While the Pretzel and Gold Nugget were Hershey’s only dark rides, there were two walkthrough funhouses when I was young: Laugh Land and Fun Land. Built by Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1938 next to Spring Creek and originally called Death Valley, the funhouse was renovated into Laugh Land in 1940. It had a multicolored facade, a Laffing Sal above the entrance and an open viewing window for patrons progressing through the fun house. This disorientating, narrow-walled walkthrough was very dark with a gradual incline at the beginning that led to a slanted room. A guided railing led guests zig zagging through the dimly-lit room. There were very few operating stunts.

I’ve attached a photo of a caveman sporting a knife. The blackened passageway led to the outside viewing balcony. You would then return briefly to the darkened corridor that eventually ended at the magic carpet. Here you were seated by an attendant two or three across on a large padded cushion. Before you was a wide descending conveyor belt. The attendant would activate a switch and the cushion would suddenly drop its occupants onto the moving conveyor belt. You were carried in an undulating fashion down the corridor to the exit. There were persistent rumors that female patrons were being molested as they proceeded through Laugh Land, the stunts and building fell into disrepair and Laugh Land closed in 1965.

Hershey’s other walkthrough was Fun Land, situated on the southern hill of the park near the entrance to the zoo. In its day this must have been a landmark funhouse where you could literally spend hours. It was spacious, well-lit and deemed ‘safer’ than Laugh Land. Also designed by PTC, Fun Land opened in 1946. It was a two-story white building with a second floor open balcony. To the left of the entrance was a laughing clown, though once again I found it anything but amusing. The first floor was a vast complex of interactive gimmicks, all done in highly polished oak. Upon entering patrons maneuvered across floorboards that shifted back and forth in opposing directions, camelback floor boards that buckled up and down and floor sections that rattled and vibrated madly beneath your feet. There were also the classic air holes to blow up the skirts of unsuspecting ladies, two large revolving barrels, two spinning floor discs that held as many as ten people each and a large bowl-shaped spinning wooden tub. And all of this was on the first floor alone! Today the expense of insurance liability for injuries on these devices would be prohibitive.

A staircase led to the second floor. Here was a darkened section with a walkway bridge that passed through an enormous revolving barrel. Upon exiting this, there was a series of about 20 traditional funhouse distortion mirrors that stretched around the perimeter of the room. It was common to sample and pose and perform in front of every one of the mirrors. Another route led to an outdoor balcony and a nice view overlooking the park. Here guests had to traverse a pool of water by carefully stepping on tilting toad stool-type pedestals, or risk getting a wet foot! Fun Land remained until 1972 when Hershey transitioned into a theme park.