Museums reviewed by parents: Manchester Museum
I think we saw every corner of the museum and there was a lot to take in! The Zoological Collection is huge, with tigers, polar bear, gorilla and elephants to see.
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The dinosaur section, or fossil gallery, can be easy to miss as it’s through a courtyard. The fossil gallery takes you on a journey through the evolution of life, from 3500 million years old fossils of Australia, to the early human occupation of Britain at Creswell Crags in Derbyshire.
However, the lifts aren’t great and we spent a long time going up and down to get to right section! The museum is in two separate sections so we consulted the map regularly to get the most out of it.
Best for nursery and Reception kids
One of the most popular of the Museum’s galleries is the Vivarium, home to many species of frogs, reptiles and lizards from South America, Australia and Madagascar. You can even sponsor a frog and get to meet 'your' frog in the Vivarium.
Best for KS1 kids
Best for KS2 kids
The object handling tables and the chance to get hands-on with some of the exhibits.
Half-term and holiday events for families
Monthly Big Saturdays and school holiday events offer the opportunity to do everything from meeting scientists to touching a 200-million-year-old fossil and making your own treasures. For under-5s there are Magic Carpet story sessions, as well as sensory play and interactive story sessions for babies who aren't walking yet.
Make a keepsake of your visit by printing out and filling in a Manchester Museum Family Scrapbook.
Food and drink options
There is a café that offers a children’s menu with healthy and fun dishes that are great value for money. There are also high chairs, a baby food station and a dedicated space for pushchairs.
There is an indoor picnic area so it is also easy to take a packed lunch.
Getting there, prices and opening hours
The Manchester Museum is open daily, 10am-5pm (closed: 24th -26th December and 1st January) and entry is free.
Pocket money shop purchases
There is a shop selling a wide range of gifts – you can buy anything from African tribal charms to Roman swords, Egyptian papyri to fossils and includes cheap £1 presents for the kids.
Online treasures if you're too far to visit
Look through an online magazine, Amazing facts at the Manchester Museum, for a close-up view of some of the most interesting exhibits.
Links to the National Curriculum
- Dinosaurs (KS1)
- Egyptians (KS2)
- Habitats (KS2)
- Science investigations: the natural world (KS2)
- Historical investigations: human cultures (KS2)
Photography: © Manchester Museum
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