From indoor play centres to DIY pottery, laser quest, family flicks and crazy golf, find some of the best places to take the kids in Bristol when it drizzles.
Curious little minds will have plenty to do at one of the UK’s biggest and most exciting interactive science centres, At Bristol, offering hundreds of hands-on exhibits to explore, live shows and a planetarium.
Bristol’s biggest laser tag venue, Laser Fusion offers little and big kids alike the chance to burn off some excess energy in a fun and safe environment, with castle towers, turrets, ramps, mazes, swirling fog and state of the art sound and lighting effects providing a thrilling day of sport.
Situated on the first floor of Cabot Circus, mini Mcllroys can practice their putting skills at Jungle Rumble Adventure Golf, with two 18-hole courses featuring a live volcano and special effects as well as a café bar and a games area.
Situated in the city’s famous harbour, Bristol Aquarium is a must-see for nature-loving families, with tropical sharks, seahorses, colourful corals and much more viewable from the undersea tunnel.
One of Britain’s most famous attractions, little ones can climb aboard Brunel's SS Great Britain for a unique museum experience, offering the chance to explore the docks, the first-class cabins, and the ship’s impressive engine room.
Take the kids to soak up some culture at one of Bristol’s many museums. Whether you celebrate the city at M Shed, meet the dinosaurs at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, see the giant Neptune statue at Kingswood Heritage Museum or dress up as a Victorian at Blasie Castle, there’s something to entertain and inspire all children.
Children of all ages can have a go at bouldering and rock climbing in a safe environment at The Climbing Academy, while parents can get in on the fun too, with the chance to climb while kids under four-years-old can play with some soft toys in a specially roped off section of the venue.
Duck away from the wet weather and make a splash indoors, with plenty of local swimming pools in Bristol providing an easy, affordable and fun day out. Check out SoBristols’ swimming venues to find your nearest pool.
Whether it’s striking out on the bowling lanes, playing video games, or getting competitive at air hockey, Bowlplex Bristol and Hollywood Bowl Bristol provide a fun and safe haven away from the wind and rain, offering great eat and play deals too. Bowling with little ones? Ask for a ramp to help them take aim, and gutter guards too.
From dodgeball, slam dunk and the ultimate wipe-out challenge, little thrillseekers and fun-loving families will be bouncing off the walls at Airhop in Patchway, with 135 interconnected trampolines to burn off some energy.
Families can get creative with some pottery painting fun at Flying Saucers Painting Pottery Café. Offer pint-sized Picassos the chance to choose from over 100 items to decorate, little ones can get their work professionally glazed and fired, making for a unique memento, with the chance to immortalise tiny footprint or handprints proving popular with parents too.
Shelter from the gloomy weather with a heart-warming family flick at one of Bristol’s many cinemas. From animated favourites to live action spectacles, not to mention a number of well-prices family and children tickets, check out SoBristol’s list of Bristol cinemas to find your nearest one.
Boasting six different zones complete with challenging and stimulating activities for children, as well as a toddler village and a baby area, little ones can enjoy giant slides, ball cannons, a rope bridge and a huge multi-level soft play structure at PlaySpace while mum and dad relax with a coffee and a cake.
Duck out of the rain at one of Bristol's Shopping Centres and enjoy shopping galore. With plenty of cinema screens to drop the teens off at, toy stores to treat the little ones in, as well as a host of weekly family-friendly activities, there’s something to keep every member of the family happy, with the option to meet up and enjoy lunch at one of the many dining options available.
Bristol boasts a number of fantastic theatres where families can hide away in comfort during the rainy days – whether it’s a matinee at Bristol Old Vic, a live cinema screening at Redgrave Theatre, a pantomime at Tobacco Factory Theatre, or a musical at The Bristol Hippodrome, parents can take their pick of performances to keep kiddies happy.
Providing hours of educational entertainment, Bristol Central Library offers the chance to get lost in a good book or enjoy time on the computers, while storytelling and book clubs will keep little ones of all ages busy – and learning – without them even realising!
Parents can nip off to the gym or enjoy a workout class at Hengrove Park Leisure Centre while kids can enjoy playing with other children at the cente’s crèche, with plenty of fun toys and activities on offer in a safe and secure environment.
Aimed at children under 12, Jump is the UK’s largest dedicated indoor soft play centre, boasting ball pits, huge inflatables, climbing frames and toddler zones, while its weekly activity programme includes arts and crafts, singing and dancing classes, and even cake decorating.
Kids full of beans, aged nine to 15, can burn off some excess energy at Riverside Leisure Club's Junior Fit Club, with a fun circuits class taking place every Saturday morning.
Take a trip to the iconic landmark of Bristol Cathedral and soak up its impressive architecture on a guided tour. Plus, take a behind-the-scenes look at where the BBC drama, Wolf Hall, was filmed on the Wolf Hall Trail.
Cheeky monkeys can let loose at The Wacky Warehouse at Mill House soft play centre, with slippery slides, colourful crafts and a comfortable café area. The Tot Club for little toddlers proves popular with young families, with the chance for kids to crawl, swing and slide until they’ve truly worn themselves out.
Boasting fun climbing activities for ages four and above, Bloc Climbing is home to a newly built, Clip ‘n’ Climb centre, where climbing walls meet theme park, in an exciting new leisure concept, offering a safe, challenging and fun space for little ones to scale new heights.
Children with a need for speed, aged between eight and 15, can whiz round the track at TeamSport Go Karting Bristol Junior Track Days, with a full safety briefing before the chance to take part in a driving skill session and compete in races, with prizes, soft drinks and a hot lunch to enjoy too.
When it’s wet outside, you’ll want to skip the outdoor pirates cove, sandpit and animals, and instead find shelter at Jaq's Leisure's indoor facilities, including a play structure for five to 12-year-olds, special play area for nought to four-year-olds, and an indoor Creation Station for crafty children.
Adrenaline-seekers should jump at the chance to visit Bristol’s indoor Campus Skatepark. Providing a shelter from the storms and an area to practice bunnyhop, double-peg, and flip and grind skills, Campus describes itself as the perfect learning ground with enough challenges to keep everyone entrained.
If it’s too cold and dismal to venture to a ‘real’ zoo, children can pop into one of eight Pets at Home centres across the county and while away a short time cooing over cute, cuddly animals – from rabbits and guinea pigs to gerbils and friendly fish.
Rimando’s Soft Play Coffee Lounge on Bristol’s Gloucester Road is a haven for parents in need of a relaxing break, offering a soft play area for little ones and a café for adults.
Families can put their brain power together with a series of tests, puzzles and clues at one of Bristol’s 4D live escape-room experiences, including PuzzLair or Locked in a Room, providing a fun and unique day out, with one simple goal to get out in time.
Where are your favourite places in Bristol to go when it's raining cats and dogs? Let us know in the comments below!
By Alice Lloyd
Friday 03 June 2016
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