Hershey Park? Is it safe for severe peanut allergy child?

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Hello all,

My 5 year old has a severe peanut allergy. We would like to go to Hershey Park (makers of Reese's peanut butter stuff). I called and they said they are careful regarding what food places have peanut-related things, and they are marked as such on the website. But, we are concerned about peanut residue on the rides, and basically everywhere. What do you guys think? Is this no different than any place we take her? I guess we run the risk no matter where we go.

Your thoughts / experience is greatly appreciated!

Thanks! mgn

By jenniferbfab on Jun 26, 2009

I will offer my 2 cents but must caution you that I am uber-risk-averse. I have thought about Hershey Park for our kids as well, and my vote is no. I think it is risky at any amusement park to a certain degree, but the fact that the park is at the home of a chocolate company which uses nuts and peanuts--and I have been there, those chocolates are sold everywhere there!--makes me too uncomfortable. I personally avoid that level of risk. We visited there pre-PA, so I am unable to say it was positive or negative from the PA perspective. Peanut allergy never entered our minds when we were there.

What is most important, though, is your comfort level. I am betting there must be some members of the peanutallergy.com community who can tell us about their experience at Hershey park.

BTW, we did do Sesame Place with our PA child and that was a piece of cake! Very accommodating, no problems. We also visited an old amusement park called Idlewild in western Pennsylvania, brought our own food, and had no problems.

Curious to hear others' 2 cents and experiences... :)

Jennifer B www.foodallergybuzz.com

By BestAllergySites on Jun 28, 2009

I have not been due to the same reasons you and Jennifer have brought up. However, non allergy friends of mine have recently gone and said that they were surprised that they did not see a single piece of candy the entire time except a small Hershey bar AFTER they did the chocolate making tour.

My guess is they've wised up to food allergies and are no different than any other amusement park. We do go to parks all the time and my son has never had a reaction from rides. The only reaction was from touching a trash can to throw trash away and rubbing his eyes after. (You could wipe down rides if you felt the need.)

I'm a bit like Jennifer on the caution side but at the same time believe in letting our kids live normal lives with precautions.

Best of luck with your decision! Ruth

By jlince on Jul 1, 2009

My 10 year old son has severe peanut/tree nut allergies, and Hershey is a company we trust very much. I realize they have peanut products, but they use separate machines and are very aware of the peanut/ tree nut allergy. We took a trip to Hershey last year and had a wonderful time at the chocolate factory - absolutely no worries. We were not there to visit the amusement park, so I can't speak for that, but I am extremely cautious of the surroundings for my son and have to say we felt very safe on the factory tour. Whenever we travel, we always have to be aware, but I want him to experience things without being fearful. Good luck and I hope you will have an opportunity to visit Hershey. Julie

By Jennifer-is-always-sick on Nov 8, 2010

That's amazing! What fun! I'm glad you all had a good time with no incidents of allergic reaction. That is such wonderful news.

By mgn on Aug 2, 2009

The Hershey trip went great. They seemed very peanut allergy aware in both the amusement park and Chocolate World. Call ahead, they can tell you which food stands are peanut allergy friendly. Thanks for your help! MGN

By mgn on Jul 14, 2009

Thank you all for the excellent information!!!!!

By BestAllergySites on Aug 2, 2009

MGN,

That is so exciting! Glad you were able to have a good time.

Ironically my husband threw out that we should go there this weekend for a long weekend. We're in MA so it's a 6 plus hour drive and rain in the forecast for today (Sunday) so we didn't go.

But we plan to soon..and with all the great reviews I'll feel better knowing others have had great experiences.

Ruth

By ritpet on Jun 2, 2010

I grew up going to Hershey Park and we are planning to take your children this summer. My daughter is PA. I am going to follow our regular "rules" no fingers in mouth, wash hands often, check food items and places they are made, and carry epi pens. I am feeling good about going. They have a lot of peramedics on hand and are close to a hospital. They are also very allergy aware and want kids to enjoy there visit. I am glad to here your trip went well.

By Gus Mommy on Jul 15, 2010

This is all great info. We are not too far from Hershey. And they are the only candy that I trust to give my son.

Since you all seem to be in the same general area as me, have any of you been to Dutch Wonderland? We'd like to take our kids there this summer.

By Gus Mommy on Jul 15, 2010

Thanks so much!! I'll do that.

By ritpet on Jul 15, 2010

I used to work at Dutch Wonderland:) However that was a good number of years ago. My understanding is that they are now owned by the same people who own Hershey Park. It is geared more toward a younger audiance than Hershey. I would suggest giving them a call and seeing what they say. Good Luck!

By Zachnunes on Jul 21, 2010

Never ever ask "should I go there", always ask "what should I do once I am there."

As you can see through being safe and going informed any trip can be a fun and safe trip.

By ritpet on Nov 13, 2010

The last time we talked with Hershey US the York Peppermint paties, large boxes of plain chocolate bars as well as twizzlers and some other things where on the list of Peanut free item. However!!! I would not go by this. What is made in a factory can change quite quickly so I would call them and ask just to be on the safe side. If you google Hershey's Chocolate you will find contact information.

By Jennifer-is-always-sick on Nov 11, 2010

I believe the plain milk chocolate bars in the massive package are made in a nut free/ peanut free facility. The bars that are sold individually are another story, though. But it's been a long time since I bought hershey's chocolate.

By cervonil on Nov 10, 2010

So which bars did they say were made in a peanut free factory?

By ritpet on Aug 10, 2010

Just got back form Hershey Park. Things were labeled and peanut/nut free food areas were provide. I was pleased to see how many options we had. We also asked at the Hershey Chocolate store about which bars were done in a peanut free factory and the staff provided us with an up to date list. It was a great experience. We will go again.

By HookwormIsHope on Nov 3, 2010

Hershey Park is a destination I want to see...However...Depending on the severity of your child's allergy, I would be more than careful. I was afraid to go to the store these last few days after halloween...let alone going to a place that has constant tourist attraction, a place that distributes peanuts/peanutbutter related products to the public. It's dangerous...very dangerous and nobody wants to wear plastic gloves on vacation!

By ritpet on Nov 9, 2010

Hookwormishope I greatly respect your comment and I agree. However I have found that there is peanuts everywhere. In fact the last time we went to the emergancy room they where being sold as peanut m&m's out of a candy machine. I have found them in my back yard, at the appliance store, in the food court of a peanut free chip companty, etc. It seem's you can not be two careful. My daughter has always been ok when I take her to the grocery store as long as she does not touch or eat peanuts. I also do not sit her beside them or let her touch packages that contain peanut since I feel that what is in a package is likely on the outside as well. I guess what I expereinced at Hershey Park was awareness on behalf of the park and no more likely hood of contact than many other places I have been. Including the shopping carts at the grocery store where they hand out free cookies (not peanut free) to the kids. Did we have our epi pens, yes. Did we know where the closest hospital was, yes. Did we have a plan, yes. Are all of these part of our normal everyday life, yes. We wash hands, have our daughter keep her hands out of her mouth and pay lots of attention like I am sure all of us with peanut allergies or children with peanut allergies do. My case is also a little different. I am originally from that area and have family there. That doesn't change the possiblity of contact with peanuts but it does increase my supports. I am more nervous of taking my child to a place where I feel like I am out of my comfort zone. Like with every place we go when as a person with or with a person who has a peanut allergy, know where you are going, assess the risk, and make sure you are comfortable. I have yet to take my child to a risk free place. It seems peanuts are everywhere. I would like to think my house is peanut free but I never assume it is completly:). Oh, for the day when there is a cure!

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