Greater Manchester is amazing for kids! There are so many attractions, beautiful spaces and options for days out as a family. But what about for particularly young children? As a Mum with a baby and a 2 year old, I spend a lot of time trying to entertain the tot. We enjoy our days out and we’re always exploring options for new things to in Greater Manchester.
Here are some of our favourite things to do with toddlers in Greater Manchester. This is a summary map with them all listed so you can find them and below you’ll find a bit more information about each.
1. The Museum of Science and Industry
Most of the exhibitions and areas at the Museum of Science and Industry are intended for older children and adults. But the ‘Experiment,’ area is fantastic. Our son just loved it and he was only just 2 years old at the time of our visit.
There is an area with lots of soft play bricks for them to build towers, an exhibit where they can literally roll a full size mini up the wall and a loads of other activities for the children.
Oliver also enjoyed looking at the trains and the various aircraft in other parts of the museum.
You could very easily spent the whole day here! I just love it.
Price: Free! But the MOSI does have a donation box and it’s definitely worth of a donation.
2. Legoland Discovery Centre
The Legoland Discovery Centre is at the Trafford Centre. It is marketed towards children aged 4 and over, but we took our two year old and he had a great time! You can read our full review here.
It’s not a particularly cheap day out for kids in Manchester, with tickets for children starting at £11 if booked in advance and £15 for adults. But weekday term time deals are sometimes available, so do check before you book.
Price: Without any special offers, £11+ for children and £15+ for adults. Under 3s are free though.
3. Sea Life Centre, Manchester
Right next door to the Legoland Discovery Centre is another Merlin attraction – the Sea Life Centre. We took Oliver here before he was 2 actually. He was only just on his feet, so he was perhaps 13 months. Of course, the colours and the ambience held a lot of appeal for a boy of his age but he was too small at the time to enjoy the soft play area!
However, this is a wonderful way for children to spend a morning or afternoon.
It’s quite small by comparison to other Sea Life Centres, but the Trafford Centre location is very handy.
Price: You can get a parent and toddler ticket (one adult and one child aged 3 – 5) for £15. And under 3s go free. Standard online purchased tickets, however, would be £11 per child (3 and over) and £15 per child. This represents a saving of about 25% on the “turn up on the day,” price.
4. Lancaster Farm Park
Perhaps not the best option for a rainy day! But Lancaster Farm Park in Oldham is really great for the little ones and there is loads of outdoor space and animals for them to enjoy. Add to that the fact that the prices are great and this is a fantastic option for a toddler. We live reasonably close to Lancaster Farm Park, so our son has been a few times and he absolutely loves it.
Price wise, it’s a superb value day out.
Price: An adult ticket is £3.50 and a child over one year of age costs £4. Under 1s are free and animal feed is available for £1 per bucket.
5. Heaton Park
Again, not ideal on a rainy day. But Heaton Park is the largest municipal park in Europe at over 600 acres. Fortunately for those of us in Greater Manchester, it’s on our doorstep. Located in the Prestwich area, it’s very accessible by car, Metrolink or bus and there are frequently events held here. There’s also a little farm here for the toddlers to enjoy too.
Heaton Park is great for a walk on a dry day. Our son loves it.
There’s a little railway that runs on some days and there’s a small charge for that. But otherwise, this is a fun, family friendly and free day out in Manchester.
6. Alexandra Park
And speaking of parks, it is not just Manchester itself that has a lot of offer within Greater Manchester. If you believe everything you read in the news, you’d probably opt to steer clear of Oldham! But there are some incredible and beautiful places and parks in the town. One of my favourite is Alexandra Park, which is home to lakes, a lovely playground, tennis courts and regular events. The cafe is lovely too.
This is a favourite with our toddler because it’s great for riding his balance bike.
7. Play2 Diggle
Soft play centres are a great option on a rainy day – but only if you find a good one. There are way too many bad ones around (dirty, overcrowded and without dedicated toddler areas free of older, bigger children). However, Play2 in Diggle, Saddleworth is a great shout for tots. We go here quite regularly and it’s a good size with a decent menu for food and drink too!
Price: Tots from 10 months to 23 months are £2. Children from 2 years right up to 8 years are charged at £4 at peak time. Babies of 9 months or under are free of charge.
8. Snakes n Slides, Middleton
Snakes & Slide is a big play centre with go karts, party rooms and a great size toddler area with 3 slides. The main play frame has a few huge slides too.
We visited when it was quiet (term time midweek) and we absolutely loved it. If you visit over school holidays or weekends, I imagine it probably gets much busier.
Price: Under 2s are £2. Those aged 2 to 5 are charged at £5.45 at peak time and at £3.95 during off peak times.
9. Mini Moose Land at Chill Factore
The region’s indoor snow activity centre isn’t just for skiing and snowboarding. In fact, Chill Factore has a dedicate areas for toddlers (for under 4s only) called “Mini Moose Land.”
With miniature clip on skis for those who want them, diggers to dig the snow up, soft play igloos, slides and sledging, there’s loads for the toddlers to do here! And its location right near the Trafford Centre is great!
Price: Off peak entry is £6 for both adults and the under 4s. At peak time, it is £7
10. Smithills Open Farm, Bolton
Smithills Open Farm is one of the best farm parks we’ve taken our toddler to. With loads of animals, including Meerkats, inflatables, tractor rides and rode on pedal diggers just a few of the things to do, our son loved it. There are indoor play areas too in the event that the weather is a bit rubbish!
It’s not as cheap as some other farm park options in Greater Manchester, but it does definitely represent value, I feel.
Price: Adults are priced at £8 and Children aged 2 or over at priced at £7. Under 2s go free.
11. Dove Stone Reservoir
This is our toddler’s favourite place. Technically in the Peak District, Dove Stone reservoir is in Greenfield, Saddleworth and is managed by Oldham Council. So it definitely counts as Greater Manchester enough for me to include it!
It’s one of the most beautiful places in the country, let alone the North West! So the grown ups and aspiring photographers will enjoy the walk just as much as toddlers enjoy throwing stones into the water from the “beach,” by the sailing house. The RSPB are on hand at weekends to talk the little ones (and big ones!) through the birds you can spot in the area and there are often activities at their little area for the little ones.
For kids who love to explore, this is a wonderful place. For our son, this would be his first choice every single time he gets to pick what we do. We pop his wellies on and head for the “beach.” He spends ages just throwing stones into the water!
Price: Free! There is a modest charge for on site car parking (car park managed by Oldham council). You get 3 hours for 60p and all day parking for £1.30.
I have a toddler who needs entertaining so we’re always looking for things to do with tots in Greater Manchester. When we try something we love, we’ll add it here. But if you have any suggestions or can think of a place I should take my toddler, get in touch! Email address is on the image above.