Generations of kids love Sesame Street, the long-running television show for pre-schoolers. What fun, then, to visit an entire theme park designed for little kids and themed to their favorite tv world, with beloved characters such as Big Bird, Elmo, and Cookie Monster.
Though the ideal age for kids is two to seven, kids a few years older will probably have lots of fun as well.
Location, and Seasonal Events
The 14-acre Sesame Place -- owned by the same company that brings you SeaWorld and the Busch Gardens theme parks-- is located in Langhorne PA, a 30-minute drive north of Philadelphia. (Five hours south of Boston, and six hours from Pittsburgh.)
Sesame Place is basically a fair-weather theme park, opening in early May and wrapping up in October after the "Count's Halloween Spooktacular". Sesame Place has special celebrations on Memorial Day and the 4th of July.
After Halloween, Sesame Place is open for some Holiday Events and Holiday Dining with Characters; check the Sesame Place site for details.
First thing to know is that Sesame Place has many "wet" water attractions, so dress accordingly! Many guests -- and not just the little ones-- wear bathing suits all day.
A few highlights:
Vapor Trail: this could be your child's "first roller coaster". Riders must be at least three years old; to ride alone, a child has to be 44" tall and seven years old.
Elmos's World: includes the cute "Flying Fish" ride in the photo above
Sunny Day Carousel: kids under 42" need to ride with someone at least 14 years old
Net'n'Climbs: three-stories high, hundreds of feet of net tunnels and climbing fun
Water Attractions: include Little Birds Birdbath, a big shallow pool with fountains, and good place to cool off; raft tubes slides and waterslides; Big Bird's Rambling River 1000-ft. river float. New in 2009: The Count’s Splash Castle, a "multi-level interactive water-play attraction".
Parades and Shows: families can enjoy live shows with audience interaction, and musical parades with favorite characters. Check the calendare for schedules.
Sesame Street Characters: the Sesame Place site shows which characters live at the theme park -- such as Oscar The Grouch, whose bio reads, "Born June 1, Oscar, the resident Grouch on Sesame Street, despises all things nice and sweet. He loves collecting junk, standing in line, arguing, rainy days, and anchovy milk shakes."
Character Meals: kids are thrilled when a favorite character comes by to say hello. Sesame Place has character meals (with big buffets) at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.*
Count's Halloween Spooktacular: Halloween's a major event at Sesame Place. The fun starts on weekends in late September, with special shows, trick-or-treating, hayrides, annual Costume Contest (held close to Halloween), and more. Most rides are running, and a musical parade rolls.
Tips for Visiting:
- Roomy strollers are for rent
- The park may get very crowded on summer weekends
- Bring swim shoes, for all those pools and water attractions
- "Hand-held infants" are allowed on some rides
Finally: if you've got the budget for it, from November to April private birthday parties are available at Sesame Place, with private character interactive shows, games run by Sesame Place staff, and a whole lot more.
This brief profile is meant to introduce this destination to family vacationers; please note that the writer has not visited in person. Always check resort sites for updates.
*Always check the destination web site for updates!