I was away last weekend enjoying my Sesame Place vacation with the family, which was so wonderful! Spending time away from everything with the people I love most in this world, well nothing compares to it!
Anyhow, upon my return to the blogging world, a reader mentioned she took advantage of the buy 2 nights get 1 free deal I posted on earlier in May. She then asked if I could offer some Sesame Place vacation tips as she was going for her first time in August.
So to help her out and anyone else planning to go there on vacation, here are my Sesame Place vacation to-dos!
Even if headed somewhere other than Sesame Place, you may find some of these tips useful when traveling with kids.
Active Military Free Admission
If you or your spouse are currently active in the Military, you can receive up to four (4) admission tickets to Sesame Place, Sea World, or Busch Gardens for FREE!!! This offer is good for the active member in the Military and up to three (3) dependents. Find out more information on the Sesame Place website here.
Buy Your Tickets In Advance
Don’t have your Sesame Place tickets yet? Usually, you can find a variety of deals online before you even go, especially early in the season.
Lodge Further Away From The Park
As for lodging, consider staying in the outer suburbs of Philadelphia or even New Jersey. You will have a 20-30 minute drive, however, you can easily save yourself some money on hotel rates as the closer you get to the park the more money it will cost.
Bring A Movie To Watch
Pack a portable DVD player for the car if you have one. If not, ask around to borrow one. We got ours free when we purchased our car and we have had it for many years. Honestly, it did not come in handy until we took road trips with the kids! We always pack a few of their favorite programs to watch and sometimes even splurge for a new video.
For our latest Sesame Place trek, we bought Jake & the Never Land Pirates: Peter Pan Returns (Two-Disc DVD + Digital Copy Combo). It ended up being almost 3 hours long, and my kids requested to watch it again and again!
And Lots of Stickers To Stick
Also, pack stickers!!! Kids love stickers, and they are perfect when you have some downtime or even when dining at a restaurant.
During our vacation, stickers would occupy my kids for quite some time. I purchased a pack of white sketch paper at the Dollar Tree, which they could use to stick their stickers on. In addition, Dollar Tree had some nice laser and puffy sticker sheets for a buck each.
Above all, my favorite sticker products are the Melissa & Doug sticker collections. For the money you spend, you’ll get sheets and sheets of stickers!
The Melissa & Doug Fashion Sticker Collection is particularly fun for little girls as doll stickers get fancy with sticker clothing and accessories. My son has enjoyed the Melissa & Doug Blue Sticker Collection just as much as my daughter and her fashion stickers.
Bring Swimsuits and Sunscreen
Be sure to pack a swimsuit or two as half of Sesame Place involves some sort of water activity. Oh yeah, and don’t forget the sunscreen!
Take A Break From Driving
One of my best Sesame Place vacation tips is to take a break from driving! We have learned from experience that trying to make the drive straight through is very difficult, especially with young children. Plus, Binghampton, New York is a great mid-way point to rest.
We enjoy going to Recreation Park to have lunch and then let the kids play on the playground for a bit. Of course, there are also the FREE Carousel rides on the fully-restored and operational 1925 Allan Herschell carousel! This carousel placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992, which is pretty cool!
Also nearby with free carousel rides is Ross Park. It is next to the Binghampton Zoo, which if you really wanted to break up the drive, would be a fun thing to do for a few hours.
Get That Free Breakfast
Take advantage of FREE breakfast if your hotel offers it. I would pack away a few extra items to take with us to the park. Things like a piece of fruit, a cup of yogurt, or muffin would be perfect to carry along. We would have these as part of our lunch or to snack on while waiting in line.
Pack Snacks and Water
Sesame Place no longer allows picnic lunches to be brought in. However they do allow you to bring a small cooler, 10″ x 10″ x 12″ or less and you can have single size servings of snack foods. Bring extra bottles of water too, in order to stay hydrated throughout the day.
Eating at the park is expensive and packing your food for at least snacking will save you quite a bit of money.
If you do end up buying food or beverages in the park and you have a season pass, be sure to show it because you’ll often get a discount off your purchase.
