The Museum of Science & Industry has emerged from a major overhaul as an even better museum than it already was, an incredible achievement. Due to its sheer size it is still a place you will have to visit a number of times to do it justice.
Renovations in The Great Western Warehouse, the main entrance, mean you are now greeted by a towering digital, tree-like sculpture which forms the centrepiece. It’s tremendous. Your picture is taken at one of the many pods below the sculpture and your photo will zap up the tree to ping onto one of its multi screens. The kids loved it, although I must admit to having a couple of goes before I got a picture I didn’t mind everyone in the museum seeing – me vain? Hah!
The Revolution Manchester Gallery is in six sections and designed to give you a taste of the city. From textile factories to Factory Records, the interactive gallery celebrates Manchester’s industrial, technological and cultural heritage, as well as looking to the city’s future. The most impressive exhibit for me is ‘Baby’, a replica of the world’s first computer. At 5.2 metres long it has less computing power than a calculator; I find it hard to relate this monster machine to my iPad!
Upstairs is the updated Experiment! gallery, a fabulous hands-on children’s science space, featuring a recycling waste section, a new and improved toddler area, plus all the old favourites such as ‘Lift the Mini’, the tornado zone and cycling skeleton. Once a month on a Friday morning MOSI runs an Experitots session, exclusively for under-fives.
Also on this level is the larger of MOSI’s two cafés. Main meals start from £5.95 and for children, a lunchbox is £3.95. There are picnic areas if you want to bring your own food.
Four other major buildings make up MOSI – the 1830 Warehouse, Station Building, Power Hall, and Air and Space Hall. The Power Hall has a superb range of trains on show as well as one of the largest collections of working steam mill engines in the world. It’s a large area, so a great place for little ones to let off a little steam themselves! MOSI also has a ride-on train – a replica of Stephenson’s Planet steam locomotive, which operates during holidays and weekends. The train puffs majestically past the oldest surviving passenger railway station in the world and back again. The trip only lasts about 10 minutes (adults £2, children £1) but it is definitely worth it.
Located in the building across the road is The Air and Space Hall. It’s full of planes, cars and motorbikes, as well as the fun motion simulator Morphis (charges apply and height restriction of 110cm). The Station Building is where you’ll find the Victorian Sewers, a must for those children who find poo hilarious.
MOSI has loads to offer children of all ages. From Saturday Science to 4D theatre, you’re sure to find something your children will love.Daily 10am-5pm. Restaurant 11am-4pm. Admission free. Car parking £7 before 9am, £5 after 9am and £3 after 3pm. The car park entrance has moved to Water Street. MOSI, Liverpool Road, Castlefield, Manchester M3 4FP Tel: 0161 832 2244 mosi.org.uk