“ Liverpool Road, Castlefield, M3 4FP. Tel: (0)161 832 1830. „
I had a really fun free day out with my family. My children particularly enjoyed the family show about steam trains and a rocket making activity. There were five buildings to explore covering a range of areas from transport to textiles and even a gallery of toilets and sewers!A great free family day out!
museum of science and industry is located on liverpool road in the heart of manchester. it is open practically all year round and is a fun yet educational day out. you definately need a good few hours to look around here as there is quite a lot to see. to name a few there is a cotton mill where you can watch demonstrations about textiles, there is also a victorian sewer display where you can look and smell for yourself what they really used to be like. its a new experience. there is part of the museum which shows you what rooms from a house would typically look like in the past and there is a display which still has some of the oldest trains still around. it really is exciting as well as educational. there is also a coffee shop where you can sit and have a drink and relax as there is quite a bit of walking. theres also a souvenir shop where you can buy momentos typically overpriced.
quite expensive to enter as its about £7 per person although it is worth it
The Museum of Science & Industry is a great place to go if you want to keep the kids amused, but without paying ludicrous prices. It's open from 10.00am - 5.00pm every day, except 24 - 26 December and 1 January.
I don't know whether they previously charged for admission (other reviews), but entry into MOSI is now free. Car parking on site costs £5.00 (£3.00 after 3pm) and there are several other pay and display car parks outside.
Charges apply for the special exhibitions however, which at present is "Body Worlds 4 - The original exhibition of real human bodies". I haven't seen this exhibition so can't comment specifically, but ticket prices seem a bit steep.
Adults £10.00 - £11.50
Concessions £7.00 - £9.50
Under 5s, Free
Family £29.00 - £34.00
There are loads of things to do without the need to see the special exhibitions to be honest, with four separate buildings to go at and much of the activities being more than capable of keeping you occupied for the best part of the day.
There are scheduled events, such as story telling, arts and crafts, demonstrations of original machinery in full working order and interactive activities with historical costume characters.
The Power Hall is full of working steam engines, has a large water wheel and some enormous trains. This building can be noisy when all the machines are up and running at once, which can be a bit much for some little kiddies who might find this a bit frightening.
The Air & Space Hall is great. There is a Planetarium, which has night sky shows for kids aged 6+ and also has a great display of aeroplanes, helicopters, cars, motorbikes and a flight simulator. When we visited last month, the kids took part in some activities were making and testing their own aeroplanes.
There is also a Victorian underground sewer which you can walk through. Again - if your kids are pre-school age or easily spooked, this might freak them out a bit. My three year old niece was petrified and I had to quickly leg it through to the end to stop her bawling!
It's a good idea to pack up a picnic as well, particularly if you want to keep it cheap. Picnic tables and chairs / benches are freely available around the site. There are some cafes, but they charge extortionate prices for food and drink. The Loft Restaurant on the top floor is particularly expensive.
The gift shop sells some really unusual and quirky gifts, but again - these tend to be a bit steep in price, with a MOSI pencil setting you back £1.50.
Toilets, lockers and baby changing facilities are available and are clean and very well maintained. With access ramps and lifts in place, pretty much everywhere is accessible for those with prams and/or wheelchair users.
The MOSI website is excellent and gives an excellent overview of what is on offer, especially if you haven't visited before. www.msim.org.uk/
I love this place. We can be there from 10.00am and still be wandering round and looking at things ten minutes before the place is due to close.
MarsQuest @ The Manchester Museum of Science and Industry
Last week my rocket scientist sister and I visited MarsQuest, a self explanatory new exhibition at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester. Shes more of a space geek than I am but I am interested in the topic and have a vague knowledge of things thanks to a Sci-Fi obsessed family and an, ahem, GCSE in Physics. She, well, she has a masters in astrophysics, a PhD in astrophysics and currently works as, youve guessed it, an astrophysicist. Who do you think enjoyed the trip more? Read on and find out.
The Museum of Science and Industry is not my favourite place in the world. Its somewhere I would associate with school trips, rainy days out and educational excursions. We had a quick look round it while we were there and it hasnt changed much over the years (same old steam train, same old mill scenes, same old bits of old aeroplanes) but the Mars bit was something new, a visiting exhibition that is only planning to stay until late autumn, having arrived this spring. It has an entrance fee attached to it (though the rest of the museum is free) but its not too much - £5 for adults and £3 for students, children and other standard concessions. We were there just as the museum opened on a Sunday morning and it was quite quiet, though the rest of the rooms (especially those with the interactive science experiments) quickly filled up. MarsQuest, however, didnt get all that busy, so you had plenty of room to have a good nosy round.
