Many who live in Niagara head to the strip malls on Route 104 on the outskirts of Rochester to do holiday shopping. I suggest you look beyond the malls to visit one of the city's main attractions in the heart of the downtown area.
International Museum of
Photography and Film (the world's oldest photographic museum) is a jewel of the city. Inside and outside this Colonial Revival mansion of KODAK founder, George Eastman, you discover a stunning blend of the past and present. The museum consists of 11 galleries; therefore allow three hours or more to experience this place. Dresden Engle, the museum's pleasant Manager of Public Relations said, "the museum has over a half-million photographs and 25,000 motion picture films, including the original negatives of
Gone with the Wind
Wizard of Oz
The museum is open Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.; Sundays, 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. Adults $12.00, Seniors (65 plus) $10.00 Students $5.00, 12 and under free. Parking is free. Closed Christmas day.
The museum has seasonal displays. The 17th Annual Sweet Creations Display featuring dozens of gingerbread houses continues until December 12th. The houses have been made by local bakers, families and Girl Guide groups. Placed throughout the elegant home are elaborately made holiday wreaths. This display remains until November 29th.
New this year is the Festival of Trees. Dozens of lighted and decorated trees help this place shine at any time of the day. The gingerbread houses, wreaths and trees are all up for sale mid December with proceeds going towards the upkeep of the museum.
If you are a history film buff, plan on seeing classic films like
The Bells of St Mary's
(Dec 16-2 p.m. and one of my favourites, It's A Wonderful Life starring Jimmy Stewart is shown on Dec. 22 at 8 p.m. and December 23 at 2 p.m. If you have only seen these films on television, you haven't really seen them until you view them on a large screen. All screenings are shown at the historic and recently renovated Dryden Theatre attached to the museum. Adults $8.00 Children $5.00, 12 and under free. Check their calendar for more films.
Take time to walk the lovely tree-lined streets. There are plenty of stately turn-of-the- century homes and magnificent churches. A short drive away is the Strong Museum at One Manhattan Square. It's a fun place for all members of the family. The museum which opened in 1982, is one of the United States' leading hands-on history centres. There are more than 500,000 objects-toys, miniatures, dollhouses, games and home furnishings.
Inside the museum, there's a vintage Skyliner diner serving burgers and fries. A 1918 fully restored Carousel is beside the diner. Perhaps one of the most interesting interactive exhibits is the kid-sized supermarket. I felt like I was in the land of Gulliver!
The museum is open Monday to Thursday 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. and Sunday Noon until 5 p.m. Closed Christmas day. Admission two and older is $13.00.Limited free parking.
George Bailey contributes to Sun Media's 43 paid-circulation newspapers across Canada as well as numerous magazines. George has appeared on CNN, Good Morning America, Canada AM, the Discovery Channel, and Live with Regis and Cathy Lee. He has published five books on Niagara Falls.