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Explore & More gets million-dollar gift to build "Playing Together" exhibit

Explore & More Children's Museum has received another large cash gift to help build its planned new facility in Buffalo's Canalside district. The charitable foundations from the Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres and New Era Cap have teamed up to provide a $1 million gift for the introduction of a local sports themed exhibit.

Representatives of the children's museum and the foundations announced the gift Tuesday morning inside HarborCenter, overlooking the plot of land seven stories below where Explore & More's future home will be built.

The $1 million gift will be used to create one of the seven themed zones that will be housed inside the nee facility. Playing Together will be an exhibit promoting and encouraging physical activity while celebrating sports' part of Western New York culture.

Speaking at the ceremony, New Era Cap chief executive officer Chris Koch stated that sports are at the core of their business, and their mission is to spark a passion in sports by local youth.

"We all know that children have different life experiences," Koch said. "The Playing Together zone is going to allow children to learn, understand and participate in sports without having to test their skills on the field of play or go to a stadium and hear the crowd. They can do it right here at the Explore and More Museum."

The gift announced Tuesday matches one previously announced by Delaware North Companies. 

Rich Jureller, with the Buffalo Sabres Foundation, spoke of the excitement of soon welcoming a new neighbor to Canalside.

"As we look out the window and see the view from the KeyBank Center offices and we watch the change, we look forward to seeing the addition of this new state-of-the-art facility that will welcome thousands of children in an environment that is based upon learning and playing, and reinforces the importance of education and physical activity," he said. 

The new museum, which will replace Explore & More's current space in East Aurora, is scheduled to be completed and opened in the second half of 2018. 

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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