We had some serious family fun, this weekend!
Fair warning, this will be a picture heavy post.
Every September, The National Museum of Play (or The Strong), provides free admission to anyone who works at my company. Seamus and I had gone when we were newly dating and it was pretty neat, but obviously since it is very kid-centric we didn’t spend a lot of time playing. Now, 6-ish years later, we went back with Emmett and had SO much fun!
We had been planning this trip for a couple weeks. We knew that admission would be free in September, we had some pretty busy weekends all month long, but were able to keep this (the last weekend of September) free and I’m really glad we did. Our original goal was to leave the house early, go to the museum, then get lunch at Dinosaur BBQ, and end with a trip to Trader Joe’s, but it didn’t quite work out that way.
Once Emmett was awake, we all had some breakfast and caught an episode of Bob the Builder. I did want to get the museum early but I really love our leisurely weekends, since weekdays tend to be such a rush. We sat and cuddled and just enjoyed each other’s company, and a little TV. I eventually got Emmett dressed and I threw on some shlubby (I just made this word up!) clothes and we headed to the farmer’s market for some of the last yummy fruits of the summer. I got some great tomatoes that are just amazing and I want to eat them on EVERYTHING!
Emmett fell asleep on our way home from the market, so I put him down for a nap and then jumped in the shower. Seamus got home from the gym and showered and then we waited for Baby Doodah to wake up, then we almost immediately headed out the door. Since it was already noon, we decided we’d go to lunch first and then to the museum and Trader Joe’s.
This was everyone’s very first time at Dinosaur BBQ, man was it delicious! I had some sort of jerk chicken sandwich, that was out of this world! Seamus had some form of a rack of ribs, I don’t know ribs so I have no idea what size or what cut, but he loved them. We ordered Emmett chicken fingers which might seem like a silly thing to order at a BBQ joint BUT they were hand breaded with their own breadcrumbs, and they were really really good. I, of course, had to try a bite. I’m glad we went with those because we know they’re something he’d eat AND they ended up being delicious!
After lunch it was time for PLAY! Oh my goodness, readers, we had such a blast. From the moment I pulled into the parking of The Strong, I was giddy like a school girl. Ha! There was so much to see, even before you walk in the door. We checked in, got our wristbands and a map and then made a pit stop for a bathroom break and diaper change. The bathrooms are really nice, spacious and both the men’s and women’s have places to change a diaper PLUS they have a family changing area, which is always a bonus. I know to some readers this might seem like a silly thing to mention, but I assure you that for parents (or any adult with a child in diapers), knowing this, is of utmost importance!
Alright, enough about the bathrooms, onto the fun! We first went into the Field of Play. This was pretty neat, they had all sorts of interactive things to do, some were a little above Emmett’s skill set but we still found plenty to do. He opened and closed a bunch of little doors with stuffed animals in them, that were named alliteratively. I don’t think he knew what was in there, other than it was colorful and cute but he had fun opening and closing the doors. There was also an area to race cars and a perspective room. Throughout the entire exhibit there were areas that books sat out that pertained to the activities in the exhibit. I loved this! If Emmett were a little older, and had a higher attention span, we definitely would have utilized this.
We made a quick stop at Sesame Street! It is almost an exact replica of the famous Sesame Street stoop. We got some pretty cute pictures of Emmett here, unfortunately they didn’t come out great. We just couldn’t get the lighting in the room and our flash figured out.
Our next stop was to the Wegmans kids grocery shopping center. Holy cow, is this AWESOME! It is obviously sponsored by Wegmans, but the whole thing is set up to look exactly like a Wegmans grocery store. They have little baby carts and then they have carts that are slightly taller for the older kids, you walk around and grocery shop. You’re allowed 5 items at a time (because you have to re-shelve them yourself), once you’ve shopped you take them to the check-out and literally scan each item, like you would at the store. They have miniature conveyor belts, a working scanner and some sort of mechanism that collects what you “purchased” and prints out a legit receipt, like you just shopped at a real Wegmans. We didn’t spend a lot of time in this area, because it was mobbed and any time I went to grab something, Emmett would grab and knock everything over. Playing in this area when I was a kid, would have been a dream, I always wanted a cash register. I also didn’t get a lot of pics because Emmett grabbed his cart and was a speed demon, Seamus watched us from outside the store and said seeing him with the cart was adorable. He ran into a few kids, but overall he did pretty well with it.
The newest exhibit at the museum is what they call Little Builders. It had just opened yesterday and once again, it was pretty mobbed. Emmett did a really good job of maneuvering around everyone and finding things to do. There are all sorts of activities where you build things and each station has a different type of block, then you have the hammering station, the crane station and all sorts of other activities. We spent the majority of our time in here because there was just so much to do and Emmett was having a blast. Check him out in the little orange construction vest! Isn’t he THE cutest?
After that we wandered to a few different other areas, nothing really specific and we didn’t even make it upstairs. It was getting late and we still needed to make a quick stop at Trader Joe’s and make it home by 7. On our way out, we swung by the gift shop, this left a lot to be desired. It is full of toys, but very little (like a tiny section) are logo’d items. Seamus and I have a rule, you can get a souvenir when we go on trips like these (as long as we can afford it), but it has to be a logo’d item. The other toys might be fun, but you can likely get them somewhere else for much cheaper, but you can’t get a t-shirt that says Strong Museum of Play. Seamus said this is how his parents did it when he was a kid and I absolutely love it, so we’re stealing and using it! Anyhow, we ended up finding Emmett a cute tie-dye t-shirt (his Aunt Bridget will love it!) and I got myself a nylon draw string bag that I will be able to use on my bike rides.
The final thing we did before we left is find this bench in the gardens. When Seamus and I came here as a new couple we sat a good long while on this bench, and just talked (like you do when you’re new to each other). We took a picture that day (the one that sits on my desk, if you work with me) and we wanted to replicate it today. We got a couple with Emmett and a couple without, such great memories!
We left shortly after that, made the quick drive to Trader Joe’s and then hit the road for Buffalo. Emmett slept the entire way, he was so perfect all day and seemed to really enjoy everything. We will absolutely take him again, as he gets older he will find more and more value out of all the fun things they have to offer.
If you live in Rochester or the surrounding areas, I really recommend that you visit The Strong Museum of Play. It has so much to offer, and I promise that your kids will be exhausted by the time they get home. Emmett was, even after napping the whole way home.
What family fun did you have this weekend?
And just for the fun of it, be sure to check out My Finds Friday from this week, visit the links and link-up any finds you might have!