We’ve had several opportunities to take the kids to the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Manchester, and we’ve always had a great time there. So when we were invited to visit this weekend to see what was on offer as part of the Manchester Science Festival we were to delighted to have another excuse to go (although, to be fair, we don’t really need much of an excuse!). I had first discovered the existence of the Manchester Science Festival after our visit to the Manchester Mini Maker Faire, and I must confess to finding the programme of events quite overwhelming – I had thought of taking the family along to some things, but really couldn’t decide which would be best. So I hoped that a trip to MOSI would maker things clearer for us…
There were so many events happening at MOSI that we had trouble choosing which ones we would do! Some were the museum’s standard activities, and some were special activities for the Science Fair. There were loads of Science Fair volunteers around to help direct you to activities, wearing distinctive green T-shirts so you couldn’t miss them. We managed to find enough time in the day to experience some of the special activities as well as spending time in our favourite parts of the museum, and it all made for a thoroughly enjoyable day out.
From the Science Week activities we tried building a small part of a Rube Goldberg machine, which the geekdaughter did well at even though I suspect it was better suited to older children. We also enjoyed watching the building of a huge molecular model of graphene and a giant Rupe Goldberg machine. We tried our hands at creating our own virtual dinosaurs and pitting them against each other in a race (the geekdaughter’s won!)
Of all the activities that were going on our favourite was definitely building our own doodlebot – a little robot made out of a motor, a piece of cardboard and four felt-tip pens which could create a work of art. Again the geekdaughter loved getting hands on and was very proud of her creation:
We very much enjoyed the “Creating the Illusion” exhibition showing the development of the Manchester-based animation company Cosgrove Hall films (they made Danger Mouse and Chorlton and the Wheelies), and I was interested to learn that the animators working on both Bob the Builder and Raa Raa the Lion are ex-Cosgrove Hall animators! Whilst not part of the Manchester Science Festival, this exhibition is open for the same dates and closes on 3rd November. It’s only small, but definitely worth seeing if you’re interested in animation. There’s even the chance to create your own stop-motion film, which the geekdaughter enjoyed.
For us, no trip to MOSI is complete without the kids having a good run around Experiment, their “hands on” section. The geekson loves seeing the mini that you can lift with your bare hands, and will keep coming back to it whilst we’re there. The geekdaughter tends to just work her way around the exhibition, trying everything, and we love seeing science come to life for her:
And finally, at the end of the day, we had to take a trip on the steam engine, which was the highlight of the geekson’s day. Unfortunately when we told him it was time to get off the train we had tears, and a very reproachful look:
I am sad that the geekdaughter has already had her half term, because there are so many fun activities happening this week as part of the Manchester Science Festival that we won’t be able to join in with. Having had the chance to try a few at MOSI this weekend I would say don’t be intimidated by the number of events that are taking place across the city, just throw yourself in and enjoy them! You can find a list of all the family-friendly events over on the Science Festival website. If you’re in the Manchester area and looking for something to do with the kids this half term I’m sure you’ll find plenty of fun things to do as part of the Science Festival.
Entry to the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester is free, although a donation of £3 per person is suggested in order to keep it that way.
Disclosure: We were invited to MOSI and provided with a complimentary drink and piece of cake. All words and opinions are my own
Photo Credit: All pictures, with the exception of the first one, were taken by the geekdaddy – you can find him at PhotoWalkthrough.com