World’s first autism-certified theme park

Posted by Elise Kirsten on 21 January 2020

A theme park in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, which is readying itself for its 40th season of operation, is unique in two ways: it’s the only Sesame Street themed park and it’s the world’s first autism-certified theme park.

In order to achieve this status, the staff at the home of Elmo and Big Bird underwent specialized training that needs to be repeated every second year in order for the park to retain its certification.

Parents will be able to plan activities that suit the specific needs of their child through the website’s sensory guides and the park also has two quiet rooms with adjustable lighting, and a seating area where children can take a break with their parents from the stimulation outside.

‘Sesame Place is honored to be leading the theme park industry through our commitment to making our facility friendly for families with children on the [autistic] spectrum,’ said Sesame Place park president Cathy Valeriano in a statement.

To increase awareness and understanding of autism, Julia, a Sesame Street Muppet with autism joined Sesame Place in 2017 as a character who walks around and is available for guests to meet. Julia first appeared on the award-winning Sesame Street broadcast in 2015 when Sesame Workshops launched the Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children.

‘Since her debut, Sesame Street’s Julia has touched the lives of millions of children and families around the world and we’re proud that partners like Sesame Place are committed to providing autism-friendly experiences,’ said Scott Chambers, Senior Vice President and General Manager.

The park opens annually in April and closes at the end of August each year.

Image: Hayden Scott

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