Manchester Museum would probably be worth a visit anyway, but what makes it particularly attractive when you have young kids is the area on the top floor, apparently officially known as the "Play + Learn" area. (I'm so fond of this little hidey hole that part of me doesn't want to blog it, but hopefully if it is well used it might go on being funded or even expanded.)
It has low tables and chairs just right for the likes of Lucy to sit and draw and colour in the paper and pictures provided.
The tables also have animal reliefs on their surface so you can create rubbings. And there are exhibits in plastic cases that the staff will unlock for the kids to touch.
There are also sofas with boxes of children's books alongside. Lucy and I read several on our last trip. The previous time we visited she was only 9 weeks old and can be seen here (in this fuzzy photo) being fed her milk by Hayley.
Oliver had just turned two and enjoyed playing with the dinosaurs provided.
Adjacent the drawing tables is a Picnic area with tables for you to eat your own food.
And of course all of this is free!
I can definitely recommend this little hidden gem. It takes a little finding as the museum is split across two buildings with the main entrance in one and a walkway across to the one with this area, but it's worth searching out.
Just remember to save me one of the sofas for reading to my little girl please.