Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street doesn’t need to be rhetorical question in your house. We can tell you exactly how to get there, and good news: this magical theme park is a mere 90 minute drive from the Big Apple. We’ve got all the best tips on what to ride, what to bring, where to eat and more!
photo: Bird and Elmo via Sesame Street
Sesame Place wasn’t created for adults, it is clearly a preschooler’s paradise. From the rides to the food and everything in between, this park was designed to entertain the smallest of babies while still thrilling a six year old. The park covers over 14-acres filled with nine different water attractions and eleven rides.
Walk through the Sesame Place arch and you’re transported to a sunny neighborhood — which, yes, may bear some resemblance (perhaps a tad more upbeat) to your own. Take a stroll down a replica of Sesame Street, watch one of the two daily neighborhood parades, dine with the characters and catch a live show. And all along the way keep your eyes peeled because you may just happen upon a local resident of Sesame Street.
Ticket prices start at $45/person a day (kids under 2 are free). If you’re going to stay a few days or think you’ll be back that same season, for an extra 10 bucks ($55/person), you can buy an Any Day ticket that is valid for two visits. Insider tip: Sesame Places tixs with deep discounts pop up on Groupon frequently so make sure to set up an alert if you’re planning trip!
photo: Sesame Place entrance via Sesame Place
The park officially opens for the season Labor Day weekend and stays open daily through the first week in September (water attractions don’t open until Memorial Day weekend). From September through October the park offers weekend hours, and in November and December check the calendar for special holiday events and hours. The park closes down for the season in January.
Rides on Dry Land
Whether you have a little daredevil on your hands or a more hesitant first time rider, the ride selection is sure to keep your whole family busy. All the rides showcase Sesame Street’s iconic characters from Oscar to Cookie, and of course the big star of the toddler demo, Elmo.
Go for a spin on the Sunny Day Carousel, sail the high “C’s” with Captain Cookie, soar through the air on Elmo’s Cloud Chaser or spin yourself silly on the Monster Mix-Up. This park knows its audience, and your little ones can go on just about every ride. The younger/shorter kiddos just need to be accompanied by an adult.
If your little monster has a real need for speed, (and is at least 3 years old), buckle up and hit the Vapor Trail. Trust us, this is not some kiddie version of a roller coaster, this is the real deal.
photo: Elmo’s Flyin’ Fish via Caitlin Dowling
Ways to Get Wet
For those hot summer days there are an impressive amount of ways to cool off at the park, so make sure to pack your swimsuits and some towels! (There are lockers in a few different areas of the park so you can stash your stuff and don’t have to lug everything around all day)
photo: Count’s Splash Castle via Caitlin Dowling
Sesame has two different splash pools with lots of water features for little muppets of all ages to play in. The most impressive is The Count’s Splash Castle, which boasts over 90 play elements, including a 1,000-gallon 8-ft. tipping bucket that continuously fills and dumps on the crowd below. There are multiple water slides, including a small one that even the littlest thrill seekers can ride alongside their parents.
Looking to get in a little more action while getting wet? Make a splash on Bert and Ernie’s Slip and Slide, ride a giant inner tube as a family on the Sky Splash waterslide, or hop on a double raft and twist and turn down water chutes on the Sesame Streak.
And if you really just want to relax and cool down, go for a ride on Big Bird’s Rambling River, a 1000-foot-long waterway through Sesame Island; it’s a great way to see the park and plan out your next moves, with the added bonus of staying cool.
Even More Fun
As if the rides and water attractions are not enough to keep visitors busy, Sesame Place also provides entertainment. Just about every day there are two Neighborhood Parades in which Elmo, Abby, the Count, Cookie and more, march and dance down Main Street accompanied by giant floats. Get a front row seat and your little muppets might even get pulled in to be part of the dance party. (Check the calendar for specific parade times during your visit.)
photo: Neighborhood Street Parade via Sesame Place
In addition to the parade, visitors can take in three different live shows throughout the day: Elmo the Musical, Let’s Play Together and the Magic of Art starring Abby Cadabby. All are great opportunities to see the characters up close, (think an intimate version of “Sesame Street Live”) and also provide a chance to get out of the sun and into the A/C for a bit.
photo: Elmo and Friends Lunch via Caitlin Dowling
Dine with the Stars
For the real “wow” factor, grab breakfast, lunch or dinner with Elmo and friends or enjoy Big Bird’s Backyard BBQ. Both require reservations and fill up fast, so be sure to book in advance before you arrive. The buffet spread is impressive, with kid favorites as well as delicious options for parents. There’s even an entire dessert buffet filled with ice cream, cake, cookies and cupcakes — the kids will be in heaven.
