cars but remained in operation. Magic Carpet Giant Slide remained in operation until the end of the season. It was removed due to the addition of Hersheypark Amphitheater for the following season. The addition of the amphitheater was required due to the unexpected loss of the park bandshell, which was planned to be relocated to a new section of the park (Rhineland) in Phase II. The last remaining funhouse, Funland, was closed and torn down at the end of the season. The Golden Nugget is also closed and converted into the Gold Nugget Shooting Gallery the following season. This is the final season of operation for Flying Coaster. Hershey Sports Arena is renamed Hersheypark Arena. Hershey Sports Stadium is renamed Hersheypark Stadium.

1973: Phase II opens, which includes two new themed areas: Rhineland and Tudor Square. Tudor Square is located outside the park, Rhineland inside the park. The boundary is the new permanent main gate for the park. The themes chosen for this area were part of the “Cultural Exposition” theme that Hersheypark wanted to use. This “Cultural Exposition” was based on the general history of the cultures of Central Pennsylvania. Der Deitschplatz was added in 1972 as part of the “Cultural Exposition,” and was also influenced by the popular Pennsylvania Dutch Days. Two new rides were added: Coal Cracker and Giant Wheel. This was the final season of operation of Turnpike. The Whip was relocated to the hill where Funland had been. The Monorail becomes an official Hersheypark ride; the entrance is rerouted to be inside the park. Trips from downtown Hershey to Hersheypark Arena are largely discontinued.

1974: Due to economic issues across the world and economic issues within Hershey Estates, Hersheypark modified the R. Duell plan for renovating Hersheypark. This permanently cancelled several themed areas: Indian Village, New England Fishing Village. The Pioneer section wouldn’t be built for another decade, and the Minetown section wouldn’t be so named for a decade and a half. There was also a planned contemporary area called Contempo that never came into being – however, the non-renovated / non-themed areas of the park became the contemporary areas. Three new rides were added: Mini-Comet, a kiddie roller coaster, Sky Ride, a people mover that took you from Rhineland to Coal Cracker, and Trailblazer, a runaway mine train roller coaster. Kissing Tower, which had been purchased and delivered to Hershey, remained in storage for the entire year. This is the final season of operation for the Twin Ferris Wheels.

Hersheypark 1975
Hersheypark in 1975.

1975:  A new themed area is added: Tower Plaza. Kissing Tower and the Twin Turnpike are added to this area. A Reverchon Himalaya is added in the location of the former Twin Ferris Wheels. This is the final season of operation for two of the oldest remaining kiddie rides in the park: Sailboats and Automobile. This is the final season of operation for the Whip. A new theater is added to the park – Dry Gulch Theater, renamed Music Box Theater three years later.

1976: To replace the retired kiddie rides, Earthmovers (then called Tiny Tanks) and Ladybug, are added. Mini-Comet is relocated onto the hill where the Whip had been. This is the first season since 1970 that no significant changes were made to the park. Hershey Estates is renamed HERCO, Inc.

1977: Hersheypark opens the first looping roller coaster on the East Coast, sooperdooperLooper. The park also announces that a new themed area will be introduced for the following year: ZooAmerica, a North American Wildlife Park. This zoo will be located in the area of the original Hershey Park Zoo. This is the final season of operation for the following rides: Auto Skooters, Cuddle Up, Paratrooper, Round Up, and both Twin Towers Toboggans. Gold Nugget Shooting Gallery is torn down at the end of the season. The Starlight Ballroom was torn down as well.

1978: ZooAmerica opens. Several rides are added to the park: Coal Shaker, Fender Bender, Flying Bobs, Mini Skooters, and Rodeo (then called Trabant). This is the final season of operation for Mini-Comet. Dry Gulch Theater is renamed Music Box Theater.

1979: The Arcade at the entrance to Carrousel Circle is themed Starlight Arcade and includes hand prints of famous acts that perform in the Arena or Stadium. Two kiddie rides are added: Livery Stables (then called Antique Kiddie Carrousel) and Pony Parade (then called Pony Carts). This is the final season of operation for Tip-Top.

1980:  For the first time since establishing a boundary, Hersheypark expands that boundary by pushing the park across where Derry Road used to be. This was a 1.8 acre expansion. Dry Gulch Railroad station is moved and the track reconfigured to accommodate a new midway to connect to the new area. The rides added were Pirat and Cyclops. This is the final season of operation for Animal Gardens. Creatures of the Night is held for the first time at ZooAmerica, on October 31. HERCO, Inc., is renamed Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company.

1961-1970: Attempts at Growth                                                                                                                                 1981-1990: Trying Times

%d bloggers like this: