Tonawanda News — “Working on them here, we had even more adults stop and ask, ‘When is this going to be open?’ It brings the kid out in everyone,” Stock said, watching as Madison rode a green pony cart around its track, a huge grin on her face.
Ed Janulionis, a museum board member who runs the Allen Herschell Company and helped spearhead the project, called it the culmination of a “five-year journey.” While it could have opened last year, he said, the extra time — and the $180,000 or so donated through the Robert W. Bowen Fund via the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo — made it possible to have the exhibit just the way the museum hoped it would be.
In all, Kiddieland cost about $350,000, Janulionis said. “If you added the volunteer hours, you’re probably talking another $100,000 or more. That’s how big this project turned out to be. I think it’s been worth it.
“This is great for the community. I’m hoping the community does take advantage of this. It’s for them.”
On opening day, a steady stream of children filed onto the rides as their parents and grandparents took photos from the fences, including the Hapeman family of North Tonawanda. Jessica Hapeman watched Chase and Tyler, 3, on the boat ride, where they vigorously rang the brass bells on their boat as it moved in circles through the water.
“I think it’s great,” she said. “We were here last week to check it out; we didn’t realize it hadn’t opened yet. They couldn’t wait to come back. I think it’s wonderful, what they’ve done here.”
“We’d never been inside; I think this will bring a lot of people in. And they offer so much inside that I didn’t know about. We’ll be back during a colder or snowy day.”