50 family-friendly events at National Museums of Wales this February half term and March (and most of them are free)
Paid collaboration with National Museum Wales. Cardiff Mummy Says is a blogger ambassador for National Museum Wales
Do you have a trip to a museum planned this half term? We certainly do! St Fagans National Museum of History, with its collection of more than 50 historical buildings from across Wales, is one of our favourite places locally and we are hoping to visit on the final weekend of half term when the lambing season starts. A trip to National Museum Cardiff is a must for us during every school holiday. The dinosaurs and the humpback whale are among my children’s favourite exhibits but I’d also like them to see the collection of Leonardo da Vinci artworks currently at the museum as part of the 500th anniversary of his death. It’s an incredible opportunity to see works by one of the world’s greatest artists in our home city and in my opinion worth the adult entry fee of £5 (children are free).
We’re so lucky in Wales that all our national museums are free to visit. They’re great all year round but I love that they provide so many extra activities during the school holidays to keep little ones entertained. I’ve rounded up what’s going on at all seven National Museum of Wales sites for half term and the rest of March. Most of the activities are free although some will incur a small charge. All the details are below but do click through to the relevant museum website for full details.
Let me know if you’ll be visiting any of the museums over half term either in the comments below, on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page or you can tweet me on @cardiffmummy
Also don’t forget to follow Cardiff Mummy Says on Instagram where we share further snapshots from our adventures and daily life.
National Museum Cardiff
Cathays Park, Cardiff CF10 3NP
Open Tuesday–Sunday, 10am–5pm. Galleries close at 4:45pm.
Open most Bank Holiday Mondays.
There’s so much going on at the city centre museum in coming weeks, including half term family art workshops and temporary exhibitions. While you’re there don’t forget to visit the Evolution of Wales exhibition and its famous dinosaurs; the Natural History galleries where one of the highlights is the skeleton of a humpback whale who washed up on the shores of South Wales; and the art galleries which are home to one of Europe’s finest art collections.
See all the National Museum Cardiff’s events here.
Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing
Friday 1 February-Monday 6 May
£5 adults/£4 concessions/16 years and under: Free
Twelve of Leonardo da Vinci’s greatest drawings are on display in Cardiff to mark the 500th anniversary of his death as part of a national celebration of the extraordinary artist. The drawings are from the Royal Collection which contains the world’s finest collection of Leonardo’s works. Buy your tickets on the day; limited availability.
FREE Half Term Workshops: Leonardo
Tuesday 26 February-Friday 1 March, 12pm-4pm
Creative hands-on workshops where you can find out more about the amazing artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci and be inspired by his works.
FREE After Dark: Leonardo – Science in art and art in science
Thursday 28 February, 6-9pm ALREADY SOLD OUT
The museum has teamed up with Cardiff University’s School of Engineering to provide a family friendly evening of scientific, hands-on activities and entertainment inspired by some of Leonardo da Vinci’s greatest ideas
FREE Leonardo, Bodies and Bones…
Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 April, 12pm-4pm
Leonardo was fascinated by the human body and this weekend will give visitors the chance to learn how medicine and human anatomy inspired him. Have a go at drawing a skeleton and chat to medical students from Cardiff University School of Medicine. Artworks from the student’s recent art competition will also be on display.
FREE Poppies for Remembrance
Until Sunday 3 March
Last chance to see this exhibition which explores how the poppy became the symbol for remembrance. The exhibition invites visitors to explore the history of the poppy in all its diversity and reflect on how we engage with conflict both past and present through this enduring symbol. It also explores the science of poppy biodiversity, the many species of poppies worldwide and the threats to their existence. Part of the Welsh Government’s Wales-wide programme marking the centenary of World War One, called Cymru’n Cofio – Wales Remembers 1914-1918.
