Thing 1 and Thing 2 had a blast at Winter Wonderland Manchester yesterday evening, as did their parents. Now in its fourth year, this fantastic festive event, housed in the 22,000 sq ft of EventCity continues to attract people of all ages. With all of the fun of the fair under one massive roof – there is plenty of enjoyment for all of the family.
A red curtain peels back to reveal a massive winter playground, complete with falling snow – it’s like a Mancunian grotto packed with exhilarating rides, little Christmas market stalls, festive eateries and even a little bar for the grown-ups.
Aside from the thrill of fairground rides, there is much more to enjoy – a mini pantomime, a Christmas circus tent and even a beach. The main stage fizzes with live performances from Pip Ahoy, Basil Brush, Jedi warriors and Elsa and Anna from Frozen. We fully intended on watching the Jedi show but only realised that we had gone to the wrong stage when it was too late. We fully expected “Where’s Darth Vader?” and “When are the Jedi’s coming on?” Instead, the boys were gripped by a daring unicyclist and a funky young juggler in a Christmas themed circus bonanza.
The choice of rides was superb – whether you want to spin yourself dizzy on the waltzers, take a ride on one of the mini roller-coasters or parade your prowess on the mechanical bull – there are laughs for everyone.
A Winter Wonderland would not be complete without a visit to see Santa…and luckily he has taken time out from his busy schedule to visit all of the boys and girls in Manchester.
Voted ‘Best Family Day Out’in the Raring 2 Go Awards last year, Winter Wonderland Manchester runs until 1st January 2017. With all rides and shows included in one ticket price, it really is a fantastic festive treat.
For those of us who aren’t jetting off to sunnier climes during the Whitsun school holidays, there is an abundance of good stuff going on. I’ve helpfully compiled the best picks of theatre, film and creative activities for families happening in Manchester from 22nd May until 7th June 2015…
Remember Basil Brush? Well “Ha ha ha! Boom! Boom!” – he is coming back to The Lowry in Salford for a performance on 24th May 2015. Currently, he is super busy on his UK tour, a brand new specially written ‘live’ stage show, which promises to be packed with laughs, storytelling and song. He’s celebrating over 50 years in show business and he’s back With a boom in The Basil Brush Show. Suitable for ages 3 and up.
One Little Word also heads to The Lowry for 4 performances on 24th and 25th May 2015. A play from local M6 Theatre Company, who are internationally renowned for producing high quality, dynamic and relevant theatre for young audiences. One Little Word is a moving and beautiful story about friendship, power struggles and the rich world of creative play.
Stick Man Live on Stageheads to The Lowry from 26th May until 31st May 2015. It’s suitable for ages 3 and up and tells the charming tale of Stick Man, as he tries to escape playful dogs, nest building swans and even a fire, in a bid to get back to the family tree.
Also, at The Lowry on the 6th June 2015 is The Bounce. This is a multi-sensory and highly interactive show, using trampolines, video projection and live music, for young people from 3-19 who are defined as having Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities or who are on the Autism Spectrum.
This half term also brings the usual fun and frolics with Half Term Little Actors, who will be swimming in rivers and rolling through forests with The Hedgehog and her Hoglet and Half Term Little Artists who will be making their own characters inspired by Julia Donaldson’s book Stick Man. Sessions are suitable for ages 5-11 and run from 11:00-12:30 from 25 May until 29 May 2015 at The Lowry.Each session costs £3.50.
For ages 11-18 there is Wicked – Half Term Musical Theatre Madness running from 26 May 2015 from 10:30-15:30. Over the 3 days young people will work with a professional Musical Theatre director and performer to stage well known musical theatre hits and perform them at the end of the course for family and friends. No experience is necessary.
Waterside Arts Centre
Flyaway Katiezooms into the Waterside Arts Centre in Sale on the 28th and 29th May 2015. Based on the popular Children’s book by Polly Dunbar and with music by Tom Gray of Gomez – Flyaway Katie is an inspiring flight of fancy about the power of imagination.
Forensic Science in Action is back at Waterside Arts on the 30th May– the event is led by experienced forensic scientists and is suitable for children aged 7-11. Ticket price is £20 which admits 1 adult & 1 child to the session. (Every child MUST be accompanied by an adult).
Birds Nest Theatre presents My Friend Moleon the 31st May at Waterside Arts. This hour long show also includes a stay and play and is suitable for ages 3-6.
The Journey Home, the acclaimed children’s book by award winning author Frann Preston-Gannon, is brought to life through puppetry, lyrical music and transformative design in this new production by Little Angel Theatre.
The Journey Home is at The Edge on the 22nd May 2015 (11:00am/1:30pm) and Z-Arts in Hulme on the 23rd May 2015 (2:30pm/3:15pm) – with a running time of 45 minutes, it is perfect for ages 2 and over.
Casa comes to The Edge on 4th June 2015 with 2 showings at 11:00am and 1:30pm. It is advised for ages 1-5 years and tells the surreal story of a grown-up and a child who meet, get to know each other and start to build. Building turns into play, and little by little, while playing, they build a story. For more information click here.
The Journey Home arrives at Z-Arts on the 23rd May 2015 (2:30pm/ 3:15pm). Please see listing above, The Edge for the trailer and more information…
Tarsa by Dorna Theatre is also showing at Z-Arts from 26th May until 28th May 2015. This play is suitable for ages 14 and up and features live music and dance. More information can be found here.
Z-Arts also have a number of events available for those families with a Bright Sparks Membership. Membership costs just £15 per year per family and gets you discount on some shows as well as free access to all of the regular activities at the centre.
Bolton Octagon are offering two workshops during the half term break.
On 27th May 2015 there is Shake Up Your Shakespeare which is suitable for ages 11-18 and on 28th May 2015 there is The Magic of Masks, suitable for ages 8-11. Each of the workshops costs just £10 and runs from 10am until 4pm.