This February half term (10–25 February), visitors can travel back to the Victorian era to find out how Steam, Sweat and Spinners created our modern world, and how Manchester was at the start of it all.
With fun shows and workshops daily over the whole holiday period, Steam, Sweat and Spinners is our annual celebration of all things Victorian and beyond:
Science Showdown: Revolutions
Time: 11.30, 13.30
Age: Recommended for ages 5 and older
Whether it’s wheels or people, Revolutions have changed our world. This show pits the digital against the Industrial and asks which one has changed our lives the most with action-packed experiments, amazing demonstrations, and more than a few laughs.
Price: £2 per person, per ride
Age: Various restrictions apply
Roll up, roll up and take a spin on our Victorian fairground. Whiz around the helter skelter, win at Hook-A-Duck, and ride a magical carousel horse. Families can have even more fun at the fair when they book ahead and get 6 ride tickets for the price of 5.
Time: 11.00, 11.30, 12.00, and 12.30
Age: Recommended for ages 7 and older
Price: Free, but booking required at the front desk
Everything will go like clockwork at this tinkering inspired workshop where families can make their own mechanical toy to take home.
Age: Recommended for ages 4 and older
Can you get the birdy in the cage? Try it by making this Victorian optical illusion toy that uses spin to fool the eye and create a little bit of magic in this fun and easy drop-in workshop.
Victorian Photo Booth
Age: Suitable for all ages
Strike a pose and Victorian-ise yourself in our photo booth. From bonnets to beards, put your best handlebar forward and see what you would have looked like on the fashionable streets of Victorian Manchester.
Power Packs for Early Years Engineers
Age: Toddlers aged 2–4
Do you have a budding engineer in your family? Pick up a Power Pack from the front desk (and meet one of our friendly Explainers in the Power Hall at 14.00 for a tour to help little people explore our giant engines and trains.
Please note that there is only a limited number of Power Packs available.
Families can also pick up People Power Trading Cards—collect a different card featuring a worker or inventor at each activity and discover who's the sweatiest of them all (eww!)
Plus, on 24 and 25 February, we'll welcome a group of working steam traction engines—the kind that helped build our cities and roads. Lovingly restored, these impressive machines are guaranteed to give the wow factor.
Half term is also a great opportunity to visit the museum’s blockbuster exhibition, Robots. It features more than 100 robots, including interactive bots and Hollywood stars. The Robots activity trail, suitable for children aged 5 to 11, features drawing activities, talking points and an object hunt. Tickets for Robots cost £8 adults/£5 children/free for age 6 and under. Ask for a free copy of the Robots activity trail at the ticket desk when booking.
Admission to the museum is free. All Steam, Sweat and Sewers activities are free apart from the Victorian fairground.