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Manchester Science Festival – a family guide

manchester science festival family guide

The Science Festival is coming to Manchester this month so we’ve put together a guide to the hightlights of all the family fun going on. Whether it’s making slime, learning resuscitation or following your nose around Manchester; rockets, robots, stargazing or fossils – there are loads of things going on for kids of all ages, and adults too, to get involved in.

The Manchester Science Festival is running from  the 24th October to 3rd November and has things going on at the MOSI, John Rylands Library, Manchester Museum and other venues across Manchester. For a full listing of events visit the Manchester Science Festival Website.

We’ve chosen our favourite of the eleventy billion events going over over the Science Festival week and split them up by age group so you can find something to fit your children and interests.

Note: things that are suitable for youngsters, and tweens may also be of interest for older kids and adults too. All events are free unless stated otherwise.

The Whole Family

Make A Mini Robot– make a mini robot, create beautiful artwork and take part in interactive storytelling. MOSI Thursday 24th Octoberr to Sunday 3rd November, 11am for storytelling and 2pm – 4.30pm for Doodlebots.

Science Platform – immerse yourself in the latest cutting edge research at the science platform in the MOSI. Amazing demonstrations, hands on activities and informal chats. MOSI, Thursday 24th October to Sunday 3rd November.

Make Giganitic Graphene – Learn how to create small portions of graphene (carbon) and turn them into a giant graphene sheet that grows and grows with the Manchester Scienece Festival’s science communicator in residence. Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th October at the MOSI 10:30am to 4pm.

Electric Dreams – Join staff at Elecxtricity North West to make or break a circuit, power a hairdryer with your feet and perform amazing tricks with static. MOSI, Wednesday 30th October, 10am to 4pm.

Science Legends Dress-Up – who is your science hero? Dress up like them  and win a prize in the MOSI’s Science Legends competition. Prizes for best male, best female and most obscure. Ages groups are under 10, 11-16 and 16+.  MOSI Saturday 2nd November 3pm to 4pm.

World Of Frogs Fun Day – A day of family fun at Manchester Museum who are celebrating the re-opening of their vivarium. draw, sculpt and learn about the museum’s amazing collection of frogs, snakes and lizards. Manchester Museum, Saturday 26th October, 10am to 4pm.

Wormy World – create a unique worm mural and discover how worms contribute to ill health and world poverty and how science can help. Exchange square, Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th October.

How Do You Move? – Learn all about movement and your body with MMU researchers at the National Football Museum. Tuesday 29th October from 10am to 1pm.

Planetary Odyssey – explore the wonders of the solar system with scientists at the cutting edge of research. Manchester Museum, Tuesday 29th October, 10am to 4pm.

Astronomy Festival – the North West’s first Astronomy Festival! Grab your telescope and head down to this two-day event  dedicated to the starts. Festival includes traders exhibition, advice for beginners, presentations, planetarium shows, Q&A sessions and book signings. The Heath Business and Technical Park, Runcorn. Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th October, 10am to 4pm.

Salford SciFest – see a flash abng show, experience the flight simulator, meet some mini beasts and enjoy a great day out. University of Salford, Wednesday 30th October from 11am to 3pm.

Family Science Day at Bolton Museum – a family day of fun and discovery including a family trail, crafts, story telling, objects handling and much more. Bolton Museum, Saturday 26th October, Tuesday 29th October and Thursday 31st October from 11am to 3pm.

The Biospheric Project Tour – enjoy a guided tour around The Biosphere Project, Salfords new urban farm and agrigulutural laborotory, and discover how cities can develop sustainable food systems for the future. See forest gardens, labs, bees and chickens plus a spectacular view of the rooftops over Salford and Manchester. The Biospheric Project, Salford on Saturday 26th October and Sunday 2nd November from 10am -11am and 1pm to 2pm. Booking required.


Youngsters (5 to 10)

Rube Goldberg Machine – For ages 5+. Help make a huge interconnecting playground us physics to turn on the Manchester Science Festival at the MOSI on Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th October, 10:30am to 4pm.

Ice Lab Workshop: Discovering Antarctica – for ages 7+. Find out what it’s like to live and work in one of the Earth’s most extreme environments. MOSI, Saturday 26th October, 12pm to 1:30pm and 2:30pm to 4pm. Booking advised.

Bug Hunt – For ages 5+. Can you find all the bugs in the John Rylands Library? Follow the trail, find out what they are and why they are bad for books. The John Rylands Library, Thursday 24th October to Sunday 3rd November, 10am to 5pm.

All About Bugs – For ages 5+. A bug-tastic activity day at the John Rylands Library. Make bug badges, crafts and learn all about naughty bugs. Saturday 26th October, 1pm to 4pm.

Creatures and Camouflage – For ages 7+. Discover more about the science behind camouflage and create colourful creatures. Manchester Museum, Friday 1st November 11:30am to 12:30pm and 2pm to 3pm. Booking required.

Make slime, Bubbles and Rockets – for ages 5+.A deaf-led event with English voice-over, it’s a yucky hands-on workshop making slime, bubbles and rockets. Manchester Museum, Saturday 2nd November 11:30am to 1:15pm. Booking advised.

Flash Bang – for ages 6+. Enjoy a noisy introduction to the world of atoms, molecules, solids, liquids and gases. Lecture theatre G51, School of chemistry, University of Manchester. Saturday 2nd November, 3:30pm to 4:30pm. Booking advised.

Power Fest – for ages 5+. Learn about the forms of power through displays, demonstarations, boat rides and the magnificent Trencherfield Mill steam engine. Trencherfield Mill on Wednesday 30th October from 11am to 4pm. Adults £4, children (under 12) £2.

