We live in Manchester, so have visited several times over the years, with and without children.
Manchester was the cradle of the Industrial Revolution, and home to the first public railway (indeed, the museum occupies the site of the world's first railway station) as well as being a major centre for textile production and aviation. Add to that the invention of the world's first electronic stored-program computer, and you can imagine the breadth of subject matter that the museum covers.
The museum has been improved and expanded over the last few years. There is something here for everyone, and children are well catered for, especially weekends (when we visited most recently) when there are different activities and demonstrations laid on. The steam railway also operates at weekends. The museum is free, but some temporary special exhibits are charged for. Leave at least a couple of hours for a visit, more if you can.
The exhibits are well laid out, with excellent explanatory materials and related objects for context. Naturally, much of the material here relates to Manchester and its industrial history, but that covers a lot of ground and there is no sense of parochialism or making a little go a long way. Manchester led the world in industrial and scientific innovation, and MOSI does this justice.
There is one downside, which we discovered when we stopped for a bite to eat in the cafe. Nothing wrong with the food, but it is eye-wateringly expensive. We both had a 'chicken roll' (ie, a sausage roll, but with chicken). The price? £3.95 each! Add a cookie, a muffin, and two cups of tea, and the bill was a whopping £15.95, which is outrageous for two snacks. My tip: take a picnic to eat in the Air & Space Hall over the road from the main entrance, where there are tables and chairs set aside for the purpose. There's a great fish 'n chip shop right across the road, too.
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