The Bowes Museum
Barnard Castle, County Durham DL12 8NP
From a Silver Swan automaton to a two-headed calf, the Bowes Museum is filled with curiosities. Their latest exhibit, The Clockwork Garden, is an interactive installation that gives younger visitors the chance to explore their imaginations, spin stories, and complete challenges.
Life Science Centre
Times Square, Newcastle NE1 4EP
0191 243 8210
With a 60-seat planetarium and the region’s only 4D Motion Ride, a trip to the Life Science Centre is full of excitement. Visit the Dino Jaws exhibition transplanted from the Natural History Museum to meet a life-size animatronic T Rex head and even examine a replica, erm, poo, to find traces of the Euoplocephalus’ last meal.
Linthorpe Road, Middlesbrough TS5 6LA
Discover the history of the local area by delving into the archive collection, or have a go at some of the many arts and crafts activities here this summer, including blossom tree painting and making geisha masks.
Hexham Old Gaol
Hall Gate, Hexham NE48 1XD
Descend into a world of wardens, monarchs, and criminals at the Old Gaol. Through family activities, film, and perhaps even a go in the stocks yourself, discover the violent history of the local Border Reivers.
Belmont Industrial Estate, Durham DH1 1GG
0333 344 2220
If the kids are bouncing off the walls, let them literally bounce off the walls at this trampoline park. With 40 trampolines, there are plenty of opportunities to burn off some energy.
National Glass Centre
Liberty Way, Sunderland SR6 0GL
0191 515 5555
Watch a swirling glass-blowing demonstration and then have a go at painting a glass postcard at a family workshop. There are stories about the history of glass in Sunderland and adventure backpacks filled with activity cards to keep the kids entertained.
Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens
Burton Road, Sunderland, Tyne and Wear SR1 1PP
0191 561 2323
Even in the rain, you can enjoy nature at the Sunderland Winter Gardens. You can also meet Wallace the stuffed lion, once part of a touring wild animal show in the 1800s, lounging in his cabinet awaiting selfies in the Sunderland Museum.