New York

The Strong | National Museum of Play

Since we had no big plans for Spring Break we decided to take a short road trip in the opposite direction that we usually do. We live in upstate NY and typically have been exploring places to the south, north or east of us. However, for this trip we decided to drive west instead. Our main destination was to spend a day in Niagara Falls. Along the way we wanted to break the trip up, so looked for something fun to do. My research landed us at The Strong National Museum of Play, located in Rochester, NY. This museum is a giant museum of toys and interactive exhibits.

We did not pick up a map so we just started to explore by letting my two young daughters lead the way. First stop: the fish tank. Because when you are two years old you can never see enough fish. After that my older daughter led us to the rock climbing wall. The goal was to climb horizontally across the wall which she loved!

 

Each room or section of exhibits contained a combination of displays of toys in cases to view and read about and hands on activities and toys. The display of toys is considered the World’s largest collection of toys, games, dolls and video games. They have a Toys Hall of Fame exhibit where you can see and play with favorite toys enjoyed by past and present eras. My youngest daughter loved the giant lite bright. I thought was funny because she hasn’t even played with the original one yet! And this one was way less of a choking hazard! Ha!

 

Another exhibit the girls enjoyed was playing with the kinetic sand table. It was equipped with a camera overhead which created a topographic map on a screen on the wall. Once we discovered how this worked my older daughter got a kick out of making the tallest sand hill she could so she could see it show up on the map on the wall.

The top floor of the museum is probably where we spent the most time. They had a huge room of video games ranging from some of the very first ever to some of the latest games. The negative side to this section was they were not free and you had to purchase tokens to play. But of course this didn’t hold back my husband who is a true video game nerd at heart. I took my younger daughter around to different toys on the same floor that were perfect for ages 2-10ish. There was a big room full of all different toys, ranging from animal figurines, play kitchen, dress up, Barbies, and magnetic blocks. Her favorite though was a Lego wall. I had a hard time getting her to leave this area even though a lot of the toys were stuff we had at home anyway.

We visited on a Friday afternoon and it was not very busy at all. When we were purchasing our tickets I noticed that there were more people in the membership entrance line than the line we were in. I am assuming it is a popular thing to do for families with kids in the area. I am sure that if I lived nearby I would purchase an annual membership. Not sure when we will be in the Rochester, NY area again, but if we are again soon we would love to revisit this museum again – we had a great time and wished we allotted more time to stop here!

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