Our Mission:

To provide best-in-class PLAY experiences where all children, families and the community can explore, learn and develop together.

Our Vision:

A world where PLAY unlocks the limitless potential in all of us.

place-based play

Built on the historic footprint of the terminus of the Erie Canal, the all-new Explore & More – The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Children’s Museum sits at the crossroads between canals and bridges that have become year-round community destinations on the city’s waterfront at Canalside. This totally unique location makes it the perfect place to learn about the region’s roots as an innovative port at the turn of the century, while using hands-on play to spark the imagination of the next generation of great minds.

Dating back to 2007, Explore & More became the first organization to offer children’s programming at Canalside. The early partnership with the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) led to Explore & More being selected as the anchor attraction on Buffalo’s revitalized waterfront – a year-round draw for residents and tourists to ignite children’s imagination, economic development and community partnerships.

our commitment to racial equity

Racial equity in America is not an impossible dream.  We are committed to doing our part to eliminate social injustice through providing resources for children and families, through leveraging the healing powers of play, that is inclusive to every color on the beautiful tapestry of humanity.  Read our full statement here.

Growing Up

As we celebrate 30-plus years of bringing the power of play to children and their families with the launch of our new 43,000-square foot, four story museum at Canalside we can’t help but look back with gratitude and pride. Explore & More has grown up alongside countless Western New Yorkers who came to play and share their smiles with us. We have been honored to be there through milestones and in treasured memories for families across our region and beyond.

Started in 1994 in a 500-square foot basement schoolroom with an all-volunteer staff that saw 1,000 visitors in its first year, the museum eventually grew to serve over 60,000 children and their families in our beloved 6,000-square foot facility in East Aurora. Throughout, we have stayed focused on the founding principle that play is essential to healthy brain development in children.

Now serving children birth-12 years of age, we have expanded our footprint as we also expand our reach. Moving to the city center increases our accessibility to visitors from across the state, Erie, PA and Ontario, Canada, we hope to be a welcoming community center that invites all families to play, wonder, discover, learn, and grow together.

Fishing and food exhibits at the old Explore & More East Aurora location.
Upcoming Hours - OPEN: 7/17-22 | CLOSED: 7/23, 7/30