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Review of Manchester Museum Reopening – Top Tips for Families

Stan The T-rex at Manchester Museum
19 Feb 2023

Manchester Museum is reopening in time for half-term, to help you make the most of your visit with the kids and family check out our top tips here.

Manchester Museum has always been a great day out for families and after being closed for a refit it is finally re-opening for 2023.

We were invited to check out the new-look museum ahead of its opening here is everything you need to know, what we thought and our top tips for visiting with the kids and family.

You can discover other things to do in Manchester over half term here. 

When is Manchester Museum Re-opening?

Manchester Museum re-opened on Saturday 18th February 2023 at 10.00.

What To Expect from Manchester Museum?

Manchester Museum Archaelogy department

Manchester Museum features national history, human cultures, anthropology and archaeology collections and is one of the biggest university museums in the country.

The museum is divided into different areas where you can explore lots of displays and artefacts from the natural sciences and human cultures.

The renovation has seen both brand new galleries along with re-fits on some of the previous exhibitions.

What’s New for 2023

The new Lee Kai Hung Chinese Culture Gallery at Manchester museum

The new areas at the museum include The Belonging Gallery where you will discover comics from local, national and international artists which tell the stories of belonging in different ways.

The Lee Kai Hung Chinese Culture Gallery is also new for 2023 and features links between Manchester and China and Chinese Culture.

Plus you will find the UK’s first permanent South Asia Gallery. This has been created in collaboration with the British Museum, and co-curated members of Manchester’s South Asian communities.

The exhibition includes a range of artefacts including a rickshaw imported from Bangladesh and decorated by Manchester artists to a beautiful map of South Asia mural from the Singh Twins.

Returning Galleries

Sperm Whale Skeleton at Manchester Museum

Along with the brand-new displays the re-opening of the museum sees the return of the long-established spaces.

In the popular Vivarium on the second floor, you will see a collection of live amphibians and reptiles including many critically endangered species.

Next door in Nature’s Library and below Living World (on the first floor) you can explore natural history through preserved animals, skeletons and rocks.

Plus here make sure you look up to see the spectacular skeleton of a sperm whale that has been in the gallery for over 130 years.

A mummy in the Egypt exhibition Manchester Museum

Also on the first floor, you will find Egypt and Sudan home to the museum’s mummies and a collection of objects telling the story of the Ancient Egyptians.

One gallery over in Archaeology you can learn Manchester’s contribution to archaeological fieldwork and research and much more.

Stan the T-Rex and Dinosaurs at Manchester Museum

 's large dinosaur T-rex stan

Manchester Museum fans will be glad to hear that the famous Stan the Tryranorous Rex is back.

The famous T-Rex stands at nearly 12 meters tall and is in the pride of place in the Fossil Gallery on the ground floor.

Here you will also find a 300 million-year-old fossil tree, a fragmented rock showing the moment the asteroid hit Earth and Percy the Plesiosaur whose fossil was actually discovered by Manchester University Students.

Manchester Museum Percy The Plesiosaur

The dinosaur fun doesn’t stop there with the brand new Dinosaurs display located next to the Fossils Gallery.

The area has been designed to help both children and adults alike learn how to think like a palaeontologist.

April the Tenontosaurus Fossil at Manchester Museum new dinosaur gallery

Along with a hands-on zone, you will be able to discover an insight into British Dinosaurs and get a peek at what a dinos egg would have looked like.

You can also meet April the Tenontosaurus – who after lots of research and cataloguing has been put back on all fours.

The museum has a free dino activity pack which can be downloaded from their website here. 

Golden Mummies of Egypt Exhibition

 An image of the Golden Mummies of Egpyt Exhibition at Manchester Museum

Manchester Musuem is currently housing the UK debut of the Golden Mummies of Egypt exhibition after it’s tour of the US and China.

The exhibition features over 100 objects and 8 mummies and aims to change how we think about Ancient Egypt.

An image of the Golden Mummies of Egpyt Exhibition at Manchester Museum

The Golden Mummies of Egypt will be shown until the 31st December 2023, and is located in the new exhibition hall.

The exhibition is ticketed but free to attend, it is advised to book tickets in advance. See the link below.

Is Manchester Museum Child and Family Friendly?

The animal specimens at Manchester Museum

The museum is extremely child friendly.

The galleries have been developed with children and families in mind. There is lots of room to manoeuvre around the exhibits, there are benches dotted around and lifts to all floors.

There is always the worry when taking the kids to a museum that they may get bored. However, lots of the spaces featured interactive exhibitions.

Interactive comic for kids in the Belonging Gallery at Manchester Museum

These include a giant comic book in The Belonging Gallery, which has been placed at a child’s height and which kids are free to flick through.

