Sesame Place is often sited by parents as a great day or weekend trip from Brooklyn. I’ve always wondered if it was really worth the effort: bathing suits, towels, long car trip, amusement park food…it’s enough to make me stay away. But, this summer I decided to take the plunge.
I didn’t go it alone though. I took my husband with me as I was sure I couldn’t manage it all by myself. (And, I was right). We brought our 3 year old and 5 year olds, both nonswimmers (sadly). I wouldn’t suggest bringing a child under 2.5 years old, there isn’t a ton for them to do and it ends up being more work than worth it (in my opinion). More on that below.
Parents like Sesame Place and kids love it (get the subtle difference?). After my visit I compiled a list of tips and tricks for you on visiting Sesame Place. Some are my tips, others are reviews and friends’ comments. All of their comments are in quotes and mine are without quotes. (Thanks to tripadvisor.com and Ginger and other local parents for all the reviews).
We loved it and would do it again, but only with two adults for the two children. I was totally exhausted from the driving, sun and rides- and my kids were too. We all came home a little dehydrated and wiped out. Next time for our day trip, I won’t even do the dry rides and just focus on the wet rides so we can visit more of them or repeat them. When you go for the day, there is a big time crunch when you factor in lunch, waiting times in line, snacks and bathroom stops. We went during the week and the lines were still fairly long. The line waiting is one of the other reasons that I wouldn’t recommend this park for the under 2.5 years crowd.
How long does it take to get there?
Sesame Place is in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. It is accessible via car and both NJ Transit. (We have hints about using public transport below). Via car it is 90 minutes south of New York City. It took us 1 hour and 45 minutes from Brooklyn with no pit stops. You can take New Jersey Transit to the Trenton train station and catch a SEPTA bus or a cab to Sesame Place. Sesame Place is located 10 minutes West of Trenton. Please call SEPTA at 215-580-7800 for bus schedule information, and please call New Jersey Transit 1-800-626-RIDE for train schedules.
A day trip or a weekend trip?
Langhorne, PA is located in Bucks County– a great place to do other things (Quakertown, wineries, art galleries, riversports, etc) if you want to make a weekend of it. I adore Bucks County, more for adult activities than anything else.
The daily entrance fee is $53 plus tax for all entrants- though children 23 months and younger are free. You can purchase the Elmo’s ANY Two-Day Ticket that is 2 days for the price of one. These two days do not have to be consecutive and may be used on any regular scheduled operating day during the current season. This is definitely worth it. All tickets can be bought at the front gate, through the kiosks and online. Current ticket deals are listed below.
Now, for some reviews, tips and hints:
Taking the train, worth staying and where to stay:
“Getting there on NJ Transit is not that bad at all–it only takes about an hour to get to Trenton. From there you can grab a cab or take the bus to Sesame Place. I would say door to door the trip from Penn Station should be about 2 hrs or so. The problem with taking public transportation is there it limits where you can stay if you want to spend the night. There is a Sheraton right across the street where we have stayed each time. It is very nice and there is a free shuttle to Sesame but the Sheraton is NOT cheap. I think most of the other hotels that are right there are also fairly expensive. We always stay two days–the price of a two day ticket is only a few dollars more than a one day ticket so you might as well get the two day one. I find there is enough to do for the second day and it makes for a nice short trip out of the city. Personally, I don’t think I would be that good for a 20 month old though. The first time I took my son he was three and he was still too little for a lot of things. Plus, it was hard to get him to stand in line. He was 4 last summer, which was great.”
Deals on Ticketing:
“We signed up for the email newsletter and got a deal on season passes that helped us save quite a bit this year and apparently even some hotels in the area offer deals.”
Sesame Place partners with various retail locations at various times throughout the year. Some of their partners include McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, Walgreens and your local AAA office. Discounts are also available if you present a Pepsi can at the ticket booth. Corporate discounts (for companies with 100 or more employees) are available by registering at www.clubsesameplace.com.
Best deals right now:
- Save $20 on single-day admission to Sesame Place weekdays only, 5/4/12 – 6/29/12. Ticket must be purchased online to receive savings.$37.99 for adults and children 2 years plus.
- Pay for a single day and get any 2nd day FREE with Elmo’s ANY 2-Day Ticket. The second day is valid any regular operating day during the 2012 season through 10/28/12 and does not have to be used on consecutive days. $57.99 for adults and children 2 years plus.
- If you think you will go more than twice, I would suggest the Sesame Season Pass. Unlimited admission for 2012 season and 30% discount on food and merchandise. $94.99 plus tax.
Other current deals are listed here.
Favorite Things To Do:
“I enjoy the character lunch because it gave the girls a chance to spend more time with the characters. The characters are also walk around the park (but you have to wait in line and then are kinda rushed to get a pic so the next child can have a turn).”
