The Neighborhood of Make-Believe

Explore the Neighborhood of Make-Believe

A parade through the Neighborhood of Make-Believe (1982)

The Neighborhood of Make-Believe is a puppet kingdom ruled by King Friday XIII. It’s a fantasy area where children can see puppet characters and friendly humans grow and learn as they help each other with their problems and concerns.  


This make-believe neighborhood is a place that’s clearly and intentionally separate from Mister Rogers’ “real” neighborhood. That separation serves two purposes. On one hand, that was Fred Rogers’ way of helping young children who are typically just beginning to understand what’s real and what’s just make-believe. On the other hand, he wanted to show children that it can help to use their imagination to play and pretend about situations and feelings in their own lives.

A place where anything can happen

Intro to the Neighborhood of Make-Believe (1969)

We enter this magical world when Mister Rogers sends the Trolley through the tunnel, or in the early days through a variety of more magical devices. But Mister Rogers never appears in Make-Believe, adding to the understanding that this imaginary place is separate from his reality-oriented “television house.”


Like its name implies, the Neighborhood of Make-Believe is a place where fantastical things happen – rocking chairs fly in the sky, it snows cereal, or things literally get turned upside-down with the flick of a boomerang.


The Castle and Clock began simply as hand drawn images on a sheet that served as the set for The Children’s Corner, Fred’s first program for children which aired from 1954-1962. The puppet characters simply emerged from a hole cut in the sheet.

...and anything can be talked about

Just like real children, the characters in Make-Believe sometimes feel worried, scared, frustrated, shy or impatient. With the help of their friends, they talk about their feelings and find ways to manage their concerns.


These stories, which often play out the theme over the course of a full week of programs, clearly illustrate for children how important it is to be able to talk and play about feelings. 

For children, play is serious learning. Play is a way to cope with life and to prepare for adulthood. Playing is a way to solve problems and to express feelings. In fact, play is the real work of childhood.
Fred Rogers

Nearby neighborhoods

In addition to the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, there are lesser known and only rarely seen neighborhoods including:


Some Place Else

Some Place Else was first established as the home of Donkey Hodie and his potato farm. Harriett Elizabeth Cow came to live there, too, to help on the farm, bringing the population to 2. Later “Some Place Else” became the site of the Neighborhood School.


“Some Place Else” was indicative of Fred Rogers’ whimsical humor and his delight in being playful with words. When Donkey Hodie first arrived, he needed to build a home  – a windmill (a nod to his namesake, the fictional Don Quixote’s fascination with windmills). King Friday offered to let him build it behind the castle. As construction began, King Friday realized it was so big that it would disturb his view. So he commanded that Donkey Hodie instead build it “some place else!”


Other Make-Believe neighborhoods

Over the years as new neighbors were introduced, they were identified as living nearby. Mayor Maggie and Assistant Mayor Chuck Aber are from Westwood which is also the home of the Frogg family. Old Goat is from Northwood. Betty Okonak Templeton Jones, her husband, Michael Templeton Jones, and their daughter Carrie Dell live in Southwood.