I don’t know how it happened, but it seems like every person in this world, infant, toddler, and senior citizen has a sharp recall and brand association with the Elmo of Sesame Street. Seriously, this red furry puppet is the most popular thing on earth!
In our own home, the girls can’t get enough of Elmo. Sam has fallen in love with Sesame Street from the beginning of time and even has several Elmo dolls, books, figurines, outfits and toys to prove it. Jamie surprisingly picked up on Elmo quite young, and in fact learned to say and read “Elmo” before she turned one. I suppose it’s because she sees him a lot around the house (I swear: we have SO. MANY. ELMO. THINGS.) My husband by the way, does a fairly decent imitation of Elmo and has a matching puppet to boot — so much so that at first when he’d come home from work, Jamie would excitedly point at him and say, “EH—MAWWW!”
How can you not love Elmo? He’s cute, cuddly, bright red, happy… and for whatever reason he does not get irritating. Plus he is very informative. He has no downside! (Side note: I am secretly wondering how much Kevin Clash and the crew of Sesame Street has made off this furry monster. He’s probably the best-selling asset they have to date. Plus, I am also wondering — does Kevin Clash ever get tired of playing Elmo? It’s been 20 years! Then again, how can he get tired of it when his job makes everyone happy! I think I’d love that job… ANYWAY! I digress.)
Because of this “Elmo” obsession, last weekend my husband surprised the girls by taking us all to Sesame Place Theme Park in Pennsylvania. The girls were over the moon upon seeing the signs to the park and the billboards with Elmo on them. Sam was jumping up and down at the sight of a grass-trimmed Elmo at the entrance, so you can imagine how starstruck she was when she saw him “in the fur!” Jamie as well was clearly monster-struck… she skipped her nap entirely because she kept calling out to Elmo and pointing at all of the rides which had his face on them. When she met him for her picture, you could see that she was trying to process the entire experience. How was it that this furry monster that she took to sleep every night was now bigger than her? And yet… here he was!
The other Sesame Street characters also made an impact on the girls. Sam knew all of them by heart and didn’t hesitate to hug them when she got the chance to meet them up close. Jamie learned to call them out by name. Apart from Elmo, now she is a fan of Cookie and Abby above the others. I was also pleasantly surprised that Jamie didn’t cry in fear. I realized that it could have been a possibility because I saw the other children shrinking and wailing at the life-sized mascots and I could hear their parents saying, “C’mon, stop crying. See! It’s Grover your friend!” Quite the opposite in fact, Jamie would cry when we’d say goodbye. She wanted to take them all home I think.
As for Sesame Place itself — I’d have to say that I did enjoy the theme park. The place is small enough for you to be able to enjoy all the rides in a day, and yet also big enough such that everyone is exhausted at the end of it all. There are wet and dry attractions (but it was still too cold for us to enjoy the water), so it’s perfect for the summer months. There were also a lot of shows for the kids to enjoy, and the characters were readily available throughout the day. Sam and Jamie got pictures with all of them, save for maybe Harry and Telly Monster. A lot of the rides allowed Sam’s age and height for as long as she was accompanied by an adult. The only two main criticisms I’d have for the park were 1) the staff that required a little bit more customer service training, and 2) the quality of the food. Other than that everything was just peachy. It’s a park that I wouldn’t mind going back to sooner than later, quite honestly!
The Sesame Street franchise is a classic. It never grows old. I wish it lives on forever, and that my grandchildren and great-grandchildren too will get to love Elmo the way we all do. I won’t deny that even I am enamored by him still! 😉
Side note 2: If your family has watched a Sesame Street Live! Show the same year that you visit Sesame Place, bring proof of the ticket with you. You could get $20 off each park entrance ticket that you buy!