Parental Controls: 7 Family Friendly TV Shows You Can Experience IRL

Cartoon Network Hotel
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Sometimes tuning in to a favorite TV show is just what your littles (and you!) need to take a time out. But when a cartoon or TV show becomes a favorite beyond the screen, it may be time to soak in one of these immersive TV experiences. There are theatre productions all over town, plus a rad hotel where all your favorite Cartoon Network stars spend the night. They’re all within road trip distance and we know your kid crew is going to love them!

photo: Toby’s Dinner Theater

The SpongeBob Musical

Adapted from the iconic Nickelodeon series and nominated for 12 Tony Awards, parents will enjoy the original music by the likes of Cyndi Lauper, John Legend, Panic! At the Disco, and Sara Bareilles. Kids will love seeing Sponge Bob, Patrick and Squidward work to save Bikini Bottom.  
5900 Symphony Woods Road
Columbia, MD 

photo: Darren Thomas

Bluey’s Big Play

When Dad feels like a little bit of Sunday afternoon time out, Bluey and Bingo have other plans! This brand-new theatrical adaptation of the Emmy Award-winning children’s television series features an original story by Bluey creator Joe Brumm and music by Bluey composer Joff Bush. This is Bluey as you’ve never seen it before—brought to real life!

2700 F St NW
Washington, DC

photo: Walt Disney Company

Encanto: The Sing Along Film Concert

Walt Disney’s Academy Award-winning film comes to life in a one-of-a-kind concert event, featuring the entire feature-length film and an on-stage band celebrating all the record-breaking hit songs from the beloved soundtrack. Families will love singing along to their favorite songs from the musical. For die-hard Encanto fans, consider a gold VIP pass which includes a photo opportunity on the Encanto-themed red carpet as well as taking a picture in the Encanto photo booth to commemorate your fun night! You can find our full review and insider tips in this story

1551 Trap Road
Vienna, VA

Cartoon Network Hotel

photo: Cartoon Network Hotel

For a truly immersive cartoon experience, visit the Cartoon Network Hotel. Conveniently located next to Dutch Wonderland, families with littles will especially enjoy this resort, where characters from Cartoon Network favorites decorate the walls, bed linens, and make live appearances in the lobby! From guest rooms featuring bunk beds to the omnicade, coloring station, splash pad and pools, this hotel has everything a family needs to have a blast. Guests will also love the outdoor movie screen, featuring, of course, Cartoon Network favorites.

2285 Lincoln Highway East
Lancaster, PA

photo: Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: A Grr-Ific Exhibit

Through immersive experiences, visitors can work together to solve problems, use their imaginations to transform their surroundings, and play along with Daniel’s singable strategies to learn life’s little lessons. Meet Daniel and all of his friends at the Neighborhood School. While in Pittsburgh, be sure to visit the Mister Roger’s Neighborhood exhibit at the Heinz History Center, featuring King Friday’s Castle and the Great Oak Tree, the residence of Henrietta Pussycat and X The Owl. Conclude your Daniel Tiger Trip with a visit to Idlewild and SoakZone, an amusement park with a Daniel Tiger-themed ride, live show, and meet and greet events. 

10 Children’s Way
Allegheny Square
Pittsburgh, PA 

photo: Strasburg Railroad

Day Out With Thomas

Time for a visit to the Island of Sodor! As Thomas the Tank Engine rolls into the station, be sure to listen as he greets all the little engineers who come to visit him. Thomas the Train aficionados will adore their ride aboard a full-sized operating steam locomotive. After a 45-minute ride on the famous train, kids will want to stick around to sing and dance along to your favorite Thomas & Friends hits with live singers and dancers on the Town Square Stage. Sir Topham Hatt will also make special appearances, so train-loving tykes can meet their favorite station manager.

301 Gap Road
Ronks, PA

photo: Sesame Place

Sesame Place

Have an Elmo or Addy Cadabby super-fan in your troop? Then Sesame Place, just 30 minutes north of Philadelphia, is ready to welcome you. Your little Cookie Monster can meet Snuffy, Oscar, Elmo, and Bert and Ernie in their own live shows, or hop on one of the Sesame Street-themed rides! Don’t miss the Sesame Street Party Parade, where kids can see all their favorite friends from Sesame Street. 

100 Sesame Rd
Langhorne, PA 

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