The Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI) has long been a favourite local attraction for us as a family. As we used to live in the city centre it was very handy for us to have somewhere to take Ophelia when she was younger and it was like our version of a suburban local park, only its indoors and there are no swings.
So yesterday, on the last day of the half term holiday I decided I wanted to take the children out somewhere. The weather wasn’t great, so an outdoor activity was out of the question and a play centre wasn’t really appealing to me either.
It can be hard trying to choose an activity that will entertain both a 5 year old and a 15 month old, so the MOSI seemed like an ideal choice. Much to the delight of my eldest.
One of the big plus points about the Museum is that it is absolutely FREE! Yes, that’s right, free. You don’t have to pay any money to enter and you can wander around aimlessly looking at all their wonderful exhibitions and artefacts.
They do have buckets at the entrance to some of the buildings asking for a donation and this used to be a suggested £1 but it has increased to £3.
Which we did pay, as not so long ago the museum was under threat of closing. So paying £3 is the least we could do for what I feel is an institution of Manchester and certainly makes for a great family attraction.
The museum is easily accessible; they have on site parking which costs £4.50, If you choose to park on site I would arrive early to guarantee a spot during peak times. There are plenty of other places to park in the city centre, but this can prove costly depending upon space and availability.
There are plenty of buses, trains and trams that run into the city centre also, and even a handy free shuttle bus which can be caught from several destinations dotted around the centre, which will take you direct to the Museum.
When Ophelia was younger we would mainly visit the main building, as upstairs they have a small play area which is suitable for under 5’s and this is where the interactive science area is housed. Which is great for inquisitive little minds. They have lots of sensory items that she loved as much then and still does now.
Some of the items include a Mini Cooper car, which children can move up and down themselves and show off their strength to you! A tornado machine, a giant bubble sheet – Bubbles always seem to be a hit with children and a interactive recyling game to name a few.
Each interactive section has an information point and explains in a really simple way how and why things work. It’s a great and informal way of learning for children and it really capture their imagination.
This part of the museum is great for both of my children and it keeps them both happy and engaged. Ophelia loves that she is big enough now to conduct some of the ‘experiments’ on her own and loves reading about what, why and how it is working.
Her favourite item in this section is the skeleton, its always been a favourite of hers. They have a seat which you sit on and some pedals which you push and if you get enough momentum going, your skeleton will pop up in the reflective window next to you. We’ve been visiting for 4 years and she still favours this every time.
The museum is also home to 10 galleries altogether and they are dotted around in different listed buildings, so you can certainly lose at least half a day here.
There is something here for everyone from learning about the old textile industry to The making of Manchester gallery. There is also an air and space gallery as well as the underground gallery, which lets you walk under a small underground tunnel.
Lots of items in the different buildings are interactive, with buttons to push to help keep young children entertained and offer some general knowledge for older children or even the adults.
This is an attraction that can be as expensive or as cheap as you wish to make it. They have a picnic area on the top floor of the main building in which you can eat your own lunch or they have a restaurant on the floor below for hot meals and a small café on the bottom floor.
I opted to eat at the restaurant yesterday and I spent £8.90 on lunch.
And Francesca and I had apple and celeriac soup with bread.
We shared a drink of Orange juice between myself and Ophelia and Fran had a drink already from home.
To me, it is worth the money, everything is cooked fresh and they do have a variety of food on offer. We only ordered a light meal as the girls had eaten a snack whilst walking around the museum.
They do offer a full meal option if you are hungry.
There were no complaints from either of us about the food, we found it all delicious.
If you live local to the museum and you haven’t visited, then you absolutely must take advantage of this great place that is on your doorstep!
Or if it is just a day out with family and you are travelling from further afield, then I can assure you that you won’t be left disappointed. There is so much to see and do that you won’t be left bored and you will soon wonder where the time has gone.
We spent 4 hours here yesterday and only visited 4 of the galleries.
They always have events and exhibitions on over the holidays and occasional weekends so you should check out the website http://www.mosi.org.uk/ and plan your visit to see if there is anything in particular that you wish to see, but even without these events, it certainly offers a fun day for all the family to enjoy.