Wonderful Water – ages 5+. Get wet, have fun and enjoy some amazing aquatic activities at quarry Bank Mill. Saturday 2nd November from 12-4pm. Normal admission costs apply.

Want to be a Doctor? for ages 5+. Practice your clinical skills like starting a drip or intubating a patient! Universtiy of Bolton: Bolton One, Monday 28th October10am to 11:30am and 1pm to 5pm. Booking required.

Live Dissection – for ages 8+. Have you ever seen the inside of a heart? Do you know what your kidneys look like? Work alongside biologists to dissect come major organs. Not for the squeamish. University of Bolton, Wednesday 30th October 2pm to 3pm and 3:30pm to 4:30pm. Booking required.

Smell Walk around Manchester – ages 5+. What does Manchester smell like? Follow you nose on this guided trip around Manchester to discover the important role that smell plays in our experience of the world. Starts at Manchester Museum, Sunday 27th October, 11am to 1pm. Booking required.


Tweens (11-13)

The Complete Works of The Doctor – for ages 11+. Every episode of Doctor Who from 2005 to present in just one hour! Silly songs, poems, sketches and scary monsters. MOSI, Thursday 24th October at 2pm. Booking required.

Trauma Resuscitation – for ages 11+. You’ve watched it on TV, now come and see if you could do it for real – interactive rescue from an accident scene to a simulated resuscitation room. University of Bolton: Bolton One, Monday 28th October, 11:30am to 12:30pm. Booking required.

Saving Lives in Serious Infection – for ages 11+. Would you be able to save the life of a person with a life-threatening illness? University of Bolton: Bolton One, Monday 28th October, 6pm to 7pm. Booking required.

Underneath The Arches – for 11+go underneath the arches of Manchester and discover graffitied corners on an amazing soundwalk of Manchester to find fluttering echoes, squaking stairways and zinging sounds. Meet at the MOSI, Saturday 26th October, 11am to 2pm. Booking required.


Teens (14+)

Fabulous Physics – for ages 14 to 16. A fun festival of physics for girls only. Hear from a high profile female physicist, take part in activities like working with liquid nitrogen and building hovercraft. At Loreto College on Monday 28th October at 1pm. Booking required.

Self Cloning 101 – for ages 14+. Learn how to do some simple self cloning using E.coli bacteria in the MadLab’s DIY laboratory kitchen. MadLab, Saturday 26th October, 2pm to 5pm. Costs £5. Booking required.

Beautiful Blogs – learn how to include clever stuff in your blogs, colour match and make your blogs and websites look awesome at this practical workshop on the basics of HTML editing. Cornerhouse, Monday 28th October 1:30pm to 3:30pm. Booking required.

Rocket Cars at Fab Lab – for ages 11 to 16. Explore the science behind rockets and aerodynamics and create, personalise and race your own rocket powered car. Fab Lab, Manchester, Thursday 31st October and Friday 1st November, 10am -12pm and 2pm tp 4pm. Cost £5. Booking required

Brain Bits – for ages 14+. Get up close and personal with real brains and explore neuroscience across species from worms to mice and pigs. Mosi on Saturday 2nd November, 1pm to 5pm. Booking advised.

The Complete Works of Doctor Who – teenagers and adults. The Ood Cast present the complete abridged version of every episode of Doctor Who from 2005. MOSI Wednesday 23rd October at 8:30pm. Cost £5, booking advised.

More information about Manchester Science Festival

This list is just the tip of the iceberg of what’s on at Manchester Science Festival. For full listings check out their website You can also follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

Which events will you be going to?


  1. Thanks very much for this – there’s so much on, it looks amazing :)
    Jenny @ The Brick Castle recently posted…Wordsearch Junior from Drumond Park ~ age 4+ Game Review and GiveawayMy Profile

    • Isn’t there just! We are away over half term and so are going to miss most of it but I’m determined to get to at least 1. I’m gutted to miss the Doctor Who ones :(

  2. Right, that’s our half-term outings sorted! Thanks for sharing the low down :)
    Alison Rothwell recently posted…5 1/2 Reasons You Should Kill a Draft Blog Post [Love it!]My Profile

  3. I’m 23 and I think I’d love doing loads of these activities. I went to the Catalyst Museum when I was in School and I remember having so much fun. I love it when people make Science fun. I love Brainiac haha.

    Kate H xx

  4. This is fantastic – I love how you have set this out in the relevant age groups – makes it really easy for me to find what we want! We’ll definitely be visiting – my husband is a science teacher so naturally he is well into all this stuff – but we both love taking the kids to places where they have fun and learn at the same time.

    Thanks for the information!
    Kerrie McGiveron recently posted…Too Many Books?My Profile

  5. wish we weren’t away this half term sounds fabulous
    becky @ lakes single mum recently posted…Football FridayMy Profile

  6. thanks for sharing! So much info!
    susan recently posted…Carol: “A New and Improved Me!”My Profile

  7. Love how you go and do the gathering of information for all of us :) Then we can just pootle along to all these lovely things xx
    Karen Hannah recently posted…Mindi’s Ready Meals: A ReviewMy Profile

  8. Sounds amazing! I can’t wait till Sophie is old enough to appreciate things like this – I hope she adopts my love of science!
    Andrea @loveandcake recently posted…Homemade Christmas IdeasMy Profile

  9. Oh wow!! So much going on, we’ll have to see if we can get there with the kids over the summer hols! thanks for the roundup :)
    Kate recently posted…Sid’s Show – ReviewMy Profile

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