2017 Top 20 Places to Take Kids in Greater Rochester
As voted by Rochester-area parents!
In summer 2017, thousands of local parents, grandparents, and caregivers weighed in on their favorite places to take kids in greater Rochester, NY. There are literally hundreds of wonderful places to take your kids in our area. For other fantastic places to take kids, just click on any of the links that interest you on the navigation bar.
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The Strong museum
Ranked by FamilyFun magazine as one of the top family travel destination in the country, the Strong museum certainly deserves the #1 spot in our poll. In addition to the many traveling exhibitions that make their temporary home at the Strong, the museum features Can You Tell Me How To Get to Sesame Street?"; a restored carousel, a Wegmans Super Kids Market; their wonderful Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden; and Reading Adventureland.
Seabreeze Amusement Park
Seabreeze is the amusement park and water park closest to home, located right on the shore Lake Ontario at the top of Route 590 to the East. Seabreeze has both thrilling adult rides such as the Jackrabbit (the fourth oldest operating coaster in the country), classic family rides such as the Carousel and Train, and some great rides for the under-8 set such as the Kiddie Swings. The waterpark section of Seabreeze has "liquid fun for everyone"--includes adult and kiddie slides, wave pool, lazy river, and more. It's not too big, and not too small, and it's a very good price (rates vary per ticket type; click here for current rates.
Seneca Park Zoo
Seneca Park Zoo strikes the perfect balance for many of us parents: It's small enough to "do in a day" -- you can spend enough time in each area that the kids can really learn about the animals – and it's inexpensive enough that you don't feel the pressure to do "do it all" in one visit. The Zoo is enjoyable both in summer and in winter. In the summer, there is special programming hourly, but winter is great there, too: There are a several indoor areas that are popular with kids, especially if they love snakes. Seneca Park Zoo is the only zoo in New York state that is home to African Elephants and Bornean Orangutans. Plus, with guest favorites like lions, penguins, wolves and the beloved polar bear, there’s something for everyone.
Rochester Museum & Science Center / Strasenburgh Planetarium
Rochester Museum & Science Center (RMSC) includes the Science Museum, Strasenburgh Planetarium and Cumming Nature Center. Offering experiences at the Museum with more than 200 interactive exhibits, Planetarium with a 65-foot dome and Nature Center on 900 acres, the RMSC stimulates community interest in exploration. In addition, the more than 1.2 million RMSC collection items tell the story of Rochester’s past including its rich history of innovation and invention.
Stokoe Farms is a short hike to the southwest of Rochester, in Scottsville, and it is especially noteworthy that they made our Top 20 list when they are only open for fall family fun for seven weeks from mid-September through the end of October, plus a long weekend at the beginning of August for summer fun on the farm. Stokoe Farms sure makes an impression on families, though: Hours of farm-fresh fun in the corn maze and a wide variety of outdoor active activities. Kids can play in the straw fort and slide down a huge slide, pet a large number of animals, and chomp on delicious cider donuts. Thousands of families then return the weekend after Thanksgiving for the start of the Christmas Tree season.
Wickham Farms is a fun place for families to spend an hour, an afternoon or all day! Attractions include a jumping pillow, batting cages, kiddy train ride, a mini golf course, farm animals, and a free weekly storytime. In the fall, they have a corn maze, hayrides, a u-pick pumpkin patch, and u-pick apple orchard. The barn serves 16 flavors of ice cream, frozen custard, and casual meals.
My Local Library
Of course, the libraries in the Rochester area are not really ONE place, but MANY places... but it's important to emphasize how valuable libraries are for family learning and fun. The libraries in our area are wonderful about posting their events to the KidsOutAndAbout calendar so you always can get ideas for free things to do with your kids that celebrate education and imagination. KidsOutAndAbout.com takes this opportunity to salute the wonderful children's librarians who serve our community with such dedication.
Genesee Country Village & Museum
Genesee Country Village & Museum is located about a half-hour to Rochester's southwest in Mumford. The Village features 59 restored houses, businesses, and places of worship from the 19th century. A stroll through the village (especially on one of their event days such as Laura Ingalls Wilder Days, War of 1812 Encampment, and Civil War Reenactment) brings parents and kids alike back to the 1800s. The GCV's Silver Base Ball Park is the only place where you're likely to hear "Fine hurl, sir!" meant as a polite compliment. The GCVM also features a terrific nature center.
Darien Lake Amusement Park
Darien Lake Amusement Park is about an hour west of Rochester, south of Batavia. For a day or two (overnight accommodations are available in the hotel or campground) of excitement and variety nothing beats Darien Lake, home of more than 50 rides, including six world-class roller coasters; dozens of family-friendly rides and entertainment; the region’s largest water park complete with wave pool; and top- notch performing artists!
