‘The Strong’ National Museum of Play

US-based junior reporter, Sylvia, shares her time at ‘The Strong’ in NY.

‘The Strong’ museum in Rochester, New York is filled with hands-on exhibits so kids can have fun and play. Playing is something that children around the world do naturally, just by instinct. Through play, children can engage and interact with the world around them at a young age.

Wandering through Imagination Destination. Photo: Chesak

The Strong allows children of all ages (and their parents) to have fun and enjoy themselves. With tons of hands-on exhibits all about how we play, kids will love The Strong. Below are my five favorite must-see exhibits in this unique museum.

Test your skills at the Pinball Playfield. Photo: The Strong

Table of Contents


This exhibit shows how play affected America over hundreds of years. Learn about the first hand-made monopoly set and some of the first prototypes of now extremely popular toys like G.I. Joe and Mickey Mouse Characters.

Early LEGO sets on display. Photo: Chesak


Explore the evolution of all types of vehicles through three centuries of American history. Maneuver and control a dump truck and build skyscrapers, Lego creations, and your own unique structures and patterns.


The Strong is home to the only year-round butterfly garden in Upstate New York. Hundreds of brilliantly colored, free-flying tropical and native butterflies will surely put this exhibit at the top of your list.

The Butterfly Garden. Photo: The Strong


Learn about the history of video games and the controversies surrounding them. Not only do you get to travel through centuries of video games but you also get to play some of the first video games like centipede, Xybots, Tapper, and many more! Then, try your hand at some unique games like the only giant Tetris in North America and Pac-Man Battle Royale – the first four-player Pac-Man.

Wandering through Imagination Destination. Photo: Chesak


In this interactive exhibit explore toys beloved by generations. Create, pop, and swirl bubbles on a 20-foot bubble tower that uses motion-capture technology. Using Kinect motion, play with virtual toys and draw on virtual easels in a 24-foot playroom.

Virtual Play Room in the Toys Hall of Fame. Photo: The Strong

Make music on the giant crayon piano. Use cords, pulleys, and cranks to interact with a 20-foot kinetic sculpture. Pose in front of an oversized Etch-a-Sketch to get your portrait etched and sketched! And lastly, learn about the development of the world’s most famous toys (from Raggedy Ann to Mr. Potato Head) and who made them in two 10-foot kiosks.

With all these great exhibits, this is a must-see museum for any kid –  or anyone who’s a kid at heart.

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