FREE Kyffin Williams: the Artist and Amgueddfa Cymru
Until Wednesday 1 May
This exhibition opened last year to celebrate 100 years since the birth John Kyffin Williams (1918-2006), arguably Wales’ most popular and prolific landscape painter of the 20th century. Born in Llangefni, Williams’ career spanned more than 60 year with his distinctive style depicting the rural landscape of Snowdonia, its cottages and hill farmers. He had a long history with Amgueddfa Cymru (National Museum of Wales) both as an artist and committee member and this display explores that relationship through artwork and archival material.
FREE David Nash: Sculpture through the Seasons
Until Saturday 1 September
David Nash is one of Britain;s most important artists and this exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of him living and working in Capel Rhiw – a former Methodist chapel in Blaenau Ffestiniog, north Wales. David Nash: Sculpture through the Seasons is the largest and most ambitious exhibition of David Nash’s work ever presented in Wales. It features key sculptures from the late 1960s to the present day, exploring the different ways the artist has cut, carved and manipulated wood to produce sculptures that sit between the abstract and figurative.
Museum ExplorAR: A living guide to the galleries
£10 per hour plus refundable deposit
A new way of looking at some of the museum’s most famous exhibits – thought augmented reality (AR) which brings the exhibits to life. Pick up a handset at the museum’s shop and use the handset for Monet’s Waterlilly Garden Experience; Underwater Life Experience; and Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Creatures Experience in either Welsh or English. Read our full review of the AR experience here.
FREE Toddler Time
Every Friday during term time, 11am-4pm
A chance for pre-schoolers and their grown ups to explore the museum through play with special boxes of toys, games and books in different galleries between 11am-4pm. Plus themed toys and activities with museum staff 1.30pm-2.55pm, story at 3pm.
FREE St David’s Day
Friday 1 March, 10am-5pm
Celebrate St David’s Day in the National Museum of Wales. Take a walk through Welsh history in the Evolution of Wales gallery and explore Welsh art. The cafes will be serving a special menu of a steaming bowl of traditional cawl as well as homemade Welsh cakes hot off the griddle.
FREE Lunchtime Concert – Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama
Sundays 3 and 17 March; 1pm
This concert by students of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama will feature a variety of musical instruments and pieces in either the Main Hall or one of the art galleries. No need to book; just turn up.
FREE Brain Games
Sunday 10 March, 11am-4pm
Celebrate Brain Awareness Week by discovering just how amazing our brains are with Cardiff University’s Neuroscience Division. Take part in experiments and hands-on activities to learn more about how the brain works. Find out how your brain tricks your eyes and make models of neurons plus have a go on an inflatable bouncy brain.
St Fagans National Museum of History
Cardiff CF5 6XB
Open 10am-5pm daily including Bank Holiday Mondays
Wales’s most popular heritage attraction is a people’s museum, exploring history through people’s everyday lives. It brings history to life with more than 50 historical buildings from across Wales re-built on the museum’s grounds and furnished to look as they would during their prime. Entry to the museum is free but parking costs £5 per car per day.
View all events at St Fagans National Museum of History here.
FREE LGBTQ+ History Month Takeover
Tuesday 19 February-Saturday 2 March
The Museum will be working with young people who identify as LGBTQ+ to host a pop-up show of their artworks as well as an activity day for families and workshops and activities run by young people at the Oakdale Workmen’s Institute.
See the website for details of daily events as well as family workshops on Saturday 23 February and craft and music activities on Saturday 2 March.
CoedLan – High Ropes at St Fagans
Saturday 23 February-Sunday 3 March, 10.15am-4.30pm
£10 per person;
Tackle CoedLan’s 18 obstacles, including a balance beam, zig zag bridge, cargo net and a zip wire. No need to book in advance – buy your tickets on the day from the CoedLan desk. However if you’d like to guarantee a spot, you can book in advance by calling 029 2057 3322.
Participants must be 110cm tall and aged 6 or over in order to take part. Children between 110cm and 130cm must be accompanied by an individual over 130cm and aged 12 years old or over. The maximum weight is 18 stone. Read our review of the experience here.
