When planning your vacation to the Emerald Isle there are a whole host of activities and adventures to be found for adults. Ride along the Wild Atlantic Way, take a day trip to the Cliffs of Moher or enjoy one of the many scenic areas that Ireland has to offer.
Not to mention spending a night or two imbibing a couple of pints of Guinness by a warm fireplace down at one of the local Irish Pubs.
However, if you have children then you might need to do a bit more planning to keep them entertained throughout your vacation. Luckily there are plenty of things to do around the country that will keep your kids entertained, and maybe even tire them out a bit!
So what are some of the best places you can go with kids during your visit to Ireland? Keep reading to find out.
1. Castlecomer Discovery Park – Kilkenny
Set close to the site of old and abandoned coal mines, the Castlecomer Discover Park covers almost 8o acres of woodland. Originally opened in 2007, it did much to revitalize the area after the closure of the mines. It now attracts over 120,000 visitors every year.
The Discovery Park is situated on grounds that used to house the Wandesforde Estate. A family originally from Yorkshire had settled in the area and was of quite a notable status. Some of the original elements of the estate can still be seen, like the walled garden
Many lakes can be found in the area and ancient fossils have been excavated on the land. To preserve the area’s heritage there is a Coal Mining Exhibition dedicated to the history and story of the local area coal mines and the miners that worked in the pits.
Castlecomer is suitable for children of all ages and has plenty of activities for them to explore and enjoy. The park regularly hosts school events, family fun days and events that kids can get involved in. You can even book a day and have your child’s birthday party at the park.
For younger children, there are attractions and play areas such as Timber Tumbles Playground, The Elf and Fairy Village and The Bouncing Net. All of these are sure to provide your children with much fun and excitement while immersing them in educational fun and team activities.
For older kids, there are adrenaline-filled activities such as ZipLining, Orienteering and Mountain Biking. One of the favorite attractions for kids is The Octagon – a high rope frame walk over 2 levels featuring bridges, nets, and ropes.
Here you will find the longest zip line in Ireland that will propel you over an exhilarating 300 meters across forests, fields, and lakes at heights of up to 35 meters.
If competitive sports are more your thing then you can try your hand at events like Axe Throwing, Archery, and Raft or Catapult Building. All of these events are overseen by trained staff and instructors that ensure the safety of all participants and provide training in the chosen events.
Ages vary on these events and pre-booking may be required so its best to check before you go. Axe throwing is one of the parks newest events and is available to the over 12s only.
Should you prefer to spend your time on the water Castlecomer can provide pastimes there for you also as there are two lakes on the property. You can spend time at a leisurely pace and drift around peacefully on a paddle boat.
Or you can explore the waterways more in-depth by riding in one of the Canadian canoes. See birds, ducks, and abundant plant life as you explore the lake areas and pass by the old 17th-century bridge that is still standing.
Boating events are suitable for ages 4 and up and under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.
Everything you will need to spend the day at Castlecomer has been provided. When everyone needs to take a break from the fun and high octane activities there are 2 cafes on site that provide meals, drinks, and snacks.
Take a break and enjoy a coffee at the Redwood Cafe and enjoy one of the meal items from the menu. Breakfast, Pizza’s and sandwiches are available along with heartier meal items at this location.
Or you could head over to the Canopy Cafe close buy the Elf and Fairy Village, here you will find a good selection of panini’s, light lunches, and teas and coffees for you to enjoy. Perfect for taking a break from all the fun.
One of the nice things about the Castlecomer Discovery Park is that it is actually FREE to visit. Once you arrive you are free to wander around the location and get your bearings.
If the kids decide they want to participate in activities then each one is individually priced. Allowing you to only pay for the ones that you need.
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2. Glendeer Pet Farm – Westmeath
Should you have an animal lover or a budding Veterinarian in your midst then the Glendeer Pet Farm may be the perfect place for you to spend the day with your young ones. This award-winning farm provides youngsters with interactive animal experiences in a safe environment.
Suitable Age Groups
This park is suitable for kids of all ages and offers fun and activities that will appeal to any age group. Along with 50 different species of animals to visit there are indoor and outdoor playgrounds, zip lines, and obstacle course areas for your kids to enjoy playing on.
As if this wasn’t enough to entertain, there is also a maze, nature walks, and a historic cottage on the grounds.
Parties and Events
Glendeer does much to educate its visitors on the correct care and handling of animals and there are regular schools outings, special needs, and other groups visiting the park.
If you have a group that would like to visit, the park will provide a personal tour guide for you to accompany you and provide animal information and assistance. You can also book to host a birthday party or reserve tables for a similar event at the park.
