A day of family fun is sometimes just a road trip away. I love exploring Northeast Pennsylvania and beyond, and I plan to highlight some of my family’s favorite places to travel.
What: Sesame Place
Where: 100 Sesame Road, Langhorne, PA
Distance from Scranton: 132 miles (about 2 hours, 10 minutes)
I grew up watching Sesame Street, and I can say that my love for Elmo, Big Bird and friends never really went away. Sesame Street was the first television show I watched with my now 4-year-old daughter, Madison, and she too, fell in love with those furry friends. The summer that she turned 2, we took her to Sesame Place — the country’s only Sesame Street-themed amusement park. And luckily, we live close enough that we can go there and back in a day.
Sesame Place is the first park in the world designated as a Certified Autism Center. I’ve seen the way employees and characters interact with children and adults with special needs. Those interactions have brought tears to my eyes each time I’ve visited.
We’ve been to the park four times now, and this year, thanks to a one-day flash sale in February, we got season passes for a great bargain. I’ve never loved amusement parks, but Sesame Place is much more than just rides. I love the characters and the shows — and seeing my daughters so excited is truly magical.
Look for special flash sales on tickets from the Sesame Place website or through sites like Groupon. Some sales offer a free second visit, which you can use for special events for Halloween or Christmas.
Go to a character breakfast or lunch. It’s not cheap, but you get to meet and dance with the characters (usually Elmo, Cookie Monster, Abby and Grover) without standing in lines. The food is decent, but remember– you’re there for the experience, not the food.
Plan your day. Sesame Place offers great shows, fun rides and refreshing pools. The park offers an app you can download to check show times. It’s hard to do everything you want within one day. We usually try to do rides in the morning and the water park in the afternoon, with time for a show or two in between. The neighborhood parade happens daily (which is a must see), but line up along the parade route early for the best view.
- Pack snacks and drinks. We pack a soft cooler with plenty of water, Goldfish crackers and applesauce pouches. The food inside the park isn’t great, so you could even pack a lunch and keep it in your car. Also, be prepared to leave your stroller outside shows and rides. We pack three bags– the soft cooler, a bag with swimming gear and a diaper bag with our valuables. When we have to leave the stroller, we only take the diaper bag with us.
Be prepared to spend money. Parking is $20 (it’s free with a season pass). The souvenir shops have great options, and when your toddler grabs a $30 stuffed animal, it’s not always easy to say “no.”
Go on a weekday if possible. Lines can get very long on the weekends. We went to the park on a Saturday for the Halloween event two years ago, and we vowed to never go on a beautiful Saturday again.
Sarah balances life as a reporter for The Times-Tribune and as the mom of two little girls. A graduate of Ithaca College, Sarah started covering education in 2006. She has received awards for her reporting from the Society of Professional Journalists, Pennsylvania Newsmedia Association, Inland Press Association and Pennsylvania Women’s Press Association. She lives in Clarks Summit with her husband, their daughters and their sweet pug, Sadie. Reach her at email@example.com, 570-348-9133 or @HofiusHallTT.