Sesame Place® Opens First Certified Autism Center Theme Park
By Derek Dunston
On November 10th of 1969, public television broadcasts graced the masses with history’s most beloved place for children; a place where only the most magical, fantastic things can happen and we can learn and love together – Sesame Street. Forty-nine seasons and 4,481 episodes and counting, Sesame Street has taught 7 million children, globally, each day, for forty-nine years; how to read, count and treat our friends no matter their differences or backgrounds. All of my friends, myself, my wife and child, all have grown up on this magical street, where anything can happen. But of any impact made to the community, Sesame street has done more for the young neurodiverse community exposed to media, than perhaps any other media to date. But Sesame street has taken an extra step forward, by using the name of their thirty-eight year old jewel, Sesame Place®, in opening the first theme park to be registered as a certified autism center.
Partnering up with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES), Sesame Place® is owned and operated by Seaworld Entertainment, licensed by Sesame Workshop, and officially became the first theme park in the world to be designated as a Certified Autism Center (CAC). All of this theme park’s team members have been given specialized training, focused on sensory awareness, motor skills, autism overview, program development, social skills, communication, environment, and emotional awareness.
There are currently over sixteen thrilling kid-friendly rides. Is your kid looking for adrenaline? Strap them into a UFO for “Blast Off”, then head over to ‘Oscar’s Wacky Taxi Rollercoaster’, or even the ‘Vapor Trail’.Need a quiet room to privately take a break? Two rooms are built outside of Big Bird’s Rambling River, just in case. “What if I just want a quick break and not a full quiet room?” Sesame Place® has thought of everything their thrill seekers and break takers need to have a fun time, no matter the accommodation needed.
Cool down on a hot day with nine family-friendly water rides. Come slide through the day with “Bert and Ernie’s Slip n’ Slide”, “Slimey’s Chutes” or the “Slippery Slopes”. You can even ride through the crowd favorite, “Sky Splash” on an 8 ft rubber ducky! Make a real splash by trying out the 10,000 sq. ft. wave pool, “Teeny Tiny Tidal Wave”, brave the “Sesame Streak” or let the youngsters loose in “Ernie’s Waterworks” and “The Count’s Splash Castle”. Both kids and parents can take it easy on the park’s lazy river, “Big Bird’s Rambling River”. One way or another, if you’re looking to get wet, Sesame Place® is just the thing!
With three live Sesame Place® shows and a daily parade, there’s never a dull moment at this amazing park. Watch Sesame Street put on a show with ‘Elmo the Musical – Live!”, “Our Street is Sesame Street” or this spring’s newest addition, “Sesame Street Neighborhood”. Learn with Abby Cadabby about “The Magic of Art”, or just get down with the neighborhood for their daily block party, the “Neighborhood Street Party Parade”. Have some of our favorite neighborhood friends dine with your child, giving an extra sense of how special this place really is.
Looking for a holiday getaway? Celebrate Halloween, Christmas and Easter with the Sesame Street gang for a variety of fun events and shows! For Halloween, the count’s ‘not-too-spooky’ Halloween Spooktacular, features live shows such as “Elmo the Musical Live Halloween”, “Who said Boo?!”, “The Not-Too-Spooky Howl-O-ween Radio Show”, coupled with a great Halloween light show in the evening! Get into the christmas spirit with their “Merry Marketplace”, “Christmas Storytime”, “Santa’s Furry Workshop”, and even a meet-and-greet with the iconic christmas characters, Rudolph the red nosed reindeer, with his two closest friends, Clarice and Bumble! Easter will egg you on for “Elmo’s Eggstravaganza”, where you can dine and meet Elmo in his Easter best!
Sesame Place® has even created a sensory guide for parents to plan activities in a way that accommodates for their child’s specific needs, explaining in detail which senses are being stimulated by each attraction available. “It is our goal to provide every family with an enjoyable and memorable visit to Sesame Place, and we are proud to offer specialized services to guests with autism and other special needs.” Opening weekend is May 4th and 5th, offering great discounts and payment plans, and has hotel packages available for the variety of official or partner hotels to the park. Sesame Place® is conveniently located in Langhorne, Pennsylvania just thirty minutes north of Philadelphia, ninety minutes south of New York City and just an hour west of New Jersey shore points. For more information, visit their official website https://sesameplace.com/philadelphia/, or contact them through their customer service line, 1-215-702-ELMO.
Derek Dunston has worked in children’s entertainment for several years, through balloon art, magic, music, and educational games. He is working towards his B.A.S. in Secondary Mathematics grades 6-12 and has served Broward County Public Schools as a substitute teacher for three years. He plans to dedicate his life to child honoring and promoting inclusive/multicultural practices to benefit future communities in the fields of education and children’s entertainment.