The Explore and More Children’s Museum is off and running, as will thousands of little ones (through its front doors) when the museum opens its doors in late 2018. The four-storey museum has secured a stand alone location along the towpath in the South Aud Block. The project is expected to break ground in late 2016.
The latest advancement provides the museum with 42,900 square feet of usable space, which is upwards of 3000 additional square feet that they would not have had in a mixed use development, previously considered. There will also be increased outdoor space, which can be used by the museum, not to mention the close proximity to the skating rink in the winter, and the boating activity in the summer.
The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) is putting up $9 million toward the museum (core and shell of the building). Explore and More will cover the costs that rise above what ECHDC is contributing (core and shell), as well as interior build out, and construction of exhibits. Once open, the museum will pay $1 per year until the duration of its 40-year lease. To date, Explore and More has raised $7.3 million on its own through its Play It Forward Capital Campaign.
Since 2007, the museum has been plugging away at securing a space/building at Canalside. It has not been an easy battle, but ultimately the persistence and the hard work have been rewarded. Anyone who has paid a visit to Canalside, since the start, has most likely seen children enjoying Explore and More’s programming along The Central Wharf. The museum has been an integral part of the family programming and will be a major player in the formation of the waterfront moving forward.
This is a big win for Buffalo, and will offer a year round destination for families looking for Buffalo-centric entertainment, interactive family programming and discovery learning.
“Canalside’s future is looking brighter than ever as we move forward with improved plans for the Explore & More Children’s Museum,” said ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia. “ECHDC shares Explore & More’s optimism and enthusiasm for a children’s museum on the South Aud Block. The museum will add to our success for making Canalside a year-round attraction for all ages.”
“This is a win-win for Explore & More and ECHDC, and most importantly, for the children and families of Buffalo Niagara,” said Matt Davison, Explore & More Board President. “The increases in usable space inside and out will enable Explore & More to engage more visitors, while the stand-alone building will allow for more sponsorship opportunities. Both of those add up to greater sustainability.”