Having a Ball at The Strong National Museum of Play

Oct 22

This post was sponsored by The Strong National Museum of Play and SheKnows Media.
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Visiting The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York with entertaining blog @cydconverse

With a toddler in the house who now goes to pre-school every day, we had the fun opportunity to take a little extra family time over the long Columbus Day weekend and visit The Strong National Museum of Play in nearby Rochester. I lived in Rochester during my first couple of years out of graduate school and it’s probably my favorite city in Upstate New York because it is bustling with culture, food, music and art. At nearly three years old, Em was the perfect age for her first visit to The Strong where I can promise you we’ll be returning many times over!

Visiting The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York with entertaining blog @cydconverse

Visiting The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York with entertaining blog @cydconverse

For certain the most appropriate alternate title to this post would have to be, “Emerson’s Best Day Ever with Her Daddy!” As soon as we walked through the doors at The Strong, my daughter and husband were off and running. I’m pretty sure it was two or three trips ’round the carousel later before we had anything resembling any kind of order. The Elaine Wilson Carousel is right at the main entrance and it has been beautifully restored. Originally built in 1918 it’s the kind of carousel that makes you feel every kind of nostalgia.

Visiting The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York with entertaining blog @cydconverse

Visiting The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York with entertaining blog @cydconverse

Visiting The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York with entertaining blog @cydconverse

Visiting The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York with entertaining blog @cydconverse

For good reason, one of our very first stops at The Strong was a visit to Sesame Street! Em loved seeing Big Bird and was really excited that she could convince her 6’2″ father to crawl into the tiny little taxi cab while she took them for a spin with Elmo and Cookie Monster. The Strong is effectively a giant ode to the power and importance of play, and while we spent most of the day there it could easily take a few visits to see and play with everything. I think it’s probably best described as a treasure trove of fun. We loved every minute!

Visiting The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York with entertaining blog @cydconverseVisiting The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York with entertaining blog @cydconverse

Visiting The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York with entertaining blog @cydconverse

Visiting The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York with entertaining blog @cydconverse

One of the things I miss most about living in Rochester is Abbott’s Frozen Custard, so after a quick lunch break (grilled cheese for Em, naturally) at the Skyliner Diner, a cup of custard was required. Abbott’s is a bit of a Rochester tradition so I loved being able to share that with her. Likewise, the Wegmans Super Kids Market at The Strong was probably the highlight of the day for me! People in Upstate New York are a little crazy about regional supermarket chain Wegmans and it was so much fun watching Em pick out her own groceries and pushing around a tiny little shopping cart before cashing out at an itty bitty register. Cuteness level 1000!

Visiting The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York with entertaining blog @cydconverse

Visiting The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York with entertaining blog @cydconverse

Visiting The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York with entertaining blog @cydconverse

Other things we loved about The Strong?

The Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden which was totally zen and unbelievably beautiful with butterflies flying everywhere.

The Berenstain Bears exhibit where you can visit Mama Bear’s quilt shop or fix up a meal at the restaurant.

For bigger kids (ahem, Bob and I) the Pinball Playfields exhibit is a literal dream room full of old and new school pinball machines.

You also have to be sure to check out the toy collections, where you can marvel over more than 73,000 artifacts encompassing everything from dolls to teddy bears to trains.

Visiting The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York with entertaining blog @cydconverse

Visiting The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York with entertaining blog @cydconverse

As a mom, I love that every little bit of The Strong is oriented around kids and encouraging them to play and learn. There are strollers readily available and even changes of clothes by request should your toddler have an accident. When Em decided to take a tumble off a bench and give herself a shiner by smacking her face off a nearby table, we were immediately greeted by friendly faces bearing ice packs and tickets for a ride on the Strong Express Train. This is the kid-friendliest of kid-friendly places, a place built with imagination in mind and I loved every little bit.

Visiting The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York with entertaining blog @cydconverse

Visiting The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York with entertaining blog @cydconverse

Visiting The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York with entertaining blog @cydconverse

A big thanks to our friends at The Strong for having us for the day! We’ll definitely be back soon. To plan your own visit The Strong National Museum of Play’s website where you can get details on hours of operation, travel directions and the latest and greatest happenings and exhibits.

[Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]

This post was sponsored by The Strong National Museum of Play. I received compensation in exchange for visiting the museum and providing my honest opinion of our visit. Read more about our editorial policies!

4 thoughts on “Having a Ball at The Strong National Museum of Play”

  1. This is the best! Thanks for sharing! I’m hoping to take my niece and nephew to these exact same places! Looks like fun for all, as I am still a kid at heart and love things like this! I remember pushing kid carts in Florida when I would visit my grandparents and I felt so helpful to my mom, as I could help with the shopping! Love it!

    1. Your niece and nephew will LOVE it there! And it’s so fun for grown-ups, too. I want to a build a tiny Wegmans in our attic now so I can push the little shopping cart around, too! lol

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