Touring strategy: This is the very best age to take kids to Sesame Place, and there's plenty to keep preschoolers entertained. Plan to do the dry rides first -- then tackle the wet ones. Water has a wonderful way of reviving tired kids (and preventing melt-downs).
Rides to conquer: Young thrill-seekers will have a screaming good time on Vapor Trail, a scaled-down, not-too-wild steel coaster specially designed for first-timers and their parents. (Kids must be at least age 3 to ride.) Next up, Elmo's World, where all the rides are themed after that cute red guy: Hop on Peek-a-Bug, a classic caterpillar ride with a Muppety twist; and glide up and down on Flyin' Fish (the finned vehicles look just like you-know-who). After Elmo's World, don't forget to climb aboard the Mix 'n' Match Twiddle Tracks train, Big Bird's Balloon Race, Grover's World Twirl (classic spinning tea cups) and Sunny Day Carousel.
Hands-on attractions: Watch kids scale Cookie Mountain climbing cone (only those under 44 inches are allowed in) or whiz down Snuffy's Slides. Let them jump (and jump and jump) on Ernie's Bed Bounce, or run through Monster Maze, a twisted path of punching bags. For a few extra dollars, kids can get their faces painted and play scaled-down carnival games like Elmo's Garden Grows and Ernie's Duck Pond (where everyone’s a winner and gets a small prize).
Splishy splashy fun: Float along the relaxing Big Bird's Rambling River (kids can share a tube with you), but don't be surprised if you get drenched by the geysers or tipping coconuts. Then rev up the action on Slimey's Chutes inner tube slide -- kids can ride solo or double up in with you. For a super-soaking good time, head to Ernie's Waterworks, a wet and wild interactive playground with water curtains, squirting cannons and dumping buckets, designed for kids under 7 (and their chaperones).
Shows to catch: In the new friendship-themed Let's Play Together! show, kids can sing and dance with Elmo, Grover, Rosita, Bert, Ernie, Elmo and Abby Cadabby. If your child wants even more face time with Elmo, the loveable monster stars in two shows of his own: Elmo Rocks! and Elmo's World Live Show.
Where to greet the characters: They hang out in the Sesame Neighborhood, and at the 1-2-3 Smile with Me picture-taking area. But if you want more quality time with a favorite in a relaxed setting, splurge on a character meal -- especially breakfast, which gets you into the park (and limited rides) early. You can have breakfast with Cookie Monster and Abby Cadabby (during summer only) or breakfast, lunch or dinner with Elmo & Friends all year long.