Get adventurous at museum family fun days this Easter

Adventurous families in South Tyneside can come face-to-face with Roman soldiers, underwater creatures and rainforest animals this Easter.

Saturday, 19th March 2016, 10:16 am
Updated Saturday, 19th March 2016, 10:41 am
Circus of Fools at Discovery Museum.

From meeting the Cohors Quinta Gallorum troops that once guarded Arbeia Roman Fort to enjoying a trip with a real Rainforest Ranger, a special programme of events and workshops is planned at venues across the borough and beyond throughout the Easter holidays, which run from Friday, March 25 to Friday, April 8.

Iain Watson, director of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, said: “We’ve just enjoyed one of busiest February half terms to date and we’re expecting the Easter holidays to be just as popular.

The return of Quinta soldiers at Arbeia Roman Fort.

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“That’s why we’ve programmed lots of fantastic family activities; everything from building a flying machine and meeting rainforest animals to designing teddy bear waistcoats and learning skills from our Roman ancestors.

“I’m also very proud to announce we’ll be running another autism-friendly early opening session at Great North Museum Hancock. We’ve received some wonderful feedback from children and parents about previous sessions so we’ll be opening our doors early once again for another private viewing.”

Easter activities include a chance to come face to face with Roman soldiers from the Cohors Quinta Gallorum auxiliary unit at Arbeia Roman Fort, South Shields, on March 25. Children and their families can also learn more about the ancient tribes that once called the region home at special activity days at Segedunum Roman Fort, Wallsend on March 28.

As part of the Spineless: Rainforest Creepy Crawlies exhibition currently on show at South Shields Museum and Art Gallery, visitors to the Easter Spineless: Rainforest Roadshow, on April 1, will see some exotic rainforest animals up close. Creatures from the deep blue sea, including lobsters, star fish, sea anemones and more, will also be making an appearance at South Shields Museum and Art Gallery as part of its Underwater Worlds event on April 8.

The return of Quinta soldiers at Arbeia Roman Fort.

The Great North Museum Hancock is welcoming children’s favourite the Gruffalo on April 5.

Green-fingered families should head to Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead, on April 7, to sow seeds in hand-decorated plant pots ready for the spring weather. Great North Museum Hancock is hosting an RSPB craft day, on March 26, where children can make a cheerio bird feeder for their garden at home.

Stephenson Railway Museum will have the best- dressed teddy bears in the North East during the Easter holidays as it welcomes visitors to design and make a waistcoat for their furry friends on April 3. The dapper teddies can then join Teddy Bear Tuesday at Discover Museum, Newcastle, on April 5, for more teddy tales, stories and an Easter bear hunt; complete with teddy bears’ picnic.

Inspired by the Leonardo da Vinci: Ten Drawings from the Royal Collection exhibition, visitors to the Laing Art Gallery can design and build their own flying machines on March 30, as well as put their drawing skills to the test by finding and drawing as many animals as they can from around the gallery on April 6.

A day of circus skills at Discovery Museum, Newcastle, on March 31, adds to a packed Easter of activities at museums on Tyneside. From juggling and plate spinning to hula hooping and diabolos, would-be circus performers will also get the chance to ride a unicycle.

Top Easter museum picks in South Tyneside:

l The Return of Quinta
at Arbeia Roman Fort, Baring Street, South Shields

Friday, March 25, noon to 5pm

Free entry (donations welcome)

No booking required

Meet Roman soldiers from Cohors Quinta Gallorum, Arbeia’s own auxiliary unit

For information, log on to

l Spineless: Rainforest Roadshow at South Shields Museum and Art Gallery, Ocean Road

Friday, April 1, 10am and 12.30pm (duration 1hr)

£4 per child (aged 3 to 12)

Advance booking required

Meet some of the exciting animals that live in the rainforest and listen to the fun stories from the Rainforest Ranger. Don’t forget to visit the Spineless: Rainforest Creepy Crawlies exhibition too.

More information at

l Underwater worlds at South Shields Museum and Art Gallery, Ocean Road

Friday, April, 8 11am to 3pm (30min sessions)

£2 per child (aged 3 to 12)

Advance booking required

Meet some amazing underwater creatures including lobsters, star fish, sea anemones and more.

More information at