BUFFALO, N.Y. — It may seem like a lot of places are closing down right now, but one place you can still visit is the Explore and More Children's museum at Canalside. They're kicking off the holiday season this weekend by giving back to the community.
Santa will be outside the museum Friday and Saturday, collecting gifts in a socially distanced drive up toy drive for Toys for Tots. The program distributes thousands of gifts donated by the community to children in Erie and Niagara Counties each year.
Last year, the program provided gifts for more than 7,400 children in Erie and Niagara counties, and they're anticipating that the need will be higher this year.
"We're really concerned about what that's going to look like, especially given we've just entered an orange zone, so people aren't going to be out shopping this year," Kelly Dodd of the Western New York Holiday Partnership told 2 On Your Side. "We know a lot of people have been hit hard by the pandemic and the economy, so I think we're facing a challenge of both increased need and decreased donations this year which is why we're so excited to be partnering with Explore and More for this toy drive."
"We're going to have Santa on-site, both Friday and Saturday from 11 [a.m.] to 3 [p.m.]," Explore and More Spokesperson Jess Basil said. "He will be socially distanced, so unfortunately you can't run up and sit on his lap like normal, but you can wave to him and drop off a toy, and then the museum is open so you can come in and play."
Admission for the museum will be $5 each day. Capacity is 15%, and reservations are required. You can purchase your tickets here.
Toys for Tots is most in need of new, unwrapped gifts for children ages 8-12. Click here for their Amazon wish list.
If you would like to apply to receive a gift from Toys for Tots this year, call 211.