It’s been a brutal winter and unless you’re really into outdoor winter activities, the weather is still too cold and wet to do much outdoors.
Fortunately Western New York has plenty of interesting museums that offer fun and educational indoor activities that are perfect for this time of year, especially on those days when the roads are clear enough to consider taking a short day trip or even a weekend getaway.
The Strong: National Museum of Play.
This museum is considered one of the nation’s top children’s museums, with more than 282,000 square feet of exhibits, most of them interactive. You can easily spend the entire day here. Some of the notable permanent exhibits include the Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden, which features over 1,000 free-flying butterflies (additional admission charged for butterfly garden), e-game Revolution, especially popular with older kids and adults, which lets you play your way through the history of games from pong to the latest games on Xbox 360 and Wii, and the Wegmans play supermarket, which is a favorite of younger visitors. The current special exhibit is Trivial Pursuit, a 50-state adventure, which runs through May 10. Visitors can travel coast-to-coast and learn about historic sites, tourist destinations and more.
National Museum of Play, One Manhattan Square, Rochester (585) 263-2700, www.museumofplay.org
Rochester Museum and Science Center. This museum features three floors of exhibits focusing on science and technology, as well as regional and Native American history. Current exhibits include Da Vinci: The Genius Exhibition, along with a passenger pigeon exhibit and an exhibit of Haudenosaunee artifacts. Kids will enjoy Inventor Center, the museum’s newest permanent exhibit. There is also an exhibit on energy and one about the Underground Railroad. The museum’s Strasenburg Planetarium offers star shows, giant screen films and laser shows.
Rochester Museum and Science Center, 657 East Ave., Rochester, (585) 271-4320, www.rmsc.org
George Eastman House. No visit to Rochester would be complete without a stop at the George Eastman House, one of two National Historic Landmarks in Rochester. This 12-acre estate was home to George Eastman, founder of Eastman Kodak. The 37-room mansion, the largest single family home ever built in Monroe County, now houses the International Museum of Photography and Film. Current special exhibits include In Glorious Technicolor and Aura Satz: Eyelids Leaking Light (both run through April 26). Also on exhibit is History: Photographs by David Levinthal (through May 24) and Kodak Camera at 125, which celebrates the 125th anniversary of the Kodak camera.
George Eastman House, 900 East Ave., Rochester, (585) 271-3361, www.eastmanhouse.org
Susan B. Anthony House. History buffs will want to check out the other National Historic Landmark in the city, the Susan B. Anthony House. Anthony, known for her work in the Women’s Suffrage Movement, lived in this home from 1866 until her death in 1906. Today it is a museum filled with memorabilia and displays on women’s suffrage.
Susan B. Anthony House, 17 Madison St., Rochester, (585) 235-6124, www.susanbanthonyhouse.org
Memorial Art Gallery. If you enjoy art, stop by the Memorial Art Gallery, which is operated by the University of Rochester. The museum’s permanent collection has over 10,000 objects, including works by Monet and Matisse.
Memorial Art Gallery, 500 University Ave., Rochester, (585) 473-7720, www.mag.rochester.edu
Corning Museum of Glass. This museum, one of the most popular tourist attractions in the state, houses the most comprehensive collection of glass in the world, with over 30,000 objects representing over 3,500 years of glassmaking. Many exhibits on glass science and technology are interactive. Be sure to see the very popular Hot Glass Show, which demonstrates glass blowing techniques. Visitors can even sign up to try glass blowing and other glass crafts; the workshops fill up fast, so be sure to sign up early in the day. The museum also has a huge gift shop featuring all sorts of glass items
This year is an exciting one for the museum as they will be unveiling a new 26,000 square foot Contemporary Art and Design wing March 20. There will be free admission to the museum that weekend and several special events taking place.
Corning Museum of Glass, Exit 46 off I-86, Corning, (607) 937-5371, www.cmog.org
Rockwell Museum. Founded in 1976 by the Robert Rockwell family, this museum has one of the most comprehensive collections of western art in the country. Featured are works by Frederick Remington and many other artists who portrayed scenes from the Western frontier.
Rockwell Museum, 11 Cedar St., Corning, (607) 937-5386, www.rockwellmuseum.org