FREE St Fagans Makers Market
Saturday 23 February-Sunday 3 March, 10am-5pm
Pick up something special that you’d never find on the high street. There’s a chance to meet the makers and find out more about their crafts as they run workshops and demonstrations throughout the week.
FREE Victorian Activities
Monday 25 February-Thursday 28 February, 12pm-4pm
Fun family activities inspired by the Victorian era. Take a guided tour and find out what life was like for children in the 19th Century (free). Play with some traditional toys (free). There’s also the chance to make your own peg doll to take home for an additional cost of £2.
FREE St David’s Day crafts
Friday March 1
Family friendly craft activities for Wales’ special day (free)
FREE Meet the Objects: St David’s Day
Friday 1 March 11.30am (English), 1pm (Welsh) 2.30pm English
Head to the Wales is… Gallery to learn more about the tradition of wearing the Welsh costume and see the harp that once belonged to the composer of the Welsh national anthem.
FREE Lambing at Llwyn yr Eos Farm
Friday 1-Monday 25 March, 10am-5pm
Celebrate the start of spring with the annual baby boom in the lambing shed. You can also follow follow the progress of mums and babies on the Museum website via #lambcam.
FREE Toddler Time
Every Monday during term time
Themed toys and activities with museum staff 1.30pm-2.55pm, story at 3pm.
FREE Meet The Objects: International Women’s Day
Wednesday 8 March 11.30am (English), 1pm (Welsh), 2.30pm (English)
To celebrate International Women’s Day, come along to the Wales is… Gallery to learn more about the banner made by Welsh suffragists and a rare example of an anti-suffragette doll. There will also be an opportunity to see newly-acquired collections, not yet on display, in the museum’s collections access centre.
FREE ENTRY St Fagans Real Food Market
Riverside Real Food will be at St Fagans for their regular monthly pop-up food market. A chance to support local food producers, pick up something delicious to take home and enjoy a visit to the Museum.
National Waterfront Museum
Oystermouth Road, Maritime Quarter, Swansea, SA1 3RD
Open 10am-5pm daily
The National Waterfront Museum tells the story of industry and innovation in Wales over the last 300 years and including the present day. This old-meets-new is also apparent in the museum building with the exhibits housed in an original listed warehouse linked to a ultra-modern slate and glass building. Visitors can discover the transport, materials and networks that contributed so much to the industrial history of our nation.
You can see all events at National Waterfront Museum here.
Good Morning Family Yoga
Saturdays fortnightly including 2, 16, 30 March, 13, 27 April. See website for more dates.
Adults £4; children £1.50
Suitable for ages 4-10; families only; must be booked in advance
Family yoga provides a wonderful place to spend healthy and happy, quality time together. You’ll explore movement and breath together through stories, songs and stretching. It’s a chance to chill out in a fun, relaxed environment and learn much loved poses to practice together at home. No yoga experience necessary. Bring a mat if possible (there will be mats available to borrow).
FREE Museum Monthly Movies: Zog (U, 2018)
Saturday 23 February, 1pm and 3pm
Animated adaptation of the classic Julia Donaldson picture book. Zog is the keenest dragon in school – but he’s also the most accident-prone. Luckily, a mysterious little girl always comes by and patches up his bumps and bruises. But will she be able to help him with his toughest test: capturing a princess?
FREE Three Cool St David’s Crafts
Saturday 23 February-Saturday 2 March, 12:30pm-3:30pm
A family-friendly drop-in craft session where children can three cool quirky crafts featuring some of Wales’s iconic symbols – the dragon, the leek and the daffodil – in celebration of St David’s Day.
FREE The Dragon and the Castle Puppet Show
Saturday 24 February, 1pm and 3pm
A hilarious journey back in time for some medieval mayhem. were you will meet a princess, dragon and knight in this rip-roaring puppetry adventure.
