The world is truly your oyster if you’re looking for things to do in Manchester with toddlers.
This huge city and its surrounding towns and villages are jam-packed with fun, family-friendly activities and days out, including soft plays, farm parks, crafting cafés, museums and much more.
We’ve trawled through all the old favourites and latest arrivals to pinpoint only the very best attractions in Manchester for young kids. There’s a great mix of indoor-outdoor, a few hours vs a whole day, and free to more expensive.
Make sure to let us know your Mancunian toddler hot spots if you think we’ve missed any!
- Fun Things to do in Manchester with Toddlers
- Play Factore
- Smithills Open Farm
- LEGOLAND Discovery Centre
- Donkey Sanctuary
- The Funhouse
- Runway Visitor Park
- Heaton Park
- Pottery Corner
- Inflata Nation Manchester
- Reddish Vale Farm
- Manchester Central Library
- Bean and Brush Family Art Café
- Head Over Heels Play
- Daisy Nook Country Park
- Museum of Transport
- Bounce Central
- Bisque & Beyond Family Art Café
- Cheeky Cherubs Soft Play Centre
- Wythenshawe Park and Farm
Fun Things to do in Manchester with Toddlers
Even if you haven’t heard of any other attraction on this list, we bet you’ve heard of Play Factore — the biggest indoor children’s entertainment centre in the UK!
A lot of the arena is set up for slightly older kids (laser tag, zipwire, the largest standing indoor slide are just a few examples) but they’ve also got a huge area dedicated to toddlers too. This area is especially for little ones under 5 so you can make sure that they’re playing in an age appropriate setting — make sure they check out the tunnels, LUMOplay interactive floor, slides, soft play and tricycles!
Baby changing facilities are close by the toddler area and there’s an Italian coffee shop and pizzeria that you can fuel up in when you need.
Smithills Open Farm
Home to over 1,000 animals, the brilliant Smithills Open Farm can be found in Bolton and is a great place to take toddlers on a day out.
Of course, there are all your usual farmyard animals like pigs, chickens, ponies, rabbits, goats, cows, deers and alpacas, but also some more unusual species that you wouldn’t necessarily expect to see on a farm — meerkats, llamas, wallabies, pythons, fire bellied toads and tarantulas!
Toddlers will also love exploring the toy tractors and milking parlour — make sure you try out the tractor and donkey rides too! There’s also a café and ice creamery for when you get hungry.
LEGOLAND Discovery Centre
Often referred to as ‘the ultimate indoor LEGO playground’, this is definitely the place to visit if you’ve got any LEGO fans at home!
There’s a huge amount to occupy and entertain the entire family here, and toddlers definitely won’t be left out. The little ones will enjoy the DUPLO Farm, which is especially set up for kids under 5, while Merlin’s Apprentice Ride and Kingdom Quest will definitely keep their attention all day.
It’s worth checking out their website to see if there are any play sessions being held during your visit. These are on daily and encourage your child to indulge in some safe creative play, as well as meet ‘n’ greets with some favourite characters.
The Donkey Sanctuary can be found near Debdale Park in Abbey Hey and is a much loved spot for visitors — whether you’ve got a toddler or not!
The purpose-built sanctuary sprawls over 7 acres and is home to a number of donkeys from far and wide. There’s a lot of opportunity for real interactions with many of the donkeys, which younger children are sure to love. Staff members also have expertise in introducing children with additional and special needs to the herd, and even providing therapy sessions.
If it’s good weather, make sure to bring a picnic as the sanctuary has benches and large grass areas for you to lay down a blanket. There are also a couple of play areas and a gift shop.
About halfway between Manchester and Bolton in Swinton is The Funhouse — an absolutely brilliant indoor play centre for kids that’s well set up for all kids under 12.
Your little ones will love the soft play area which is separate from the large, main climbing frame that over 4s can enjoy. There are also specific baby and toddler sessions too. Make sure you check out the fantastic sensory room to really engage the senses of your child — light, sound and texture are all in abundance!
There’s a good café here with plenty of seating overlooking the play areas, as well as a good amount of free parking outside.
