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Unlock the power of play this February at the Science and Industry Museum

Play in the name of science this February half term at one of the region's best loved museums.

From 10 to 25 February, the Science and Industry Museum is inviting visitors of all ages to explore how play is the key to scientific innovation during a series of special events, including playful pop-ups, world-premiere experiences and gaming extravaganzas. The fun continues in Operation Ouch! Food, Poo and You where visitors can go on a fun-filled journey through the digestive system, and Power Up, the ultimate gaming experience where visitors can play their way through five decades of computer games.

During the special events, visitors can meet scientific innovators, explore their cutting-edge research and be inspired by their inventions. A variety of scientists will be on hand to demonstrate how play comes into their work. Partners include Discover Materials and Manchester's Henry Royce Institute, who will be popping up with interactive activities for all ages over the two weeks. 

Visitors can take part in experiments that use advanced materials to help make our future greener or compete to discover the strongest chocolate bar. Families can follow the fun around the museum by picking up a Play Passport and starting on their own Curiosity Quest. The passports will lead to pop-up activities around the museum, including the chance to challenge expert Explainers to a paper plane race and get creative by using techniques similar to those practised in Manchester’s textiles mills to help weave a scarf.

A brand-new interactive story station will inspire innovators of the future. Visitors can use costumes and props to tell their own scientific stories or listen into storytelling sessions throughout the day. The Rust Retreat, a new installation, made in collaboration with The Manchester College and artist Katrina Wilde, will bring the chance to relax and find different ways to play. Inspired by the current redevelopment works taking place at the museum, this sensory experience will feature fabrics dyed with materials connected to construction, and plants that grow wild on the museum’s site. Accompanied by a soundtrack from musician and composer Peter Howell and the Radiophonic Workshop, the installation will celebrate a gentler side of play.

Family favourite Operation Ouch! Food, Poo and You will provide a rib-tickling take on the science of our digestive systems. Visitors can take the journey from tongue to bum as they’re shrunk, swallowed and squeezed out of a giant digestive system. From playing whack-a-bac, throwing nutrients or joining the poo-duction line, it investigates our funniest functions and gets everyone talking about what’s going on inside.

Ultimate gaming experience Power Up will be open every day during the holidays. Visitors can play through five decades of games on over 100 consoles, from nostalgic favourites like Pong and Pac-Man all the way to virtual-reality. Specially curated sections celebrate the importance of Manchester to the gaming industry, and BAFTA winning games designed by young people will highlight how play and science can come together.

Chris Hill, Schools and Families Producer said: 

'Play is such an important part of scientific discoveries, so this February half term we want to invite everyone to come and play in the name of science! We’ve got a whole host of scientists showing how play comes into their work and can’t wait to share Manchester College’s special installation, our Rust Retreat.

'Whether it’s dressing up and acting out a scientific story, challenging our Explainers to a paper plane race, or going on a digestive journey to discover more about our bodies, this holiday we’re showing you how playful science really can be.'

Free museum tickets, plus tickets for Operation Ouch! Food, Poo and You and Power Up, which start at £8 for adults/£6 for children, can be booked now.

Details of all the activities taking place at the museum over February half term can also be found on the website (

The museum is currently undergoing a multi-million-pound restoration programme. Spaces including the Power Hall and 1830 Station are currently closed to the public but there's still lots to enjoy. Visitors can see science in action in the museum’s interactive gallery, Experiment, meet mighty machines in the Textiles Gallery and discover world changing ideas in Revolution Manchester. Incredible objects from Professor Stephen Hawking's office are also on display in its highlights display.


For more information, please contact Communications Officer, Catherine Tindsley, on  



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.   

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 site is on the site of the Liverpool Road Station terminus of the Liverpool Manchester Railway, the world's first purpose-built passenger railway. Among its internationally significant buildings are the world's first passenger railway station and the oldest existing railway goods warehouse. In total there are two Grade I listed buildings and four Grade II listed buildings on the site.  

The museum is currently undergoing a multi-million-pound regeneration project that will see brand new spaces opened and significant improvements made to some of its best-loved galleries.  

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.