Zoe, Bert, Ernie and Cookie Monster work the room during mealtime, visiting all of the tables for pics and furry hugs, while superstar Elmo sets up shop for photo ops at his own special location. A professional photographer will capture the moment for you if you want the whole family in the pic, or you can use your own camera.
The meal quickly turns into an all inclusive dance party where your kiddos have the chance to show their favorite characters their best dance moves and get in some extra hugs.
photo: Elmo and Friends Lunch via Caitlin Dowling
For a Quick Bite
In addition to the more elaborate meals with muppets, you’ll find food stands, a cafeteria style restaurant, as well as two counter-style eateries with outdoor seating. And don’t worry, Cookie Monster wouldn’t allow Sesame to skip out on the desserts; Swing by Cookie’s Cafe for a giant chocolate chip cookie the size of your child or a signature blue cupcake.
If you’re really just having too much fun to slow down, consider ordering an Elmo Lunch Box online before you get to the park (both adult and kid options are available). You can pick up your lunches when you arrive and eat them on the go without wasting a precious minute.
Roll Like a VIP
If you’re willing to fork over some extra cash, there are lots of ways to upgrade your visit at the park. Plan on going on a busier weekend? Consider splurging on Abby’s Magic Queue. You and your little monsters can skip the long lines at the rides and shows.
If you’re looking to get in some extra face time with the characters, you can book an exclusive meet and greet for up to six people with Elmo, Cookie and the dancing chickens after the Elmo the Musical show.
Or go BIG and rent a cabana for the day. While they don’t come cheap, there are lots of perks. Not only will you get guaranteed shady seating in a packed water area, but characters will also swing by to personally say hello. Your guests will each get to bring home a souvenir beach towel.
Where to Stay
While you can absolutely make this visit a day trip, a family sleepover might make the adventure that much more special. Rates start at around $120/night but can go as high as $300/night depending on how busy of a weekend you choose.
If convenience is top on your priority list, The Marriott Springhill Suites is literally next door to the park with its own walkway right to the entrance. Park your car at the hotel and you won’t need it again until you leave. While the hotel does not have an actual restaurant, it do offer free breakfast every morning in the lobby with waffles, eggs, cereal, bagels and coffee bar. On the weekends you will even see a balloon artist roaming the room making the kids Elmo and Cookie hats. A play room and indoor pool round out this kid-friendly hotel.
Just across the street is the Sheraton Bucks County, another great option. Despite the location, you probably won’t want to walk to the park from this hotel, it’s a busy street to cross. But the hotel offers a free shuttle service that will have you at the park in minutes. And while there’s plenty to eat at Sesame, if you’re looking to come back and relax at your hotel over a nice meal and a drink (you’ve been warned: Sesame Place is a dry amusement park) unlike the Marriott, the Sheraton has a full restaurant and room service.
A little further down the street, 1/4 mile to be exact, is the Holiday Inn Express. This hotel offers a complimentary shuttle service to the park as well as breakfast, but the big draw here is the outdoor pool. If you want to come back from a day in the park and take a refreshing swim, this is the place for you.
Be sure to compare rates with Sesame’s official site. They offer a variety of package deal options with partner hotels. If you book through them you can great perks like free character dining for your kids, discounts on add ons and cheaper park tickets.
Fun Beyond the Street
If you’re staying over in the area there are plenty of other things to explore too, so make a weekend of your visit.
Just a little over an hour away (although if you make the trip it will feel like you’ve time traveled) is the town of Strasburg, which is located in Amish Country. This old town also happens to be a favorite visit for train lovers. Hop aboard one of the oldest turn-of-the-century steam trains on the Strasburg Rail Road and visit Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.
photo: Strasburg Railroad via Flickr
History buffs should note that Philadelphia is only 30 minutes south of Sesame Place. Pay this historic city a visit and check out the Liberty Bell, Rocky’s famous steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and of course, grab a cheesesteak!
100 Sesame Rd.
Have you visited Sesame Place? Tell us about your visit in the comments below!