Visiting with the family? Plan your trip with some of the best things to do in Dublin with kids!
It's no secret that kids are notoriously full of energy and always in need of entertainment. So, if you're planning a trip to the Irish capital with the little ones, you'll want to check out some of the city's most family and kid-friendly spots. There are loads of things to do in Dublin with kids, whether they love history, animals, sports or the arts, this guide will give you plenty of ideas to get you started!
Opened in 1831 and situated in Phoenix Park in the heart of the city, Dublin Zoo is one of the oldest in the world. It is home to over 400 animals, many of which are rare and under threat in their natural habitat. Giraffes, zebras and hunting dogs roam the African Savannah, while the Gorilla Rainforest and Orangutan Forest are perfect for observing the majestic apes. There are events, feeds and talks throughout the day; check the timetable when you arrive so you don’t miss out. The Family Farm area of the zoo is great for smaller children, with cows, sheep, pigs, goats and chickens, plus a playground full of model animals. There are daily milking demonstrations (March-September) and even a model cow you can milk yourselves! And if that’s still not enough animals, take a walk through Phoenix Park when you leave the zoo and see if you can spot the resident herd of fallow deer. Keep your eyes peeled and you might also see foxes, rabbits, kestrel, skylarks and many other wild birds and animals. There are also two children’s playgrounds in the park, plus bike hire for all ages and segway tours (age 14+).
Image via Rainforest Adventure Golf facebook
As everyone knows, the sun doesn’t always shine in Ireland, but that needn’t spoil your holiday. Rainforest Adventure Golf just outside Dublin has two indoor 18-hole miniature golf courses, one Aztec and one Mayan themed. Weave your way through lush tropical foliage and life-like animatronic effects to reach the mythical 19th hole: the Jaguar Temple. Pushchairs must be left in the secure storage area before you start playing, but the Mayan course is wheelchair-friendly. There is also a café if you have hungry children on your hands after all the golfing excitement. Open 10am-11pm daily and easily accessible by tram (LUAS), bus or car.
A tour of one (or both!) of Dublin’s internationally renowned sporting stadia is sure to keep your young sports stars happy. Croke Park has been at the heart of Irish sporting and cultural events for over 100 years. The larger of the two stadia with capacity for 82,300 people, it hosts the Gaelic games and is the headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). Join a tour and learn about Gaelic football and hurling, the fastest field game in the world. You’ll visit the team dressing rooms, warm-up areas and media centre before stepping out to the pitch and taking a seat in the VIP area. In the brilliantly interactive GAA Museum you can test your own hurling and football skills. The Aviva Stadium, just twenty minutes from the city centre, is home to the Irish national rugby and Republic of Ireland national football teams. During the hour-long tour you will be shown around the press conference room, then follow the athletes’ footsteps from the dressing room down the players’ tunnel to the pitch and the dugouts. Tours run seven days a week unless the stadium is in use. Advanced booking is recommended.
If you’re looking for things to do in Dublin with kids who are interested in history, the Jeanie Johnston Tall Ship at Custom House Quay is great. Discover how and why so many Irish emigrants made the long journey to America in the 1800s. The 50-minute tour takes you below deck to experience the cramped conditions the passengers travelled in for seven weeks. The figures in the cabins are based on real people who made the voyage, which really brings their stories to life. Up on deck, learn about the skill involved in building the replica. Not just a model for tourists, this ship sailed to Canada and the US in 2003 and has since been to Europe as well. For a different kind of historical experience, try a Viking Splash Tour. Learn about the city’s past from your Viking guide as you drive along the streets and straight into the river in an amphibious vehicle. A highly entertaining way of seeing the major sights, such as Christ Church Cathedral, Viking Dublin, Medieval Dublin and the Dublin Docklands. The tour lasts an hour and 15 minutes and runs daily all year round. Children under two must be taken off the vehicle during the water section of the tour.
Image via National Leprechaun Museum
A touch of magic
Want to know if there’s really a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? The National Leprechaun Museum is the place to find out. The storyteller guides lead you through a magical world of Irish mythology and folklore to open your mind to the otherworld. Journey beneath the rocks of the Giant’s Causeway, enter a leprechaun-sized world and visit a fairy hill. Of all the things to do in Dublin with kids, this has to be one of the best. Open daily 10-18.30.