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Rainbows and sunbeams at the free family Sun Playground this August

There'll be free, family fun in the sun no matter what the weather with the Science and Industry Museum's Sun Playground on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 August.

Download high-res images here

Kids and grown-ups can make their own magic rainbow diffraction sunglasses, build a virtual reality solar system and get up close with exotic animals who use the Sun to their own advantage. 

The Manchester Astronomical Society will be sharing solar imagery, and crafty kids can use solar science to make pop-up cards and bookmarks to take home. Elsewhere, scientists will be trying to make mini suns here on Earth, while the inflatable Wonderdome planetarium will take visitors out of this world.

Plus, keep an eye out for the Mirror Divas, Glimmer and Glamour, who will be out and about bringing their super shiny stilt walking act to the museum.

All these activities and more will be taking place alongside the new blockbuster exhibition at the Science and Industry Museum, The Sun, which explores humanity’s exciting, mythical and sometimes dangerous relationship with our nearest star. 

There are hands-on activities taking place at the museum all summer. Alongside the Sun Playground will be Power Up, the ever-popular retro-to-modern gaming festival, the incredible working machinery of the Textiles Gallery, and Stephenson’s Rocket back in Manchester after 180 years.

Visitors can also learn the stories of the first people to travel by train in the 1830 Station, and get hands-on with science in our Experiment gallery and at our monthly Pi: Platform for Investigation – Powered by Siemens.


The Sun Playground

Date: 17–18 August 

Make magic rainbow diffraction sunglasses, build a virtual reality solar system and get up close with exotic animals who use the Sun in many different ways. 

Please note, some activities require a free ticket to be booked in advance.

Pi: Platform for Investigation – Powered by Siemens

Date: 10 August and 21 September

Hands-on science fun plus the opportunity to meet real-life scientists and find out about their latest discoveries. 

Science Showdown: The Sun

Date: 20 July – 1 September

Join us at this interactive show where we’ll try to answer your burning questions about the sun. There’ll be spinning science, big bubbles and even bigger decisions to make as you get to vote for the coolest fact about our sun.

Plant Power

Date: 20 July – 1 September

Light or dark? Warm or cold? Whatever the environment we've got a seed for you. Get your green fingers twitching at our workshop, where you’ll discover the science of seeds, find out how the sun powers your plant or flower, and plant your own mystery seed to take home.

Sun Detectors

Date: 20 July – 1 September

Brighten up your summer outfits with a colour-changing band or bracelet. Make your own must-have accessory then watch it transform in the UV light of the sun. 

A Star is Born Storytelling

Date: 20 July – 1 September

Join us on a journey of a lifetime—the lifetime of a star, from stellar nurseries to glittering galaxies. This free storytelling event will fill little ones with wonder.


The Sun

Date: Until 5 January 2020
Price: £8 adults/£6 concessions/children under 16 free

A joyously fun, visually stunning and utterly fascinating exploration of the awesome power, incredible beauty and dangerous dark side of our nearest star.

Power Up

Date: Until 1 September
Price: £7–12 (family discounts and early bird offers available)

The return of the retro gaming festival, this year featuring handheld consoles for the first time.

Notes to editors

For more information, contact Kat Harrison-Dibbits, Press and PR Manager at the Science and Industry Museum, on 0161 6060 176 or email

About the Science and Industry Museum

The Science and Industry Museum tells the story of where science met industry and the modern world began. Manchester was one of the first global industrial cities, and its epic rise, decline and resurrection has been echoed in countless other cities around the world. From textiles to computers, the objects and documents on display in the museum tell stories of everyday life over the last 200 years, from light bulbs to locomotives.  The museum's mission is to inspire all its visitors, including future scientists and inventors, with the story of how ideas can change the world, from the industrial revolution to today and beyond. 

The Science and Industry Museum is part of the Science Museum Group, a family of museums which also includes the Science Museum in London; the National Railway Museum in York and Shildon; and the Science and Media Museum in Bradford. The Science Museum Group is devoted to the history and contemporary practice of science, medicine, technology, industry and media. With five million visitors each year and an unrivalled collection, it is the most significant group of museums of science and innovation worldwide.