We rarely allow our son to watch television. The first show he watched, at age 3, was Sesame Street. Nearly a year later, Sesame Street is the only show he watches on occasion. Naturally, it made sense for our family, to take our son on a recent adventure to the Promised Land for fans of Big Bird and Co. — the Sesame Place amusement park.
Watching our son enjoy Sesame Place was a memorable parenting experience that I will cherish for a very long time. Think about it: A magical place with so many characters that our son considers his “friends” (Big Bird, Abby Cadabby, Elmo, Bert and Ernie, Telly, The Count, Grover, etc.) are walking around the theme park giving hugs and kisses, dancing down the street in the parade, and sitting at the dinner table with you while you eat. I would guess that it was my son’s No. 1 or 2 favorite experience of his short four-year existence. Pretty amazing!
Our Sesame Place review
For NYC parents, Sesame Place is a short 90-minute drive to Langhorne, Penn., — we didn’t even have to make a pit stop. One helpful tip — visit on a weekday to avoid the weekend crowds. Also, we decided to pack everything into one day (which is absolutely doable) to avoid hotel costs.
Rides & shows
To do so, we arrived when the gates opened at 10 a.m. In the cooler morning hours, we caught a few shows (“Elmo Rocks” was amazing for parents and kids alike) and the non-water rides. “Flying Fish,” “Ernie’s Bed Bounce,” and “Big Bird’s Balloon Race” were the ones we went on more than once. The theme park is ideal for children age 7 and under. At age 4, our son was the perfect height/age to enjoy some attractions on his own as well as with family. The “nets and climbs” hooked our little guy for nearly an hour before we decided to break for lunch.
While there’s plenty of affordable lunch options on property, we noticed several families packed coolers for picnic lunches. That might work best for us on our next visit. To escape the heat, we enjoyed hamburgers in the air conditioned space in the off-the-beaten path, Cookie’s Cafe.
Water rides and fun
After lunch, we donned our swim gear and headed toward the numerous water attractions. We started with “The Count’s Splash Castle.” You can’t escape “Count’s” without getting soaked so we stayed there for a while. We tested all of the unique water features, barreled down the water slides, and got splashed by the enormous bucket that pours hundreds of gallons of water on all of us “innocent bystanders.” Next, we slowed things down a bit as we navigated along “Big Bird’s (Lazy) Rambling River.” Our family enjoyed this ride the most. Our son was able to sit in his own raft (carefully guarded by me in the neighboring raft) so he could prepare for the waterfalls, spraying geysers and surprises around each turn. My wife and I enjoyed the quiet & relaxing experience as we slowly cruised around the river a couple of times.
Next, was the 3 p.m. Sesame Place “Neighborhood Street Party” Parade (there is a night-time parade at 9 p.m. as well). We were told this is a must-see. So, we set up our towels a few minutes early along a narrow piece of shady street. Our son sat mesmerized the entire time! ALL of his favorite Sesame Street characters marched, sang, and danced past us. Sitting just a few feet away from all of the action was thrilling enough – but, the icing on the cake came when Ernie grabbed our son’s hand and literally pulled him into the parade (see pic)!
Dinner with Elmo
After tubing down “Slimey’s Chutes” a few times, we dried off and changed for the most entertaining part of the day: dinner with Elmo & Friends. (This is also available for breakfast & lunch as well).
Two years ago, we tried a similar experience at Disney. That felt like an overcrowded factory where we saw the characters for a measly few minutes during our two-hour dinner. We were disappointed! But not at Sesame Place!
They do the main event the right way! The characters are everywhere during your meal, posing for as many pictures as you’d like, giving lots of love, patience and hugs. Some even stopped by our table, sat down and joined us for a few minutes (check out the picture below of Count!).
Bottom line — the character dining experience was phenomenal. Having my son watch Cookie Monster trying to gobble up the all of the cookies on the dessert table was priceless.
With a camera full of photos from our experience, and our son changed into his pajamas, we hit the road home at 7:30 p.m. Within five minutes of the drive home, our son was in the backseat in dreamland while my wife and I were reflecting on the wonderful memories from the day at Sesame Place. We can’t wait to go back!
Disclosure: My family was provided with complimentary admission to Sesame Place to write this review. The opinions expressed in this review are, as always, authentic and entirely my own.