By Brandon Henry

A little piece of Busch Gardens has made its way into Westfield Brandon.

Westfield Brandon’s new play space, the Sesame Street Safari of Fun, based on the Busch Gardens’ attraction of the same name, opened to the public on Friday, July 13. Animals and Sesame Street characters, such as Elmo and Cookie Monster, were on hand for kids to meet and enjoy. Even before the new play space officially opened in the morning, families had already lined up beforehand to experience the new attraction. The first 250 kids also received a free gift bag.

The play area, located in the mall’s newest wing next to Tilly’s and Gymboree, features 1,200-sq.-ft. of playing room, adorned with African animals and a 16-ft. tall tree house with Sesame Street characters in full safari gear for kids to play on.

“Kids can go on and play with Elmo and all his friends, and climb on animals you can find at Busch Gardens,” said Dawn Arvidson, Westfield Brandon’s director of marketing.

“We want them to feel like they’re playing at Busch Gardens with the characters from Sesame Street.”

She went on to explain the decision to partner with Busch Gardens to bring the new play space to the mall.

“We felt like they were a great partner for us, because we both believe in offering families an experience,” she said.

“When you go to Busch Gardens, you get an experience. When you come to the mall, we want you to have an experience as well. Not only just to shop, but to have the kids sit down and have a time for them to relax and take it easy.”

The Sesame Street Safari Play Space is open during regular mall hours. For more information on Westfield Brandon, visit or call 661-5100.

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