Visiting The Strong Museum of Play Without Kids

Visiting the national play museum as an adult

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Can You Visit the Strong Museum of Play without Kids?

This is the most important question to start off with, because if you’re like me, and you’re totally a child at heart and still love doing all the “child-y” things, but don’t have any kids as an excuse to do them with… well… is it going to be awkward to go to this museum??

And the answer is… Yes, you can totally go to the Strong Museum of Play without kids (and also no, it will not be awkward)!

Now, that being said, there are parts of the museum that are more geared towards kids, and parts that are for everybody.

I’ll walk you through (virtually!) what parts are most “kid-friendly” and what parts are best for adults (and my favorite parts!), as well as what it is like to visit in 2020 and beyond.

Can You go to the Strong Museum of Play WITH Kids?

Well, YES, of course! So if you DO have kids, then make sure you visit here while they are still young enough to appreciate it. Because they will appreciate it!

How Long Should You Spend at Strong Museum of Play?

We spent around 3 hours here (that seems to be the average with most large museums).

The museum is open from 10 am - 3 pm. That doesn’t mean they stop letting people in at 3. That means they kick you out at 3. Fyi.

Where to Park for Strong Museum of Play

The museum has their own parking garage adjacent to the museum. It’s bright and colorful, so you really can’t miss it!

The parking garage is located on Howell St.

Where to pay for parking

Parking costs $5. And it’s important that you know where to pay, because, being us, we messed this up.

DO NOT pay at the kiosks in the parking garage.


They actually say on their website to bring your parking ticket into the front desk, which I knew BECAUSE I READ IT! But I got distracted by the important looking kiosk standing right at the door from the parking garage to the museum.

The thing is, you want to pay at the front desk, because they will give you your ticket back with a sticker that says “paid.” But if you pay at the kiosk on the way in, it will eat your ticket and not give it back.

And you need that ticket to get out (why you can’t just pay on the way out, I don’t know!).

So do what their website says. Pay at the front desk.

Can you walk from the parking garage to the museum?

This may seem like a dumb (or obvious) question, but I am full of dumb questions, so I am happy to inform the planners like me.

As I said, the parking garage is literally right next to the museum. How far you have to walk only depends on how full it is and how far away you have to park. If you can park in the corner spot right by the door, you only have a few feet to walk to reach the museum!

Reading Adventureland

Notice the nifty hand sanitizer stations ;)

This is the first place we saw when we walked into the museum. And I can tell you that 9 year old me would be So. Stoked. to be here (Also, 9 year old me told my parents I wanted to come!).

While grown up me was still excited to explore, especially since there were not a lot of little kids around, this is one of the areas that is definitely more geared toward little kids.

They have games, crafts, even a mini theater and costumes so the kids can put on a show!

Every little nook has a different “storybook” theme, like mystery books, fantasy books and adventure books.

If you want to pretend you’re in Harry Potter and play a giant game of “wizard chess,” you’re in the right place. Although this is in the Giant section, not the Harry Potter section.

This is in the “Harry Potter” section (technically the fantasy section). I just thought it was so amusing that they have Ron’s wand, Hermoine’s wand, Harry’s wand… and the wand from Frosty the Snowman. #random

Pinball Playfields

A whole room FULL of pinball machines!!

This was my favorite part of the museum! SO. MUCH. FUN.

There are just so many different types of pinball machines. Ghostbusters, Game of Thrones, Star Wars. They even have an EPIC Lord of the Rings one, which I eagerly waited for to light up after I put in my token, only to realize that it should have been lit up before I put in my token if it was actually going to work…

This is definitely an “adult-friendly” part of the museum!

  • Extra Cost:

Each game costs 1 token to play. You can purchase tokens (4 for $1) at the kiosk by the door.

One of the very first pinball(ish) machines ever!

The Game of Thrones machine was my favorite! Other than the LOTR one, that didn’t work…

The Butterfly Garden

  • Extra Cost

The Butterfly Garden is an add on you can get to your admission ticket. We chose not to add it on, so I can’t tell you what it was like, but I bet it would be a nice place to take some pictures!

The garden is behind the Pinball Playfields. It is open from 11 am - 2:15 pm.

American Comic Book Heroes

This section of the museum is sort of a cross between the “kid-friendly” of the Reading Adventureland, and the “adult-friendly” of activities that a grown up wouldn’t be embarrassed to try (maybe).

