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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
Rochester Museum and Science Center comes to life after dark!
RMSC After Dark is a 21+ themed, quarterly event which has gained so much popularity among adults of all ages that they consistently sell out. Lately they have been including the Strasenburgh Planetarium in the agenda, adding star shows and laser light shows to the mix of science, games, crafts, music and dance activities. After Dark usually an indoor & outdoor event in the warmer months, and dinner is available at food trucks parked in the lot.
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 PM and walk over to Park Ave. and 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.
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!
November 12, 2022 – January 2, 2023
Cumming Nature Center
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 The 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!
Most recognizable from Instagram photos and wedding pictures is the stand of 90-year old tall red pines.
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)
More information: rmsc.org/
During Maple Weekends, March 18-19 and 25-26, 2023, producers open their sugar shacks to honor the art and science of turning sap into syrup.
Giving the gift of shared Rochester experiences offers rewards that go well beyond mere personal joy—where less is genuinely more.
What is your favorite spot at the Rochester Museum and Science Center?
Your insights and experiences are valuable. Please share them in the comments.