This post is sponsored by The Strong museum and SheKnows Media.
Thank you to the STRONG Museum for hosting us for a fun filled (and educational!) day. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.
My daughters will be entering Kindergarten and Second Grade this September. I don’t mean to toot their horns here, but they are both smart girls. Their report cards this year had my husband and I beaming and prouder than I could have ever imagined. But I know all too well that the summer slump is real, so I feel it is important to keep their education up while they are out of school. One of our favorite local ways to do that is head to the ultimate play destination for all ages – The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York.
The last few years we were members, but we just let our membership lapse when my husband got a promotion at work, knowing we would not be able to make it out as often as we would like. The girls have really been missing it there so imagine their excitement when they found out that The Strong wanted to host us for a day of play!
There are so many great activities for children of all ages there – last year we brought our 11-year-old niece and she still tells me how much fun she had. From a butterfly garden, to a working grocery store, to my personal favorite, a superhero exhibit, The Strong is truly a place for the entire family to have the best day of their lives!
Here are just a few of our personal favorite exhibits, but the museum has so much more to offer as well.
Check Out The Butterfly Garden
For just a tiny upcharge you can visit the butterfly garden at The Strong National Museum of Play. This is one of the best butterfly gardens I have ever been to – no, scratch that, it is the best. We can’t visit the museum without checking it out.
There have been countless times that butterflies have landed on my daughters, on myself, and on my husband. Not to mention all the cocoons you can check out on the back wall, helping kids with science and the life cycle of the butterfly. This place is truly amazing and worth the few dollars it costs to add it on to your visit.
Shop at Wegman’s
The first place my girls always rush to when we enter the museum is the Wegmans Super Kids Market. I have to admit, I always love playing in here too. Kids can grab their own shopping carts and go shopping. Literally. This mock-up store has a produce section, a meats section, a dairy section – everything you would expect to see in a real super market.
Each item has a barcode that can be scanned at checkout – kids will even get their own receipt (which we have a drawer full of at home because they never want to throw them away). Each child is only allowed 5 items at a time, which helps the little ones with counting. We also have our girls add up the cost themselves to keep their math skills going strong.
Explore with the Berenstain Bears
If you are looking for a way to keep your little ones’ imaginations sharp, the Berenstain Bears: Down a Sunny Dirt Road exhibit has tons of imaginative play options. Here, kids can be a dentist, a doctor, a cook, a waitress, a seamstress, and so much more.
I can’t tell you how long we had played at the jump rope game trying to beat each other’s scores. Kids here can also learn some money skills as they sell apples and plums at the fruit stand or sell meals at the Bear Family Restaurant. We always leave this section laughing and smiling.
You guys know me and my obsession with superheroes, so you know this is my favorite part of the museum. Here, you can test your strength after being hit by some Gamma Rays, climb up a building like Spidey, and read all about the origin of some of your favorite heroes.
Kids can also play dress up and walk high above the city skyline. We enjoy describing why they can do all of these things to our girls so that they understand the science behind it. Another great way to learn while having lots of fun!
Play Video Games
This is a close second for my favorite area because there are so many arcades and video games. Seriously, you can’t walk in there and not feel like a little kid again. I have spent way too much money reminiscing and playing games than I care to admit.
I just love showing my girls what it was like when I was young like them. We always read the plaques that talk about how video games started too. It is pretty educational for them, and honestly, my 7-year-old is so good at Pong, it is scary!
About the Museum
The Strong is a highly interactive, collections-based museum devoted to the history and exploration of play. It is one of the largest history museums in the United States and one of the leading museums serving families.
It houses the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of historical materials related to play and is home to the International Center for the History of Electronic Games, the National Toy Hall of Fame, the World Video Game Hall of Fame, the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play, the Woodbury School, and the American Journal of Play.With 100,000 square feet of dynamic, interactive exhibit space, The Strong museum provides educational, entertaining, and unforgettable intergenerational fun.
The Strong museum is open 362 days a year. (Closed on October 26, November 22, and December 25 in 2018)
Museum Hours: Monday–Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
General Museum Admission: Age 2 and older, $15; Under age 2, free; Members, free with current membership card and photo ID
General Museum Admission with Butterfly Garden: Age 2 and older, $20; Under age 2, free; Members, $4.