SCHOOL’s out for summer! With the long holidays stretching ahead, parents will be desperate to amuse the little ones.
And as so many will have missed out on days and months of schooling as the country has battled the pandemic, why not combine a day out with the chance to learn a thing or two?
There are highly interactive, kid-friendly places to learn and experiment nationwide.
David Whitley rounds up some of the best.
NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM
FAMOUS for its massive collection of stuffed creatures, the central London museum lets kids measure themselves against a hippo or blue whale, then pick out a new favourite animal.
The dinosaur skeletons are also a huge hit, while the volcanoes and earthquakes section is a joy for those children who get strangely fascinated with natural disasters. See nhm.ac.uk.
MAGNA SCIENCE ADVENTURE CENTRE
INSIDE a gigantic former steelworks in Rotherham, Magna is all about science and interactivity.
Control a JCB, watch a fire tornado and push buttons to see nature’s forces do impressive tricks.
There’s also an enormous adventure playground to burn off any excess energy. See visitmagna.co.uk.
IT’S fair to say most children will be excited by the chocolate-tasting at this Birmingham attraction.
But there’s plenty of fun before that. The history of chocolate is told in a mock-up Aztec jungle, with an emperor who is very protective of his cocoa.
There is also a rollercoaster-type adventure in a 4D cinema. See cadburyworld.co.uk.
THIS vast, sprawling open-air museum in Co Durham brings the past to life across several villages. So there’s always some aspect the kids will enjoy, be it the farmyard, colliery or seeing what schools used to be like.
There’s plenty of woodland for kids to run around in too. See beamish.org.uk.
NATIONAL SPACE CENTRE
THERE’S plenty to learn about at this Leicester attraction, and a good range of activities. You can have your photo taken to look like an alien and simulate driving a rover on Mars.
But the star attractions are clearly the massive rocket tower and the UK’s largest planetarium. Summer fun includes a look at earth from space via satellites. See spacecentre.co.uk.
NATIONAL FOOTBALL MUSEUM
FOOTBALL-mad kids can learn of the game’s development and see magic moments from sport’s past at this Manchester museum.
And they’ll love the interactive games, which include taking penalties against a virtual keeper and trying to make the perfect pass. See nationalfootballmuseum.com.
YOU can probably skip the art sections of this solid all-rounder in Cardiff, and start at the natural history area.
Inside are humpback whale and basking shark skeletons, plus the largest leatherback turtle ever recorded.
The Evolution of Wales section goes back to the Big Bang. See museum.wales.
BUCKS COUNTY MUSEUM
THE historical and geographical sections of this Aylesbury attraction might hold some interest, but really you’re here for the Roald Dahl Children’s Gallery, which brings the author’s classic tales to life.
Kids can step inside the Giant Peach and see the Twits’ upside-down house, while learning about sound with the BFG. See buckscountymuseum.org.
INSIDE a bizarre bug-shaped Edinburgh building is this fun, hands-on exploration of the earth and how it works.
The Deep Time Machine lets you touch an iceberg, see a Northern Lights simulation and go right back to the Big Bang. See dynamicearth.co.uk.
WE THE CURIOUS
PRESENTATION is key at this Bristol venue, which revels in interactivity. Kids can get creative, collaborative and, occasionally, messy.
A planetarium, robot football, experiments with food and storytelling sessions are all part of the mix.
Science is at the heart of this beautifully thought-out museum, but it goes way beyond the usual physics lessons. See wethecurious.org.