Family days out this September 2015
We all love a fun day out, but if you're looking for something a bit more ambitious than the park, Nifa McLaughlin says check out some of these
If your little ones have ambitions to become intrepid explorers but have exhausted the possibilities of the local park, head to Chester. The just-opened Islands at Chester Zoo – the biggest zoo project in UK history – lets them explore six South East Asian island habitats complete with bamboo forests and exotic animals, all linked by bridges. Tots can become real-life conservationists as they travel, spotting some of the world's most magnificent wildlife.
The Bath Children's Literature Festival gives your tots the chance to meet favourite authors, illustrators and characters, dress up, dance, and just have a huge amount of fun.
29 September-4 October
Bewitched by science
We love it when we find activities that are especially designed for preschoolers to enjoy. At Newcastle's Life Science Centre there's always something going on in the Young Explorers Zone – and on monthly preschool days the friendly Science Explainers lead children through a range of fun activities that encourage them to play and learn about science. The huge variety of things going on, including music workshops, minibeast handling and a toddler bubble disco, means every event is different – so you can go back again and again.
At Mystery, Magic and Midnight Feasts Enid Blyton fans can explore Toyland with Noddy, escape to the Faraway Tree or discover the Malory Towers common
room, as well as see the famous author's manuscripts, diaries and letters. Ginger beer, anyone?
Until 5 September
On London's Southbank you'll find a mixture of circus, cabaret and family fun, all in a Twenties-style mirrored spiegeltent. Even little ones can get into the groove as under-fives are let loose on the dance floor with Australian DJ and mum-of-two Monski Mouse's Baby Disco Dance Hall. Outside are fairground waltzers and a 60-metre high star-flyer for those who are older... and braver.
Until 27 September
Grab your cape, pop your underpants over your trousers and fly down to Eureka! In Yorkshire for the yearly superhero weekend. There'll be regular training sessions for little ones to gain superhero skills – and they may even get the chance to help defeat a dastardly supervillain...
Dust off your skeleton costumes and Dracula outfits then get running, jogging or walking in the annual Spooky Sprint – where you run in the dark with only a head torch to guide you! Choose your distance (10K, 5K or the 500m family run) and head to Waddesdon Manor in Aylesbury as the sun goes down. Inevitably some people take it seriouly, but for most it's just spine-tingling fun – and what's more, it's all to raise money for Parkinson's UK.
Don't miss Shropshire's Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Festival. It includes a craft and food market, street entertainment and family activities for everyone – including free art fun throughout the day for younger visitors. That could get messy!
Olivier Award-nominated Hetty Feather is heading out on tour around the UK. Based on Jacqueline Wilson's book (and a recent CBBC drama), it follows Hetty as she escapes from the Foundling hospital, joins Tanglefield's Travelling Circus and tries to find her real mother on the scary streets of Victorian London. With live music, songs, aerial and circus skills, it will captivate children of all ages.
This little piggy
We can't seem to get through the year without a dose of Peppa Pig live. This time she's touring the UK with her new show, Peppa Pig's Surprise! Featuring life-size puppets of all the characters as well as games, music, songs and, of course, surprises, the show is naturally perfect for tots.