We visited here with our children 2, 6 & 7. The museum has lots to see and do but we found the new layout impractical and not an improvement on before. In general all exhibits are interesting and educational, and cannot be criticised for content, so i will focus on the negatives for us.
For a family with different age children we struggled to access parts of the museum with a pushchair, having to walk a long way to disabled lifts or ramps. The baby change is also on one floor, but then the toilets were down some steps. Simply by putting a toilet in the baby change room it would make life easier as it meant 2 separate trips to take all the children to the toilet and do nappy, walking a long way to find a lift so we could access the toilet after changing nappy.
Also the cafe on the ground floor is clearly aimed at adults looking for a coffee shop rather than families seeking a sandwich as there were no child friendly sandwiches or snacks here. There is a child friendly restaurant upstairs, but it would be sensible to also include some options for families downstairs since this is predominantly the target market - not adults looking for an alternative to costa!
The new hands on experiment area had lots to do and learn, but again was let down by practicalities as it is large open plan and darkly lit, which meant it was very hard to keep track of children and they easily got disorientated and lost.
It is a shame that the new trendy layout has been designed it seems with style in mind over ease of access, and I would be interested to know how those in wheelchairs or visually impaired find the facilities. Apart from these issues which could be sorted out, the museum remains a great asset to Manchester.
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