On the weekend between the How conference and vacation, we went to Sesame Place, as I mentioned in my last post. It's probably not the kind of place you want to take a date, but for a family with young kids that are generally too small for conventional rides at big theme parks, this is the ultimate in fun theme park. Our plan was to wake up Saturday morning, have breakfast, etc. then head up to the park. And it actually worked out that way for a change. ;-)
We got on the road and beach traffic in Delaware was pretty heavy, so we slugged through that, and when we got to Philadelphia, the traffic wasn't too bad until we got near downtown. Then it really slowed down badly. A truck had broken down in the left lane. There is only a minimal shoulder in that part of the road so he couldn't pull off out of the way of traffic. He was pushing the truck by himself. I'm not sure where he was going because the shoulder didn't widen for a long time, but he was doing it. After that the traffic was more like what we expected. All in all, a 2.25 hour trip took about 4 to complete.
So we checked into the hotel, headed over to Sesame Place. It was overcast and looked threatening, but we gave it a shot. We parked in the Ernie lot, in the red section and made our way in.
Here's the entrance (click any image to enlarge):
You go through this and across a large plaza before you get to the actual gate to the park. We brought a bunch of water and some snacks because we had heard that the food was really expensive at the park, and not the greatest quality. But when we got to the gate, the rolling cooler we brought was just barely too big and they wouldn't let us in with it. So I went back to Ernie lot red section and switched the stuff out to a smaller cooler we brought (thank goodness). Then I headed back again. This gave the weather a chance to get that much more threatening.
But we went in, anyway. We had a two-day pass, so we figured we had nothing to lose, we could just come back the next day for anything we missed that day. Here is the inside gate:
As we made our first few steps through the gate, of course it started to rain. It was light and we were in a park where half the rides have large amounts of water associated with them, we thought we'd be Ok, at least for a while. We made our way in and the first place we came to was Ernie's WaterWorks. Somehow, we missed the very front section entrance with the big waterslides. But anyway, the waterworks was great fun for ducks and fish.
You have to go through the Good Ship Sesame to get to the waterworks.
A wide shot of the main section of the thing:
The kids had a blast running through the multi-directional deluge. They really did it right. Lots of water, lots of color and they incorporated the safety aspects of it (mainly non-slip material on the ground) into the design. It all fit nicely. Well, as the kids were having fun, an official looking teenager came through saying that the works was closed because of lightning. Dang it. So we left that area and as we started to explore the drier attractions, the heavens opened. We sought shelter in a shop nearby, hoping to wait the storm out, but the rain only got heavier.
Fortunately, they gave us a "Sunny Day Pass". We can head up there again some time without paying more. We had dinner and since we didn't have much else to do, went to a local mall to walk around for a bit before going back to the hotel and turning in.
The next day was also overcast, but brighter. It rained a little, but not nearly like the day before. So it worked out Ok. We got there at around 10 am when it opened. Out in the plaza between the entrance and ticket gate are these squares on the ground with various characters handprints in them.
Once you make it through the ticket gate, there's a garden in the middle of another plaza and it has these horticultural creations, kinda cool.
The kids had to hit Ernie's WaterWorks, first of course because they thought that's all the park was. But we did eventually get them to move on to other areas. While we were at the waterworks, we noticed these guys in the lazy river:
But next was the big event. That which made the trip worthwhile for my son and me. He had never been on something like this before, and before this day, was pretty much petrified of any sort of ride that moved on it's own. Even the little quarter rides at the mall or Toys R Us, he would sit in them, but don't you dare put a quarter in it and make it move. So, I was worried that I might scare the bejeezus out of him to go down a waterslide. A big waterslide. But he wanted to. I thought he might freak out mid-slide and try to get out, but blessedly no, he had an absolute blast! I think he was nervous as anything at the top, but once we got going and he knew I was with him the whole way, he started shrieking in delight.
He loved it so much, we rode it again immediately! Then we rode again later. So much for my concerns. However, they weren't completely unfounded, we tried to get him to go on the kiddie waterslide by himself. He was willing, but as soon as he fell through the ring, that was it, no go. He needed daddy to be there and daddies weren't allowed on that slide.
Following that, we played in some shallow pools that spurted water every which way, icluding one overseen by Bert and Ernie (sorry for the Ernie groove here, it's not intentional):
Then we moved on to our first dry event. My son's grandparents were with us and took him on the teacups. Again, we figured he'd freak, but he was a trooper and even had fun, though his cousin wouldn't let him spin the cup as much as he wanted.
From there, we spotted where the characters come to visit and take photos. We got a picture with Big Bird which was cute, but this one of Elmo gives you an idea of what the place is like.
Then we went to "Cookie Mountain". The object is to use the handles to climb to the top, then have fun sliding on your butt to the bottom of the cookie monster blue mountain.
Next was the rope tunnels. I had to be aboard for this one as well for my son to do it. Let's just say that those things aren't built for 6' tall 250 lb guys, ok? My weight wasn't really the issue, height was. To get through the thing, I had to virtually put my head just over my knees and navigate, watching my son sail through. I was exhausted after we were done, my thighs were killing me. But we made it through the whole thing, and I believe my son was equally tired afterward. In the photo below, we were at least 30 feet off the ground.
After this we realized that we needed to move to another part of the park to get in place for the parade. We had plenty of time, so we took a ride on the lazy river, which was fun. It has a lot of waterfalls and various other water obstacles to get through. On a hot day, it would have been nice and refreshing. But it was merely on the warm side of room temperature that day. At this point the splashing water was getting pretty cold!
We then went to see the parade. I took a bunch of photos, but these two were best. Watch Bert boogie, but he couldn't hold a candle to the count. The count could dance
and jump and touch his toes in midair over most of the kids heads. It was impressive. Maybe being part bat had something to do with it. I dunno. I can easily picture a certain newlywed who used to work here doing that kind of move...
That was cool, but my son thought that the lazy river was cooler, and wanted to go back to that. So we did, and rode around twice. He's in the yellow life preserver that's way too big (in case you couldn't tell by the fact that he's on my lap and we're waving. The oversized preserver is my fault, but it looked ok when we were putting it on, honest!) Also note the duck wondering just how mad the world has gone, people are floating and swimming in the water and the ducks and fish are not (see below).
Somewhere along the line, I snapped this, just a decoration on the facade of the fish market, but I thought it neat.
Lastly, I have to give Mrs. Dave credit for this one, because while I was on said lazy river, she snapped this shot of my niece playing once again at the WaterWorks.
After my son and I got out of the lazy river, he played for a few minutes in the waterworks, too. I went in to see what my niece was doing, when he came over and said "Daddy, would you come over and..." I couldn't hear the last part. I got closer and he said again "Daddy, would you..." then he was overcome with shivering, so I picked him up and took him out to warm up and dry off. He was shaking so badly. I wrapped him in a dry towel and held him close to get warm. He said he didn't want to dry off half-heartedly, and didn't really put up much fight as we left the park. He had a great time and was thoroughly exhausted.
But if you have little ones and want to go to a great place that is fun for the kids, but also interesting to the parents, go to Sesame Place. You won't regret it. It's sparkling-ly clean, well laid out and just altogether done right. There were many guys there who probably shouldn't have had their shirts off, but that's the only real complaint I can think of. I'd definitely go back again without hesitation.