Preschool kids will absolutely love Sesame Place San Diego, based on the Peabody Award–winning TV show. All ages, though, will find this Chula Vista theme park appealing, thanks to its mix of classic water park fun, rides, and timeless characters.
Walking through the front gates of the 17-acre San Diego County park will give any past-or-present Sesame Street fan a thrill. There’s the iconic brownstone stoop with the 123 address, Mr. Hooper’s store, Oscar the Grouch’s trash can, and Big Bird’s nest, where the yellow-feathered superstar regularly makes appearances to greet fans or read a story. Nearby, you can ring the doorbell at Ernie and Bert’s house or check in for photo ops with Elmo. As evidence of the all-ages charm, the park’s shops offer plenty of t-shirts, slippers, and onesies in grown-up sizes.
Definitely pack your swimsuits and a few beach towels—slightly more than half of the park’s attractions are splashy in nature. The centerpiece is Big Bird’s Beach, a sandy-beach wave pool that’s one of the largest in Southern California. (For a VIP experience, book a cabana.) Slides and water rides abound, too, from the six pint-sized tubes at Elmo’s Silly Sand Slides to the six-story Cookie’s Monster Mixer raft ride.
Dry off, then head to the classic rides, including the Sesame Street Soar & Spin, the swings of Abby’s Fairy Flight, and the compact (but still gently thrilling) roller coaster Super Grover’s Box Car Derby.
Between rides, meet characters such as Bert & Ernie, Oscar the Grouch, Telly, and Julia. Don’t miss the live show Welcome to Our Street! featuring Elmo, Abby, and other characters, or the Sesame Street Party Parade, with its all-star cast dancing their way through the park. Seasonal events are on offer too, including The Count’s Halloween Spooktacular and A Very Furry Christmas.
The park is mindful of the needs of families with small kids, including those with special needs. There are plenty of changing areas and lockers to help families manage the swimsuit-to-regular clothes transitions (plus loaner safety vests for little ones). Choose among six dining options, including plenty of burgers, pizza, and chicken fingers, but also healthy wraps, salads, and fresh fruit. To speed up any possible waits, upgrade your ticket with a line-skipping Magic Queue pass (starting at $19.99 per person).
Sesame Place San Diego is also a Certified Autism Center (CAC), which means that staffers have completed autism sensitivity and awareness training, and the park offers amenities such as a sensory guide, noise-cancelling headphones, and designated quiet rooms.
Download the Sesame Place Mobile App to streamline your day: see the rides’ height requirements, purchase upgrades, and check schedules for shows and character meet-and-greets. Since the park is affiliated with SeaWorld San Diego, you can also find deals on annual passes good at both parks.