Recently, little J and I traveled to Rochester for a gymnastics meet, and I was reminded, again, of how much I really love visiting there. After the meet we had lunch with a friend from Rochester, and she said that tons of people visit every weekend for competitions: sports, dance, chess, all kinds of stuff. I’m a huge fan of turning that sort of obligatory travel into a mini-vacation (like when J and I visited Niagara Falls before another meet last year). So I thought, as a service to the community, I’d point out some of the many, many visits you can squeeze in between rounds of rousing competition.
First, if your kids are still little ones and so you are not (yet) a slave to their competitive schedules, might I suggest visiting Rochester anyway, just to visit The Strong National Museum of Play. It is wonderful. It is worthy of a roadtrip all on its own, and if you have little kids, The Strong + overnight at a a hotel with a pool=Perfect Mini Vacation. If you live in the Capital District and you have kids ages 10 and under, this is a must-do for your summer. I’m not kidding.
Speaking of museums, another great one is the Rochester Museum & Science Center. It’s got a bunch of fun interactive exhibits and a planetarium, and for just another week or so you can catch their exhibit Frogs: A Chorus of Colors.
More great choices that I’ve written about in the past include:
- Seabreeze, Abbott’s, & Ontario Beach Park: great for summer fun, and kids will be surprised by just how huge the Great Lake is–it feels ocean-like.
- Saturday Night with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra: obviously we lucked out on a super-fun event here, but the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra always has great stuff.
- Genesee Country Village and Museum: yes, okay, I am a history nerd, but this is fun to explore.
- Memorial Art Gallery: I feel a special affection for the MAG. It has terrific art but it’s manageable enough that you can explore without feeling guilt that you’re barely scratching the surface (wait, am I the only one who suffers from Met guilt?)
- Seneca Park Zoo: A zoo, and a wonderful zoo at that! Love it. I actually have a friend who did a Girl Scout overnight here, and she said it was amazing. Many of the animals are much more active at night, so the girls had some once-in-a-lifetime animal experiences.
- Roseland Water Park: I love this water park, and it’s also between Rochester and the Capital District, so it’s a great way to exhaust your children so they’ll sleep for the drive home.
- National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House: In this post I talk about a great trip we had in which we sampled some awesome food, loved our hotel stay, and hit Seneca Falls on the way back for a Girl Power Road Trip. It was terrific.
- A Dozen Reasons for a Family Getaway to Rochester, NY: Okay, this one’s not mine, but my friend (and Capital District local) Adrienne is also a fan, so if you want a second opinion, go check out her post.
I understand. Sometimes trips can be overwhelming, especially if you’re dealing with making sure you’re all ready and/or your taking care of little athlete bodies or drying I-came-in-last-place tears. I have so, so been there. But fitting in a little sightseeing adds so much educational and value to these road trips. And it really does, somehow, fool you into thinking you’ve gone on vacation. And who doesn’t need more vacation, right?