During our drive through Upstate New York with A Welcome Surprise we swung by two museums that the kids loved. If you’re looking to explore the Rochester area there’s two museums that are sure to please the little ones, The Rochester Museum and Science Centre and The Strong National Museum of Play. One was very educational and the other was more playful but both were enjoyed by both the parents and the kids.
Disclosure : Our visit was hosted by A Welcome Surprise, but as always, opinions are totally mine!
Rochester Museum and Science Centre
One of the top three most visited attractions in Monroe County, the Rochester Museum and Science Centre has 200 interactive exhibits, the Strasenburgh Planetarium, the Cumming Nature Center and more than 1.2 million collection items that tell the story of Rochester’s rich history of innovation and invention. I wasn’t sure what to expect but the Rochester Museum and Science Centre was actually a great learning opportunity that was toddler and pre-schooler friendly. We got there at 11 a.m. on a Saturday and the place wasn’t busy at all.
There’s various sections that gave us the opportunity to talk about the effects of wind, natural forces, insects and bones. Baby Boy is getting to the exploratory stage and was curious about everything he saw. Luckily for us the museum is toddler friendly with elevators and plenty of space for kids to run around and parents to relax at. My favourite line from our visit was when Little Monkey dragged me from one end to another to show me “Pocahontas’ people”.
During our visit there was a special animal balloon making class that all four of us got into and I’m proud to say that I now know how to make a balloon dog! Impressive right?
We spent three hours here and still didn’t get to all of the exhibits (as is the case with most museums we visit!) but three hours is our limit I’ve come to learn. We ended our visit with a simulator ride and not only was it just a dollar per person but we also had the simulator all to ourselves! It was a bit goofy and Little Monkey loved her tour through the Great Wall of China but Baby Boy was NOT a fan.. he cried and kept asking for the door to open!! It was pretty hilarious.
The Strong National Museum of Play
Now this is one FUN spot. Even the hubs and I couldn’t help but get into it. Our original plan was to swing by here as we were driving in from Toronto (it’s only 2 hours away from us!!) but we got distracted by the Blue Jays game and so didn’t make it in on time and Little Monkey was quite disappointed. Luckily The Strong is open until 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays which makes it a great spot for families with night owls like ours. Our visit on Saturday at 6 p.m. saw us explore the various areas and it wasn’t overly busy either.
This is Upstate New York’s largest year-round family attraction and kids can stroll down Sesame Street, step into a 1980s video arcade, journey into the world of superheroes, enjoy hundreds of free-flying butterflies and engage in pretend play before jumping on the carousel! The highlight, and where we spent over an hour at, was Sesame Street. Baby Boy was in awe when he saw Elmo and Ernie characters here. The Strong has really captured Sesame Street quite well and we were disappointed when we couldn’t find the puppet versions we played with available for purchase at the gift shop. The hubs was especially sad about that one. Little Monkey’s highlight was watching herself on Tv with the Sesame Street gang…she just couldn’t wrap her head around it!
From dancing to reading and playing with “olden day” kitchen tools, we spent two hours here and could have easily spent another twelve! We shut the place down and as we were heading out they made the last call for the Carousel ride and the hubs rushed to get some $1 bills to get the kids on the ride. It was a nice way to end our visit and make our way back to the Del Monte Lodge
If you’re looking for more attractions in the Upstate NY area this list has plenty of suggestions. We found the drive from Toronto be quite enjoyable and September through to December is a great time to visit the area.