Logo by Chris Mercaldo

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Amazing Mumford's Water Maze

Amazing  Mumford's Water Maze was a play element that opened with the park in 1980.
 1980 Image from YouTube

The attraction was a maze of plastic tunnels and netting with water that would spray over the area, soaking kids as the crawled through the net area.

Image from YouTube

The attraction lasted at the park into the 2000s. I was eventually removed. It's former footprint was behind Sesame Food Factory and in front of Sesame Beach. Today the area is occupied by a walkway and a planter between Elmo's Cloud Chaser and Grover's World Twirl. 

Image from Google Street Views (left) and YouTube (right)

Friday, June 29, 2012

Herry's Hand Over Water

1980 Image from YouTube

Herry's Hand Over Water was an attraction that opened with the park in 1980. It was named after Herry, the strong but gentle Sesame Street Monster.
 image from the  Sesame Place Facebook page

The attraction was essentially a jungle gym with water below. There were a central hub with rings dangling in one direction, rope ladders in two directions and a crawl tube in the fourth direction.
Image from eBay
1980 Image from YouTube
As with any playground equipment, there is a risk of injury. Herry's Hand Over Water was no exception. The play area came under the safety spotlight when a Philadelphia Inquirer reporter's son broke his arm falling from the rope ladder.
Image from Reading Eagle July 17, 1983

The Herry's Hand Over Water play element was converted into the Sesame Construction Company in 1984.

1985 Image from YouTube

Today the area is home to Big Bird's Balloon Race. It was the very back right hand side of the park in 1980, but with the expansion over the years the entrance of the park has shifted.

 Image from Google Street Views.

Aerials of the Parking Lot

Below are a series of aerial shots of the Sesame Place parking area:

Images from Historic Aerials 
This is an interesting shot to see. Of course, this was almost ten years before the park opened and there wasn't a parking lot yet.

Also, since the park was much smaller when it opened, this area wasn't likely a parking lot until years after the park opened. The original park had the entrance in what is now the middle of the park so it's likely all the parking areas were south of this lot.


This shot from 1995 shows the area taking shape. We can also see that the areas of trees in the 1971 shot are still mostly intact. It's interesting to see that the area was designed around the existing trees.


Here, in 2002, we see the lot greatly expanded into it's current size. We can also see that the park has expanded into the shot including attractions like Grover's Vapor Trail (the roller coaster next to the trees bottom center.)

No significant changes from 2002, but this was taken on a busy day at Sesame Place. You can see the parking lots are all filling up (or full) and you can see cars lined up to the road waiting to enter the parking lot.


This is the most current view on Historic Aerials. What is most interesting to see in this shot is how tall the trees plated in the lot on the bottom left have grown since the 2002 image.

It also shows empty lots, except for the few dozen cars in the VIP lot (bottom right.)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Greg Brady rides Sky Splash

 Image from flickeflu

When Sky Splash opened in 1995,  Sesame Place wanted to make... well... a big splash.

They made the opening day a big event. They put out a search for twins, triplets and quadruplets to ride the attraction on opening day. The opening was attended by the cast of the CTW show "Ghostwriter".

Barry Williams was also on hand. Barry is best known for his role as Greg Brady in The Brady Bunch.

He was on the very first Sky Splash ride:

Crystal Climb

Crystal Climb was a series of a geodesic climbing mazes that opened at Sesame Place in 1982.

 Image from YouTube

Children would climb around inside and the unusual shape of the clear walls gave a kaleidoscopic veiw of the park.

Image from YouTube

Children could climb through from one end to the other and the more adventurous kids could climb to the top of the maze.
 Image from Facebook

Today the space is home to a more traditional set of playground equipment as part of Big Bird's Court.
Image from Google Street Views

Mark Wahlberg at Sesame Place

Here is a 2007 post from People Magazine's Celebrity Baby Blog. It shows Mark Wahlberg and family at Sesame Place.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Seeing the mall from Big Bird Bridge

Image from YouTube

Above is an interesting shot from opening day. You see a news reporter at the bottom of the stairs to enter Big Bird Bridge. What struck me as interesting was the fact that you can see JC Penny, way in the distance, at the Oxford Valley Mall.

Since then, in addition to a build up of rides and attractions, there is a large barrier of trees that make Oxford Valley Mall almost invisible to guests at the park.

Very interesting to see a shot like this because it reminds you of how different Sesame Place was back in 1980.
Image from Google Earth

Rainbow Pyramid

NOTE: This post originally referred to the attraction as "Snuffle Ball". It appears "Snuffle Ball" was a different science element that involved balls and air pressure.

Rainbow Pyramid was a sunken play area at Sesame Place on opening day. Children were able to play as they learned about air pressure.

 Image from YouTube

Guests would toss a ball at a pyramid that had jets of air coming out of  it.

 Image from YouTube

Air rushing over top of the spinning ball would move faster than the air below keeping the ball suspended.

In 2001 the space that Rainbow Pyramid had occupied became home to Sesame Playhouse, a boardwalk style, games of chance attraction.

