Saturday, September 7, 2013

More cargo nets

Sesame Place was a Sesame Street theme park that had a brief existence in Irving, Texas from 1982 to 1984.  At 8 acres it wasn't so much a tiny amusement park as a ginormous playground, with an indoor computer lab with interactive activities.  Here's a fairly exhaustive overview:

The Computer Gallery had various terminals with rudimentary programs.  The one I remember is a text based lemonade stand simulator, where you had to account for the cost of sugar, set prices, etc.

There was a Shadow Room with photosensitive walls.  Every ten seconds or so a flash would go off, and your shadow left an impression that gradually faded before the next flash.

There was a mock up of the front steps of the Sesame Street set, and as you can see children were allowed to crawl in Oscar's trash can.  On my visit I climbed into one of the opened topped crates behind the trash can, only to fall a good six feet or so to the subfloor below.  I was afraid I'd get in trouble if I called for help, so I managed to shimmy my way back up on my own.  I don't think I needed worry.  Looking back, there wasn't a lot of adult supervision.  The only attendant I recall was at the top of the waterslide, and by the end of the day he was letting kids slide down backwards, five at a time, whatever.

There seemed to be a lot of danger in the outdoors play area.  From the three story maze of cargo nets that begged to snatch limbs as kids flipped and rolled around, to the enormous ball pit that you could lose a nursery school in.  Shaky suspension bridges thirty feet off the ground with rope railings?  Perfectly safe for unattended six-year-olds.  Tons of fun, but I kept having the nagging dread that my parents would only find me after closing when they cleaned up all the corpses.

There was one in Japan, and one is still open in Pennsylvania, though it looks to have turned into a more conventional theme park with rides and parades and meet and greets.  Lots more available at Big Bird Bridge.

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