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Sesame Place: Summer Theme Park Fun for Families with Special Needs

by Eugenia Lazaris

Jun 8, 2018

© Ritu Jethani | Dreamstime.com

Age Specific / Kids

This summer take your little ones on an adventure to remember at Sesame Place, located outside Philadelphia, Pa. Ideal for children on the autism spectrum, Sesame Place is proudly designated as the world’s first Certified Autism Center theme park.


The park is designed to make young hearts happy, hence the slogan “Go Before They Grow.” Kids get to spend a day seeing their favorite Sesame Street characters come to life while enjoying themed rides, shows, restaurants and shops. Whether your kids like wet rides, dry rides, shows or parades, they will have a ball interacting with Sesame Street royalty like Elmo and Big Bird.


Not only is the park designed with attention to special needs kids, but park employees are specially trained to ensure children with autism can have a positive and memorable experience. Their training includes sensory awareness, social skills and communication skills, ensuring all park guests can feel comfortable and safe throughout their visit.


Sesame Place, Pa

© Ritu Jethani | Dreamstime.com


Service animals are welcome, although limited to dogs and miniature horses. These furry therapeutic friends are even welcome to accompany guests on certain rides and attractions, like the Silly Sand Slides and Flying Cookie Jars.


The Ride Accessibility Program lets guests of all disabilities enjoy as many rides and attractions as possible. By enrolling in the program at the park’s welcome center, eligible guests will receive a list of all accessible rides and specific riding requirements compatible with their specific needs. In many cases, RAP guests get priority boarding with a Special Access Pass. There is no additional cost to participate in the RAP program and the paperwork can be accessed from the park’s website prior to your visit to maximize your time.


If the fun and excitement of the park becomes too much to handle, there are two specialized quiet rooms located within the park that provide quiet, comfort and adjustable lighting to help ease sensory over-stimulation. Noise-cancelling headphones are available for use within the park for guests with hearing sensitivity.


Photo opportunities throughout the park let your little ones take home memories of meeting their favorite characters. Oscar the Grouch, Cookie Monster and more are waiting to take pictures with guests. Kids can even meet their favorite autistic Sesame Street character, Julia.


Be sure to check the park website before your visit as open dates vary depending on the season and the weather. The park opens every year in May and stays open through December, however it only operates daily during the summer months.


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