We loved the Character Parade. I would put this on your list of top items to do. Then you don’t have to do the Character Lunch or Dinner because your children have seen them. There are spontaneous photo opportunities to have your photo taken with the characters, but you do have to wait in a bit of a line. The parade takes place on the main street. Park yourselves in the middle of the curve to get the best view and also that is where most of the songs and dances take place. We were at the very end of the parade, and we couldn’t see anything for the first half.
The Silly Sand Slide, Ernie’s Bounce Bed, Big Bird’s Rambling River, Sunny Day Carousel, Teeny Tiny Tidal Wave, Count’s Castle wading pool are great for the littlest ones. They do the bounce bed by age groups so you don’t have to worry about your little ones getting double bounced!
The Count’s Castle is a multi-level water attraction that is wonderful for all aged kids. The older ones can do the loopy slides, climb the apparatus, dump water buckets and the youngest can play in the shallow water that surrounds the entire castle. The water reaches an adult’s mid-calf.
We loved Big Bird’s Balloon Race. Both my 3 year old and 5 year old loved it. It goes high, but doesn’t make you dizzy.
The kids and I did Big Bird’s Rambling River 4 times. We all loved it. It was mellow but there was just enough excitement bumping into other tubers and paddling out of the way of water fountains. Otherwise we just floated down the river. My 3 year old sat in my lap in the tube and we had a great time. She had a life jacket on as did my 5 year old son. The “river” water level goes up to my chest, so it isn’t terribly deep but you do have to watch nonswimmers.
“Slimey Chutes is our favorite wet ride- we went 4 or 5 times. Because there are double tubes you can go with your children.”
“We parked at the mall down the road to help save the $15 parking fee both days.”
When to go:
“I would recommend this park to parents but go during the week when the park is less crowded or during off season.”
What to wear:
Be sure you wear a bathing suit too. You will regret it if you don’t! “
“I was also very glad my daughter wore water shoes because some of the attractions have little raised rocks near the entrance and exits. Just know that this is pretty much a water park, everyone in your group should wear their water gear.”
“Most of the kids actually just go in their bathing suits and ride the dry rides first in their bathing suits and then hit the water area right after.”
Everyone is pretty immodest and walks around in their bathing suits with towels wrapped around them or a skort on their bottoms. I would definitely recommend water shoes for your younger children if they would be unstable in the water.
Have slip on shoes for walking around in the park- like crocs, flip flops or a water-friendly sandal.
A little privacy:
Cabana’s can be rented for the day. Cabana’s include a private 10 x 10 cabana near The Count’s Splash Castle, poolside seating for up to 6 people, ceiling fan, mini fridge, 12 bottled beverages, 6 Sesame Place souvenir beach towels, exclusive character interactions and a locked drawer for personal belongings. Max capacity is 6 people which includes adults, children and lap infants. The cabanas at Count’s Castle are $229.99 a day.
“For dinner we did the Dine with Me (buffet dinner with all of the characters.) That was awesome. They put on little shows, my daughter and I got to dance with and take pictures with all of her favorites. The food was actually pretty good too! Even though it may seem a little pricey, it was totally worth it and a great way to end our visit. And children under 2 eat free!”
“One mom told us she leaves to go to the mall across the street at lunchtime; sounds like a brilliant idea from what we saw. Also, the park is small enough that going back out to your car for lunch is pretty easy to do.”
We brought soft-pack coolers with food and drinks. We bought some cute Elmo cupcakes for dessert so we could “legitimately” sit at one of the indoor cafes. It was a nice treat and at $2.50 each, we didn’t break the bank for food.
I definitely suggest bringing your own food into the park. Why not? You save money and can eat healthy food and eat quickly at an outside picnic bench. But “soft-sided coolers no larger than 10″x10″x12″ are permitted.”
We came in our street clothes and changed in bathing suits near Count Castle where they have a family changing room (fits stroller, 2 kids and 2 adults) and normal sized changing rooms. Clean, nice. There are other restroom areas with changing rooms too. All of the ones we visited were well-kept.
Getting Around the Park With Ease:
Bring a stroller to carry your food, towels, clothes, sunscreen, hats, shoes and drinks. If you don’t have a stroller, consider something that you can leave outside each ride to keep your stuff in one place: backpack, wagon, etc. Strollers are also available for rent. Rent a stroller for $16.98. That’s why I suggest bringing something of your own. A lot of families brought wagons, but being from Brooklyn, we generally don’t have those stashed somewhere. Perhaps one cheap umbrella stroller might suffice for you.
You can also rent a large locker for $17.92 a day.
100 Sesame Road Langhorne, PA 19047
Disclosure: I was given a pass to go to Sesame Place in order to review it. All opinions expressed in the review are mine and are honest. The reviews in “quotes” are from readers.