The Belonging Gallery will also offer arts and crafts and object handling on set days – and yes the badger will return.

Kids interactive eye spy wall The new Lee Kai Hung Chinese Culture Gallery at Manchester museum

In the new Lee Kai Hung Chinese Culture Gallery, there is an eye spy wall where children will be able to look for exhibited artefacts in a huge piece of art on the wall.

Milu Deer at Lee Kai Hung Chinese Culture Gallery at Manchester museum

The exhibition also includes a preserved specimen of the magical-looking Milu Deer which kids will adore.

The Dinosaur gallery features a series of activities including using a microscope to encourage visitors of all ages to think more about what fossils can tell us.

Manchester Museum Interactive Microscope in the Dinosaur Gallery

What Age is Manchester Museum Best For?

The museum is ideal for children of all ages in particular:

  • toddlers
  • Under 5’s
  • Primary school children

Older children and teens will also enjoy the space especially if a visit coincides with a subject being studied at school.

How Long Will a Manchester Museum Visit Take

Map of Manchester Museum

The main museum exhibits are spread over the ground to the third floor and depending on long your children are willing to spend in each area a visit can take anywhere between 2 to 4 hours or longer with a lunch or coffee break in between.

Toilets and Baby Change

Locations of toilets in Manchester Museum

Toilets can be found in the basement and on the ground and first floors.

Baby Change can be found in the basement facilities.

Accessible toilets are available in the basement and first floor, whilst Changing Places are on the ground.

Gender-neutral toilets are on the ground and the first floor, with separate women’s and men’s toilets located in the basement.

Buggy Park and Feeding Room

The museum offers a buggy park in the main entrance hall and a member of staff will be available to assist you.

Both breastfeeding and bottle feeding is welcome in the museum and a quiet room is also available.

Manchester Museum Cafe and Coffee Bar

You will find the museum cafe is located on the ground floor.

They serve a variety of hot and cold food and drinks including:

  • sandwiches,
  • salads,
  • grazing boards
  • soups and stews
  • Cakes and bakes and more

They also have a kids menu and a separate coffee bar for when you want to grab a quick drink.

Is There a Picnic Area at Manchester Museum?

The Picnic Area In Manchester museum - a high table with plants

Picnics are welcome at the museum and there is a separate picnic area with high and low tables and chairs, located again on the ground floor.

Gift Shop

Gift Shop at Manchester Museum showing toys available

Of course, no visit to a museum would be complete without a souvenir and Manchester Museum has a great gift shop.

They sell everything from toys to books, clothes to artwork and lots more.

Prices start at just 50p for a magnetic rock, £1.00 for a pencil or badge and soft toys start at just £7.50.

Getting To Manchester Museum

The museum is part of Manchester University and is located on Oxford Rd.

If you are travelling into Manchester City centre first, it is in walking distance taking:

  • around 20 to 25-minute walk from Manchester Piccadilly Train station
  • around 14 to 18 minutes walk from Oxford Train Station
  • around 17 to 22 minutes walk from St Peter’s Square Metrolink stop.

It is also serviced by the following bus routes 15, 41, 42, 43, 140-143, 147.

Is There Parking at Manchester Museum?

If you decide to drive to the museum there are a number of University car parks which are a just short walk away.

The nearest car park is at Higher Chatham Car Park, M15 6FH.

The cost of parking is:

  • £2.00 for up to 1 hour
  • £4.00 for up to 2 hours
  • £6.00 for up to 3 hours
  • £7.00 for up to 5 hours
  • £8.00 for up to 6 hours
  • £9.00 for up to 8 hours
  • £15.00 for up to 24 hours

Check out the rates and car parks around Manchester Museum here.

Manchester Museum Opening Times

a skeleton of an elephant at Manchester Museum

Manchester Museum is open on the following days

  • Saturday: 8am – 5pm
  • Sunday: 10am – 5pm
  • Monday:  closed to the public
  • Tuesday: 10am – 5pm
  • Wednesday: 10am – 9pm
  • Thursday: 10am – 5pm
  • Friday: 10am – 5pm

Although the museum is usually closed on Mondays it will be open for half term on Monday 20th February 2023 – 10.00am to 5.00pm

Is Manchester Museum Free to Visit?

You will be glad to hear that the general entry to Manchester Museum is still free to visit for everyone. However, there maybe be events and exhibitions which do have an entry fee.

Do you need to book Tickets For Manchester Museum?

There is no need to book tickets for general admission to the museum. However certain events and exhibitions do require tickets even if they are free entry.

See here for information on how to book tickets for Manchester Museum events here. 

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