Lollypop Farm is maintained by the Humane Society of Rochester and Monroe County and located in the Hamlet of Egypt off of Route 31. It provides a free opportunity to introduce kids of all ages to all kinds of farm animals and pets. The Humane Society at Lollypop Farm is committed to building lifelong bonds between people and animals through education, community outreach programs, and the prevention of cruelty. Inside, Lollypop Farm houses dogs, cats, and other small animals that are ready for adoption, as well as a Family Learning Center where families can learn about pet care together. Outside, take a walk through the Farm's pastures of horses, llamas, goats, deer, geese, ducks, and chickens. Stroll to the nearby playround and have a picnic lunch!
Altitude Trampoline Park
Altitude Trampoline Park is Rochester's newest active indoor play center. Located in Southtown Plaza on Jefferson Road in Henrietta. Ages 2-adult, special playtimes and areas for toddlers and preschoolers. Jump, play, and take a break.
TYKEs Theatre (Theatre Young Kids Enjoy)
Inspiring families with best-loved fairy tales, favorite bedtime stories and children’s books... all seen through the magic of live theatre, TYKEs's season typically runs from November through April or May. Professional actors present great shows to families and also to schoolchildren. Performances take place in the Hart Theater at the JCC, 1200 Edgewood Avenue in Brighton.
Louis S. Wolk Jewish Community Center of Greater Rochester
A state-of-the-art fitness and recreation center, the JCC offers an array of programs for all ages including arts and cultural programs, sports and fitness programs, early childhood daycare and education, after school care, and summer camps.
The only site of its kind east of the Mississippi, Ganondagan is dedicated to sharing the living culture and natural world of the Seneca people at their historic Town of Peace. At the new Seneca Art & Culture Center, approximately 300 pieces from historical artifacts through contemporary artistic and cultural contributions are featured in 15 permanent and rotating exhibits highlighting five centuries of Seneca life.
Erie Canal hiking or biking
Active family fun is easily accessible any time in the Rochester area: Just head over to the Erie Canal path with your bike, your roller skates, your stroller, or just your feet. The Erie Canal has beautiful scenery, a terrifically maintained trail, interesting history, and intriguing wildlife, including (did you know?) minks!
Roseland Water Park / Roseland Wake Park
Roseland Waterpark is the largest Waterpark in the Finger Lakes Region, with 56 acres of aquatic adventure and 9 unique attractions for the entire family. Sparkling heated water, certified lifeguards, free parking, rental lockers, concessions, and plenty of deck space for relaxing make this the hottest spot to get cool on Canandaigua Lake.
Rochester Red Wings Baseball
The Rochester Red Wings are a Triple-A baseball team based in Rochester, New York. The team plays in the International League and is the top minor league affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. The Red Wings play in Frontier Field, located in downtown Rochester.
Climbing Vines Cafe & Play
Climbing Vines Café & Play is a place for parents to bring their children for low-key play while they can indulge in gourmet coffee and snacks, interaction with other parents, and some much-needed unwind time. Our 2,500 square-foot space features a clean, exciting play area for children aged seven-and-under, complete with a sectioned-off, safe area for our littlest guests! We also welcome your older children, free of charge, and adults are always free. We would love to be your whole family's destination for fun and smiles. Meet for play-dates, schedule a party, or attend our classes!
Clubhouse Fun Center
Open year-round for indoor fun, and seasonally for outdoor fun, Clubhouse Fun Center is located on Jay Scutti Blvd in Henrietta. It features arcade games, birthday parties, go karts, and a fabulous new mini golf course that opened in June of 2014. Bring your kids, or the whole family! You can join their e-club and get exclusive specials. Like them on Facebook for exclusive coupons.
Through innovative, quality programs, the YMCA of Greater Rochester helps strengthen families, aids in the healthy development of children, encourages positive individual behavior and contributes toward a healthier, safe community for all. Our programs build character by emphasizing the values of caring, honesty, respect, responsibility, fun and friendship.
Winners in Special CategoriesIn the second part of our survey, we asked readers to select their favorites in several categories. Here were their choices.
Favorite Kid-Friendly MuseumThe Strong National Museum of Play
Favorite Nature CenterLetchworth State Park
Favorite Performing ArtsTYKEs Theatre
Favorite Indoor Recreation CenterAltitude Trampoline Park
Favorite Kid-Friendly FarmStokoe Farm
Favorite Outdoor Fun/ Amusement ParkSeabreeze
Favorite Professional Sports TeamRochester Red Wings
Favorite Miniature GolfAdventure Landing
Favorite Arts EducationRochester Academy of Music & Arts