Image From Google Street Views

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Computer Gallery: List of Games

The Computer Gallery was an opening day attraction at Sesame Place. It remained there until sometime after 1993 when it was renamed The Games Gallery (and became a more traditional arcade.)
Image from YouTube

When it opened in 1980 it had "56 Apple II computers linked by three Nestar Cluster/One Model A hard disc systems." It was called "the nations largest collection of computer games".

The computer keys were arranged in alphabetical order and the computers ran on tokens.

Tokens were 3 for $1 in 1980. Children could play for "up to four minutes on one token"
Image from eBay

Here is information on a few of the games:

Lemonade - This game demonstrates using the computer to solve economic problems of running a lemonade stand at a profit. (citation)

Tune-In - A music based game where players compose a melody by arranging musical phrases pre-programmed into the computer.
 Image from YouTube

Fire Fly - Tests hand-eye coordination. Plays try to see how many windows in a city they can light up with a flash of light.

Mup-O-Matic - Players guess the Muppet character emerging in the video patterns. This was aimed at younger children.
 Image from YouTube

Art Beams - Kids design a six-color video design which is then stretched, squeezed, angled or flipped over. (citation)

Reflect - Players bounce a light beam off a mirror at angle to make objects on the screen react. One object was a rosebud which would blossom if hit with light.

Layer Cake - A variation of an ancient puzzle game where players move layers of cake to the correct sized plate.

Paddle Tennis - A tennis game that could be played with or without gravity.
 Image from YouTube

Do you remember any others? Please let me know!

Monday, June 25, 2012

1992 News Article: Park's Theme is Education

Here is an article about the park from 1992. At this point the park had been open for 12 years. It's interesting to note that this was in the Milwaukee Journal, far away from Langhorne PA and appeared in September - just a month before the season ended.
Here are some of the facts from the article:

-Sesame Food Factory (referred to as Food Factory) was still open and still had a glass enclosed kitchen where guests could watch food being prepared. Today the restaurant is named Elmo's Eatery and the kitchen is still visible to guests, but without any glass.

-No fried food was sold at the park at this time. The fries were baked and flavored ices contained real fruit.

-Captain Ernie's Cafe (now called Captain Ernie's Bistro) was the only place to buy hamburgers.

-Rides mentioned are: Big Bird's Rambling River, The Count's Ballroom and Cookie Mountain.

The image is a bit difficult to understand, I can see the recycling can and the can of Minute Maid juice being deposited by what seems to be Oscar the Grouch. According to the article, posters above the trash cans featured Oscar showing how to separate trash from recyclables.

I have traced what looks like Oscar to me:

Do you see something different? Maybe this is a Sesame Place Rorschach test!

Friday, June 22, 2012

1999 Finders Keepers Gifts sign

Finders Keepers is a gift shop located just past the turnstiles at Sesame Place:

In 1999 I snapped this picture of a sign outside the store featuring Elmo, Big Bird and Cookie Monster:

Today the sign has been removed and the area is home to a small tent where they often have a few computers set up to do customer service surveys.
The store is still open and the exterior walls look very much the same as they did in 1999.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sesame Place Scout patches

Here is an interesting fact from Muppet Wiki:
In 2005, Bucks County Council (which includes the area of Langhorne, PA) released a series of special council strip patches in honor of Sesame Place. The official BSA uniform insignia pieces were produced by the council for the National Jamboree. The patches feature such characters as Cookie Monster, Elmo, Oscar the Grouch, Bert Ernie, Big Bird and Grover.
Here are some of the patches:

 Image from eBay

 Images from Muppet Wiki

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The location of Super Grover's Cable Glide

There used to be a zip line ride at Sesame Place called Super Grover's Cable Glide.

It is listed in the 1980 park brochure and has been there since opening day.

Image from Henson

It is described as "a fast and breezy to go from here to there, by riding a rope on a pulley and sweeping 120 feet through the air just a few fee above the ground.

Images from YouTube

I also found images of a much smaller version of the attraction:

Image from YouTube

I contacted Jeff Davis, VP of Operations at Sesame Place and asked him if these were two separate rides or if both were part of the same "Super Grover Attraction:

The answer is that they were both Super Grover's Cable Glide and they were  located behind, what was then The Computer Gallery. This would put them just out of frame on the left hand side of this image:

 Image from Henson

This makes sense since you can see a street just beyond the fence in the pictures of the smaller track. If you look to the far left of the image above you can see that the street in front of the park bends around to the side of the park.

Many thanks to Jeff Davis for helping to answer this question.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Big Bird's Nest

Big Bird Court does feature a play area that is called Big Bird's Nest, but there was once another nest on property.
Above is a shot of Big Bird's house at the end of Sesame Neighborhood. It looks essentially the same as it did when Sesame Neighborhood was added to the park in 1988... with one exception.

Peep holes.

Small holes had been drilled into the doors so that kids could see inside. Inside was a large Bird Bird nest and a few other props.

Big Bird's nest appeared to be made from wood and rope. There were always kids trying to peek in there to see if Big Bird was taking a nap.

Today the holes are gone and the backdoor sports a deadbolt.

I believe the inside of the house is actually used by the janitorial staff.

It's not really a problem. I'm sure Big Bird can afford a better pad by now.