FREE St David’s Day Mini Party
Friday 1 March, 10:30am-1pm
Celebrate St David’s Day with a fun packed morning for younger children, aged five and under. S4C’s Tudur Phillips, who presents pre-school nature series Sbarc, will be on hand with some games. The party will also feature some cool crafts, face painting and a twmpath.
FREE Dewch i Ganu – Come and Sing
Saturday 2 March, 11am
A warm welcome to Welsh speakers and learners to join musician Delyth Jenkins and learn Welsh through song in a fun and informal way.
FREE St David’s Day Twmpath
Saturday 2 March, 2pm
Celebrate St David’s day with some toe tapping live music and traditional Welsh dancing with Tawerin, who will bring an upbeat set of clogging, twmpath and folk jam.
FREE St David’s Special: Eleri Angharad
Sunday 3 March, 2pm-3pm
The soulful tunes of singer songwriter and country artist Eleri Angharad will fill the museum as she blends Welsh folk music and the catchy melodies of modern pop with the intricate storytelling of American Country songs.
FREE Toddler Time Monthly Movies: Fireman Sam Special
Wednesday 6 March, 10:30am (English) 11:30am (Welsh)
A free movie screening each month exclusively for preschool children and their parents or carers. Fireman Sam and his team are on a mission to save Pontypandy.
FREE Super Science Sunday: British Science Week Special
Sunday 10 March, 11am-4pm
An inspiring day for the whole family featuring interactive science exhibits, animals and insects, black holes and astronauts. Spend the day exploring current research with hands-on activities and jaw-dropping experiments. In partnership with Oriel Science, Swansea University and Women’s Equality Network Wales
FREE The XX Factor
Sunday 10 March, 3.15pm
Featuring live science experiments and plenty of audience interaction suitable for all the family, learn about some of the awe-inspiring discoveries and breakthroughs made by women scientists. A celebration of International Women’s Day in partnership with Women’s Equality Network, Wales
FREE Rainforest Animals
Sunday 10 March, 12pm and 2pm
Must be pre-booked via Eventbrite; bookings open on Friday 1 March
Meet some amazing real-life rainforest animals, including snakes, geckos and poison arrow frogs as you go on a fascinating journey to explore the Amazon. Then discover the plants, artefacts, people and conservation issues from this remarkable region.
FREE Superhero Science Show
Sunday 10 March, 2pm
Join science communicator Neil Monteiro in this fun interactive science show for the whole family as he explores what it takes to be a superhero, and investigates the real science behind the saving the planet.
FREE British Science Week Movie: First Man (12A, 2018)
Sunday 17 March, 2pm
A look into the life of the astronaut Neil Armstrong and the legendary space mission that led him to become the first man to walk on the Moon on July 20th, 1969.
Making soap with Mum: Mother’s Day special
Saturday 30 March, 11am, 12:30pm and 2pm
£3.50 per person; mums go free; age 6+
It’s one of the most popular gifts to give – but how much do you really know about soap? This Mother’s Day, find out about the history and process of making soap, then try your hand at producing your own luxury bar including scented herbs to give mum a treat. Book on Eventbrite via the museum’s website.
Big Pit National Coal Museum
Blaenafon, Torfaen, NP4 9XP
Open 9.30am-5pm daily. Last admission 4pm.
Underground tours 10am-3.30pm
The undoubted highlight of a trip to Big Pit is going 300ft underground with a former miner to learn what life was like undrground (you can read our review here) but there’s also a multi-media tour of a modern coal mine with a virtual miner in the mining galleries, plus exhibitions in the pithead baths and historic colliert buildings as well as special events during school holidays.
See all events at Big Pit National Coal Museum here.
FREE From Mine to Museum Exhibition
Until Friday 29 March (open Mondays to Fridays)
As Big Pit celebrates its 35th anniversary, this exhibition traces the history of Big Pit as it transformed from a working coal mine into one of UK’s leading museums and tourist attractions.
