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After leaving Philadelphia, we headed northwest to Hershey, PA.  Next trip, when the kids are a bit older, we will probably replace some Sesame Place time with Hershey Park time.  But, this time we limited our visit to Chocolate World.  Because we were passing through we limited our visit to the Factory Tour and lunch.

The Factory Tour was what I remembered as a child, though updated a bit (particularly at the end) to include some of the more recently acquired brands.  My husband thought it was too “ride” and not enough”factory”, but the kids all liked it.  Lunch also went well as their food court was reasonably family friendly and the food was well received.  We did a fair amount of looking around in the gift shop area (really unavoidable since its basically the whole main level), but decided against purchasing anything as it would only melt in the car in the summer heat.

After lunch we headed northeast to Ashland, PA for the Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine.  We had no idea what to expect, having found it as a tourist dot in a good pausing location in the Rand McNally map book.  Despite an entirely unassuming arrival, I highly recommend this attraction to anyone passing through.  It was the highlight of the boys’ trip.

The attraction consists of a ride into the coal mine on an actual mine train (watch your head!) followed by a ride through the woods above ground on a steam train.  Both were very informative, but the staff also kept things moving which kept the kids attention.  And, there’s a train-themed park across the street which is great for keeping folks entertained/burning off energy before and after the tour.  There are also bathrooms, picnic tables, and a small cafe (seems to have limited hours).

All in all the boys’ agreed this was the best day of the trip – beating out the amusement park.