Sesame Place is the official Sesame Street amusement park, located at 100 Sesame Road in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. First opening in 1980, the park is operated by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment and is developed in cooperation with Children's Television Workshop and all the rides, shows and shops are Sesame-themed. The 16-acre park includes water rides and roller coasters, and "interactive" attractions. Big Bird, Elmo, Cookie Monster and the other Sesame Street characters appear in stage shows and as walk-around characters. Special events, including appearances by the Sesame Street cast, are held at the park as well.
Currently the park currently encompasses 16 acres, employs a staff of over 1,500 and is home to more than 30 rides, shows and attractions. However, the park began in 1980 as a small 3-acre theme park with just over 100 staff and very little attractions. The original park featured play areas and large computer labs where visitors could play educational video games and use basic art programs.
Robert J. Caruso, executive vice president and general manager of Sesame Place, was quoted in 2005, saying:
|“||It was important for us to understand the trends of the theme park industry and introduce innovative additions that reflected the Sesame Street brand. When Sesame Place first opened there were no water rides. Sesame Neighborhood, the replica of Sesame Street, was only a concept. Even the characters weren't here until three years later. In fact, I remember Grover making a grand entrance by helicopter!||”|
Over the years, water rides were added to the park, the first being Slippery Slopes. The park grew as a water park, adding more than 15 water rides, slide, playgrounds and pools. A large and elaborate lazy river, called Big Bird's Rambling River, opened in 1990. Twiddlebug Land's Sky Splash, the park's biggest water slide, opened in 1995.
In 1997, the park began investing in more "dry" rides. Although the park had several playgrounds and stage shows, the park was primarily a water park. In 1998 the park opened Vapor Trail, a Super Grover-themed roller coaster. Big Bird's Balloon Race and Grover's World Twirl, two other dry rides were added in 2002. In 2006, the park opened Elmo's World, a new area themed around the Sesame Street segment of the same name. Elmo's World opened with three new rides.
"Neighborhood Street Party" is a choreographed musical parade featuring Sesame Street characters on floats and giant balloons, replacing "The Rock Around the Block Parade". The parade is held twice a day at the park. Additionally, new live stage shows have been introduced repeatedly throughout the years; including the currently running "Elmo Rocks!", "Abby Cadabby's Treasure Hunt", and "Elmo's World Live!".
Walk Around Characters
The park is home to 15 characters from Sesame Street that appear in shows and parades. Many also appear for photo opportunities, special events and wander the park and greet guests. The characters appear in different outfits and attire depending on the situation, including formalwear, beachwear, safari attire, hipster threads or just their traditional garb.
Characters featured in the park include:
- Abby Cadabby (2007 on), Baby Bear, Bert (debut pre-1988), Big Bird (debut pre-1988), Cookie Monster (debut pre-1988), Count Von Count, Elmo, Ernie (debut pre-1988), Grover (1988 on), Jackman Wolf, Murray Monster (2011 on), Oscar the Grouch (1994 on), Prairie Dawn (1988 on), Rosita (1994 on), Telly Monster (1994 on) and Zoe (1996 on). The Honkers (debut pre-1988) also appeared at one point.
- Brian Henson and Bill Barretta both worked at the park in 1980. Henson often jokes that the two met while cleaning toilets.
- Local Boy Scout council, Bucks County Council, issued a Sesame Place council strip as part of their uniform in honor of the area landmark. Several variations of this council strip and an Order of the Arrow lodge patch were also created for the 2005 National Boy Scout Jamboree.
- An episode of reality show Jon and Kate Plus 8 was filmed at the park, as was an episode of Dinner Impossible.
- Sesame Place Attractions
- Sesame Place stage shows
- Sesame Place in Texas, active from 1982-1984
- Tokyo Sesame Place, Sesame Place theme park in Tokyo, Japan
- Parque Plaza Sesamo, theme park based on Plaza Sésamo in Monterrey, Mexico
- ↑ John Tartaglia Bio
- ↑ Plume, Ken.Interview with Ken Plume, August 2000
- ↑ Publicity shot, Facebook fan page for Sesame Place