This upcoming Friday, April 29, the Eastman School of Music students will be putting on an evening concert at The Strong Museum in Rochester. With this announcement came two incredibly vivid, nostalgic memories for me – both of the wonderland-esque Museum of Play and of Kodak Hall in Eastman Theater.
Now, at 21 years old, it might seem a bit surprising that I remember my childhood trips to the Strong Museum at all, let alone so fondly and with excitement. But let me just tell you that I don’t just remember, I want to go back!
Granted, I’m sure that I would be entirely heart-broken to learn that I don’t quite fit into Big Bird’s reading nest on Sesame Street – though at this point I finally feel confident that I could add up the correct numbers to get across the Count’s hop scotch path in record time.
And I’m probably just a little over the age limit for the tiny Wegmans grocery store – did you ever have a toy kitchen set in your living room? With all the fake plastic foods that you served unfortunate family members again and again and got mad when they didn’t make chewing noises and pretend to eat the delectable meal you created?
Yeah, forget it. That was child’s play compared to this supermarket mania. Aisles and aisles of “real” foods, a bakery with plastic breads, and of course they have the “frozen” Kid’s Cuisines along the back wall. The itty bitty shopping carts totally made up for the wait in line to “check out.”
Oh, and the carousel in the entry way is pretty cool, too – just be sure to check for the crank at the top of the horse to make sure you get one that moves! If you’re smart you’ll have one grown-up take your adorable picture from the bottom, and another go grab a table at the “train stop” Bill Gray’s diner – their honey mustard and crinkle cut French fries have stuck with me to this day.
Now, the Kodak Hall was a classier experience by far, though just as fun for me. It wasn’t a music performance believe it or not – it was an anniversary showing of The Muppets. My cousins and grandparents all got tickets and we dressed up in our “fancy theater” clothes. My grandpa told me all about the Mr. Eastman and the Kodak camera and old factory. I didn’t know then that I’d be spouting out the same information years later on an exam for my photography classes!
Because I was particularly young and impressionable, Kodak Hall seemed like something out a castle. I love old theaters in general, but the ornate ceiling and sculptures all around made it hard to pay attention to the movie – Muppets or not, I was busy looking at some really cool artwork!
Both of these places offer the perfect place for a kid to be curious and learn something new under the guise of fun and play. It’s entirely honest when I say that I loved both experiences and would look forward to any chance – er, excuse – to go back. Sounds like a perfect weekend in the beautiful city of Rochester!
Story by Halie Solea