Runway Visitor Park
The Runway Visitor Park is an absolute must-see if your toddler loves aeroplanes ✈️
Located at Manchester Airport, it offers great views of the runway, as well as a treasure hunt and an outdoor play area and café. You can even book them into the Junior Flyers Academy, where they can learn all about the people who work on planes and even walk under the wings of the Concorde! There’s an element of dressing-up too which should really keep them engaged for the 90 minute session.
Slightly older children will likely love the indoor exhibit, which has some real treasures to discover like the old RAF plane NIMROD, as well as the chance to tour the Concorde.
Heaton Park, just north of central Manchester, makes for a great day out with the kids no matter how old they are.
There are two great playgrounds for children, one of which — Lakeside Adventure Playground — really delivers on the creative play front, thanks to the tree houses and materials available to help kids build their own woodland dens. During the Spring and Summer, you can hire rowing boats and pedalos to explore the lake and there’s even a very low-cost tram ride and tramway museum to explore.
For a free activity in Heaton, head on over to the Animal Centre in the old stables, which is home to alpacas. goats, pigs, chickens, rabbits and more.
If you don’t have a picnic, fret not — there are a couple of cafés serving food and hot and cold drinks.
Pottery Corner can be found in Chorlton and is a pottery making studio that’s great for children’s parties or simply when you want to get creative with your little one. They welcome everyone, regardless of age and ability.
There’s a small studio fee to pay, as well as the cost of the item you’d like to paint (ranging between about £7-30), and you can take as long as you need to finish painting. You can drop-in when you want although they do encourage bookings, especially at weekends when it can get busier.
For really little ones who aren’t quite ready yet to paint pottery, you can sign up for framed hand and foot prints — these will forever capture your baby at their tiniest!
Inflata Nation Manchester
Not too far from Old Trafford is the incredible Inflata Nation — an inflatable arena that kids will love. It’s home to two levels of pure bounce!
While at first glance it might appear best suited to older kids — it’s full of slides, freefalls and even an obstacle course — it’s actually well set up for the under 4s with the Inflata Tots area. This has a ball pool and soft play that’s safely separated from the more boisterous bouncing.
They also have Inflata Tots classes three times per week and sessions geared towards children on the autism spectrum, which has lower music levels, fewer bouncers and the opportunity for a carer to join free of charge.
Reddish Vale Farm
Reddish Vale Farm can be found on the way to Stockport, just a 5 minute drive from the M60. It’s a long-established farm park that focuses on entertaining and educating children on the inner workings of a farm and animal care.
There are a huge number of activities on offer for toddlers at Reddish Vale, including small animal handling, pony rides and grooming, tractor rides, a nature trail, soft play, indoor and outdoor play areas, quad bikes, sand diggers and bouncy castles. You can also buy a bucket of animal feed to interact with the animals!
Some of the animals that live here include horses, meerkats, goats, rabbits, guinea pigs, cows, alpacas and birds of prey. Children under 1 can enter for free.
Manchester Central Library
If you’re looking for a low-key way to entertain your toddler in the centre of Manchester, a trip to the Manchester Central Library should be top of your list.
Situated in St Peter’s Square, the library has a separate Children’s Library that is themed on The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, who was born in Manchester. There are lots of animals and plants to find in all the decorations and projections.
There’s also some handy, comfortable seating you can curl up on and even children-friendly computers to access. If your children are slightly older, be sure you check out the Archives+ section, which is plenty interactive and will hopefully encourage your kids to become interested in local history.
Bean and Brush Family Art Café
Head on over to Sale for the great Bean and Brush Family Art Café, which is exactly what it sounds like — a traditional café where all the family is also able to get a little crafty.
Some of the crafts available include painting pottery, making decopatches, clay imprints and much more. It’s so much fun to make something together as a family and you’ll make memories — and some sort of craft — to last for a lifetime.
The food is great too and very well reviewed. There’s a wide range of hot meals, lighter bites and snacks, as well as a cracking junior’s menu for the kids.
Head Over Heels Play
Head Over Heels in Chorlton is another brilliant family entertainment centre that has plenty to entertain little kids — and older ones too.