The exhibition isnt all that large but includes a few standard museum features (models of the solar system and of various rockets, for example), some cool things to look at (a representation of what the air on Mars would be like, very magic potion-y), some even cooler things to play with (simulations of Marss weather, build-your-own Martian volcanoes, that sort of thing) and an immensely fun Gyroscope that I convinced the museum attendant to give me a spin on and which was entirely worth the entrance fee on its own. For those who dont know (and I must confess I didnt) a gyroscope is an odd contraption you strap yourself into securely before being spun round and round on various axes of rotation (i.e. upside down and also a bit front to back, in an almost figure of 8 motion). Theyre used to train astronauts on Earth, but not being an astronaut and having only 24 hours previously been risking my sanity Go Ape-style it left me a little queasy and in need of a sit down. Luckily, the exhibition had a couple of benches for me to collapse on as I watched my adventure play back on a digicam. We then watched a short film about Mars, played with some Rovers (very boring course unfortunately), felt up some real meteors and then bade Mars farewell. In total we were there an hour and a bit but then we looked at everything. Twice.
From a scientific point of view the exhibition has two main areas, Mars Exploration and Earth-Mars comparisons, and its the latter which I enjoyed most as they really help you put things into perspective. When they show you a crater whose area is equivalent to the distance from California to NYC you know youre talking big. I also liked the interactive quizzes they had in a couple of corners for you to play with (we did, unsurprisingly, extremely well on these), and the find this landmass game was really quite fun
MarsQuest is billed as your chance to explore the red planet on a voyage of discovery and space exploration complete with fascinating facts and an exciting, interactive exhibition. I certainly learnt things while I was there but most of it wasnt as a direct result of the visitor information provided but, well, because I had brought my own friendly space scientist with me. Most of the information provided was just too basic or incomplete some things I already knew and some I didnt but in the case of the latter I just kept asking but why? and, luckily, I had someone with me who could answer the questions. Needless to say I wouldnt have wanted to take bright, inquisitive kids with me without having first done my homework. However on the flip side the information provided was more of less correct with no glaring errors (though they were still counting Pluto as a proper planet when *everyone* knows its now been agreed its just a little dwarf of a thing I guess from now on My Very Educated Mother hasnt Just Served Us Nine Pizzas, and perhaps will have to switch to serving Nuts instead). On a positive note I was very pleased to spot no cringe-worthy spelling errors or grammatical faux pas and the worst we got was a few Americanisms. The whole exhibition, it turned out, had originated in the States, but the only physical evidence of this was a test the gravity on Mars tool that utilised some unheard of soft drinks with American nutrition panels.
Open daily from 10am
(a website that is blocked from the free internet portals at the museum thanks to the ActiveX it uses )
A word of warning about the museums website though it doesnt lie it does seem to give more importance to some bit of the exhibit than I would, and makes them sound more impressive than they are. An example is Watch the short video produced in association with NASA, in the mini Mars theatre before moving on. Translation: sit on a moulded plastic bench in the middle of a room and watch a home-sized wide screen TV as a video plays. Produced in association with NASA means very little since virtually films that feature any footage taken from actual Mars explorations, even very briefly, can be describe in this way.
Although not on at the time we went, there is a full program of adults and childrens activities scheduled to complement the exhibition including talks and build-your-own-rover sessions. Some of these incur further charge and a full list is available here:
After all this, would I recommend a trip? Yes, if you have children of a suitable age (say 7 12 years). However although it would superbly complement any current school work on the subject, its not a thorough enough introduction to the subject if youre going from scratch, nor would it teach young boffins much more than they probably already know. The question at the start was a bit of a trick because I reckon big sis and I enjoyed it equally, though in different ways, but I only got as much out of it as I did because she was there, and I appreciate that not everyone will be able to lay their hands on a polite house-trained astrophysicist at short notice. If you do still fancy a trip, be quick: the Mars shuttle leaves Manchester 1st October 2006.
This is how a museum should be. It is designed primarily for child and people who cannot resist having a touch. Its is fantastic, exhibits include working steam engines, trains and plenty of hands on exhibits. One of my favourites is the air and transport museum attached to the science and industry museum (included in the price) My children particularly enjoyed the Xperiment section. This is truly a hands on section of the exhibition, the kids loved it. Entry fee is great,only £5.00 for adults and the kids go free. Plenty of car parking space but this will cost you and extra £1.50 To find the museum travel down Deansgate in the city centre and follow the signs for Castlefield. A good and inexpensive day out to keep the kids amused during the holidays