Meet the Animals
Glendeers mission is to allow children and adults to safely enjoy and interact with over 50 different species of animals and birds. There is a wide array of farmyard animals such as cows, pigs, horses, sheep, and alpacas to more exotic species like monkeys, reptiles, meerkats, and parrots.
Guests may pet and feed selected species under the instruction and guidance of park staff. The food is included in the cost of park entry.
While there are few restaurants at Glendeer, there are plenty of areas to sit and enjoy a snack or a sandwich. Their website advises guests to bring along food or a picnic if spending the day there, adding that there is a coffee shop that sells drinks and light refreshments.
Glendeer Park operates on Summer and Halloween Season, Children under 18 months old are able to visit the park for no charge at any time. Summer Season runs from March to September Halloween Season runs through Mid Term break. Pricing in all seasons costs 9 euros per person.
3. Imaginosity – Dublin
This amazing and interactive attraction is located in the Dublin Childrens Museum and is targeted specifically at children under 9 years of age. It has been designed by using ideas and contributions from parents, educators and children.
Children are encouraged to explore the exhibits that are created to inspire imagination, curiosity, and discovery. Imaginosity is so popular with families that its website advises all visitors to make bookings and ticket purchases in advance.
Imaginosity caters to schools and group visits along with regularly scheduled special events for visitors to participate in. You can also schedule a birthday party or corporate event here.
Since the museum opened in 2007 it has continuously added to and improved the exhibits that they offer. There are 3 entire floors of colorful and interactive displays and this is the only facility in southern Ireland that caters specifically to children of this younger age group.
Everything in the museum is geared to interactive learning, entertainment, and exploration giving life learning experiences to its guests.
Each of the 3 floors is dedicated to play, create and discover. Play is designed as a child-size town for kids to explore and experience. This includes butchers, post office and a supermarket that all allow kids to interact and learn in different ways.
Create incorporates design and artist elements including construction zone, recording studio, and children’s theatre. All to inspire your child’s creativity and help them learn about art, design, and imagination.
Discover educated kids in eco-friendly and green elements of the museum building, there is the Badgers Sett and The Roof Garden for children to explore and enjoy.
There is a museum cafe on-site to purchase drinks and snacks from. A perfect place for adults to take a break and grab a coffee while the kids explore one of the many exhibit areas. There is also an Imaginosity Gift shop where you can buy gifts, vouchers, or pick up a souvenir of your day.
As mentioned the Imaginosity/Children’s Museum attracts quite a lot of visitors so days out here should be planned and tickets purchased in advance, this also applies to group bookings.
The location is open daily Mon – Sun and entry prices are reasonable with adults and children over 3 years of age costing 8 euros. Toddlers and babies are 6 and 2 euros respectively.
4. National Sea Life Center – Wicklow
There is nothing that kids love better than gazing at the wonders of the ocean. The Sea Life Center is a perfect place to take your children for a fun day out, especially if the weather isn’t great – a likely occurrence in Ireland.
Boasting over a thousand specimens, the sea life center offers insights and interactive exhibits on ocean and river life and features exciting displays of interesting and unusual sea creatures.
They also have active and rescue programs that are used to educate visitors in animal care and ecological issues. The center also offers group bookings, regularly scheduled events, school trips and special talks and feeding events for visitors to experience.
There is a wide and diverse variety of sea life on display at the Sea Life center divided into different creature zones that give kids the chance to observe and learn about marine life.
Some favorites are the touch pool where children get the chance to touch and feel creatures like the spiny starfish.
The Caribbean Cove is also popular with young people housing a variety of different sharks and Merlin, the first ever cow-nosed ray to be born in Ireland.
For the braver kids, there is a Toxic Terror zone that contains examples of some of the worlds most poisonous ocean creatures. Not for the faint of heart!
Sea Life Center Facilities
There is a cafe on site with the usual selection of teas, coffee and light snacks available for purchase and a gift shop where you can buy various items to commemorate the day or donate to one of the charitable or ecological programs that the Sea Life Center operates.
A day out at the Sea Life Center will not break the bank with tickets for adults costing 11.25 euros online and kids starting at just 8.75 euros.
Some of the special events are included in the daily ticket price and there are special discounts for group bookings. Teachers are permitted free admission during term time weekends.
5. Fota Wildlife Park – Cork
The Fota Wildlife Park located in Cork has been operational for around 35 years and is part of the Irish Zoological Society. It is the second largest attraction in Ireland and receives over four hundred thousand visitors each year. It is a great location for a family day out.
