Overland Expo to TBEX: Strong National Museum of Play

After taking the National Lampoon approach to our visit to Niagara Falls and inching our way through border crossing #2, we set our sights for the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, NY. We had ramped down from the blistering pace we set in Stage 1 of the Overland Expo to TBEX expedition which meant I slowed our driving speed, stopped for a leisurely lunch, and just generally took the pressure off of the Camp Granola crew.

I found out about the Strong National Museum of Play a couple years earlier from a dear friend. I wasn’t rabid to see for myself although I thought it would be cool. It did seem like a place Fred and George shouldn’t miss and I wanted to give them a travel treat for having been such troopers through TBEX.

Our slow pace getting to Rochester meant that by the time we arrived we were within two hours of the museum closing. In most places that would be more than enough time for a casual visit which is what I thought this would be. You can guess where I’m going with this… I was wrong — something that was becoming all-to-thematic on this trip. Anyway, it turns out this place is all kinds of groovy and on a random Monday afternoon we had the place almost entirely to ourselves.

Wonderland of play…

The beauty of this museum is that it embraces all forms of play from video and board games to dancing, comics, art, reading, and everything in between. The museum is the result of Margaret Strong’s love of play and recognition of its value. So enjoy this little photo tour of the museum that I hope conveys the broad scope of play that is celebrated at the Strong National Museum of Play.

Enter and rediscover play…
An admirable woman.
George was quite happy to toast me at giant Battleship. Playing in large scale was surprisingly fun.
Creativity is encouraged at art stations.
I had no idea the scope of rubber ducks in the world…
I haven’t seen one of these in many years… we just won’t talk about exactly how many years.
Fred taking on the giant Perplexus. It’s a marble maze inside a ball if you’re not familiar.
Hands-on opportunities are spread throughout the museum.
Quotes help put play into perspective.
George testing his motor skills.
Encouraging young readers to get lost in imagination.
Just a small sampling of the extensive collection of Star Wars figures.
True for all ages, no?
Dolls from the 1800s.
Even puppetry is included.
It’s no surprise Fred spent most of his time in the gaming area.
Vintage toys on display help complete the story of how play has changed through time.
The whimsical decor creates a lively environment.
Go forth and learn, live, and play my friends.

I can’t say enough about this wonderful place. I did not expect to be as taken in as I was and had a good laugh with one of the staffers who said he’d not seen an adult so happy to be there. So if you think this place is just for kids, you’re wrong. We need play at all ages and there are certainly enough vintage toys and games at the Strong National Museum of Play to delight every generation.

Next stop…

High on play, we loaded up for the next stop in the Overland Expo to TBEX expedition: Seneca Falls for the National Women’s Rights Museum… That’s for next time though.

And now for your moment of green…

Window to the world that play prepares us for.

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