It sounded like such a great idea at the time: Good friends of ours whose daughter is about six months older than our little guy said “Hey! Why don’t we all go to Sesame Place together this summer! The kids will love it!”
We enthusiastically said yes, and then pre-bought tickets for what turned out to be the hottest freaking day of the summer. Maybe in history.
Yep, Saturday on the East Coast was the kind of day that would make any sun-worshipper stay inside and let the air-conditioning work its magic. I don’t want to say it was hot, but I think I saw a human being melt into the concrete he was standing on.
Anyway, it was a hell of an interesting day, and not just because it was our first adventure to a children’s theme park with my boy, who turns 2 in about a month.
Some thoughts on the hot and sticky madness that is Sesame Place on an August afternoon:
— I’m pretty certain I’d been here 35 years earlier or so with my own parents, but I have no memories of the place. Still, I was a huge Sesame Street fan as a kid, and I was anxious to see how Nate would respond to seeing characters up close. He’s never seen “Sesame Street” (we haven’t let him watch TV yet), but he’s a huge fan of his Elmo doll, and before we went I showed him some videos of Oscar, Bert and Ernie, and the gang.
The first thing I noticed that surprised me was that the main characters were hardly anywhere to be seen. There was a parade with Abby and Elmo and all them at 3 p.m and again at 8:30, and a live show in the theater at 5, but other than that, we hardly saw anyone in costumes. Maybe it’s just at Disney World where there are characters everywhere you look.
— I will say, it’s got to be cruel and unusual punishment to dress a human being in a giant furry costume on a 100-degree day like Saturday was. I think I saw Oscar the Grouch lugging an air conditioner into his trash can.
— Was prepared for horrible lines and crowds, but it really wasn’t that bad. Since our kids were too little to go on the popular rides, we didn’t have to wait too long for most stuff.
— The line of the day went to our friend who remarked, as we walked into the wading pool to cool off, “Try not to think about how much urine is in this thing right now.” Always good advice!
— The people we did see, though… man. There was a whole lot of humanity on display. First of all, I know it was hot, but there were a ton of people walking around with no shirt on who really shouldn’t have, you know what I mean? I’m not judging, but I think I saw a few bodies that were scarier than the characters were.
— Also always fun seeing the parenting “styles” on display. I saw one father scold the hell out of his son for walking too far away from the family, and a few minutes later saw two girls, about 8 and 10 years old, asking if the other one knew where there parents were. Most disturbingly, one time while I was resting on a bench two little girls (maybe about 6) approached and one asked in a really timid voice “Do you know where our Mommy went?”
I told them I was sorry but I didn’t, and then talked to them for a few minutes figuring that might keep them calm. The mother arrived a few minutes later and not even a word was said.
— The park itself is smaller than I expected, and things went pretty smoothly except for the inexplicable fact that while we were in one of the cafeterias getting food, they told us they ran out of ice. How do you run out of ice at a summer water park???
— As for my little guy (above, holding hands with his little girlfriend), he had a great time. He forsook any nap attempts all day, had a hell of a time splashing around in the wading pool festooned with water cannons drenching us occasionally, and was totally enthralled at the “Elmo: The Musical” live show I referenced earlier. He’s still not a fan of Carousels (screamed bloody murder as we tried to put him on a horse) and rides in general have him spooked.
It’s funny; I know he won’t remember any of this, but it’s so rewarding to see him experience stuff for the first time.
So, Sesame Place. The kids will love it. Bring your own ice. And don’t drink the water in the wading pool.
**Finally today, just a few words on Usain Bolt. The Jamaican sprinter won his third straight 100-meter Olympic final Sunday night, and once again, he made it look so, so easy.
The picture above (from his semifinal race, taken by Cameron Spencer of Getty Images) illustrates just how much fun, and how easy, all of this seems to be for Bolt. Dude is 6-foot-5, a legend, and trailed for 80 of the 100 meters in the final, and still won looking like he barely broke a sweat.
One of the most legendary athletes of our time. Just sensational to watch. Dear God, I hope he’s clean.