Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Butterflies and Blooms at Hershey Gardens

When you think of the quaint town of Hershey, chocolate and amusement park rides likely come to mind, but what you may not know is that Hershey is also home to a 23-acre botanical display garden which touts 3,500 rose bushes, 11 themed gardens, including a  Children's Garden, and the newest installation, The Milton & Catherine Hershey Conservatory, which features a Butterfly Atrium that is enjoyed by visitors year round.
The Milton & Catherine Hershey Conservatory at Hershey Gardens opened in July, 2016.

The idea, of course, sprang from the mind of no other than Milton S. Hershey himself, who, when approached to sponsor a national rosarium in Washington, D.C., decided instead to bring the idea home to his local community.

Hershey's intent to create a "nice garden of roses,' began simply enough, with 3.5 acres opening to the public in 1937. In typical Hershey fashion however, the project expanded exponentially over the years.
A fountain flows just beyond the Conservatory.
Hershey Gardens features an impressive display of 3,500 roses comprised of 175 different varieties.

One wonders if Hershey's employees might have placed bets on whether his humble ideas would always end up expanding into projects that would dwarf the initial plans.

Today the Gardens span 23-acres, with 3,500 roses of 175 varieties stealing the show. Eleven additional themed gardens add to the impressive and colorful array. Among them are an herb garden, a nut grove featuring dozens of trees, an ornamental grass garden, a Japanese Garden, a children's garden and  a perennial garden featuring flowers that bloom according to the season, from tulips and daffodils in the spring, to sunflowers and daisies in the summer, to chrysanthemums in the fall.

I felt like returning with a book; I wonder if that's permitted. 
A butterfly bench for visitors to rest in between touring.

A group of  bright, cheery sunflowers.
Daisies and coneflowers bloom in the summer.

The Butterfly Atrium

One of the newest and most popular features of the Hershey Gardens is the Butterfly Atrium where guests can marvel at hundreds of the winged creatures and watch them feed on the fruit provided at various stations around the room.
The Welcome Pavilion is one of the first things visitors will see upon entering the Hershey Gardens. This is the Milton & Catherine Hershey Conservatory where the Butterfly Atrium is located.


The Butterfly Atrium features hundreds of tropical and North American butterflies.



Butterflies feast on ripe fruit.


staghorn fern



The Butterfly Atrium is one of only 25 year-round tropical butterfly atriums in the United States and represents 200-300 species. It is kept at a constant temperature of approximately 80 degrees Fahrenheit and 70 percent humidity.

The Children's Garden
Children of all ages enjoy the 1.5-acre educational children's garden, which opened to the public in 2003. Lolly Tai, author of The Magic of Children's Gardens, describes it as "an excellent educational resource providing opportunities for hands-on learning, self-discovery and fun with water features, hideaways, creatures, surprises and whimsical features."
The entrance to the Children's Garden.
Misters shaped like Hershey's Kisses keep children cool and encourage play.
Scavenger hunts make education fun.
A dancing pig sculpture and dance chimes elicit smiles in the Hugs and Kisses Garden
If you're in town to visit Hershey Park, the Gardens are located nearby, making it easy to add both destinations to your itinerary. These are but a few highlights you'll experience during your visit. You can view additional information on prices, hours of operation and more by clicking on this link.