Rochester Museum and Science Center Tesla Coils

Rochester Museum & Science Center

The Rochester Museum & Science Center city campus features the three-story science museum and the Strasenburgh Planetarium. In the museum, don’t miss the two singing Tesla coils in the Electricity Theater, where audience members can volunteer to stand inside a Faraday cage while the coils sing a duet with lightning. The planetarium offers a state-of-the-art view of our solar system and the visible universe using near-real-time data. The lounge chairs in the planetarium are not fixed to the floor, making the space accessible for wheelchairs and strollers.

On Saturday nights, when the summer sky over Rochester is clear, guests can climb the observation tower’s 60 steps to view planets, nebulae, and other celestial objects through telescopes. The entrance to the tower is outside the main planetarium building, near the back parking lot. RMSC also manages the Cumming Nature Center, a 900-acre preserve in Naples, about an hour south of Rochester.

Best of Rochester - Day Trips Around Rochester book

Day Trips Around Rochester, New York

Science Museum

dinosaur at RMSC
glacier
Rochester Museum Science Center underground rail road
Rochester Museum Science Center underground railroad
Rochester Museum Science Center diarama Native Long House

The Science Museum

In the Science Museum, you’ll interact with immersive installations like At The Western Door, Rochester’s Underground Railroad, Science on a Sphere, Expedition Earth, Adventure Zone, Electricity Theater, and a recently-restored diorama of Rochester, The Young Lion of the West.

There are always new and innovative exhibits that make every visit unique.

Rochester Museum Science Center Tesla Coil cage cover

Singling Tesla Coils

The newest permanent additions that keep me coming back to the Rochester Museum and Science Center are the two singing Tesla Coils in the Electricity Theater on the 3rd floor.

It’s exciting, entertaining, educational, and one of my favorite things to do at the museum. Electricity Theater audience members can volunteer to stand inside the Faraday Cage while the coils “sing” a duet.

Strasenburgh Planetarium

RMSC Planetarium
Rochester Museum Science Center
Rochester Museum Science Center
Rochester Museum Science Center
Rochester Museum and Science Center Planetarium

Strasenburgh Planetarium

The new technology allows you to explore the solar system and the entire visible universe from any perspective. The quality of the images and near-real-time data is extraordinary.

“At last we’re in the modern world!” The new planetarium will blow your mind

Pre-2019, with star projector Carl, we could not leave Earth. We could only view the universe from our current perspective. Now, we can explore the solar system and the entire visible universe from any vantage point.

The quality of the images and near-real-time data is extraordinary.

And, the chairs are no longer fixed to the floor, making it accessible for wheelchairs and strollers. You could even lay on the floor (not where someone could step on you, of course.)

Rochester Museum and Science Center Planetarium
telescope viewings on Saturday nights

Planetarium Observation Tower

On Saturday nights, when the sky over Rochester is clear during the warmer months, you can climb the winding 60 steps to Rochester Museum and Science Center’s Strasenburgh Planetarium Observation Tower and look through the telescopes at planets, nebula, and other stellar objects for free.

Depending on what is visible the night you go, the telescopes are powerful enough to see the moons of Jupiter! The rings of Saturn! The Orion Nebula!

Seeing these with your own eyes will make you view our own planet with a whole new lens.

Rochester Museum and Science Center: Strasenbugh Planetarium
observation tower behind the planetarium

The entrance to the tower is outside the main planetarium building, accessible from the back parking lot.

Call after 7:30 p.m. (585) 697-1945) to verify the good folks from the Astronomy Section of the Rochester Academy of Science (ASRAS) will be hosting a viewing that evening. We do need a clear-ish sky. Plan on arriving after dark and before 10 p.m.

Special Events

Rochester Museum and Science Center RMSC After Dark

The Rochester Museum and Science Center comes alive after dark!

RMSC After Dark is a popular quarterly event for adults aged 21 and over. The event consistently sells out due to its fun and engaging mix of science, games, crafts, music, and dance activities. The event occasionally includes access to the Strasenburgh Planetarium, featuring star shows and laser light shows. During the warmer months, activities take place inside and out, along with food trucks.

Rochester Museum and Science Center RMSC After Dark
RMSC After Dark

Get there early! With the regular admission tickets, I recommend getting there a half-hour early just to grab a parking spot, otherwise you’re parking on the street blocks away. Another option is to park your car in the lot around 5 p.m. and walk over to Park Avenue to grab a bite at one of the local restaurants.

Make sure to visit RMSC’s website regularly for special showings, science lectures, and members-only events.

RMSC Planetarium Holiday Laser Show
Rochester Museum Science Center
planetarium holiday laser
planetarium holiday laser
It’s the most wonderful time of the year

Laser Shows

The Rochester Museum and Science Center’s Strasenburgh Planetarium hosts state-of-the-art Saturday night laser shows throughout the year. But in November, the festive Holiday Laser opens, offering multiple showtimes throughout November and December. Purchase tickets in advance for this popular tradition!

Cumming Nature Center

Cumming Nature Center Guided Walks
Cumming Nature Center
Snow Shoe Rentals
cumming nature center winter
Cumming Nature Center Red Pine Stand

Cumming Nature Center

Nestled among the Bristol Hills, Cumming Nature Center in Naples is a 900-acre preserve with an interactive Visitor Center and 15 miles of trails.

There are programs and events offered all year, plus several week-long Curiosity Camps, a varied-schedule Forest School, and the year-long Walden Project for high school and gap year students. If you’re looking for an outdoor classroom experience for your school-aged child, check these out!

Cumming Nature Center
Cumming Nature Center

Most recognizable from Instagram photos and wedding pictures is the stand of 90-year-old tall red pines.

Maple Sugrar kettle fire
maple sugar processing
Cumming Nature Center

My favorite time of year to visit is in March during Maple Sugaring season.

More information about the Rochester Museum and Science Center

Cost: There is an admission fee

Located in the City of Rochester (get directions)

Get directions to Cumming Nature Center, located one hour south of Rochester in Naples.

More information: rmsc.org/

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What is your favorite spot at the Rochester Museum and Science Center?

Your insights and experiences are valuable. Please share them in the comments.

Debi Bower, Day Trips Around Rochester NY

Debi Bower is the founder and creative director of daytrippingroc.com and author of the award-winning book Day Trips Around Rochester, New York.

People often ask me if I get free access to places while exploring. The answer is no unless I’m invited to previews or granted behind-the-scenes access as part of my media role. Generally, I don’t mention my project, Day Trips Around Rochester, NY, because I want the same experience you would have. I create and share content simply because it brings me joy. I would appreciate your support—a cup of coffee or two to help fuel future field trips—if you have found valuable information here that has helped you explore the Rochester area.

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