s of Friday, it’s double your fun at the Strong National Museum of Play.
The museum will have a grand reopening event Friday through Sunday, celebrating its $37 million expansion, which has nearly doubled the size of the facility.
Susan Trien, Strong director of public relations, said the grand opening festivities will feature a variety of activities to introduce guests to the museum’s new features.
“We’re going to have storybook character walking around, entertainers ... there’s a harp player who’s going to be playing ‘fairy-tale-type’ music by the Fairy Tale Forest,” she said. “I think it should be a very wonderful, exciting day. There will be a lot of things to explore, to try and to do.”
Strong already is the second largest children’s museum in the nation. The expansion will add the Dancing Wing Butterfly Garden, a 12,000-square-foot Reading Adventureland, the Field of Play exhibit and a revamped, expanded National Toy Hall of Fame.
The museum also includes other permanent exhibits, such as the “Can You Tell Me How to Get to Sesame Street” exhibit, the Super Kids Market, Kid to Kid, Kid Lab and more.
However, the emphasis this weekend will be on the new exhibits, which include:
n Reading Adventureland, which looks like a giant pop-up book, features five sections: Adventure Island, the Upside-Down Nonsense House, Mystery Mansion, Fairy Tale Forest and the Wizard’s Workshop, Trien said.
Each area includes interactive settings and props to draw visitors into its type of literature. For example, in the Mystery Mansion, children can step behind a secret bookcase to “haunt” the house with scary sound effects.
n The Field of Play is an original exhibit on the importance of play, Trien said.
The exhibit features a multimedia presentation about play, followed by activities including a giant walk-through kaleidoscope, a climbing wall, a “topsy-turvy” house and a Jellyfish Jungle — an “aquatic-looking” area tailored to toddlers with soft surfaces and things to investigate, Trien said.
• The Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden, the only indoor butterfly garden in Upstate New York, features a rain forest environment, including a waterfall — and about 800 free-flying butterflies.
“They even land on you, on your shoulder or your head,” Trien said, “and if you’re wearing really colorful, brightly colored clothing, you increase your changes of having a butterfly land on you.”
The structure housing the Butterfly Garden was designed by architectural firm Chaintreuil Jenson Stark and resembles a butterfly in flight. It also houses a number of interactive activities designed to teach guests about butterflies.
“It’s a lovely exhibit and it will be open all year,” Trien said. “It’s a very unique experience to be among such beautiful butterflies from all over the world.”
IF YOU GO
• WHAT: Strong - National Museum of Play
• WHERE: One Manhattan Square, Rochester
• WHEN: Grand opening hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
From Monday through Labor Day, hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.
• COST: Daily admission is $9 for adults, $8 for seniors and students with identification and $7 for children ages 2 to 17. Children 2 and younger are admitted free. Two-day admission passes and memberships are available. The Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden is an additional $3; children younger than 2 are admitted free.
• Admission to the Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden is by timed ticket only Advanced purchase is recommended.
• For more information, visit www.strongmuseum.org or call (585) 263-2700
s of Friday, it’s double your fun at the Strong National Museum of Play.
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