Family summer holiday fun at three great Wearside venues

A programme of affordable fun is underway to keep families amused over the summer holidays at three great venues across Sunderland.

Sunderland Culture has put together a schedule of workshops, plays and other arts activities at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens, National Glass Centre and Arts Centre Washington.

Rebecca Ball, chief executive of Sunderland Culture, said: “We’re proud of our brilliant family activity programme which includes a wide variety of activities to keep everyone entertained over the summer holidays.

“We’ve tried to offer a range of affordable and free events and also to ensure the programme is suitable for all ages. So there’s something for both young children and teenagers too.”

There is plenty to keep kids occupied at venues across Wearside this summer. Picture by Steve Brock.

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    National Glass Centre

    At the National Glass Centre, children and their families can enjoy a variety of glass workshops: sandcastle ceramics, glass animal painting and rainbow rockets glass fusing to a free family photography day.

    Entry is free and attractions include glass blowing demonstrations, learning about Sunderland’s glorious glass history and the Glass Exchange exhibition which includes work from leading UK leading contemporary artists.

    Arts Centre Washington

    There's much for youngsters to try at three Wearside venues this summer. Picture by Steve Brock.

    Family theatre is on offer at Arts Centre Washington. The Tortoise and the Hare – A Suitcase Story is an interactive tale for under-6s, which featuring live music and puppetry on Tuesday, August 16 at 1pm and 3pm.

    Young people from Washington are invited to take part in Creative You, a programme of free arts workshops for those aged 11-19.

    Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens

    Meanwhile at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens families have a range of fun activities to choose from; from the "pop-tastic” Big Science Bubble Fest to meeting the creatures from Discovery Zoo.

    Under-6s will love this show at Arts Centre Washington.

    A variety of free activities on features an archaeological dig and weekly drop-in sessions such as Arty Wednesdays and Pyrex Family Fridays featuring themed drawing, textiles, clay-sculptures and 3D model-making workshop.

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    Things to do in and around Sunderland for families as the school summer holidays...

    Rebecca added: “We’re really looking forward to welcoming everyone to the venues this summer to enjoy all of the exciting activities we have in store.

    “So, if you’ve worked up an appetite being creative or learning a new skill then you can enjoy a spot of lunch then browse an exhibition or even have a walk along the river. Plus, they’re all easily accessible by car or public transport.”

    Other family events around the city include roller skating in the new Keel Square new roller rink, opening daily at 11am with live DJs on-site between 7pm and 8pm each night.

    Sunderland AFC’s Championship campaign begins with a noon kick-off against Coventry City on Sunday, July 31.

    Dino Trail is underway. Virtual dinosaur eggs and a whole host of prehistoric critters will pop up until September 4. The trail not only provides a fun, free day out for families and visitors to Sunderland, but also exclusive offers at many of its shops and businesses.

    Jurassic Jungle, accessed using the Sunderland Experience App, will take users on an adventure through the city, to venues such as the Museum and Winter Gardens, the Empire Theatre and the Bridges.

    Also running until September 4 is the Bridges Beach, where youngsters aged 10 and under can play in the sand five days a week. Every Wednesday from noon until 1.30pm there will be a host of fun events for youngsters to get involved with, from the chance to make a pirate or mermaid treasure chest to “litter” picking on the beach and making sea creatures with what ever is found.

    A seaside and sand crafting session on August 10 will give children the opportunity to decorate their own bucket and spade and then take them home, while the following week that same slot will host an interactive story session and hat making crafts. Tickets are £2 per child and can be bought at the Bridges customer service Desk. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

    For more details visit. www.sunderlandculture.org.uk.