Manchester Attractions for Children

(Manchester, England, UK)

Manchester Attractions for ChildrenIf you are a family planning to spend time in Manchester you will certainly find more than a handful of quality attractions to visit. However, many very tempting days out will always present themselves and those with children may well like to consider checking out the nearby Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre and Observatory at Macclesfield, the Animal World and Butterfly House at Bolton, or perhaps Stockley Farm at Cheshire.

Not to be missed is a trip to Chester Zoo, which is situated a little less than 40 miles / 64 km to the south-west of Manchester and comes with more than 9,000 animals, housed in large landscaped enclosures. Big plans are afoot at the zoo, with an ambitious expansion project underway, estimated to be costing more than £200 million and including an enormous 'Heart of Africa' rainforest bio-dome enclosure with gorillas, chimps, birds, fish and reptiles. Currently some 1.5 million visitors come here every year and that figure is certainly set to rise over the coming years.

Manchester Attractions for Children

Chester Zoo

Address: Upton-by-Chester, Chester, Cheshire, CH2 1LH, England
Tel: +44 (0)1244 380280
These spacious zoological gardens are perfect for families looking for a day out. Covering over 100 acres / 40 hectares, highlights at Chester Zoo include lions, tigers, monkeys, elephants, black rhinos and a farm area, where children are able to stroke some friendly farmyard animals. Visitors will also enjoy checking out the Bears of the Cloud Forest, the Fruit Bat Forest, the Secret World of the Okapi, Mongoose Mania, the Condor Cliffs and the Tropical Realm, amongst other attractions. For a quick overview of the grounds, consider taking a ride onboard the elevated Zoofari monorail. Chester Zoo is easy to reach from Manchester city centre, by either car or bus, and the journey should take no more than an hour.
Open hours: daily - 10:00 to 17:30
Admission: charge, discounts available for children

Head Over Heels

Address: Albany Trading Estate, Albany Road, Chorlton, Manchester, M21 0AZ, England
Tel: +44 (0)161 973 9323
Located next to Morrison's Supermarket, Head Over Heels is a children's' indoor play centre and family restaurant. Regarded as one of the best of its kind in the region, the centre combines a fun play area with a relaxing environment for adults and high quality food. Play sessions last a minimum of 90 minutes and feature gated pre-school areas, trampolines, an electric car track, a small cinema and a sensory room.
Open hours: daily - 09:30 to 18:30
Admission: charge ranges 1 to 3 years and 3 years and over, free for children under 12 months

Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre and Observatory

Address: Bomish Lane, Lower Withington, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK11 9DL, England
Tel: +44 (0)1477 571766
The Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre can be found some 42 miles / 68 km to the south and is home to an impressive science centre, with many interactive exhibits and displays. When you first arrive you can pick up a quiz sheet designed for children (different sheets are available per age-group), before heading to the Space Visitor Centre, taking a stroll along the pathway surrounding the gigantic Lovell Telescope, watching an audio-visual presentation about the biggest telescopes in the world, and visiting the gift shop to purchase some astronomy related goodies. There is even a sizeable arboretum here, with literally thousands of tree and shrub specimens.
Gardens open hours: daily - 10:00 to 17:00
Admission: charge, discounts available for children

Animal World and Butterfly House

Address: Moss Bank Park, Moss Bank Way, Bolton, BL1 6NQ, England
Tel: +44 (0)1204 334050
Located within the neighbouring town of Bolton and just under 14 miles / 23 km to the north-west of central Manchester, the Animal World and Butterfly House is within easy reach of the city, being based within Moss Bank Park and offering a pleasant family day out. The friendly animals serve as the main attractions and include many farmyard favourites, along with guinea pigs, rabbits, geese, black swans and even some monkeys. Within the Butterfly House you will discover a tropical habitat with flowering plants, large caterpillars and cocoons, and plenty of brightly coloured butterflies and moths. If you have time, you may like to check out the nearby model railway, small golf course, playground and playing fields, whilst enjoying an ice cream from the cafe.
Open hours: daily - 10:00 to 16:30
Admission: charge, discounts available for children

