Manchester Museum – Review for families

Learn about archaeology and natural history at the University of Manchester's museum

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What is it?

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Manchester Museum is an anthropology, archaeology and natural history museum. Find it on Oxford Road, Manchester. The SatNav postcode is M13 9PL. It’s easily accessible on public transport from Piccadilly Gardens.

Best for:

5  – 8 / 9 – 12

OK for:

Babies / Toddlers & Preschool / 12+

Cost

Free admission!

What’s on offer

On offer, the Manchester Museum has plenty of artifacts and displays of the natural world from across many different cultures, including but not limited to mummies, fossils, dinosaurs, taxidermy and even some live animals. These all allow the museum to explore what life was like in different cultures – with a specific interest in archaeology. It’s no wonder that the Greeks, Egyptians, and Romans are a key focus.

The permanent Ancient Worlds exhibit consists of three galleries. In the first, discover archaeology through its techniques, our understanding of the world and our relationship to that. The second gallery takes guests on a dramatic journey through he history of Ancient Egypt, whereas the third gallery features a rich collection of archaeological objects.

Other permanent exhibitions show Living Worlds and Living Cultures, as well as a fossil collection and a gallery detailing Manchester’s interesting history. There’s also the Money Gallery, which is a collaboration project with the British Museum, Rocks & Minerals and a delightful Greenhouse.

Nature’s Library is where you’ll find all the stuffed animals (including a two toed sloth and an emperor penguin), but for sensitive children The Vivarium might be the place to be.  The Vivarium is a conservation programme for amphibians such as frogs and toads.

There are usually two or three temporary exhibitions, available for a limited time. Check out the exhibitions page for full, up to date information! Family activities include the children’s discovery gallery, craft activities, object-handling sessions, Baby Explorers and the Discovery Centre.

There are plenty of family-friendly facilities, like the indoor picnic area and colouring-in area for little ones, toilet and baby-changing areas, a buggy park, lockers and lift access. The cafe also has a children’s menu and highchairs available.

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Highlights

Each display is really immersive. It might seem old-fashioned to some since there isn’t the aid of computerised interactives, but the number of hands on opportunities have been very popular with parents on TripAdvisor. The gallery for little ones is so inspiring – it’s called Nature Discovery and it’s a sweet little haven for children between the ages of 4 – 7 years, where children are encouraged to climb and play. The activity sheets and trails around the museum are good way to fill in some time, too.

What to watch out for

  • The way the museum is organised is slightly confusing. Ask a member of staff for some direction if you feel like you need it!
  • It will be quite busy during peak periods.

MFM tips:

  • Plan for 2 hours here.

What the owners say

The Manchester Museum is home to an array of treasures from the natural world and the many cultures it is home to. Highlights include a T.rex and fossils of other pre-historic creatures, ancient Egyptian artefacts and live amphibians and reptiles. You can handle objects from the collection, take part in hands-on activities or enjoy a glass of wine of cup of coffee whilst exploring the latest ideas in science, culture and the arts.”

More amazing family days out in North West England…

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Legoland Discovery Centre
MOSI
Heaton Park
Imperial War Museum North
Breakout Manchester
Abbotsfield Park Miniature Railway
Chester Zoo
Salford Museum & Art Gallery
Manchester United Stadium Tour

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