Emily Lampa visited Explore and More Children’s Museum at Canalside to share all the things that are happening. She is joined by JoAnna Jacob, director of institutional advancement who says their mission is to provide best in class play experiences and that’s not just for kids but for families and the whole community. She says we want to be a museum for all, and we strive to be a museum for all in everything we do. JoAnna says everything they have in the museum is accessible and if it’s not, it is going to become accessible very soon. She goes on to say we have universal changing tables, sensory backpacks, sensory rooms, call ahead options so if you have special accommodations, you need that we don’t have in place, we’ll put them in place for you. They also have things for adults so while you are here you will have fun.
Children play to learn, and they have all the accessories folks need to do that. JoAnna says when you are here everything is interactive and hands-on and everything has an educational element and those educational elements are also specifically about Buffalo. Is a place-based museum, everything is about Buffalo, Western New York, its culture, its history, its geography and they encourage people to come out for that as well.
At Explore and More Children’s Museum they offer something called Au-some Evenings. Lisa Chrapowicz, senior manager, community and strategic initiatives says Au-some Evenings is an opportunity for children that have autism spectrum disorder or have sensory processing disorders to come to the museum with their friends and family for a fun night of play. It happens the second Friday of every month from 5:30 – 730pm and they have access to the entire museum. Lisa says they adjust the lights and the sounds of the exhibits on that night and they have backpacks with different sensory items in them and sensory rooms available to the children and their families, They also team up with volunteers from the SPCA and they bring in their therapy dogs and cats so the children and the families can interact with those furry friends. Lisa says they also have Sarah Rogers, a music therapist and she brings her instruments and microphones and they love it. Spaces are limited. They ask that you go to their website and register in advance. Lisa says the month of April is Autism Awareness Month and we are going to have an amazing Au-some evening the second Friday in April. They have teamed up with Fisher Price and they are going to have a Thomas the Tank and Friends event.
One of their newest exhibits is called Fun is in the Air. You can take the things that are built in the Tinkering Room to the Fun Up in the Air exhibit and see how they work in real life. Jacalyn Modrzynski, lead educator says it is really special because it teaches us about trial and error and perseverance.
Val Drapeau, education coordinator says they have a variety of summer camps for families to attend. They have some half day programs and some full day programs. She says everything from sports to arts to cooking to STEM and it’s all hands-on activities and such a beautiful blend of education and learning but also play in the museum and kids have a blast and they are having so much fun they don’t even know they are learning.
For more information go to exploreandmore.org