Some could argue Manchester's summers aren't that much different from their winters. Summer might be a little warmer, but it is often just as wet. As a parent, sometimes you just need to get the kids out of the house, and you don't have time to try and decide what the weather's going to do (in fact I'm pretty sure it hasn't quite decided itself). If in doubt, why not head to one of these places, which tick all the boxes come rain or shine.
Eureka should be on every family's to do list. A museum that's designed especially for children, the whole set up is well thought out, with plenty of areas for kids to explore. On the ground floor, children can pretend to be grown up - there's a mini Marks & Spencer's, complete with mini trollies, where they can do their grocery shopping or work on the checkout. There are cars which they can fill with petrol, and even a huge truck that they can sit in. There's a chance to prepare food, and there's even a bank too.
Upstairs, is the All About Me area which is designed for slightly older children, and concentrates on all aspects of the human body. There are plenty of hands on things for the little ones to do in the under 5s sections. Here, parents can find safe areas where they can put fed up babies down to roll and crawl to their hearts' content.
If the weather is lovely, and you would rather not be stuck indoors the entire time, the play area outside is lovely. There is absolutely loads to do, with sand pits, tunnels, things to balance on, and noises to make.
When the kids are ready for lunch, there's a café, but why do that when you can have a packed lunch on a train carriage?
Eureka also runs regular events over the school holidays. At the time of writing their next event is Space Trek over February half term, which combines science fact with science fiction to learn about space travel.
Although it is not free to entry, if you pay once, you get an annual membership for free, and it is a place you will want to visit again. Eureka can get very busy at weekends and in school holidays, so if you want to miss the crowds, get their early.
If you want to get your child into space, this is the place to go. Its giant Lovell telescope can be spotted from miles away, and once you're stood next to it, it really can be awe-inspiring.
There is plenty to explore, especially in the Space Pavilion, where children can hear what the Big Bang sounded like and have a look at Black Holes. During the school holidays, Jodrell Bank holds exciting science shows and workshops (bookable in advance) which are definitely worth attending.
In the summer, some activities take place in the vast grounds of Jodrell Bank. It is a beautiful space to explore, incorporating the Galaxy Garden, and a play area. The café serves good food, and enjoys views of the telescope.
In my opinion, there isn't much for babies and toddlers to explore, but for those ages 4 and up, it's a fabulous day out.
Quarry Bank Mill is a working mill owned by the National Trust. If you want to explore Britain's industrial heritage, this is the place to take the kids. It might help them realise just how lucky they are. There are demonstrations of the steam engines and the noise that comes from the machinery is truly astonishing (little ones might not be so keen).
The best part for kids, in my opinion, is the Apprentice House, where kids are shown exactly what it was like to be a child living centuries ago as an apprentice. They can find out how it felt to be schooled and what kinds of awful medicine they would have had to endure.
As with most National Trust properties, Quarry Bank Mill has beautiful gardens to explore, and there are two playgrounds. If you fancy a longer walk, why not head into Styal village (bring the kids wellies though, as they will want to paddle in the stream!)
There is a café, or if you bring a picnic, this can be eaten in the space over the cafe.
The Whitworth is a stunning example of an art gallery, but it is also so much more. As a not particularly arty person (I enjoy art, but cannot make anything), I really enjoy bringing the children here as it provides both me and them with plenty of new ideas for creating pieces of artwork, as well as being able to explore the exhibitions.
In the past, the children have drawn around themselves and painted in their features, tried various hats on in relation to a costume exhibition and have explored a woodland pretending they were in the story of the Gruffalo.
The Whitworth also hold baby and toddler groups, which are free but should be booked. Tickets are released one week prior to the event.
There is a brilliant outside space featuring a playground with zip-wire, so you can make sure the kids get plenty of fresh air too.
For little ones with small attention spans, they don't often want to spend hours in one place. Here, the Salford Quays comes into its own. You can play it by ear - if you try one bit and the kids don't like it, there's plenty more to take their interest.
For under fives, there's the Look Out, a bright and creative space offering children the chance to doodle, do jigsaws and read books. At weekends, there are events on to inspire young artists. It has a great view of Salford Quays too.
Older children will appreciate a walk around the main gallery, where there are often fascinating exhibitions.
If you fancy exploring, why not head over to Media City where you can see Blue Peter's garden, and book on a CBBC tour for those ages 6-11? Here, kids can have a go at being presenters and find out what goes on behind the scenes.
If the kids look like they could do with a run, head over the bridge by the Lowry and turn left along the river. There's an unusual play area to be explored a little further down. Or if you turn right, you can reach the Imperial War Museum, where there's always plenty going on for kids.
Overall, I find whatever the weather, it's often easier being out of the house than in. So enjoy, explore and why not share your ideas on other great places to visit in Manchester's typically unpredictable weather?