Thursday, 1 July 2010

Amusing Museums for a rainy day

Well it's the school summer holidays here in Northern Ireland and if your brood aren't off yet, they soon will be. So what to do with them? If the weather's great, a whole world of parks, beaches and paddling pools opens up, but, if like today it is rotten, you'll need a few other ideas. One of the best, in terms of keeping kids dry, educated, entertained and even giving them some exercise by being very much a walk about activity, is a really good museum.

I'd like to take this moment to champion my local, the Ulster Museum, which underwent a multi million pound refit in recent years and re-opened last October to unprecedented popularity. Over 420, 000 people have visited since then, an amazing number for the area in such a short time, making it Northern Ireland's top tourist attraction. Although I visited a few times some years ago, I've yet to see it properly since the upgrade. The one time we went down last year just after it re-opened, it was so busy we simply couldn't get moved with the pram and decided to wait until things had calmed down a bit. Beth has been with her granny though and loved it. This week it secured the £100,000 Art Fund Prize beating off competition from some top UK museums, and it is definitely on our list for for a rainy day this year - Shugs just has to check out the legendary Egyptian mummy Takabuti.

The Guardian keeps a great database for kids friendly museums in the UK here, while US Mommy Blog Strollerderby has a top ten worth checking out for the US. I'd also love to hear in the comments section of personal recommendations for here and elsewhere in the world. 

Finally I'd just like to give a mention to the Discovery Museum in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where I spent many an afternoon as a kid and have nothing but found memories of. Keep up the good work, I'll be bringing my kids over to see you one day.

Photo Credit: Atif Farooq