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The theme park's old logo, used from 1980 to 2014.

Jim Henson at Sesame Place

Jim Henson getting a tour of the construction of Sesame Place in January 1980

Sesame Place - Balloons
Sesameplace emplyee nametag

Formal employee nametag

Sesame Place is the official Sesame Street theme park located at 100 Sesame Road in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. First opening on July 30, 1980,[1] the park is operated by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment and is developed in cooperation with Sesame Workshop. The 16-acre park consists of water attractions, rides, shows and interactive entertainment, along with walk-around versions of the Sesame Street Muppets. Special events, including appearances by the Sesame Street cast, are held at the park as well.

A spin-off theme park operated briefly in Texas from 1982 to 1984. Another spin-off in Monterrey, Mexico, Parque Plaza Sésamo, featured the characters from the Mexican co-production Plaza Sésamo. This park operated from 1995 until 2022, when it rebranded as "Parque Fiesta Aventuras" and removed the Sesame characters from its theming.

A new park in California, Sesame Place San Diego, opened in 2022.


Currently the park encompasses 16 acres, employs a staff of over 1,500 and is home to more than 30 rides, shows and attractions. However, the park began in 1980 as a small 3-acre theme park with just over 100 staff and very few attractions. The original park featured play areas and large computer labs where visitors could play educational video games and use basic art programs. Walk-around characters would not appear until years later.

The original plan for the park was developed by Children's Television Network, Jim Henson and his team, and Busch Entertainment Corporation (now SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment). Those on the design team included Milton Glaser and Eric McMillan.

Robert J. Caruso, executive vice president and general manager of Sesame Place, was quoted in 2005, saying:

It was important for us to understand the trends of the theme park industry and introduce innovative additions that reflected the Sesame Street brand. When Sesame Place first opened there were no water rides. Sesame Neighborhood, the replica of Sesame Street, was only a concept. Even the characters weren't here until three years later. In fact, I remember Grover making a grand entrance by helicopter!

Sesame Place added Sesame Neighborhood, a replica of Sesame Street in 1988. The neighborhood is the nation's only fully functioning replica of the street.

Over the years, water rides were added to the park, the first being Slippery Slopes. The park grew as a water park, adding more than 15 water rides, slide, playgrounds and pools. A large and elaborate lazy river, called Big Bird's Rambling River, opened in 1990. Twiddlebug Land's Sky Splash, the park's biggest water slide, opened in 1995.

In 1997, the park began investing in more "dry" rides. Although the park had several playgrounds and stage shows, the park was primarily a water park. In 1998 the park opened Vapor Trail, a Super Grover-themed roller coaster. Big Bird's Balloon Race and Grover's World Twirl, two other dry rides were added in 2002. In 2006, the park opened Elmo's World, a new area themed around the Sesame Street segment of the same name. Elmo's World opened with three new rides.

Choreographed musical parades began with "The AmaZing Alphabet Parade" in the early-1990's, and was followed on with "The Rock Around the Block Parade" (1997-2010) and the current parade at the park - "Sesame Street Party Parade" (2011-present), which is held twice a day at the park. Additionally, new live stage shows have been introduced repeatedly throughout the years; including the currently running "The Magic of Art", "Elmo and the Bookaneers", and "Elmo the Musical Live!". A new area, Cookie's Monster Land, opened in May 2014.

In 2018, the park added another roller coaster, Oscar's Wacky Taxi.

On October 21, 2019, it was announced that a new Sesame Place theme park would open in San Diego, California by Spring 2021, by way of retheming the previously existing Aquatica waterpark.[2]

Walk-Around Characters[]

Sesame place parade 2012 murray

Murray on a Neighborhood Street Party float.

The park is home to more than a dozen characters from Sesame Street who wander around the park greeting guests, in addition to appearing in shows and parades. Occasionally the characters sport different outfits and attire depending on the occasion, including formalwear, beachwear, safari attire, hipster threads or just their traditional garb.

The first characters to appear in the park were actually animatronic figures, who debuted in 1981. Cookie Monster appeared out of a cookie jar at the Sesame Street Food Factory dining area, and an animatronic Oscar the Grouch had his own mobile junk cart, which could be moved around to multiple locations. Frank Oz and Caroll Spinney recorded dialogue for the characters, who would talk and sing.

Walk-around characters first appeared in 1983, starting with Ernie, Bert and two Honkers (Green and Pink). The characters appeared in "The Bert and Ernie Show", which was performed in front of Mr. Hooper's Emporium from 1983 to 1984.

Big Bird joined the cast in 1986, debuting in the "Big Bird & Company" show staged at the Big Bird Theater. Cookie Monster was added to the park in 1987, and two characters debuted in 1988: Grover and Prairie Dawn. A new Purple Honker arrived in 1989.

The cast expanded in 1992 with the introduction of Elmo and The Count. The three Honkers were retired after the 1992 season. When Twiddlebug Land opened in 1993, Tessie and Thomas Twiddlebug appeared as walk-around characters, and they stayed in the park until 2000. 1994 saw the addition of Telly Monster, Rosita, and Oscar the Grouch. Oscar originally appeared as a puppet before making the transition to walk-around character in 2012. Further introductions included Zoe in 1996, Barkley in 2004, Baby Bear in 2005 (semi-retired in 2018), Abby Cadabby in 2007, Murray Monster in 2011, a Dinger and a new purple Honker in 2014, Julia in 2018, Mr. Snuffleupagus in 2019, and Tango in 2022.

List of characters, with the year of their debut

Seasonal characters:

Discontinued characters:


  • Muppeteer John Tartaglia performed in stage shows as Oscar the Grouch, Cookie Monster, and Bert.[4][5]
  • Local Boy Scout council, Bucks County Council, issued a Sesame Place council strip as part of their uniform in honor of the area landmark. Several variations of this council strip and an Order of the Arrow lodge patch were also created for the 2005 National Boy Scout Jamboree.
  • An episode of reality show Jon and Kate Plus 8 was filmed at the park, as was an episode of Dinner Impossible.[6]
  • Original video content featuring the Muppet characters was shown in the park during its opening in 1980. These pieces featured Ernie, Bert, and Grover. A series of at least six shorts shown in the park featured a group of AM Monsters (including the monster that would become Elmo, with appearances by Grover and Ernie) performing instrumental music pieces.[7] Many of these clips were subsequently used as Muppet inserts on international co-productions, including Barrio Sésamo and Iftah Ya Simsim.

See also[]


  1. Sesame Place Facebook post
  2. SeaWorld plans a new San Diego Sesame Place theme park
  3. Plume, Ken.Interview with Ken Plume, August 2000
  4. John Tartaglia Bio
  5. Below the Frame Episode #34 (YouTube)
  6. Publicity shot, Facebook fan page for Sesame Place
  7. Archival photo from

External links[]