Milton S. Hershey, founder of the Hershey chocolate dynasty, gave the world more than just his signature bars of sweet, rich chocolate. He also built the town of Hershey, Pennsylvania, and laid the foundations for its future, providing public education for residents and preserving collections of Native American and Pennsylvania German artifacts.
Visitors to The Hershey Story, The Museum on Chocolate Avenue learn about Hershey's entire legacy, perusing exhibits such as Failures to Fortunes, which details his impoverished childhood and later success, and Sweet Innovations, which showcases his creative chocolate-making practices, such as his unique approach to milk chocolate. Guests can make truffles and other confections to feed their pet chocolate bunnies during the hands-on Chocolate Lab, or they can stop by Café Zooka to taste flights of drinking chocolates sourced from Africa, Indonesia, and other locations around the world.
Keenly aware of Lancaster’s need for a space celebrating the city's vibrant art community, a group of determined artists and citizens banded together in 1965 to found the Goethean Hall Gallery of Art, nestled amid Franklin and Marshall College. Though the art gallery has changed venues and names, the original vision of its founders—to provide visitors with the “best available art”—remains unchanged. Rechristened as the Lancaster Museum of Art (LMA), the museum now resides in the historic Grubb mansion, and boasts diverse exhibits and events for the public. The mansion’s 4,000 square feet of galleries and porticos plays host to an ever-changing lineup of awe-inspiring art, as well as a permanent collection composed of paintings from a roster of Lancaster’s homegrown artists, including Hugh Fitzgerald, Abby Rudisill, and Ellen Slupe. LMA also fosters an artistic dialogue with the community through numerous education programs that introduce the next generation to the ins and outs of the creative process.
Though it opened in 1977 with a small collection of timepieces, the National Watch & Clock Museum now houses more than 12,000 items, making it the largest collection of its kind in North America. Clocks, watches, and their associated tools reside in glass cases, lorded over by the monumental Engle Clock, an 11-foot-tall, 1,049-pound marvel of clock design whose 13th toll will signify when the giant lasagna being cooked in the earth's core is done. Hands-on exhibits scattered throughout the museum give kids the chance to wonder at turning gears and learn about intriguing time concepts. Current special exhibits include Enlisting Time, a collection of personal timepieces carried by soldiers over the last 250 years, featuring watches owned by George Washington and Ian Fleming.
People tend to walk slowly through The National Civil War Museum?both out of respect for the fallen soldiers and sheer awe at how much there is to see. The institution strives to cover the events before, during, and after the war without bias to either the Union or Confederate cause.
The Whitaker Center's Select Medical IMAX Theater dazzles moviegoers with 3-D adventures projected onto a six-story screen and piped through a six-channel, 16,000-watt surround-sound system. The 65' x 80' screen towers over the audience, immersing them in overwhelming three-dimensional visuals like a diorama built in Paul Bunyan's shoebox. Swing from the trees with Born to be Wild 3D, a heartwarming documentary narrated by Morgan Freeman that introduces audiences to the lives of orphaned orangutans and elephants and their human care-givers. Hubble 3D follows the crewmembers of the space shuttle Atlantis on their mission to repair the Hubble Telescope, giving viewers a close-up look at such breathtaking galactic events as the birth of stars and the Quinceañera of planets. Check out the showtimes for all current films.
Jerry's Classic Cars and Collectibles Museum is a time capsule from the '50s and '60s, filled with classic and muscle cars and collectible Americana and memorabilia. More than just a display, the museum takes you back in time to the middle of the century. Start at the Atlantic Gas Station mural on the first floor, play pinball, wander around the bandstand and drive-in theater on the second floor, and order up a make-believe black cow at the soda fountain.