A is for amusement parks. And not one, but TWO amusement parks. Bwa-ha-ha-ha-haaa!
Sesame Workshop, in partnership with SeaWorld Entertainment, announced on Thursday the development of a new Sesame Place theme park. The original Sesame Place opened in 1980 in Langhorne, Pennsylvania and has operated seasonally for the last 37 years, setting an opening day attendance record this year.
Sesame Workshop, the non-profit umbrella company behind Sesame Street, sees the theme parks playing a role in its “reach to teach” mission.
“You have to reach to teach,” Sesame Workshop CEO Jeff Dunn says. “And what that means is in order to provide great educational experiences, you really have to connect deeply with your audience. And we know theme parks are a great way to connect and engage not only with preschoolers, but the entire family with these characters they love.”
Beyond expanding the recognition and engagement of characters like Elmo, Grover, and Cookie Monster for vacationing preschoolers, Sesame Place helps provide funding for Sesame Workshop’s global social impact initiatives.
“The income that comes out [of Sesame Place] fuels our non-profit mission and educational activities all over the world. And many of these activities wouldnt be possible without contributions like this,” Dunn says.
Dunn points to Sesame Street‘s work in Afghanistan on empowering young girls, its partnership with the IRC to educate refugee children, and work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to promote health and hygiene in India as examples of programs in part funded by ventures like Sesame Place.
All of the things that we do that generate income in these different areas help support all of that work all over the world,” Dunn explains. “We look for partnerships that can assist us in multiple areas. So with theme parks, they first increase engagement and entertainment, but theyll also provide a contribution to help our mission work all over the world.”
The new Sesame Place featuring preschooler-friendly rides, water slides, live shows, parades, and human-sized Muppets will open by mid-2021 in to-be-determined U.S. location.