Editor’s Note: During this period of social distancing, Group Tour magazine will continue to provide group travel inspiration. Many attractions and destinations are closed at this time; please contact them directly for updated information.
Groups enjoy more than a city block of hands-on, interactive exhibits and the world’s largest collection of play-related objects at The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York.
While some museums make visitors think, The Strong also makes its visitors giggle.
Groups can play their way through the history of pinball and electronic games, jump into a giant board game, visit the world’s largest pop-up book, learn about the most popular toys of all time in the National Toy Hall of Fame and enjoy an indoor butterfly garden.
“The Strong provides a whimsical, nostalgic journey for groups of all types,” said Shane Rhinewald, senior director of public relations.
Groups can enjoy a 45-minute guided tour of the museum’s “must-see” artifacts highlighting rare and one-of-a-kind pieces. See the first Monopoly board created by Charles Darrow, the Bild Lilli doll (which was the inspiration for Barbie), Thomas Edison’s talking doll and one of the very first puzzles ever made (from the late 1700s).
Adult groups also enjoy learning about the museum’s founder, Margaret Woodbury Strong, and seeing her collections. The retro arcade and butterfly garden are also popular spots.
A guest services team member greets every group and gives a museum overview. Then the group members explore the museum on their own or take a guided tour. Printed and audio tours are also available.
A white-glove curatorial tour takes guests behind-the-scenes and into the museum’s collection vaults.
Rhinewald said the museum also works with other Rochester attractions and partners and has developed suggested itineraries that tour operators can find on the museum’s website. Programs can be tailored for the special interests of any group. Karen Dodson, the museum’s group tour manager, is always happy to accommodate special requests.
No other museum is dedicated to the study and exploration of play.
“Guests will find items here that they cannot see anywhere else in the world, and it brings out the inner child in everyone,” Rhinewald said. “The Strong is also home to the National Toy Hall of Fame and the World Video Game Hall of Fame, so this is like the Cooperstown of play! Groups are always amazed once they get here and can see and experience firsthand all the wonderful collections and exhibits.”
The museum will be adding another 90,000 square feet of hands-on, state-of-the-art interactive exhibits in the next two years as part of its larger Neighborhood of Play development. The new spaces will focus on technology and play, including virtual and augmented reality experiences.
For more on The Strong National Museum of Play call 585-410-6359 or go to museumofplay.org.