While Dublin has as many, if not more, fantastic attractions on offer than any other major city, it is never that easy to keep the kids suitably amused. Nonetheless, there are plenty of amusements for the little ones out there, if you know where to find them. This guide will help you do just that.
There are many hotels in Dublin city centre, ensuring that you’re not miles away from the entertainment. Most kids love the zoo and fortunately Dublin has one of the best in the country. Here you will find more than 235 different species of birds and animals, all of which are kept in conveniently separated departments such as ‘African Plains’, ‘Fringes of the Arctic’ and the ‘World of Primates’.
At the same time, the kids can visit the nearby City Farm, which has sheep, cows, donkeys and pigs. Located in Phoenix Park on the outskirts of the city, the zoo is within easy reach of the centre. Just take the no. 10 bus from O’Connell Street.
Another great place for animals is the Airfield House and Farm, close to Balally Station and again on the outskirts of the city. The bonus here, however, is that should the kids tire of looking at the animals you can always take them for a tour of the house or the fantastic car museum.
The gardens of the house are also ideal for some hide and seek in and among the horses, sheep and goats, while there are also plenty of educational but fun activities on offer throughout the grounds.
Alternatively, if the kids are more interested in the sea than the land, then there are plenty of options available. For example, the fantastic Sea Safari should be right up their street. On view here are some of the rarest marine life, exotic birds and wildlife, all of which are unique to Ireland. The safari takes place on an inflatable boat and is unfortunately deemed unsuitable for children under eight years of age.
If you do have very young children, the fun-filled Viking Tours will be the better option. The added advantage of this is that not only are the tours fun but they are educational too.
Take the opportunity to teach the kids something about Dublin’s rich history and you may even learn a thing or two yourself. The highlights include taking a trip on a World War I vehicle manned by some crazy Vikings and a journey along the recently developed Grand Canal.
For further water-based activities, head for the National Aquatic Centre. Set under one massive roof, this is the place to go when it is raining and hours of fun can be had in the aptly named Aquazone that includes ‘The Dark Hole’, the ‘Lazy River’ and the ‘Wave Pool’, which are some of the finest and largest water slides around.
The National Aquatic Centre is situated in Blanchhardstowns and is among Europe’s largest indoor water parks. For the smaller kids, ‘The Pirate Ship’ is ideal and will keep them amused for hours.
However, if the children are bored with animals, crazy Vikings and water slides, take them along to something different – a creative kids’ museum called Imaginosity. This splendid modern museum includes a massive climbing structure, galleries, theatres, art studios and even a performance space.
There is plenty here to keep even the most hyperactive child occupied for hours, whether they chose to act in the theatre, paint in the studio or carry out some construction at the ‘Construction Company’ department. There is even a small space set aside for the under threes.
Alternatively, The Ark is a cultural centre simply packed with fun and creative activities. Ideally suited to kids between 3 and 14 years old, this centre, which is situated in the city centre’s Temple Bar, has plenty to offer young fans of theatre, music and art.
Yet another favourite for the more artistic and creative kids is the fantastic Lambert Puppet Theatre situated in Monkstown. This is the only one of its kind in the whole country but it will certainly have the kids enthralled with the Lamberts Puppets’ rendition of classics such as Little Red Riding Hood and Jack and the Beanstalk.
Finally, if your kids are fans of castles, then the wonderful Malahide Castle will not disappoint. It is the ideal place to go whether you have girls or boys. For the boys, the Fry Model Railway is perfect, while the girls will be more than happy in Tina’s Palace, a massive doll’s house full of antique toys.
These places should be enough to keep even the hardest-to-please kids happy. Dublin certainly is a wonderful city to visit if you have children to entertain and there attractions for all ages. A weekend away in Dublin doesn’t have to break the bank – you can find cheap flights to Dublin departing from most major UK airports daily.
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