Growing up with Sesame Street
Sesame Place will always hold a special place in my heart. Growing up in the Philippines, I watched Sesame Street as a child and credited that show for the English I acquired prior to going to school. The fun, colorful characters and the repetitive segments engaged me and helped me remember my letter sounds and numbers. I remember laughing at Grover’s antics as a fumbling waiter who can’t seem to get the customer’s orders right. I looked forward to the letter of the day and learning to count to 12 at the ladybugs’ picnic. I remember having Big Bird and Ernie stuffed toys on display, and was very sad when my mom decided to give them away.
Sesame Street: New Generation
I am raising my boys here in America where I have also introduced them to my furry childhood friends. It is amazing that Sesame Street is celebrating 50 years in existence this year with most of the old beloved characters still intact and the introduction of new ones. Though we don’t really see and hear about Harry Monster anymore, and we’ll never have to endure Don Music’s headbanging on the keyboard (“I’ll never get it! Never! Never! Bang!”), we are introduced to sweet Julia (to understand more about children with autism) and Gonger, Cookie Monster’s sidekick, who cooks up a variety of food “ordered in by kids” (to show that Cookie Monster is not just a cookie monster). The newest character is Lily, a character who has experienced homelessness—all these characters are all in keeping with the theme of “kindness”.
Sesame Place: Reasons to Visit
With HBO’s reboot of this children’s classic, many of the new themes have been incorporated this year at Sesame Place, the theme park home of these beloved Jim Henson Muppets.
- New Neighborhood – On its refurbished, revamped neighborhood, the iconic Sesame Street sign stands, along with Mr. Hooper’s store, Big Bird’s nest, and Oscar’s trash can. They’ve also recreated Luis’s Fix-it Shop storefront and the landing that leads to Gordon and Sonia’s apartment—a setting for many songs and sketches.
- New Show – This new neighborhood is also utilized as the setting for a brand new show called “Our Street is Sesame Street” which actually has the puppets peeking out of the buildings, singing and interacting. These previously dormant buildings have certainly found new life as it welcomes a new friend to Sesame Street.
- New Meet and Greets – As one of the newer characters, there are many opportunities to meet Julia at the Elmo & Friends Photobooth. If you missed her and would want to get away from the blistering heat, head into Mr. Hooper’s Emporium, near the carousel, to have storytime with Julia. If you missed her, Cookie Monster does storytime, too
- New Eats – Cookie Monster’s Foodie Truck based on the new HBO reboot is now open for business! And, no, they are not serving gourmet cookies, instead, they have gourmet pretzels, turkey legs, and fruit sushi! You can’t get any healthier than that! If you are trying to save a spot along the parade route, Mr. Hooper’s Grab-‘n-Go may be the way to go! Salads, sandwiches, fruits, and salads, as well as an ice-cold drink, are easy eats as you secure your spot for the Neighborhood Street Party Parade.
- New Ride – When I asked my kids what they enjoyed the most at Sesame Place, they will say, “Oscar’s Wacky Taxi Ride”! The hybrid wooden-steel roller coaster that’s family-friendly, too, is a good introduction to your little ones to the thrills of a roller coaster ride. If you are into bragging rights, you can also say that you’ve ridden in an award-winning Best New Kiddie Ride/Attraction (IAAPA 2018 Brass Ring Award).