One of the Best Parts of Growing Up is Being Nostalgic

And G-d Bless America, there’s a museum to honor every collection and recollection.

So imagine my glee when I heard about the National Museum of Play in Rochester NY. Come on, people. A NATIONAL museum of play. It’s like it was built for me.

Except it wasn’t. It was built for kids. Toddler-thru-early-elementary. The website made this quite clear up front, but I had on blinders only absorbed “fun for all ages” and that there’s a collection of historic toys.

Size Matters

Sure, sure, it’s fun for all ages if you’re WITH a child who’s having fun at the make-believe grocery store or the post office that I was too tall to fit in. I did love seeing the Sesame Street corner light and getting payphone calls from all the characters (they still use payphones?), but I was too tall to climb up on the balcony where Bert and Ernie sat. And that made me sad.

You know how at amusement parks you “must be this tall to ride this ride”? I think at the National Museum of Play you “must be this short to fully enjoy this museum”.

I did get a kick out of the Ghandi action figure.

To be clear, if you have kids in your life by any relation you should absolutely go. It looked like spectacular fun.

Danger, Will Robinson!

This phrase is interspersed in my conversation practically daily. It’s from the 1960s show Lost in Space and was exclaimed by the robot (of course) when there was (no surprise) danger nearby. I can even do the dangling motion to mimic its slinky-arms.

So it was on my wishlist that it would be part of the experience at the roboworld exhibit at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh PA. It was!

Danger Will Robinson

The robots were by far my favorite feature of the museum–through no fault of the Carnegies.

  1. They’re robots. Duh, they win.
  2. Same issue as with the Museum of Play. I already understand gravity so the amazing games designed to teach it, aren’t in fact, meant for me. My family has made ice cream since I was a wee lass, so the highly entertaining kitchen show with the perky hostess made me smile for the enthusiasm, but again, it wasn’t for me.

Frowny Face

This is where Linus (of Peanuts fame) would be walking down the street downtrodden, dragging his blanket because he doesn’t belong. Except I’m not a boy, not a cartoon, don’t have a blanket, and am OK with not belonging.

How awesome that these museums exist. How lucky that my folks made sure I learned this–or at least was exposed to it (remember, not so good at math).

These museums have something for everyone. Butterflies and moon rocks. Trains and fish. Creating roller coasters and playing air hockey vs a robot. Kids are learning without knowing it. They run around smiling, calling to their parents to work on the next station with them. And mixed in are elements of nostalgia for the adults.

More Robots, Please

Just because I made my point doesn’t mean we can’t have more fun with the robots. Consider this an epilogue.

Me and some Robots

Which is your favorite robot?
Or would you like to answer a deeper question – when did you realize you were a grown-up?

 Disclosure: thank you to Visit Pittsburgh for providing complimentary entry to the Carnegie Science Center.

3 Responses


No question

R2D2 Is so far ahead of the crowd, there is probably not even a 2nd.


So jealous that you got to see Lost in Space/Will Robinson’s Robot! Very cool!
How can you pick a favorite robot!?!
Gort, any of the Terminators, Bender, Robbie, Robocop, Rosie, #5, Hymie …
Sorry, no can do.


Very cool. I wanna play but I’m sure I’m waaaay to tall.

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