This collection of tips, inspired by guest feedback, may be of assistance as you plan your visit to the National Museum of Play®.
Length of visit
The museum offers 150,000 square feet of dynamic exhibit space, so give your family enough time to explore. The average visit is around four hours, but many guests choose to play all day long. Be sure to check the museum event calendar to see if there are special activities or themed programming taking place during the day of your visit so you can schedule accordingly. The food court and Bill Gray’s at the Skyliner Diner offer many choices for snack and meal time.
Limited free parking is available at the museum for all guests on a first-come, first-served basis. On high visitation days, the museum lot may reach capacity early in the day. If space is not available on site at the time of your visit, you will find additional parking (fees apply) at neighboring municipal garages. The museum does not reimburse guests for parking off site.
A sizeable food court features a variety of options—Pizza Hut® Express, Taco Bell® Express, and Subway™, plus Louie’s Sweet Shoppe, which serves ice cream and milkshakes. Bill Gray’s Restaurant, housed in the vintage Skyliner Diner, serves burgers, hot dogs, fries, and more. The food court is busiest between noon and 2 p.m., so you may want to consider having an early or late lunch to avoid waiting in line.
Dining tables and chairs are reserved for restaurant customers only. Guests are welcome to picnic on museum grounds or enjoy snacks from home in lunchroom C. Food and beverage is not allowed in the exhibit areas of the museum.
Butterfly garden tickets
The museum is home to Upstate New York’s only year-round indoor butterfly garden, so if this is your only trip to the museum you will want to visit Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden. Admission to the butterfly garden requires an additional $4 fee for nonmembers and $3 for members, and a timed ticket for entry. Ticket holders enjoy a 20-minute visit. Tickets may be purchased at the museum admission desk. Please note that advance purchase of butterfly tickets is available and is highly recommended for high visitation times such as during summer and school-break weeks. Advance ticket purchase is available by calling 585-263-2700 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The National Museum of Play is fun for all ages. The Field of Play, eGameRevolution, and TimeLab exhibits appeal especially to older children and adults, and they will also find lots to enjoy in the Reading Adventureland and American Comic Book Heroes exhibits. Preschoolers particularly enjoy the Can You Tell Me How to Get to Sesame Street? and Berenstain Bears: Down a Sunny Dirt Road exhibits. Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden is popular with guests of all ages, as is the second-floor toy collection and the National Toy Hall of Fame.
All children ages 15 and under must be accompanied by an adult.
National Toy Hall of Fame
You won’t want to miss the National Toy Hall of Fame on the museum’s second floor. More than 40 all-time favorite toys have been enshrined in the hallowed hall, and you’re sure to recognize toys that you played with as a kid. Reminisce as you play with some of the classic toys at activity tables within the hall. There is no extra fee for admission to the National Toy Hall of Fame.
There are plenty of hands-on, interactive opportunities that are sure to satisfy high-energy kids, but there are also many low-key alternatives for children who prefer quieter activities. The museum features multiple “Make It and Take It” craft tables, cozy book nooks, three aquariums, and an outdoor Discovery Garden. Additionally, “Guest Rests” are a pleasant option when you need a quiet, out-of-the-way space for you and your child.
Allow extra time to browse (and buy!) at two great museum shops and ride the colorful historic carousel or passenger train. Each ride costs $1 per person. Your best bet is to purchase a six ride punch card for $5, available at the admissions desk or gates to the carousel and train.
Credit cards and ATM
The museum accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover cards. There is also an ATM on site. You’ll find it just inside the museum entryway.
Wheelchairs and strollers
The museum offers complimentary use of a limited number of wheelchairs and strollers that are available on a first-come, first-served basis. If you choose to bring your own stroller, you may take it along with you anywhere in the museum.
An ample number of very clean restrooms are scattered throughout the museum, including two family restrooms. You will find changing tables in all restrooms.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), privately owned businesses that serve the public, such as restaurants, hotels, retail stores, taxicabs, theaters, concert halls, and sports facilities, are prohibited from discriminating against individuals with disabilities. The ADA requires these businesses to allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals onto business premises in whatever areas customers are generally allowed. The museum welcomes service animals used by persons with disabilities. All service animals must remain on a leash or harness at all times. With the exception of service animals, no domesticated animals of any kind can be admitted into the museum.
You’re likely to enjoy your visit so much that you’ll want to return again. Museum membership (starting at $109 for families) provides unlimited free general museum admission for one year and represents a cost-effective way for families to visit the museum frequently. If you join as a member before paying general admission, you can use your free-admission benefit immediately. If you purchase general admission for your visit and decide to become a member before leaving the museum, the fees you pay for admission that day may apply to the cost of an annual membership—you just need to hand in today’s dated receipt when you join. Museum members enjoy many other exclusive benefits, such as a $1 general admission discount for guests, a $1 discount on butterfly garden admission, and a 10% discount in the museum shops. Members who join at the Patron level ($145) or above receive even more benefits like discounted admission to nearly 200 children’s museums across the United States and Canada. Visit the membership page for more details. Parking privileges are not a benefit of membership.