Looking for fun things to do with the kids over the half-term holidays?
Manchester has plenty to offer for your little ones with a host of half-term events and activities.
If you’re keen to get the kids off the sofa here are our top picks for fun activities which will keep you and your young ones busy over the school break, from pot painting to pirate cruises.
A lot of activities are free to do, so you won’t have to break the bank either.
Described as the world’s first virtual nature reserve, Wild Immersion at the intu Trafford Centre uses exclusive 360° virtual reality films to immerse you in an intensely vivid up close experience with wildlife and nature, transporting you to real locations for jaw-dropping encounters – encounters which would be impossible in real life. This is the closest most people are ever likely to get to up 140 species in over 40 countries. Seeing is believing. Tickets from £5.99.
There’s snow place like Chill Factore. The UK’s longest, real snow slope has got more deals than you can shake a ski pole at. Whether it’s skiing, snowboarding or sledding that tempts you onto the snow, they have an offer for all.
Get the kids into a new sport by trying out a ski or snowboard taster session for just £19. The 50 minute sessions are a perfect introduction to snow sports. If thrill-seeking isn’t their kind of thing, check out the recently revamped Snow Park for an exhilarating family day out. Kids ages 4+ can sledge, slide and race down the slopes in double donuts. Tickets start from £14.50.
Can’t decide between which to do? Do both with the Combo deal for £30.
Upside Down House at the Trafford Centre
Defy gravity at the amazing Upside Down House at the Trafford Centre which has opened up just in time for the half-term holidays. As attractions go, this one is pretty special. So special in fact, that there are only three in the whole country.
You are invited to take topsy turvy pictures and walk along the ceiling of the inverted two-storey building. Do handstands on the sofa and lose yourself going down the stairs to go up.
Tickets bought online cost £3.50 on weekdays and £4.50 at weekends. £5 if purchased on the day. Under 3s go for free.
Science and Industry Museum
A People Powered Party which relies on cyclists to get the music pumping and lights flashing is just one of the attractions at the Science and Industry Museum this half-term.
More than 30 activities, workshops and shows are taking place over the two week break and most of them are free.
There’s a Science Showdown, where you can join staff for a battle of experiments in a daily interactive science show.
Or get involved in the Make a Lamp Shade workshop, where yes, you guessed, you can make your own lamp shade, test it out and then take away your creation to use at home.
Another highlight is The Juggling of Science – where families can watch juggling duo Ben and Fred, use their balls skills to explain the wonders of science.
Among a whole host of activities at MOSI, visitors can also check out the museum’s new exhibition all about the Sun (the big ball of fire, not the newspaper).
GMP Museum Open Day
Greater Manchester Police Museum hosts an open day during the school holidays and this month there are two – on October 29th and Thursday 31st.
Celebrate all things spooky, with creepy stories being told in the cells plus interactive court cases throughout the day. It’s free and runs from 10.30am – 3.30pm. Suitable for all ages.
The museum is also open to the public every Tuesday on Newton Street in the Northern Quarter.
Dear Zoo at The Lowry
After a successful debut tour, the timeless children’s classic book Dear Zoo returns to the stage.
Rod Campbell’s best-selling lift-the-flap book has delighted generations of young readers since it was first published in 1982 and has sold more than 8 million copies worldwide. This production will delight all those who have read the book (both young and old) as it unfolds with child-engaging puppets, music and lots of audience interaction. From October 25th to October 27th.
Treetop Adventure Golf
Treetop Adventure Golf is hoping to “putt” a smile on children’s faces with its epic jungle adventure. Escape the drizzly Manchester weather this half term and head to Treetop Adventure Golf in the Printworks. Pick up some golf clubs and tee off in Manchester’s very own Amazonian rainforest.
Families can explore two 18-hole mini golf courses, sip mocktails from The Thirsty Toucan and tuck into tasty jungle grub from Pizza Cabana. Little kids can also enjoy free face painting and glitter tattoos from 12pm until 4pm and arts and crafts will be available every day to keep your little explorers busy
Swing by from 11am on weekdays (10am at the weekend) – there’s no need to book in advance, just turn up and tee off. Prices start from £4.50 for under 5s of £9.50 each.
