This past Friday, I was invited to bring my children to visit Sesame Street Presents: The Body, an interactive exhibit that teaches kids about their bodies. It is running through April 26th at Hollywood & Highland in Hollywood, CA. Coincidentally, Hollywood & Highland is also the home of the Oscars which is just wrapping up at the Kodak Theater as I type this. So it was with great trepidation that I headed with my one year old and two year old to the EXACT location of the Oscars, 48 hours before the show. Street closures were already in effect. But, that's my neighborhood so I know my way around. I expertly guided my minivan through Hollywood avoiding BOTH Hollywood Blvd and Highland Ave. I whipped into the Orange Dr. entrance to be greeted by about 7 security personnel. They searched my vehicle and ran those mirrors on sticks under the body. Apparently my frazzled mom appearance and two babies strapped into carseats wasn't enough to give me a free pass. I got a nod from the security chief and proceeded into the underground parking. Down, down, doooowwwwwn. Two thirds of the parking was roped off for "OSCARS". Finally, I got to the bottom level and said, screw it! And whipped through the roped off area. A nice guy helped me get a spot. I cranked open the double stroller and locked and loaded Chip and Lulu. I cruised into the elevator/escalator area and looked around for signage to indicate where I could find the Sesame Street exhibit. Nothing. I looked at the signs by the elevator. Nothing. I got into the elevator. Nothing. I even asked security guards. They had no idea. I got off at the first level and there was no signage and no one to ask. All this in the midst of the craziness of the Oscar preparations. Security everywhere, workers with credentials around their necks, walkie-talkies going. Everyone I asked had no idea what I was talking about. Finally some random guy suggested I go up a level to the Plaza Level (level 2). So I did. When I got off and headed towards the plaza. Finally a sign, but the sign didn't say WHERE the exhibit was. Ok, I kept pushing the stroller into the main plaza and blessedly found a security guard who knew. He pointed me to a ramp that lead right to Sesame Street Presents: The Body!!! May my exasperation be your salvation, the exhibit is directly across from California Pizza Kitchen on the second level.
We cruised right in and were just in time to see Elmo. Elmo comes out once per hour for about 20 minutes and interacts with the kids. Chip and Lulu smiled and gave Elmo high fives. I met with the PR rep who was very nice and gave me a rundown of the event. The exhibit was fun and had a lot going on, but Chip had no interest in getting out of the stroller. Something was not right. I put my hands on him and he was burning up, he said he didn't feel well. Great. I excused myself and went on a mission to find a drugstore. I found the same angelic security guard who helped me find the exhibit. He actually lead me on a shortcut to the best exit to approach the drugstore. Chip and Lulu's hair blew in the breeze as we cowboyed it with the security guard through the Oscar melee, through the tourists gawking at the melee, over the electrical cords strung across the floor with temporary speed bumps over them, thunk, thunk went the stroller. We whipped past reporters and all sorts of event staff. The security guard secured a back elevator and bid me godspeed. We went down to the Graumann's Chinese Theatre side of Hollywood & Highland. I was really cooking with gas now. The stroller was cruising over the handprints and footprints and signatures in the cement in front of the theater. We whipped onto the sidewalk and bobbed and weaved around foreign tourists bent over looking at the stars on Hollywood Blvd. A block later I secured a bottle of Children's Motrin, gave Chip a shooter of the stuff and headed back through exactly what I had gone through. I felt lame that I had bailed out on the PR event. We made it back in good time.
Chip came back to life and we were able to take in the event! The Body allows kids to explore their insides, their outsides, how the body works and how to stay healthy, all within the familiar world of their favorite Sesame Street Muppets. Chip and Lulu loved the obstacle course area, all padded including a fun slide that Lulu couldn't get enough of. Next they went to Mr. Hooper's Store and picked out healthy (play) food and rang them all up at the register. Chip loved playing the cashier. While we were in the store, Elmo came in! Chip had a blast putting food in Elmo's shopping basket and helping him decide what to buy. It was really neat for the kids to be able to interact with Elmo. But, by far, the BEST part of the exhibit was Oscar the Grouch! Over at the street area of the exhibit, sits Oscar's Trashcan. If you rattle the can and pull on the lid, Oscar yells from inside! Chip was desperate to see Oscar. Well, there is no Oscar, just a motion activated voice coming from the can. Chip kept yelling, "Where's Oscar?" I was chasing Lulu, so I yelled back, "Oscar is in the can!" Then I realized how that sounded....Oh...Well. Chip could not be bribed to leave, he was obsessed with seeing Oscar. I had to keep yelling, "Oscar is in the can!" I wanted out. It was time to leave, we had seen it all and I was wiped. I said, we'll see Oscar on the way to the car! I finally got Chip and Lulu into the stroller. Bid thank you to our PR hosts and headed towards the home of the Oscars while leaving Oscar in his home. As promised, I took a loop down to the grand entrance and showed Chip the big gold statues. He could not have cared less. He wanted the REAL one, in the can.
If you happen to be in the Hollywood area and your kids are Sesame Street fans, I highly recommend stopping into Sesame Street Presents: The Body. It is open Fridays-Sundays 10:00am-5:00pm in addition to Spring Break Weekdays. Visit their site www.sesamestreetpresents.org for full info. $10 per child and includes one adult. Parking at Hollywood & Highland is $2 with validation from exhibit. Group rates available.