FREE Family of Miners Exhibition
Until 31 March, 9.30am-5pm
A photographic exhibition by Walter Waygood documenting mining and miners of Blaenafon from the 1970s onwards.
FREE Toddler Time in the Playlab
Wednesdays 13 March, 3 April, 15 May, 12 June and 17 July, 1.30pm-2.45pm
A monthly play session with themed activities and toys for little ones to enjoy plus story and rhyme time.
FREE Soft Play
Saturday 23 February-Sunday 3 March, 11am-4pm
Soft play in the Play Lab suitable for under 5s only. Children must be supervised by an adult at all times.
Bats, rats and cats craft activities
Wednesday 27 February, 1am-4pm
£2 per child
Some animals worked underground at Big Pit helping the miners, others were not so welcome. Find out about the animals you might have found underground and in the surrounding area and make a craft to take home.
Dragons and daffodils crafts and face painting
Friday 1 March, 11am-4pm
£2 per child
Celebrate St David’s da at Big Pit. Wear your rugby shirt, your traditional Welsh costume or even dress as a coal miner and take part in Welsh-themed crafts and have your face painted.
National Slate Museum
Llanberis, Gwynedd, LL55 4TY
Open 10am-5pm daily from Easter to October.
Open 10am-4pm November to Easter, closed Saturdays.
The National Slate Museum is sited in the Victorian workshops built in the shadow of Elidir mountain, site of the vast Dinorwig quarry. The workshops and buildings are designed as though quarrymen and engineers have just put down their tools and left the courtyard for home, while an array of talks and demonstrations including slate-splitting give a real insight into quarry life.
See all events at the National Slate Museum here.
FREE Once the Quarrymen Left
Until Sunday 23 June
In 1969 Dinorwig Quarry fell silent – the quarry was closed and the men sent home for the last time. 50 years later nature has reclaimed what was abandoned and the quarry is once again coming back to life.
This photographic exhibition by Stuart and Gill Hill showcases the diverse range of animals and plants which call Dinorwig quarry their home.
FREE Model Railway Show
Wednesday 27 February-Friday 1 March, 10am-4pm
A steam-filled spectacular with activities to enjoy including free rides for children on miniature steam engines, daily demonstrations, talks, and various layouts of all shapes and sizes on display – from 00mm to 32mm gauge engines, as well as trade stands to buy some items to take home. Train enthusiasts can also bring their own ’00’ gauge trains and have a go on the test track layout.
National Roman Legion Museum
High St, Caerleon, Newport, NP18 1AE
The museum is currently closed to the public until autumn 2019 for essential roof maintenance.
National Wool Museum
Dre-fach Felindre, near Newcastle Emlyn, Llandysul, Carmarthenshire, SA44 5UP
Open April-September 10am–5pm, daily; October-March 10am–5pm, Tues–Sat
The National Wool Museum is located in the historic former Cambrian Mills, where shirts and shawls, blankets and bedcovers, woollen stockings and socks were all made and sold across Wales and to the rest of the world. Visitors can follow the process from fleece to fabric and visit the sympathetically restored listed mill buildings and historic machinery. The picturesque village of Dre-fach Felindre in the beautiful Teifi valley was once the centre of a thriving woollen industry, earning the nickname ‘The Huddersfield of Wales’.
See all events at the National Wool Museum here.
Every Friday, 10am-12pm
Free drop in sessions for families every Friday in the Search Engine. The sessions provide innovative and inclusive bilingual support for children and their families, with the focus on learning through play.
FREE Harp Ensemble
Thursday 28 February, 11am-3pm
Harp music from the the Clarsach Society Welsh Branch.
FREE Scrappy Sheep Club – St David’s Day Rosettes
Thursday 28 February and Friday 1 March, 12-3pm
Free drop-in family craft sessions where children can make a ribbon rosette with a Welsh flannel centrepiece.
Welsh Costume Display
FREE Friday 1 March-Tuesday 30 April
A display of traditional Welsh folk dancing costumes made from flannel from Welsh mills.
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