Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?
Starting March 26, you’ll be able to get to Sesame Street at a new theme park in California called Sesame Place San Diego. Sesame Place San Diego is themed to the educational award-winning TV series, Sesame Street, which has been airing since 1969 with more than 2,500 episodes.
Sesame Street Theme Park
Sesame Place San Diego is the work of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment and Sesame Workshop. It is the fourth Sesame Street-themed park to be built. The first Sesame Place opened near Philadelphia, PA in 1980 where it has grown from 3 acres to 14 acres. The next two opened in Texas (1982) and Tokyo, Japan (1990), but both eventually closed down.
Sesame Place San Diego, a 17-acre park, features a mix of 18 water rides, dry rides, and themed attractions. In addition, there is a Sesame Street Party Parade and a replica of the Sesame Street Neighborhood set. Guests will be able to interact with several popular Sesame Street characters including Big Bird, Elmo, Cookie Monster, Cadabby, Oscar the Grouch, Grover, Zoe, Bert & Ernie, Rosita, Count von Count, and Telly Monster.
This is the first theme park opened by SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment since 2013. SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment holds an exclusive license from Sesame Workshop for the creation of Sesame Street theme parks.
Guests who buy season passes for Sesame Place San Diego prior to March 26 will pay $129 for unlimited visits from March 26 through January 2, 2023. Season pass holders can also add a SeaWorld season pass for an additional $84.
Sesame Place San Diego is a Certified Autism Center. Team members have undergone training teaching them the skills, patience, knowledge, and temperament for catering to children with autism or special needs.
Sesame Place San Diego History
In 2012, SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment purchased a water park in San Diego, Knott’s Soak City U.S.A., from Cedar Fair. The park was refurbished and renamed Aquatica San Diego.
In 2017, SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment announced that it would be building a Sesame Place theme park in San Diego. Later it was announced that the park would replace Aquatica San Diego, but would retain the majority of water rides, all rethemed to Sesame Street. In addition, it was announced that several dry rides would be added to the park.
In October 2019, SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment announced the new Sesame Place theme park with a planned opening in early 2021. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the opening was later pushed to March 2022.
Sesame Street History
In 1996, Joan Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morrisett started having discussions about a new series of shows that could turn television into something educational for kids versus addictive. After two years of research, the Children’s Television Workshop was born. Sesame Street was created from this as an education series containing short segments, humor, and a format to hold the attention of kids, a key to being able to educate them.
Cooney, who became the first producer of the show, was a strong believer in following the research they had learned. And it paid off.
On November 10, 1969, the first episode of Sesame Street aired on PBS and it was an instant hit with kids. Sesame Street was envisioned as a fictional neighborhood in New York and included diverse characters.
One of the aspects of the show that children really enjoyed was the Muppets. The Muppets had been created by Jim Henson at the request of Cooney. Muppets that were part of Sesame Street from the first episode included Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, Bert and Ernie, Cookie Monster, and Kermit the Frog. Human characters from the very beginning included Gordon, Susan Bob, Buddy and Jim, Jennie, and Mr. Hooper.
Throughout the years the show continued to evolve and would start to deal more with real-life issues that kids faced. Experiences of cast and crew were also written into the series, one of the biggest being the death of Will Lee. Lee played Mr. Hooper on Sesame Street from the very first episode until he passed in 1982.
First runs of Sesame Street continued on PBS until 2015. In order to raise money to continue with the Sesame Street series and expand its episodes, an agreement was reached with HBO to give them the first airing rights. PBS would then be able to air the same episodes after a nine-month period. That arrangement continues today.