Spooky Halloween science parties and a musical about a sad tiger will form part of a packed family activity programme at Sunderland Museum, Library and Winter Gardens over the October half-term week.


The fun starts at the Museum on Saturday, October 20 with a performance of Smile: Augustus the Tiger, a musical for children aged between three and six and their families.

The 40-minute show is based on the book Augustus and his Smile by Catherine Rayner, a story about a tiger who has lost his smile, and is told through theatrical chamber music.

The performances form part of a national tour funded by Arts Council England through Mish Mash productions, and have been brought to Sunderland by Together for Children; Sunderland Music Hub.

Museum activities, including a tiger trail and crafts, are available after the show for a small donation.

Numbers are limited so organisers have asked that no more than two adults accompany each child.

Tickets are available from museum reception or can be reserved online at www.ticketsource.co.uk/event/259783.

Rebecca Pedlow, manager of Sunderland Music Hub, said:

“SMILE is a great way for children to experience classical music in such a fun, entertaining way.

“Schools and parents across the country have loved taking part in this dramatic, musical activity, many hearing a violin or cello up close for the first time.

“We are really looking forward to this event and delighted to be working so closely in partnership with the Winter Gardens.”


On Wednesday, October 24, the museum will host an Apple Day (11am – 3pm drop-in).

The day will be packed with apple related activities, including competitions for the longest peel and apple swing, and a vote for your favourite variety of apple.

Over the following two evenings, Thursday, October 25 and Friday, October 26, the museum will be transformed for Museums at Night: Spooky Science Parties (5pm – 8pm).

These Halloween parties with a twist will give children aged five and upwards a chance to make some gooey slime and take part in some fiendishly clever experiments in the Big Bang Science shows.

Tickets for the parties cost £6 and must be pre-booked.

They are available from the museum shop or at www.ticketsource.co.uk/event/269600.

All children must be accompanied by an adult.


Also on Friday, October 25, families will have the opportunity to make lanterns and colourful rangoli artwork at Diwali Delights.

These sessions will support the Life in Colour: Ranbir Kaur exhibition and there will be a suggested donation of £2.

As well as these specific days, there will be ongoing programmes at the museum during half-term week.

These include the Halloween Creatures Trail, tickets for which can be bought during museum opening hours at the cost of £2.50 per entry until Sunday, November 4.

If you can find all the hidden creepy creatures, you can claim a themed prize.


Arty Backpacks will continue to be available until Sunday, January 6, and give families the opportunity to take part in a range of art activities, challenges and games to help explore the Life in Colour: Ranbir Kaur exhibition.

The backpacks are available from the Art Gallery on the musuem’s Level 2 for a refundable deposit.

Jennie Lambert, Public Engagement and Learning Manager at Sunderland Museums and Heritage Service, said:

“We’re delighted to have been able to put together such a great activity programme for the forthcoming half-term break.

“The emphasis is on family fun and the wide variety of events and activities we’ve programmed help to show off our magnificent building.

“We’d advise families to book early as our activity sessions, parties and performances prove very popular.

“We’d also hope families take the time to look round the whole of the museum, library and winter gardens while they’re here.”

For more information on the half-term activities, please contact the Public Engagement & Learning Team on 0191 5612323 or e-mail [email protected] Visit www.seeitdoitsunderland.co.uk/sunderland-museum-winter-gardens for details of all museum events.

Please note that the Museum’s main entrance will be closed during October and early November with alternative access via the old Borough Road entrance and Holmeside Coffee via North Terrace, Mowbray Park.

To find more events held by Sunderland Culture and its venues, check out our Arts & Culture page.

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