Over Labor Day weekend, after a long drive, we arrived at our first hotel in New York. My little adored the hotel room (her first time in a hotel) mainly because the beds are just perfect for leaping about on. We let her go wild…
…and soon she was crashing out. It’s a good thing too, as she needed plenty of rest for our first New York stop – The Strong Museum of Play! Strap in for oodles of pictures accompanying this post!
I had never been to or even heard of this museum before. This plan came entirely from my partner, who discovered The Strong while judging a Magic: The Gathering tournament in Syracuse. He knew our kiddo would just love it, and he was so right.
The Strong Museum of Play is pretty much the ideal museum for geeky parents. Obviously, given the name, there is a ton for kids to do and play with. Every single section has wonderful elements of play! But the exhibits themselves are just perfect for geeky adults. I found this out when we first walked in the door.
Adorning the adorable 50s themed diner right inside the entrance is a giant Cap statue. I was already excited at this point. After going in we soon discovered there were so many exhibits that were right up our alley. Such as the entire Star Wars section (this was a temporary exhibit) that was filled with info about the franchise, toy collections, and super cool things to see.
There was the Sci-Fi room which was filled with amazing memorabilia, incredibly cool interactive games and exhibits, plus a wall-sized projection set-up of Space Invaders to play. It was amazing.
I must make special note of this Sci-Fi exhibit because everything you see below is made entirely out of toothpicks.
Yeah. My partner and I had so much fun finding thing from our favorite fandoms. My images don’t do it justice at all, but see if you can spot any! (I’m sad to say I didn’t see Farscape represented at all. Where’s my toothpick Moya?!)
Rounding another corner on the way to the butterfly garden (see below for more on that) we found an entire exhibit dedicated to the history of American comics which was fascinating! They had great interactive stuff there as well, such as memory games to test your brain superpowers, and a lot of green screen areas you could project yourself into scenes as a superhero.
Upstairs held their board game and video game exhibits. (I was not kidding about geek parent heaven!) They covered the history of each, as well as having oodles of memorabilia to look at and learn about. Plus, they had tons of arcade games, console games, and pinball games to play. And of course, activities for younger kids as well.
My daughter’s favorite part was the butterfly garden. It’s a giant greenhouse filled with awesome plants and of course, loads of butterflies freely flying about! My daughter loved walking around, and seeing all the butterfly varieties. And one of the staff was kind enough to bring her a butterfly to hold during her stay in the garden! She was thrilled.
My favorite part of the butterfly room is the cocoon wall, which I stupidly forgot to get a full picture of. Basically, it’s this glassed in area where there are just rows and rows of cocoons, and you can see the new butterflies emerging right in front of you. We saw two come out! It was amazing! Pardon the crappy pictures of it; the light was really low in the corner and there was glare off the glass…it was not ideal for pic taking.
In addition to all the amazing geeky exhibits, there were huge areas dedicated just to play for kids. There was an entire section that had things like a grocery store, restaurant, TV station, post office – all run by kids! They get to do the grown up jobs, with working equipment (like the whole grocery checkout, TV cameras, play food, etc) – my little loved it. They have an entire section of just different toys to play with – figurines, dolls, block, cars, you name it. One of the huge wings is all about books and reading, with exhibits based around different genres of books with activities to do in each one. Plus, sprinkled around the entire museum were craft stations. Paper, accessories, pipe cleaners, glue, and tape – make whatever you want! My kid was in heaven. And there is still so much more I could write about!
TL;DR – We were incredibly impressed by The Strong Museum of Play. I think they do an amazing job of balancing activities for kids of ALL ages along with things that parents can enjoy too. And if you’re a geeky parent, you’ll be in hog heaven. If you plan on making a trip to the Rochester, NY area, definitely don’t miss it! Or maybe even plan a trip just to spend a day there – it’s worth it! I’ll leave you with a pic of this crazy fish today – tune in next Monday for Part 3 of the trip!
This fish was in a big tank in the first corridor of the museum – isn’t it so cool with the horn on it?! No idea what it is, but I was fascinated.
Have you ever been to The Strong Museum of Play? Would you like to go sometime?