Twenty-five years ago, Explore & More first opened in a 500 square foot room in a school basement. The idea of having high-quality play-based learning for children from all over Western New York had been cultivated in the minds of a small group of dedicated parents, educators and toy designers. The museum with its all-volunteer staff saw 1,000 visitors that first year.
It then grew to the 6,000 square foot museum where it thrived for two decades, bringing the power of play to over 60,000 children and their family members each year. Several national and international studies have since confirmed the idea on which the Museum began—that play is essential to healthy development in children.
For over a decade, Explore & More brought free programming to Canalside. Their 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 that will ignite children’s imagination, economic development and community partnerships.
Ground was first dug in 2017 for the new 43,000 square foot museum. Built as the first place-based children’s museum of its kind, the museum features seven educational play zones that offer hands-on exhibits that tell the unique story of Buffalo. The museum’s zones reveal stories of our region’s history, geography, culture, agriculture, architecture, athletics, industry and innovation through exhibits that celebrate the power and benefits of play.