Yes, it’s true; it always tends to be a challenge keeping little tykes satisfied and entertained – not least when the family’s on a trip and far from home. But good news because our very city is a goldmine when it comes to attractions, venues and things to do to keep kids – and their parents – engaged when out for the day, away from their hotels in Rochester, NY. Indeed, here are the very best of them…
Play the day away at The Strong Museum
(1 Manhattan Square Drive 14607)
The daddy of all family-friendly attractions in the city, the Strong Museum achieves that feat because, well, it’s simply dedicated to play – specifically, the nature, history and study of it. This ensures that everything from the activities (i.e. games) it offers up to the architecture of its building is based around the idea of enabling little ones to throw off their shackles and indulge their curiosity and the specific notion that children learn best when they’re playing. The exhibits really are terrific and, frankly, beguiling for visitors of all ages, ranging from a huge pretend grocery store to enormous Etch-a-Sketches and Lite Brites and from retro arcades to a wonderful indoor butterfly garden.
Throw yourself into fun at the Clubhouse Fun Center
(70 Jay Scutti Boulevard 14623)
A sensational indoor activity center for kids of – yes – all ages, the Clubhouse is where you and yours’ll chance upon single- and double-seater go-karts (as well as ‘Rookie Jr Karts’ for little tykes who aren’t quite big enough for the regular kind). Alternatively, if racing isn’t so much your kids’ thing, how about engaging the family in a round of miniature golf (which can even be played at two separate skill levels; thoughtful, yes?) or check out the place’s arcade with numerous games to enjoy, not least bumper cars. Finally, who could resist the gemstone-mining experience that gives little ones the opportunity to learn all about how, fascinatingly, precious stones were mined way back in the 19th Century. All in all, a great day of fun activities beckons at this place – just the ticket then before returning to where you’re staying for a much-needed meal at your hotel restaurant Rochester.
Watch the Rochester Red Wings at Frontier Field
(333 Plymouth Avenue 14608)
Home to the Triple A-level baseball team that’s the Rochester Red Wings, this is the city’s stadium to head to if any of your kids are sports fanatics – especially when it comes to ‘America’s national pastime’. With tickets for games available at very affordable rates and the place a particularly family-friendly place (after all, of all sports, baseball has a deserved reputation for its parents-and-kids appeal), you’ll find certain seating sections aren’t just alcohol-free but also ‘allergy aware’, the latter ensuring that no peanuts or their ilk are on sale in these sections.
Genesee Country Village and Museum
(1410 Flint Hill Road 14511)
Located just beyond the city limits, this attraction – lying within more than 600 acres of natural countryside – is New York State’s biggest (and, dare we say it, best) living history museum and so, yes, is definitely among the best attractions in Rochester. To stroll around it is to step back in time to either (or both) the 18th and/ or 19th Century, what with it being impressively and comprehensively split into three distinct time periods – the era of America’s pioneers (1790-1820), the era when towns began to form, grow and become recognisable separate centres (1830-60) and the era of the industrial revolution in the United States (1860-1900). With its grand scale and size and authenticity, this is a venue for sheer historical and tangible discovery for children – and adults – offering up, as it does, for kids old-timey games to play, buildings to explore, livestock to view and interact with and their own crafts to create.