School’s out! Survive the summer with Bristol Museums

Posted on by Fay Curtis.

Photo of the Bristol Dinosaur model ThecodontosaurusWorried about how you’re going to keep the family occupied this summer? Despair not! We have lots happening throughout the holidays to keep you all entertained, come rain or shine…

Go behind-the-scenes at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery with Dino Delights on Wednesday 30 July (11am – 3pm). Discover the secret world of the museum’s geology collections, home to the bones of the Bristol dinosaur and friends! Book at reception on the day.

If you haven’t seen Wallace & Gromit from the drawing board yet, then now’s your chance. This cracking summer exhibition is on at M Shed until Sunday 7 September. Immerse yourself in the story making process of Aardman’s award-winning Wallace & Gromit films and find out how the funny storylines are created, what inspires their Bristol based makers and how the much loved characters have developed over time.

From recognisable film sets to Nick Park’s notebook and the actual ‘rocket’ from a Grand Day Out to the chance to see a real Oscar®, there is something to capture everyone’s attention. Children are encouraged to explore, by seeing what’s inside the kitchen draws and behind cupboard doors. Every Thursday the family activity Get Creative takes place in the dining room between 10am-12pm. Gather around the table and get your creative juices flowing! With the help of an artist, you can create a character from scratch through drawing and creative writing, fingerprint portraits, storyboard making and designing your own character set from every-day bits and pieces. Activities may vary each week. Free with an exhibition ticket.

Next up, on Friday 8 August there’s a Summer School Performance with Travelling Light and Bristol Old Vic, from 4pm at M Shed. Join young people from local theatre groups for a unique work-in-progress performance, exploring the rich history of Wapping Wharf. Suitable for ages 11+.

The following day, on Saturday 9 August, pop along to Yate Heritage Centre between 10am-4pm for a fabulous fun filled Archaeology day. We’ll be there alongside Gloucestershire Records with History Demonstrations and Tudor demonstrations. Free!

Image of three Gromits made in a workshopM Shed will be running a series of workshops called Characters from clay with Aardman on Tuesday 12 and Tuesday 26 August at 10am, 12pm & 2pm. With the help of Aardman’s expert model makers you can make your favourite Aardman character to take home, with a choice of Gromit, Shaun the Sheep or Morph! The workshops are suitable for ages 4+. Places are filling up fast so booking is essential by calling 0117 352 6914. Those that take part will be able to save their workshop ticket to enjoy a visit to Wallace & Gromit from the drawing board for half price on the same day!

Things get ‘wild’ again at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery on Friday 15 August with Natural Wonders. Take a tour of the museum’s Natural History stores, between 11am-3pm to see huge skeletons, tiny bugs and pickled fish. Book your place on the day – tours run at regular intervals.

Families can enjoy the historic houses over the summer too. Discover what’s behind that red door at The Red Lodge Museum on Park Row with its Great Oak room, fine Knot Garden and fascinating Tudor history or take a visit to The Georgian House Museum on Great George Street and see what life was like above and below the stairs in this late 18th-century townhouse. The houses are free to enter.

There’ll be plenty of family fun at Blaise Castle Estate over the summer. The Parks team will be running a Castle Hunt with a special Castle open days on Wed 6, 13, 27, 20 & Thu 7 August, from 12.30pm-3.30pm. Pick up a map at the castle and follow it trying to find items that the Giant Goram has left around castle hill. £1 entry for children. For more information contact the Estate Office on 0117 3532266. Why not make a day of it and combine the treasure hunt with a visit to Blaise Castle House Museum! Show the kids how people used to live with hundreds of weird and wonderful objects from days gone by – from dolls houses, toy soldiers and a Victorian school room, to beautiful costumes, an old tin bath and an art gallery. Entry to the museum is free. Special guided tours of Blaise Castle House Museum will be held on Wednesday 13 and Wednesday 27 August (10.45am, 12pm and 2pm) including a chance to see parts of the mansion not usually open to the public.

All aboard! Throughout the summer don’t miss M Shed’s largest exhibits:

Image of the exterior of M Shed in Bristol with a passing steam trainBe transported back to the days of steam with a ride along the Bristol Harbour Railway – Britain’s only city-centre dockside steam railway! The train will be operating on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 August and again over the bank holiday weekend from Saturday 23 to Monday 25 August, from 12pm-5pm. Small charges apply (under 6s travel free). Tickets can be purchased on board on the day. Look out too for special ‘Driver for a Fiver’ opportunities, where you can take the highly regarded driver’s seat of the locomotive for just £5.

Set sail around the harbour on the tug John King on Saturday 2 or Sunday 3 August. This 1935 diesel tug is the last of Bristol’s biggest tug fleet. Meanwhile, the Mayflower, built in Bristol in 1861, is the world’s oldest steam tug and will be offering public trips on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 August from 12-5pm, whilst the Pyronaut, Bristol’s famous fire-boat will be sailing on the weekend of Saturday 30 and Sunday 31 August with the chance to see powerful water cannon demonstrations. Rides on the boats cost £5 adults, £3 child/conc.

You can read all about M Shed’s boats, trains and cranes on the Working Exhibits section.

We hope you have a fantastic summer!

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