Say the word “museum” to kids over a certain age and you can pretty much guarantee they’re not going to be jumping for joy at the idea of a day spent in an “educational” environment. Yet not all museums operate a strict “look, but don’t touch” policy - many exhibits are designed to keep children entertained for hours.
If you’re heading out to somewhere with interactive exhibits like the Science Museum, why not call it a “discovery centre” to gauge their interest? There are tons of options around the UK, and we’ve selected five of the best.
Eureka Museum, Halifax
Make sure you: Head to the “SoundSpace” room, where kids can explore different sounds and discover how to make them.
Price: Free for under ones, £5.95 for one-two-year-olds, £12.95 for three+ (including adults).
Also known as the “national children’s museum”, this place is completely targeted at ensuring kids have a fun and interactive day. It’s built to entertain children aged zero to 11 and has 400 exhibits designed to spark their curiosity. At different times of the year there are themed events put on, with workshops and activities, so it’s worth checking before you go. Find out more here.
The Roald Dahl Museum, Buckinghamshire
Make sure you: Try out ‘Chiddlers Hour’, a session for toddlers aged 0-3 with 30 minutes of songs and storytelling and 30 minutes of free play.
Price: Under 5s free, ages 5-18 £4.40 and adults £6.60.
If your kids love ‘James and the Giant Peach’ or ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’, take them to the home of Roald Dahl, where he wrote his famous kids’ stories. Aimed at six to 12-year-olds, the museum gives kids the chance to look back at Dahl’s life through quirky mementos and activities. If your child is an inspiring writer, it may even give them some ideas for their next story. Find out more here.
Police Museum, Manchester
Make sure you: Go with kids a little bit older (ages four and above).
Does your child get fascinated by police officers when they see them out and about? For whatever reason, a lot of kids do, so heading to the police museum in Manchester could be a great treat for them. Kids can discover the stories of cops and robbers while learning about local history in one of the city’s earliest police stations. They can explore where criminals were charged and fingerprinted and see the cells where they would often spend the night. The museum is open every Tuesday with free admission. Find out more here.
National Space Centre, Leicester
Make sure you: Head to the solar system to get schooled in outer space.
Price: Under 5s free, child £11, adult £14.
This is the UK’s largest planetarium, along with a 42-metre high rocket tower and six interactive galleries so, as you can imagine, it’s a place that can keep kids occupied for hours - especially if you have any wannabe astronauts or scientists. There are themed exhibitions on at certain times of the year, so check here to find out what’s on. Find out more about the museum here.
Science Museum, London
Make sure you: Go to the Wonderlab.
Adults and children will love the excitement of the Science Museum, with its games, simulators and interactive displays. The part your kids will most enjoy will probably be the ’Wonderlab’, where there are exhibits and experiments they can play with alongside other children (free for under 3s or £8 for a day pass). Find out what’s on when you go and more information here.
Although many museums are free, some do charge an entry fee. If you do want to head to a free museum that may not have as much on, there are ways to make it more interactive? Ask at the front desk if they do any activity packs for kids in advance and if not, make your own.