Manchester Aquatics Centre

Address: 2 Booth Street East, Manchester, M13 9SS, England
Tel: +44 (0)161 275 9450
The city's extremely popular Aquatics Centre is situated in the All Saints district and is home to no less than two 50-metre / 164-foot swimming pools, a diving pool and a leisure pool, with water slides and a shallow end for children and beginner swimmers. Opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 2002 and costing more than £30 million to build, the complex stands on the southern side of the city centre, alongside the university campus. There is also a fitness centre onsite, as well as a creche and a poolside cafe. Water polo matches are regularly held here, together with scuba diving training sessions.
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 06:30 to 22:00, Saturday and Sunday - 07:00 to 18:00

Wythenshawe Community Farm

Address: Wythenshawe Park, Wythenshawe Road, Manchester, M23 0AB, England
Tel: +44 (0)161 946 0726
Wythenshawe Community Farm is one of the most popular community farms in the city and is mainly run by enthusiastic local volunteers, operating as a registered charity and selling freshly laid chicken's eggs. With pigs, sheep, ducks and cows, the farm lies some 15 minutes to the south of the city centre and is always popular with families. Children may like to try their hand at being a 'farmer for the day' or join in one of the seasonal activities. Of interest, the popular Channel 4 television series 'Shameless' has used the farm as a location many times during filming.
Open hours: daily - 10:00 to 15:30

Sale Water Park

Address: Trafford Water Sports Centre, Rifle Road, Sale, Manchester, M33 2LX, England
Tel: +44 (0)161 912 3410
The Sale Water Park is a sizeable manmade lake created in the 1970s and situated between the towns of Stretford and Sale, where it is full of exciting water sports, including sailing, jet-skiing, windsurfing and canoeing. There are also a number of powerboats available for hire here, as well as a café and a playground for youngsters. Of interest, the lake functions as an important flood basin, being used to redirect water from the River Mersey at times of heavy rain, to prevent possible flooding.
Open hours: daily, November to March - 09:00 to 15:30, April - 09:00 to 17:30, May to August - 09:00 to 20:30, September - 09:00 to 17:30, October - 09:00 to 16:30

Stockley Farm

Address: Arley, Northwich, Cheshire, CW9 6NA, England
Tel: +44 (0)1565 777323
Stockley Farm is to be found roughly 40 minutes to the south-west of Manchester, in nearby Cheshire. Popular with both children and families, this organic farm opened to members of the public in 1987 and offers many fun activities and attractions, including tractor rides, animal sheds, bottle feeding lambs and goats, sheep racing and a woodland nature trail. There is also a pet's corner with rabbits, guinea pigs and ducks, as well as indoor soft-play areas, birds of prey demonstrations and refreshments served up at the Willow Barn Tea Room.
friendly farmyard animals, picnic areas, a playground for children, a café, a gift shop and woodland trails.
Open hours: Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday - 11:00 to 17:00, seasonal variations

Chorlton Water Park

Address: Maitland Avenue, Chorlton, Manchester, M21 7WH, England
Tel: +44 (0)161 881 5639
Located within the Chorlton-cum-Hardy district and on the southern side of the city, next to Barlow Wood and just across from the Sale Golf Course, the Chorlton Water Park is home to many exciting water sports and outdoor activities. Highlights include sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, horse riding, walking and cycling, as well as a popular children's playground area and platforms for fishing - the angling season is between May and December.
Open hours: April to September, daily - 08:00 to 21:00

Legoland Discovery Centre

Address: Barton Square, The Trafford Centre, Manchester, M17 8AS, England
Tel: +44 (0)844 844 8181
Ideal for children between the ages of three and ten years old, attractions include a 4D cinema (be aware you may get a little damp), a 'Factory tour', the Kingdom Quest Laser Ride and much more.
Open hours: daily - 10:00 to 19:00
Admission: charge, free for children under 3 years old