A few weeks ago, a friend won tickets to Elmo’s Birthday Party at the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana, and she was kind enough to bring my son and I along as their guests. I’ve taken my son to the DCS before—all before he was two years old—since it was so close to where we used to live in Orange County. Back then, while my son enjoyed exploring the exhibits, I always felt that he was just a tad too young to really “get” what was on display. With the arrival of Sesame Street Presents: The Body, I found myself saying, “Hooray! Finally an exhibit that is PERFECT for my little guy!”
When we finally got to the party on the evening of February 3, 2011, my son’s face just beamed from all the familiar visuals. Posters and displays showing his favorite Sesame Street characters were there: Elmo, Bert & Ernie, Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Abby Cadabby, Grover, Oscar the Grouch, Telly Monster, and even The Count. For the party, there were Elmo balloons flying high and an awesome-looking birthday cake display on the stage. An array of healthy food was also offered, including mini take-out boxes of brown rice and orange chicken, mini turkey sliders, fresh fruit and veggies, mini sandwiches, and even gluten-free cupcakes (which were surprisingly pretty tasty). My son LOVED the mini sliders, which says a lot because he normally doesn’t even touch regular-sized burgers of any sort.
According to the DCS’s press release about the exhibit, The Body offers interactive and age-appropriate experiences that help teach children about our bodies and how to keep them healthy. Off to the back is a store fashioned like Hooper’s, where kids can “shop” for healthy food in Baby Bear’s Mini Mart, play as a shopkeeper, or sit down at the counter to put together meal puzzles. In the main exhibit room is an impressive variety of interactive displays, including a surprising one that details what happens during digestion. (Sometimes I forget that kids probably find talking about poop & farting funny.) My three-year-old son’s favorite display was a tie between Elmo’s World and Grover’s Dance Party. Elmo’s World includes Elmo’s Vacation, a magnetic dress-up wall where kids can choose which outfits are best for specific weather, several large shoes for lacing practice, as well as a flat-screen TV and bean bag seats on the floor. Grover’s Dance Party features a huge screen and a dance floor, where kids can go hog wild by following Grover’s moves. (My son and his friend did, indeed, go hog wild in there.)
The exhibit offers so much more than I can write on this post and I wholeheartedly recommend checking it out. It will be at the DSC until May 1, 2011. Adult admission is $12.95, while kids ages 3-17 are $9.95 (kids 2 and younger are free). Not only is this exhibit a treat for anyone who knows and loves Sesame Street, but if you have kids who love to run, jump, dance, push buttons, turn knobs, stack and sort objects, play pretend, and basically touch things that they’re actually allowed to interact with, then you will get quite the bang for your buck here. While we were able to see the exhibit for free for Elmo’s party, we’re planning on visiting again very soon.