Avoid Parking If You Can
If you did opt to stay at a hotel closer to the park and they offer free shuttle service to and from Sesame Place, consider taking advantage of it. You will save yourself the hefty daily parking fee at the Sesame lot.
I don’t necessarily like relying on someone else for a ride, so we paid the parking fee for our convenience. If you can swing it though, it is a great way to save some money.
If Characters Aren’t Your Kid’s Thing, Skip The Dining
I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the character dining unless you know your child(ren) would love the experience.
We’ve done dinner twice now, and both times the food was not good. In my opinion, I would rather have cafeteria food any day. Plus you pay up to $32 for adults and $13 for children as of 2020 pricing. Children under 2 are free but at the cost for an adult, it’s not worth it.
Overall, I didn’t feel the characters spent that much time with my family. In addition, the seating was very crowded like they were packing us in a sardine can.
On that note, one reader did recommend the character breakfast instead. She felt her child got a lot of one-on-one attention from the characters. I’ve never tried the breakfast, so that might be a better overall value and experience if you want to spend some time with a handful of the Sesame gang.
Another option is to leave the park to take a midday break and grab some less expensive lunch options. You are allowed to leave the park and return on the same day. Just be sure to get your hand stamped on your way out.
There Are Many Photo Opps With The Characters
Speaking of characters many times, you can get a picture with them when you stroll down Sesame Street, which is an actual paved street to stroll down in the park, or when you visit Big Bird Pavilion. We have seen Ernie, Bert, Oscar, Zoe, Cookie Monster & Big Bird at various times throughout the day. You can visit Elmo at 1-2-3 Smile, usually starting at Noon.
The park isn’t big, and it goes around in a circle, so easy to find everything. The parking lot is right across from the entrance, so not far to walk. We did go back to the car and picked up the umbrella stroller, so my youngest could nap after a while.
Bring A Stroller
While the stroller will be great to push your exhausted tot around, it is also a super convenient way to carry your stuff around. You can save yourself almost $30 by bringing your own stroller versus renting it from the park for the day.
Don’t Miss The Parade
The parade was really awesome to watch, so I definitely recommend you don’t miss it! As with most parades, the sidelines get crowded the closer you get to the start of the parade. I would recommend picking your spot about 45 to 60 minutes before so your child has a good view. This is where having a snack on hand or those stickers will really come in handy.
Other Nearby Attractions
Sesame Place is a lot of fun, but there are a lot of other things you may also enjoy in the area. The Crayola Factory Museum is about an hour away – we only spent a few hours there, but I felt like we could spend a few more.
There is also the Please Touch Museum close by too. We’ve never done that, but I believe it is similar to the Strong Museum of Play in Rochester. You may even get a discount on admission if you are a member of Strong.
You May Get Some Nice Coupon Inserts Free At Your Hotel
If staying on a Sunday, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for a FREE paper. My hotel had a newsstand that stated the paper was complimentary. I took one, and after seeing the very awesome high-value coupons that the Pennsylvania area receives, I helped myself to a few more! It was 11 p.m., so I was pretty certain people that wanted a free Sunday paper had already taken it. Most hotels I’ve stayed at only offer free weekday papers, so this Sunday paper was a bonus perk I wasn’t expecting!
Do Not Rush Through The Park
My biggest tip would be not to rush through the park to see or do everything. Let your kids play & enjoy watching them play! I have a post that I’m hoping to get up about this very thing I observed while on vacation – parents just rushing their kids along to the next attraction. There isn’t anything that YOU really will want to see, so just let them play and enjoy watching them do it.
Grab A Photo Of Your Exhausted Kid(s) Sleeping
Finally, a photo tip that will make for an awesome, angelic picture of your exhausted kids. My best friend recently showed me pictures she had taken of her two little ones sleeping after a hectic vacation day. They were the cutest pictures, and the kids looked like little angels. So I copied and got a few pics of my tired sleeping beauties. You’d think they’d wake up with the bright flash, but they never even budged!
If you have any other Sesame Place Vacation tips, feel free to share in the comments below.
And if you are going anytime soon, I am sure hoping for sunny days on your trip!