Thinking about visiting Rochester, NY with your kids but have no idea what to do there? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We’ll be covering just a few things that you can do in Rochester with kids in this article.
In March, during our spring break, we decided to pay a visit to Rochester, NY. As a New York City native, I was actually shocked that I hadn’t visited this picturesque city before. After all, it was only a 5-hour drive from the city. Well, better late than never, right?
Madison and I decided to take a red-eye flight from Denver to Rochester and basically hit the ground running once we landed. We plan on putting together a more detailed itinerary for you so you can dedicate 3–4 days in Rochester yourself, very much like the itineraries that I’ve shared in the past (like this one). However, if you’d like to keep things simple, here’s just a smidgen of what you can do in Rochester, NY with kids.
Let’s get into it.
Visit the Seneca Park Zoo
If your child is anything like mine, then the zoo has to be on the list of places to visit. The Seneca Park Zoo is a great option for families visiting Rochester. The zoo is home to over 90 species of animals and is open year-round. It’s also quite affordable, with adult tickets costing $12 and kids ages 3–11 only paying $9.
While at the zoo, you can get up close and personal with the animals at the Children’s Petting Zoo or explore the many different exhibits.
Make Your Own Candle
What’s more fun than making your own candle? My daughter had a blast doing this activity at Scents By Design, a pour-your-own candle and custom fragrance bar located in the Neighborhood of the Arts in Rochester, NY.
These candles are not only unique, but makes for a great souvenir to take back home. Madison opted for a charity candle jar that was not only beautiful but gave back as well.
Scents by Design sells natural soy candles and premium home fragrance products that are hand-made in the store each day, but what makes Scents by Design really special is their custom fragrance experience. With over 100 distinct scents, customers can come in to the shop to blend their own fragrance oils to make custom candles, wax melts, reed diffusers, aromatic sprays, and more.
Indulge in Chocolate
Who doesn’t love chocolate? Hedonist Artisan Chocolates is a must-visit spot when in Rochester because it handcrafts chocolates and caramels. They offer a wide selection of chocolates, including chocolate covered caramels, chocolate bark, chocolate covered fruit, truffles, and toffee. There is also a wide variety of vegan and dairy-free chocolate options.
While there, don’t forget to check out the ice-cream shop next door. I have to say that their ice-cream is definitely on par with their chocolate.
Get Lost in Science
If you have a little one that lives and breathes science and dinosaurs, then the RMSC Museum & Science Center + Strasenburgh Planetarium is a must-visit. The RMSC is the largest museum of its kind in upstate New York and one of the oldest and largest science museums in the country.
The museum has over 1.2 million specimens and artifacts, including a working replica of an 1800s iron foundry, the original Big Bang theory experimenting equipment used by Rochester native Edwin Hubble, and one of the world’s finest collections of minerals, gems, and fossils.
The Strasenburgh Planetarium offers public shows throughout the year on various topics related to astronomy, physics, Earth science, and space exploration. Visitors can also catch a laser show or a digital Dome Theater film.
Introduce Them to History
Rochester is teeming with history and is a history lover’s dream come true. Whether you’re visiting the George Eastman Museum, known as the guy who invented the Kodak camera, or the Susan B. Anthony House, where the famous women’s rights activist was arrested for voting, there are numerous options to choose from.
For a more hands-on experience, take them to the Genesee Country Village & Museum. Madison thoroughly enjoyed this experience. When we visited, the weather wasn’t ideal, but she was still able to partake in some of the experiences and loved them, especially the snow sugar tasting.
This is an outdoor living history museum that consists of 68 historic buildings that have been moved from their original locations and reassembled on site. The buildings represent different periods of time in American history, from the 1790s up through the early 1900s.
There are also costumed interpreters who provide visitors with a glimpse into what life was like during different eras. And if your kids are anything like mine, they’ll love seeing all the animals that call the museum home, including horses, pigs, chickens, sheep, and more.
Let Them Do What Kids Do Best: Play
While there are numerous parks in Rochester, NY, there is one place that is totally dedicated to play. The Strong National Museum of Play.
The Strong National Museum of Play is a children’s museum that is all about, you guessed it, play!
This museum is dedicated to the history and exploration of play. It’s also home to the world’s largest collection of toys, dolls, and video games. The museum has three floors of exhibits and activities for kids of all ages, including an indoor carousel, a giant jungle gym, a Lego building area, and so much more.
Some of the highlights at the museum include the Butterfly Garden, which is home to over 1,000 live butterflies and where kids can learn about the metamorphosis process and see butterflies up close; and the National Toy Hall of Fame, where you can see some of the most iconic toys in history.
There’s also an attached playground called The Imagination Zone that’s perfect for kids ages 2–12. And if your kids are into video games like mine are, they’ll love the eGameRevolution exhibit, which explores the history of video games.
As you can see, there is no shortage of things to do in Rochester with kids. Whether your children are into animals, science, history, or just plain old playing around, they’re sure to find something to enjoy in this city.
So there you have it! A few things that you can do with kids while visiting Rochester, NY. Whether you’re looking for a hands-on activity, something historical, or just something fun, there’s definitely something for everyone in Rochester. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip today!