By: Amelia Blake, Manager of Interpretive Programs
This year was our 8th year with FREE family fun programming at the waterfront! During the summer of 2017, Explore & More hosted 11 activities days along the boardwalk of Canalside. On each of these days we brought hands-on, play based learning activities from our Museum to the heart of the city.
Our Family Fun Days at Canalside are located just steps from the location of our brand new Canalside Museum! The excitement surrounding the spring ground breaking and subsequent construction site fueled the program plan for this summers’ activities. This summer, each Family Fun Day at Canalside highlighted one of the exciting new Play Zones that will be in our future Museum. These Play Zones are: Being Good Neighbors, Moving Water, Playing Together, Lighting Buffalo’s Imagination, Building Buffalo, Farm-to-Fork, and the Rooftop Garden. In addition to the large Play Zones, our summer programming also showcased the Art Studio, Tinkering Lab and Driving Buffalo’s Dreams.
We kicked off our summer programming at the end of June with an exciting announcement that West Herr will be sponsoring Driving Buffalo’s Dreams within the Lighting Buffalo’s Imagination Play Zone. Children and their adults were able to design and assemble their own three-dimensional car to drive around! Each child designs his/her own car based on unique interests and aspirations. In our Driving Buffalo Dream’s area of the new Museum, children will be able to accomplish this same project. Additionally, visitors will have the opportunity to incorporate their own design into a digital scene of Buffalo. Individuals will be able to manipulate their car as they drive around the city!
The summer fun continued in the weeks to follow! Playing Together sponsored by Delaware North, Buffalo Bills Foundation, Buffalo Sabres Foundation and New Era was featured through a variety of fun games that encouraged children to work together. Some of our most popular activities of the day were lawn bowling, catch, and walking on stilts! These activities were designed for children to refine their gross motor skills, work together as a team, and make new friends.
Our activities inspired by the Rooftop Garden, sponsored by The Wegmans Family Foundation, allowed participants to become a gardener for the day. Each person decorated a small pot and planted a fruit or vegetable of choice. The Farm-to-Fork (sponsored by Wegmans) activity day allowed participants to learn how food is grown and role-play as a farmer, farm market worker or chef.
A sneak peek of Being Good Neighbors (sponsored by the Paul A. Saffrin Foundation) brought culture to life. Participants created art projects inspired by the cultures of India, China, Germany, Colombia, Somalia and Italy. In addition to art projects, participants were able to watch an incredible performance by Eric Borketey Ansuade. Born in Ghana, West Africa, Eric incorporates acrobatics in his traditional and contemporary dance. This performance captivated visitors of all ages.
Throughout the course of the summer, Explore & More reached thousands of people with our free programming. It is thanks to our generous sponsors at Wegmans and Western New York Immediate Care that we are able to spend the summer providing this series of programs for FREE to the children of Western New York. We can’t wait to see what next summer brings!