Plunge into this new San Diego amusement and waterpark for a memorable family summer adventure.
“Five, four, three, two, one!”
“Here it comes again,” I said pointing to the end of the wave pool.
My second cousin Laila’s younger son, Beauden, giggled as the water’s gentle force pushed him backward. Older sibling Tanner splashed his way over to us with their dad, AJ, raving about Cookie’s Monster Mixer, a slide that drops family rafts into a giant funnel, ending in a final plunge into a big pool. I looked back at the six-story waterslide visible from the wave pool at Big Bird’s Beach.
“Kids are fearless,” I thought.
Beauden and Tanner are what I like to call water babies, meaning they spent the majority of our family trip to Sesame Place splashing about.
This former Aquatica waterpark is now the first Sesame Place on the West Coast. Based on the award-winning TV series “Sesame Street,” the park, which officially opened in March, holds fun for all interests and ages.
Near the entrance is the Interactive Sesame Street Neighborhood where kids can meet their favorite furry characters. Take pictures with Rosita, Zoe and Count von Count, or enjoy Storytime with Big Bird.
Throughout the rest of the park are “Sesame Street” character-themed rides like Cookie Climb and Super Grover’s Box Car Derby, which are sure to excite both children and adults that are still kids at heart.
The Sesame Street Soar & Spin provided a great aerial view of the park, but after a few spins in the air, Laila and I decided to keep our feet on the ground and get a drink in our hands.
We both lounged poolside, casually sipping on mojitos, while I ate an Impossible Burger and Laila munched on a chicken sandwich from Grover’s Grill. I recommend claiming a shaded spot at Big Bird’s Beach early on in the day or reserving a cabana for the whole family to relax between thrills.
AJ and Tanner made their rounds on open waterslides like Honker Dinger Dash and tunnels like Snuffy’s Spaghetti Slides. Based on the family GoPro footage, I don’t know who had more fun, father or son.
For tots like Beauden who aren’t quite tall enough for big waterslides, there is plenty of water-filled fun to be had at The Count’s Splash Castle, Elmo’s Silly Sand Slides, or my favorite, the lazy river, Big Bird’s Rambling River.
Make sure you take the time to measure the height of your kids at home to see which rides they are tall enough to ride. Download the Sesame Place app to see the height requirements and locations of rides and shows on the park map.
In the afternoon, I made sure to catch the Sesame Street Party Parade, a guest favorite. The walkway was temporarily blocked off for floats featuring Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Oscar the Grouch, Burt, Ernie and the rest of the “Sesame Street” gang. Cops, firefighters, chefs and sanitation workers were also among the performers who sang “meet me on Sesame Street” while they danced around. Along with songs about numbers and letters, the parade featured renditions of classics like “Apache” by The Sugarhill Gang and Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family” that had the whole crowd up and moving to the beat.
The parade was one of my favorite attractions partially due to my uneasiness with heights, but somehow I still found myself climbing the steps to the top of Oscar’s Rotten Rafts with Tanner leading the way. Only after a day, this kid was a pro.
“Don’t look down,” he said.
We made it to the friendly theme park worker wading in the water with a raft ready for us. She gave us a smile before pushing us off and I closed my eyes. Down the watery path we went, twisting and turning. When I once again opened my eyes, Tanner was grinning from ear to ear. Although slightly terrified, I couldn’t help but smile too. We both squealed as we continued down the windy green slide. Finally we neared the last turn and I could see the safety of the pool.
Five, four, three, two, one. Splash.
Once we were back to the safety of land it was time to dry off. I was sad to go, but the kids were tired and there was still the drive home.
My visit to Sesame Place reminded me that in order to truly have fun, you have to take a few risks. And I’m so glad I did because much like conquering a waterslide, in life sometimes it’s better to go with the flow and enjoy the ride. It’s worth it in the end.
As a parent, following a good strategy for your visit to Sesame Place will allow you to appreciate your kids’ moments of joy and focus on making lasting family memories.
Before your visit, buy your park tickets and parking passes at sesameplace.com/san-diego/. Purchase the Unlimited Magic Queues for dry rides and waterslides to skip the lines all day long. If you have little ones, renting strollers and cabanas would also save you a bit of a headache when they get tired of walking.
To get the best out of the Sesame Place experience, you can also reserve spaces for shows at the Welcome to Our Street Theater or the parade to get the best view. Check the website or app for daily showtimes.
So now you have a game plan, but what about the crowds? Get a head start by arriving shortly after the park gates open at 10 am. Working your way from dry rides to water attractions seems to be the best way to go through the park, but with showers and changing rooms available, the option to go back and forth is totally doable. Don’t forget to put your belongings in the self-serve lockers for safe keeping while exploring the park. Have fun!
Recommended Packing Checklist:
- A snack and a movie for the drive
- Water shoes
- Water diapers
- Change of clothes