The park covers approximately 100 acres and has recently added new developments and exhibits to its line up. It focuses on educating visitors on animals and plants, including their habitats and the increasing threats that they face.
The park was once the site of a private home and efforts to turn the land into the wildlife park began during the late 70s. There was much construction and entire areas of swampland had to be drained to make the park that we see today. It opened to the public in 1983.
Fota Wildlife Park focuses heavily on educating the public on conservations and preservation of wildlife and plants around the world. There are several breeding programs currently underway that help to maintain species such as Tigers, Lions, and Rhinos.
The Cheetah breeding program has seen the birth of 200 cubs over the years. The number of exhibits throughout the park are extensive but contain favorites such as big cats, Lions, Tigers, Cheetahs, and Leopards.
The usual species of large animals, Giraffes, Rhinos, Gibbon and a selection of smaller animals like Lemurs, Meerkats, and Monkeys.
Families are well provided for at the Fota Wildlife Park with 2 large cafes available on site that serve a range of coffee, teas, drinks, hot and cold snacks, and full meals.
There is also an ice cream shop that’s newly opened and a gift store where you can purchase mementos of the day. For children, there are also several play areas throughout the park if they want to take a break from the animals.
The Wildlife Park is open daily all year round with the exception of a short break over the Xmas period. Pricing levels vary depending on the size of your group and the package chosen but for general entry, adult tickets are 16.70 euros and children up to 16 years of age are 11.20 euros. Children under free are allowed free admission.
6. Playzone Play Center – Celbridge
This is a great option for indoor fun and games on a rainy day. This large facility is a ten thousand square foot center targeted at children up to the age of 9 to provide an environment that is enjoyable and educational.
Part of the Playzone Play Center credo is to focus on providing healthy exercise for children through play. They achieve this with a mix of interactive activities, special character visits, creative and constructive play, and arts and crafts. They also have a storytime session for children to participate in.
Games and Activities
The games and activities are specially designed to encourage cognitive development, linguistic development, social and emotional development, and creative development.
All activities are arranged by trained coordinators and are designed to include parents and their children.
Activities such as the Disco Dome, for your kids to enjoy their first disco, and the climbing wall to let your children discover reaching new heights while providing a challenge are popular activities.
There are also pastimes like face painting and creative pastimes to help your child’s artistic abilities develop.
The centers play equipment covers 3 levels and included different areas to climb, slide and scale to challenge your child.
When you need to take a break from all those activities there is quite a good cafe available at the Playzone with Coffee, tea and a selection of cold drinks.
Their menu is varied and extensive service a selection of kids and adult meals, sandwiches and sharing platters. They also serve breakfasts and pizza.
To spend the day with your child at the Playzone Play Center tickets will cost 6 euros with children under 15 months old permitted for free. The prices vary depending on Bank Holiday and Weekends.
There are also several party rooms available that are decorated to different themes for your child’s birthday party or special event. Pricing for these depends on the room selected and there is a minimum number of children required per room. Details of this can be found on Playzone’s website.
7. Go Quest Indoor Challenge Zone – Dublin
This fantastic purpose built facility houses 28 different rooms all designed to create physical, mental and skill-based challenges to visitors. This is an activity for children and adults with the minimum acceptable age for participants being 8 years old.
The design of GoQuest is to have people participate in teams and solve challenges in each room. This is not an escape room set up which has become popular recently but rather a series of themed rooms containing different styles and levels of puzzles or problems to be solved.
Once the challenge is complete the participants can move on to the next room.
Go Quests challenge rooms are divided up into different areas or zones that teams can select from. The zones are Time Travel, Hidden Ireland, Sports, and Play and Jungle Jeopardy. The nature and intensity of the challenges will vary by the theme and zone that you select.
This is a great way to spend a fun day with your family while creating a little friendly competition. To solve the puzzles in each area you will also need to employ your wits. Scores are kept depending on your success in each room and the time it takes for your group to complete the puzzles.
Go Quest Facilities
When you need to take a break from using the little grey cells there is a small cafe onsite at Go Quest that serves hot and cold drinks and some light snack items.
Even though they don’t serve meals as such Go Quest offers a pizza ordering service should you require something a bit more substantial to eat.
Go Quests days and opening times vary quite a bit depending on the day of the week, weekend and holiday times so its best to check their website for times.
The price per adult admittance is 20 euros and kids under 16 are 16.50 euros. There are some discounts available for families depending on the number of members, and other groups.
That was our list of awesome things to do in Ireland with kids, did we miss anything? Let us know in the comment section below!