Whatever the weather, keep the kids occupied this half-term with JLife’s pick of exciting indoor activities that don’t involve playing Fortnite…
So, the kids are off school once again. Wasn’t it literally just Christmas we hear you cry? From 15th to 25th February, parents across Manchester are fated to be driven to distraction as children sit glued to their screens. With winter still in its final throes, turning local parks into mudbaths, letting them blow off steam outdoors isn’t always the best option if you don’t intend on spending the rest of the week watching the washing machine spin. Before you and they both start climbing the walls, take a look at our top recommendations for a spot of family fun out and about in Manchester…
Paradise Island Adventure Golf
If the kids don’t share your enthusiasm for picking up a bargain in the New Year sales, meet them halfway and temporarily swap the shopping bags for the golf bag at Paradise Island Adventure Golf on a trip to the Trafford Centre. Venture through the twists and turns of two 18 hole courses, The Tiki Hut Trail and Temple Ruins Adventure, where exotic wildlife and Aztec carvings line 16,500 sqft of jungle-themed crazy golf madness.
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House
On 20th February, you and the family can enjoy a day of arts and crafts in the Grade II listed neoclassical villa that was once the home of 19th century author Elizabeth Gaskell. If the glitter and paint gets too much, let the other half take over and nip down to the basement for a cuppa and a cake or a cheeky glass of prosecco or craft beer. When they finally catch up with you, take a look in the Servants’ Hall where you can dress up as Charles Dickens, Hearn the housekeeper or even Elizabeth herself.
Science and Industry Museum
If your kids glaze over at the mere mention of the word ‘museum’, they’ll be in for a shock. Full of inclusive, interactive exhibits, Manchester’s Science and Industry Museum makes learning about the city’s industrial heritage fun with experiments, games and challenges. Its newest exhibition, The Spark of Life uncovers how electricity has changed our lives through iconic objects such as Edison lightbulbs and emerging smart technologies alongside stunning commissions from contemporary artists. There’s also a rare opportunity to see an iconic symbol of the city’s railway heritage as Stephenson’s Rocket, one of the earliest steam locomotives, returns to Manchester for the first time in over 180 years.
Sea Life Manchester
Dive into an underwater world at the Sea Life Manchester, where you can take a fascinating journey from the coast to the ocean floor through 11 themed zones, featuring stingrays, black tip reef sharks and a giant Pacific octopus. Be transported to Turtle World where the kids can get hands-on with interactive exhibits while learning with Tyler, the talking turtle. Crawl inside the fluorescent world of the floating moon jellyfish in the new 360-degree doughnut tank or discover the giants lurking in The Lair of the Giant Crab where you can get up close and personal with Japanese Spider Crabs measuring over three metres claw-to-claw. To get any closer, you’d have to get wet!
JLife Top Tip: Buy a combo ticket online for £16.95 per child to visit both Legoland and Sea Life Manchester!
LEGOLAND Discovery Centre
Billed as “the ultimate indoor LEGO playground”, LEGOLAND Discovery Centre is the perfect place to inspire the budding builder in your family, with exciting adventure rides, creative workshops and even a 4D cinema. Older kids can earn their licence at the famed LEGO driving school, while the smaller ones get busy with bricks in the DUPLO Farm soft play area. Take a trip to Miniland and tower over Manchester’s iconic landmarks built from over 1.5 million bricks and make sure you don’t miss the UK’s only LEGO VR Experience, where you can buckle up and go for a virtual spin inside brick-built vehicles in an immersive race to be crowned LEGO champion.