Staycation: Strong Museum of Play

Buffalo Moms Day Trips - Rochester

With my husband’s spring break approaching last month, we debated for a while about whether or not we wanted to take a vacation with the kids to Myrtle Beach like we had in years past. Since Easter was so early this year, we weren’t sure if the weather down south would live up to expectations or warrant such a long drive with two little ones – so instead, we decided to take a mini “Staycation” and ventured to Rochester to check out the Museum of Play!

We loaded the kids in the car and set up our portable DVD player with Cars, which our entire family can recite almost word-for-word. An hour and a half later, we arrived at the Strong and ventured in for a day of fun! The museum was CRAZY crowded and Luke (my husband) joked that it was like the Black Friday of kids’ museums. In retrospect, we probably should have guessed that Good Friday on spring break would be total mayhem at a family-friendly place like this. The line was out the door and we waited for a solid 10 minutes before we were able to sneak into the Members line (thanks to the tickets that were generously gifted to us from the museum!).

Aquarium at Museum of Play

Once we got inside, the kids were completely enthralled by the fish tanks that greeted us first thing. They both ran over to see if they could find “Nemo,” (they did) and we had to coerce them away from the aquariums to check out the rest of the place!

Of all the exhibits, the Hotwheels room was definitely the family favorite, with the Wegmans exhibit coming in at a close second! It was a nice change of pace to be able to let the kids just be kids and play, explore, and run around a little bit checking everything out! I especially loved the Sesame Street exhibit and the Berenstain Bears room, mainly because my inner six year old was feeling all the nostalgia being able to be inside the Bears’ tree house and see the 123 Sesame Street steps and iconic green door!

Strong Museum of Play Hotwheels

Cars Table at Museum of Play

Strong Museum of Play Wegmans

Wegmans Exhibit

We spent around 3 hours at the museum in the morning until lunch time/nap time/witching hour struck, at which time we decided to go back to the hotel for some food and a short family snooze. When Marleigh woke up from her brief nap, we gave her the choice of swimming in the hotel swimming pool or heading back to the Museum, and she chose the museum with no hesitation! With our wristbands in check, we ventured back at around 5:00 and were happily surprised to see that the museum had cleared out a decent amount from our visit in the morning. The kids were able to experience even more of the fun without so many other little ones around, and we stayed for around 3 hours again, being sure to check out every room and exhibit, riding the carousel twice, and grabbing milkshakes and Icees from the diner before we left!

Art at the Museum of Play


Rochester Museum of Play Carousel

Buffalo Moms Rating

Despite the fact that it was busy and a bit chaotic at times, I would give the Strong Museum of Play a solid 5-star rating for anyone looking to take a little road trip for a fun change of pace. There was SO much to do at the museum that even in our six hours of combined visits, I still felt like there was more to explore! Another great part about the museum was that there were things geared to kids of all ages. We saw everyone from toddling babies just learning to walk to teenagers enjoying the video game exhibits. I never felt like Huck (our 1.5 year old) was “too little” to enjoy the things we were doing, and Marleigh was most definitely not bored with any of it!

Next time, we will definitely be strolling through the Butterfly Garden and trying to get the kids to sit still for more pictures with the characters and buildings inside (Huck was legitimately terrified of the life-sized Berenstain Bears family and refused to stand next to them for a photo opp!). It really was a great place to visit, and at just over an hour away, it would make for a great day trip for families with little ones!

Thanks again to the Strong Museum of Play for offering us admission to the museum for the day!

Samantha Jo Gill Buffalo MomsWRITTEN BY SAMANTHA JO
Samantha is the founder and owner of Her friends call her Sam, Sammi, or Sammi Jo. Her two favorite people call her “Mommy.” Follow along with her ramblings @SJ_Gill.


  1. I went there over Christmas and Fox was dying over everything. That mini-Wegmans is too cute! It says a lot tat MJ picked the museum over the pool!

  2. I love the idea of making a day of it. We usually go from when it opens until about lunch/nap time and I always feel like I’m rushing my son through the exhibits to get through as much as possible. I think he’d spend the whole day in that Hotwheels room if I’d let him!

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