Those who grew up watching Sesame Street on television are certainly familiar with its main muppet characters like Ernie and Bert, Big Bird, Elmo, Cookie Monster, Grover, The Count, and Oscar the Grouch.
These muppets interacted with people in a neighborhood setting to educate and entertain children and adults alike. Who could forget the lyrics of the theme song that often resonates in the subconscious? “Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?”
The popularity of the long-running educational TV show eventually set off the creation of a theme park called Sesame Place in the outskirts in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, USA. The children’s TV program, Sesame Street, is now on its 47th year.
Occupying more than five hectares, the theme park largely appeals to young children and features different kinds of rides, live musical shows and 26 fun attractions, including nine water park attractions. Open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., it is also among the favorite summer destinations.
Like other theme parks, Sesame Place also has several dining areas, game areas as well as shopping and souvenir shops. The entrance arch with the image of Big Bird greets guests as they come in, leading them inside the park simulating a neighborhood layout. Around the park, the bright fresh flowers of many colors that bloomed in spring provide a cheerful accent to the wide green spaces.
It also looked as if Edward Scissorhands swept through the park as lush bushes and shrubs were deftly sheared or trimmed in the form of Elmo and other Sesame Street characters.
In summer, it is common to see adults and children in their bathing suits already slathering sunblock lotion on their bodies in the parking lot. This meant they were headed to the water park to cool off.
Walking around the park sparked nostalgic feelings of childhood. I was hoping to hear the TV show’s theme song over the audio speakers all over the park. Alas, it was not played. Instead, the songs, albeit upbeat, were of a contemporary vibe appealing to a new generation of viewers.
Nonetheless, the sight of Ernie and Bert, Elmo, Abby Cadabby and other muppet characters walking around Sesame Place, mingling with visitors especially children and obliging to requests for photos make some scenes in your childhood real.
The faces of the guests, especially children, light up, enthralled that the endearing muppets walk with them and mingle with them in the park. The lines for photo opportunities are long.
In the afternoon, there are two schedules of the parade–or street party as they like to call it–where the muppets ride on floats, wave to guests as dancers swayed, skipped and strut on the streets to the new upbeat songs of Sesame Street. Once in awhile, some muppets join in the street dance. The theme park closes shortly after the parade.
Interestingly, a piece of Sesame Place–a small water attraction set against a make-believe royal castle–also delights young children at the vastly popular theme park Busch Gardens in Virginia.
There, Elmo and other muppets also hold a musical show that draws children to dance as well.
Highly regarded as a pioneer in children’s educational TV series with widespread influence, the award-winning Sesame Street, is produced in the United States by Sesame Workshop, formerly known as the Children’s Television Workshop.
Using a combination of live actors, muppets and animation to educate children, the TV show is aired over the Yey channel in the Philippines with ABS-CBN as the broadcast partner of Sesame Street here, according to sesameworkshop.org.