Rochester, NY is a medium sized city located about an hour outside Buffalo, NY. My daughter and I took a weekend trip here recently and discovered that it is full of family friendly attractions. If you’re looking for a short getaway with the kiddies Rochester may be a good fit!
We arrived in Rochester, NY at about 5pm on a Friday night. Our first order of business was checking into out hotel: Rodeway Inn Rochester Airport. The hotel was a budget hotel, so nothing luxurious. It was, however, a clean, quiet environment. Our stay also included free breakfast, which was decent. Again, nothing luxurious, but it filled us up. If you are looking for an inexpensive stay in Rochester I would recommend this hotel.
After checking in to the hotel we headed to the Clubhouse Fun Center, an attraction aimed specifically for my daughter. Here we played some mini-golf, raced some go-karts, and tested our luck in the arcade. It was a bit crowded when we went, but it was a Friday night and there was a birthday party going on at the time. After the Clubhouse Fun Center we grabbed a quick bite to eat at a nearby McDonald’s and returned to the hotel.
8am: We started the morning at the Ontario Beach Park, which was a great choice. Ontario Beach Park is a gorgeous beach on Lake Ontario that features a pier, playgrounds, and benches to relax on. We went first thing in the morning and avoided the crowds and were able to spend some time walking along the shore looking for seashells while watching the seagulls play. On our way out of Ontario Beach Park we stopped and took in some views of the Charlotte Genesee Lighthouse. It was not open for tours at the time we went, but it was still beautiful to view from the outside.
10am: Seneca Park Zoo
After we finished at the Ontario Beach Park and the lighthouse we headed over to the Seneca Park Zoo. It was a hot day, which made navigating the grounds of the zoo a little uncomfortable, but it was well worth it. The zoo features many animal exhibits as well as play areas for children and small learning centers on the campus with tablets featuring educational games. There were also many animal encounters/interactive shows throughout the day. We grabbed lunch at the zoo café, the standard fried foods, nothing too spectacular.
5pm: After the zoo we drove around the city and took in some sites, including the Susan B. Anthony, the Freddie-Sue Bridge, High Falls, Middle Falls, and Lower Falls. We spent some time walking the nature trails around the lower falls park before heading back to the hotel.
8am: We began our day with a complimentary breakfast at the hotel. Again, nothing to spectacular, but it filled us up for the morning.
9am: After breakfast we headed over to Highland Park, which was full of bright, beautiful flowers and a castle featuring a sunken garden. We spent a couple hours walking around the park, relaxing in the shaded gardens, and viewing Warner Castle. After this we headed to the Strong Museum.
11am: The Strong Museum
Rochester is home to the Toy Hall of Fame featured inside the Strong Museum, a large children’s museum that is sure to be fun for children of all ages. The museum features a mini Wegman’s shopping center (a great hit for the kids), Sesame Street, an arcade, toys through the years on display, a butterfly garden, and fairy tale re-creations. We spent about 5 hours at the museum and were still not able to see everything. We headed home after this.
If you are looking for a medium sized city that offers many great attractions-family friendly, historical, and natural, Rochester is a great option.
1-If you have the opportunity to visit, remember it is a city and therefore traffic may get heavy. Consider this when planning your trip.
2-If you have the opportunity to-visit the Toy Hall of Fame. It will bring back fond childhood memories for everyone.
3-If visiting Rochester, be sure to add on Niagara Falls! It is a must see only a 90 minute drive from Rochester. View some tips on viewing the falls here