Pirates and Mermaid Cruise with Manchester River Cruises
Take your little ones for some fun on the waterways on Sunday 27th October when Manchester River Cruises are putting on four Pirates and Mermaids cruises.
The fearsome Irwell Pirates will be joined by the Mersey Mermaids for a mutiny on board. Pirate Skai will be hosting a kids takeover along the Manchester Ship Canal that will be filled with treasure, games and singalongs. Adults please note: participation is required so you don’t get off that easy.
The Pirates and Mermaid cruises are one hour long and aimed at shipmates ages 2-10 years but big kids are also welcome to join in. Ahoy mateys.
Tickets start at £9 for kids and £11 for adults.
And don’t forget it’s nearly Halloween so there’s plenty of family friendly spooky things going on too…
All Star Lanes
All Star Lanes know how to keep your little ones entertained. Having a range of facilities including extra light bowling balls, bowling ramps and bowling bumpers to make the game easier for those highly competitive youngsters. There’s also a kids’ menu with smaller bites for smaller bellies.
Enjoy a game of bowling, a kids main, soft drink and a dessert all for £15. There is also a devilishly fun Halloween colouring competition where you can be in with a chance of winning a kids party.
Brick or Treat at Legoland Discovery Centre
Get your little monsters in the swing of Halloween at the Legoland Discovery Centre by the Trafford Centre. Lord Vampyre and the attractions newest resident Scarecrow are throwing the ultimate Halloween party with many fang-tastic activities – featuring a brand new Lego Hidden slide, rides and build zones. There is also a 4D cinema to enjoy mini lego movies.
Entry price starts from £11.95 or you can get a combi ticket for Legoland and Sea Life for £16.95 per child.
Frights and Heights at Treetop Trek in Heaton Park
Visit Heaton Park this half term for frightfully fun adventures high up in the trees.
Based at Treetop Trek, kids can hunt for spooky clues hidden in the trees in a Halloween Hunt from October 19th to 31st.
A Spooky Twilight Trek will also take place on Sunday, October 27th from 5pm for daring ghosts and ghouls who wish to explore the high trees after dark and bump into a few spooky frights along the way.
Room on the Broom – Storytelling at Manchester Arndale
Manchester’s favourite kids art centre, Z Arts, is offering up a taste of the hugely successful exhibition A World Inside a Book – Gruffalos, Dragons and Other Creatures, dedicated to the children’s author, Julia Donaldson.
This playful and fully immersive experience is something that the whole family will love. So why not head down to the Arndale to meet some of her best love characters and enjoy magical storytelling sessions of Room on the Broom.
From October 26th to 27th.
CBBC & CBeebies Spooky Screenings on Exchange Square
Get into the Halloween spirit with screenings from CBeebies and CBBC plus a host of family friendly fun inside a spooky tent.
This free event is open to all ages and will feature episodes from family favourites such as Hey Duggee, Peter Rabbit, The Worst Witch, and Dennis and Gnasher Unleashed. Take part in exclusive workshops and snap a creepy photo with popular children’s TV characters over the weekend.
On Saturday 26th October and Sunday 27th October, 10am to 6pm
Halloween Crafternoon Tea at Emily’s Paint a Pot
Join Emily’s Paint A Pot for this Spooktacular event inside Next at Manchester Arndale.
Eat fabulous Halloween themed afternoon tea whilst painting a spooky pot of your choice! On the menu is witch shaped jam and cheese sandwiches, spider shaped donuts with pretzel legs, Babybel eyeballs, blood covered ice cream and green milkshakes.
Ticket price is £10 which includes the afternoon tea, and on the day you simply pay for the pot you choose. T-light pumpkin holders start at £12.50 and Gravestone heads start at £8 going up to large haunted house that are £17. Then you paint and create to your heart’s content. All ages are welcome.
Workshops run on October 22nd, 24th, 29th and 31st October at 11.30am.