The large play frames with their fab slides and runs are the most obvious draw here, but there’s plenty more besides. Make sure to check out the LED dance floor and music corner if you’ve got a future performer on your hands, while the space-themed sensory room is just perfect for babies and toddlers learning about the world. There’s also dressing up, arts and crafts workshops and much more.
While the kids are having fun, you’ll be able to sit in the delicious café that overlooks all the action and treat yourself to some tasty bites and drinks. All food is freshly prepared and they’re well equipped to deal with allergies.
Daisy Nook Country Park
Over in Oldham is the beautiful Daisy Nook Country Park, a fabulous day out in the country for the whole family.
The park is set over 40 acres through the Medlock Valley and encompasses woodland, wildflower meadows, a lake and even a canal. There will be plenty of opportunities for wildlife spotting with your little one while you’re here — look out for foxes, squirrels, owls and woodpeckers to name just a few!
Aside from the beautiful walks you can take here, toddlers and younger children will love the playground and Tots’ Lock sand pit, which is themed like a canal barge. There’s even a basket swing that’s suitable for disabled children. There is also a café and toilets.
Museum of Transport
The Museum of Transport can be found in Cheetham Hill and is a must-visit if you’ve got any transport-mad toddlers at home!
The museum itself is housed in a 1930s bus garage and contains a number of buses, coaches, trams and other interesting historic transport from yesteryear. They host a number of unique events throughout the year include classic car shows, collectors’ markets, heritage bus rides, model railway shows and other fun themed events.
Accompanied under 16-year olds can enter for free, as can disabled people. There is also a traditional tea room serving up light meals and hot/cold drinks, and a shop to explore afterwards.
Another favourite amongst trampoline lovers is the brilliant Bounce Central in Pendlebury.
This indoor trampoline park boasts over 90 trampolines and is well set up for your younger children thanks to its regular Toddler Time sessions for the under 4s. These 1 hour sessions are available Monday to Friday during term time and come with a free Kids’ Meal Deal in the great Pea’s Pantry café once you’ve finished bouncing, as well as unlimited squash. A supervising adult can bounce for free so it’s not just the toddlers having fun! 🤪
As well as the trampolines, your little ones will love the toys and coloured soft play in the bounce zone. Prices are very reasonable.
Bisque & Beyond Family Art Café
In the heart of Didsbury village is the fantastic Bisque & Beyond, a family art café. It’s a great spot to eat and make for all ages and abilities.
On the making side, they offer a wide variety of different crafts including pottery painting, clay imprints, belly casts for pregnant ladies and more. All you need to do is choose your bique (unglazed pottery) when you arrive and they will show you how to decorate it. There are no admission or studio fees, just the cost of the item you’re making, so this is a really good value option.
The delicious café specialises in locally sourced food and drinks, homemade cakes and bakes. They’ve got an excellent vegan menu and a generous children’s menu that includes favourites like pancakes, waffles, toasties, omelettes and much more.
Cheeky Cherubs Soft Play Centre
Cheeky Cherubs can be found just outside of Manchester in Urmston and is a popular little soft play and learning centre.
Younger kids will love the soft play frame but there are plenty more activities to explore besides, including a home corner, earling learning area and sensory room. Older children are also able to attend the breakfast, afterschool and youth clubs.
Admission prices are very reasonable and is currently free for babies under 6 months. If you live nearby, it may be worth investing in a monthly pass for even more savings.
Wythenshawe Park and Farm
Wythenshawe Park is an incredibly popular attraction in Manchester with families of young children thanks to its great play area and working community farm.
The farm is open 7 days a week (although opening hours vary from Summer to Winter) and is home to sheep, goats, pigs, horses, ducks and even a prize-winning herd of Hereford cattle. There are often baby animals to see and lots of opportunities for interactions and watching feedings.
The park itself is set over 109 acres and the farm is just one of the attractions within. Young kids will love the children’s play area and walks through the woodlands, while there’s also a café for rest and refueling, and plenty of toilets.
Looking for another location? Check out our Days Out section for more ideas.