  • The really nice thing about going when the museum is not busy—nobody is there to judge your attempt at being a “super hero!”

If you’ve always wanted to be a super hero, this is the place for you. You can test your ability to chase down bad guys at warp speed, feel what it’s like to have super strength, and try out your super hero cape.

There are a lot of activities in this section that both kids and adults will enjoy.

The Toy Hall of Fame

This is the largest section of the museum, and my second favorite spot behind the Pinball Playfields.

  • Of course, the huge arcade area in this section puts the Pinball Playfields to shame!

All along the walls are the most famous toys from over the decades. And you might not even notice them because of all the interactive games in between.

I honestly didn’t pay much attention at all to the actual “toy hall of fame,” except the Barbie section (don’t judge me!). I wish I had paid more attention, but there is just so much to look at!

This is definitely the main area that adults will enjoy, while there is enough to do to keep the kids very well entertained too.

  • Extra Cost

Just like in the Pinball Playfields, each game in the (huge) arcade costs a token. There are kiosks where you can buy tokens (4 for $1).

I was so excited to see the unicorn Beanie Baby (which I also still have!), because this was one of my favorite toys growing up (even before unicorns were cool!).

Just another giant game to play.

Field of Play

Just when you think you’ve seen all the interactive games there can possibly be, you enter the Field of Play.

There are just so many fun, giant games to play in here. DDR (this one’s free), a fun house with slanting floors, a system of pulleys and tubes to drop balls from the ceiling and watch where they go.

There are more crafts for the kids, but the exhibits are interesting enough for adults to be engaged as well.

Sesame Street

This was another area, like the Reading Adventureland, that is mostly geared toward kids. And again, 9 year old me would have been thrilled.

But since there weren’t a lot of kids hanging around there when we went (#2020), Jason and I could explore the little kid world of Sesame Street without feeling weird.

And it was fun!

But again, if there are a lot of kids there, adults on their own will probably just keep out of their way and let them play a song with the foam ping pong paddles on the giant pipes that are so far apart you literally have to dance in order to play them.


SO cute! But again, I shop at the real Wegmans, thanks. So I’ll let the little kids shop at their cute little mini sized Wegmans.

  • If you’re visiting, and you’re not from NY or somewhere nearby, and you haven’t been to Wegmans, then definitely check out the real live grown up Wegmans in Rochester before you leave!

Strong Express Train

It’s just a little train to ride on. Fun for the kids, worth skipping for the adults. Unless you want to ride the train. Because I would. So no judgement.

  • Extra Cost

The train does cost extra to ride. I believe it was $1.

Fidelis Care Gallery

This is for the sports lovers out there. Basketball hoops, pitching, quarterbacking. It’s fun for kids and adults to try out all the sports related games.

  • I definitely threw three strikes when I tried my hand at pitching! And then I tried again and ruined my streak. But we won’t talk about that.

Paychex Theater

The theater was not open when we visited in 2020.

You gotta love Kermy (part of the Toy Hall of Fame).

Other Things to do in Rochester

There are a lot of other things to do in the area. Also, a good time to visit (or not—if you don’t like crowds) would be during the Lilac Festival.

George Eastman Museum

History buffs and photography buffs will love this museum!


If you haven’t been to a Wegmans before, you need to go to one while you’re in the area! No, it’s not just a grocery store. But also it’s the best grocery store.

Escape Rooms

I loved holding the “I carried the team!” sign, because that’s just… not true. Jason always carries the team when we go to escape rooms.

I always love trying local escape rooms when I visit somewhere new. There are a lot of escape rooms to choose from in Rochester.

Locked Escape Room is the one we tried. I was not overly impressed with it, but it was fun (also, we escaped, so that’s a win!). It’s located near the airport in a small office complex.

Try Donuts

The Twix doughnut from BXCR (Boxcar) Donuts.

A Frankenstein donut!

I found a lot of impressive looking donut shops to choose from, but I ended up going with Boxcar Donuts. Jason thought I was taking him to a super sketchy part of town, but it’s actually just a cute hipster street near the train tracks.

It’s a one way street, but there is a parking lot across from Boxcar Donuts, so you can park right there. There is a parking code on the sign inside the store.

  • According to Facebook, they are currently closed while they move to a new location.

Donuts Delite was my second choice, and I’m kinda regretting not going there. If you have time, check it out! Also, if you’re looking for reviews of literally everywhere to eat breakfast in Rochester, check out this blog.

Save the pin below for future trip planning: