Sensory friendly theme park

New Sesame Place theme park is sensory friendly

New Sesame Place theme park will be sensory friendly

In 2018, Sesame Place in Pennsylvania made history by becoming the first theme park in the world to be a Certified Autism Center by the IBCCES.

Four years later, the park is set to open the gates on a new San Diego location. The West Coast park will also be a Certified Autism Center, welcoming children with disabilities with the same sensory-friendly approach.

Spanning 17 acres, it will feature a replica of the Sesame Street neighborhood as well as 18 child-friendly rides. This includes the Sunny Day Carousel and Super Grover’s Box Car Derby rollercoaster. There are water-themed attractions and activities too, including a wave pool (complete with sand beaches) and Big Bird’s Rambling River.

In true theme park fashion, live character shows, parades and more will be available. Children also have the opportunity to meet Julia – a puppet character who has autism.

Careful consideration has been put into designing the park to ensure an enjoyable experience for all children:

  • Lower sensory areas are positioned around the park.
  • Designated quiet rooms with adjustable lighting are available.
  • Noise-cancelling headphones can be requested at the Welcome Center or the Family Center (available on a first-come, first-served basis).
  • Low sensory parade viewing areas near the beginning of the parade route.

The park also offers a Ride Accessibility Program, which matches the individual abilities of guests to the requirements to safely ride each ride in the park. More information about the program, including how to participate, can be found on the Sesame Place website.

In addition to design accommodations, staff members receive specialized training to ensure they have the knowledge and skill to interact with all children. This includes those with disabilities. Training focuses on areas such as sensory awareness, motor and social skills, communication, and environment and emotional awareness.

The new park is set to open on March 26, joining a growing list of theme parks in the US that have incorporated features to allow guests with disabilities to join in on the fun. Six Flags became the first theme park chain to certify all their locations. And, the recently opened Legoland Peppa Pig Theme Park is also certified by IBCCES.