The Real Big Bird

To be perfectly honest, this was sort of a “big” deal to me. I had grown on up Big Bird and never actually seen the real Big Bird in person before. In the old Huron Mall at JC Penney there used to be some fairly large Sesame Street characters in the kids section, and when we saw that Sesame Street Live show in Austin last year there were the big characters with actors inside the costumes, but that wasn’t the same. So when I happened upon this Tribute to PBS exhibit at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Museum & Library on Sunday morning, I knew I had to use our 3-year-old as an excuse to go see Big Bird for myself (and Oscar and The Count).

It also just so happened to be the city’s annual free museum day, so it was packed. We got there right away bright and early and raced to the fourth floor and there he was in all his glory… the real fricking BIG BIRD! One of the actual costumes that Carroll Spinney stood inside of. I mean, come on, that’s kinda cool to see a real 8’2″ authentic Big Bird in person up-close, right?

Oscar and The Count were there too. In fact they had hooked Oscar up to some animatronic device and he would shift his eyes around and pop out of the trash can, so naturally that was Johnny’s favorite. There was some other PBS stuff there too, like the authentic Mr. Rogers trolley and his shoes and jacket. Unbeknownst to me going in, there was a reading of “The Monster at the End of This Book” on the 10th floor, so up we went to hear someone else read the book for a change. Johnny, extremely familiar with the book, blurted out almost immediately to the crowd of dozens that “Grover IS the monster!” which received a few chuckles. We then returned downstairs and waited in a long line to meet the “real” Grover, which was really just a gi-freaking-normous version of Grover with an adult inside. We all know Grover is not 7’3″. Many kids took off running or screamed when it was their turn to meet Grover, but Johnny ran up and embraced Grover in a warm hug.

There of course was the whole rest of the LBJ Library which I was excited to explore, but Johnny wasn’t having any of it. Who can blame a 3-year-old for not caring about our 37th president. That is one attraction I can’t believe I never thought to check out in over 6 years in this city. Next time there are visitors, we’re going!

One of the real Oscar the Grouches.
A reading of The Monster at the End of This Book.
One of the real Counts.
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