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Choose Your Adventure: Rochester, New York

Whether you are planning to visit Rochester, New York for a week or a weekend, there is plenty of family fun to be had. Indoors or outdoors, children and adults alike will love exploring all there is to see and do in the 5th largest city in New York state.

My son and I recently took a trip to Rochester with friends of ours. With 2 moms and 3 boys ranging in age from 7 to 11, we picked the perfect getaway that was just far enough to really feel like we were away (just under 5 hours from Berks County, Pennsylvania to Rochester, New York), but yet close enough that we could enjoy the couple of days we had to visit.

Seneca Park Zoo
A couple of hours is all you need to see animals from all over the world! Take your time walking the paths and visiting the buildings that house African Bullfrogs, North American River Otters, Amur Tigers, Snow Leopards, Polar Bears, and more. Even on a hot day, like the day we visited, the zoo is a great place to see and learn about a variety of animals, as well as the Seneca Park Zoo‘s conservation efforts.

We thought the placement of the buildings throughout the zoo was well thought out, as it allowed us to get out of the sun for a few minutes periodically during our visit. In fact, it seems that they designed many of the animal enclosures with that same thoughtfulness in mind, allowing the animals to come and go inside and outside in several different enclosures.

The Strong National Museum of Play
There were 5 of us visiting, ranging in age from 7 to 42, and let me just say, the adults had just as much fun as the kids! Pinball, board games, superheroes, make-believe creatures, and more are all here in this museum where you don’t have to just look. These exhibits are set up to encourage everyone to use their imagination for an epic museum experience all centered around play.

Our group had fun acting out scenes with the pretend food truck and movie ticket window, creating our own pirate flags and then hoisting them up to fly on the ship’s mast, trying out a variety of pinball machines, and pretending to go grocery shopping at a pretty realistic looking Wegman’s supermarket. With two floors of hands-on fun, you’ll spend hours playing, and the adults may spend a good portion of that time reminiscing about the toys they played with as a child. There’s a good chance you may see some of those toys at The Strong National Museum of Play, too.

Seabreeze Amuseument Park
We had a great time at Seabreeze Amusement Park, the 4th oldest operating amusement park and the oldest family-owned park in the United States! We enjoyed the thrill of the Jack Rabbit and the calmness of the train. There was a perfect mix of rides that were new to us like the Time Machine and Whirlwind and classics like the Log Flume, Carousel and Sea Dragon.

While we didn’t visit the waterpark, it was great to see they had a large wave pool, several water slides, and a lazy river. We had fun watching the large bucket of water tip over and spill over those who were brave enough to stand underneath it in the Soak Zone.

We worked up an appetite riding the rides, so it was nice that there was a variety of food options available like pizza, salad, chicken fingers and empanadas. Of course, there are plenty of treats to satisfy your sweet tooth, too, like ice cream, cotton candy, and funnel cake fries.

Time didn’t allow for us to play miniature golf at Parkside Whispering Pines Miniature Golf, which is just down the street from Seabreeze Amusement Park. It’s the oldest miniature golf course in the United States. Since we enjoyed our visit to Rochester so much, we know we will be back again, and we will make sure to play here then.

Rochester Museum & Science Center
We explored three floors of interactive displays at the Rochester Museum & Science Center, where we learned about earthquakes, erosion, music and sounds, electricity, and more. We used our imaginations and became weather reporters, drove tugboats down the Erie Canal, discovered how traffic lights work and used KEVA planks to build towers and buildings.

The museum offers a variety of shows and hands-on exhibits to encourage kids to explore their curiosity in science. It was so much fun, our kids didn’t even realize they were learning!

Here are a few more things to do in the Rochester area that we didn’t have time to do on this visit, but they are on our list for the next time we are here:

  • Genesee Country Village and Museum – This is the largest and most comprehensive living history museum in New York State, and the third largest in the United States. The museum offers opportunities to see, smell, taste, touch, explore and experience what life was like in the 19th century through the knowledgable and costumed interpreters. Enjoy live demonstrations, test your balance on stilts and play some 19th century games in the Village Square.
  • Susan B. Anthony House & Museum – You can visit & tour the home of Susan B. Anthony while she was a national figure in the women’s rights movement. See the front parlor where she was arrested after attempting to vote in the 1872 Presidental Election.
  • Radio Social – Located in Rochester’s historical Stromberg-Carlson warehouse, Radio Social is a bowling alley, restaurant, bar, music venue and social club.

Abbott’s Frozen Custard
If you’re looking for an afternoon treat, you’ll be delighted with Abbott’s Frozen Custard! There’s a reason it’s been Rochester’s favorite custard for over 100 years – it’s delicious!

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que
If you like BBQ, then look no further! Located in the former Lehigh Valley Railroad Station that was built in 1905, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que has a unique atmosphere and beautiful views of the Genesee River. And the food? Mouthwatering deliciousness!

Hampton Inn & Suites – Rochester/Henrietta
We were so pleased with our stay here! From the spacious rooms to the friendly staff, the large indoor pool and the complimentary breakfast, Hampton Inn & Suites – Rochester/Henrietta exceeded our expectations in every way.

*We were guests of Visit Rochester for this trip. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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