There is so much you can explore in Dublin but what are the best things to do with your kids? A city whose cobbled streets are laced with history, fairytales and music.
From Trinity College, to impressive museums and galleries. Most of them, are free to enter. You will certainly be spoiled for choice with indoor activities.
The coastal city of Dublin is the best of both worlds – exciting city activity and relaxing beach break. In the city you’ll find Botanic Gardens, beautiful parks and tranquil riverside scenery. Meanwhile on the coastline there are craggy cliffs lined with ancient castles and miles of unspoiled sandy beaches. So in our opinion it’s perfect for a family escape.
Are you ready to discover our best things to do in Dublin with your kids? Let’s go!
Located not too far from Temple Bar district, Dublinia is one of the best museums in Dublin where your children will learn about the Vikings and medieval times. The different exhibits are happening inside the Synod Hall, which is a 19th century landmark building.
Expect to spend around 2 hours in this museum with lots to see and observe how your children will react on the several stories told by the different actors guides. You will also be able to access a great view point of Dublin if you climb up the Tower. Make sure to pre-book your tickets.
7. Aqua Zone at the National Aquatic Centre
This Water Park in the National Aquatic Centre, has some of the biggest and best water rides in Europe. In other words, it’s the perfect family day out. Older children can enjoy a wave pool, whilst the younger ones will love the pirate play area. In addition, the lazy river and bubble pool are perfect for a more relaxed experience. This would be a true favourite thing to do with your kids in Dublin for sure.
Opening Hours: Open daily 10am – 6pm
8. The Ark
A cultural centre built for children which offers live theatre, engaging exhibitions and creative activities. Certainly, a great way to introduce children to Art, and encourage their love of dance, music, painting and performing. The current programme of events include a Lego Animation Workshop, Young Inventors Camp and Early Years Visual Art. That is to say, the Ark is one of the best things to do in Dublin with your kids.
Opening Hours: Opening hours for exhibitions, workshops and performances vary – check the website for more info.
9. The Chocolate Warehouse
Opened in 2001 by Natasha Caffrey, whose grandfather Thomas Caffrey was the founder of Caffreys Confectionery in the 1930’s. Natasha’s aim was to give children in Ireland special memories, through this journey learning all about chocolate.
In others words, a fantastic option for a rainy day. You can discover how chocolate is made and the influence of Ireland’s chocolate production. Watch live demonstrations, and of course taste test and decorate your own chocolate.
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 9.30am – 4.00pm
10. National Museum of Ireland
Finally, this museum is spread over four sites (three in Dublin and one in County Mayo). Covering natural history, archaeology, arts and history. Our favourite for kids is the Natural History centre, also known as ‘The Dead Zoo’ which showcases 10,000 specimens.
Group tours, workshops and lectures run regularly. It will certainly give you a unique insight into some amazing creatures. For instance, feel the weight of an elephant tooth or handle a lion skull. Discover how dinosaurs took to the skies. Moreover, sketch a picture of the giant stuffed giraffe Spotticus, who has his own twitter account! (@SpotticusNH)
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 10am-5pm. Sunday & Monday 1pm- 5pm
11. Malahide Castle
Popular with families all year round, Malahide Castle boasts amazing grounds with lots to do. The outside space is really the main attraction here. Firstly you will find a large playground, picnic sites, a fairy trail, a walled garden and a butterfly house. Most importantly there’s loads of open green space and woodland for the kids to run around in. Lastly, there’s a visitor centre with an educational interactive exhibition and a great café too.
In addition, guided tours of the castle are available. Inside you can admire The Oak Room, The Small & Large Drawing Rooms and the Great Hall, learning all about its 800 year history.
Opening hours: Open daily 9:30 am – 5:30 pm
12. Phoenix Park
An award winning park is known as ‘Dublin’s playground’, which covers an area of over 700 hectares. Within it you will find the excellent Dublin Zoo, a medieval tower house, a Victorian walled garden and a herd of wild fallow deer roaming the woodland. In addition, the interesting visitor centre has regularly changing art exhibitions and a large playground for the kids. So you really could spend all day exploring this beautiful space, if the weather is good.
Address: Phoenix Park, Dublin 8, Ireland
Opening Hours: Open 24/7 (individual attractions may vary)
13. Dublin Bay & Beaches
If the weather is sunny, exploring Dublin’s coastline is a must for long windy walks, a paddle in the sea and all the ice cream you can eat. Craggy cliffs, sandy beaches, pretty seaside towns and countless cafes line Dublin Bay, all waiting to be discovered. It’s fairly easy to travel around by DART train to the pretty coastal suburbs such as Howth and Dun Laoghaire.
From Howth you can take the 15 minute ferry to Ireland’s Eye – a beautiful island with a long sandy beach and breathtaking views of Dublin Bay.
If you are visiting in March, you might catch the Dublin Bay Prawn Festival in Howth – a great opportunity to teach the kids about where their food comes from, and to sample some delicious seafood.
14. St. Stephen’s Green
Finally, a lovely city centre park with an ornamental lake, children’s playground, 3.5km of paths for cycling and walking and plenty of open green space. A lovely spot for a picnic, popular with local dog walkers, joggers and families. During the summer there are often live concerts on the bandstand too.
Opening Hours: Open during daylight hours
15. Airfield Estate
A 38-acre estate with a working farm, manicured gardens, an award winning restaurant and a stately family home. The estate, left to the Irish people in 1974, is now a charitable hub running social enterprises for local communities.
On the farm you can taste fresh milk from the Jersey herd, meet two fostered Donkeys, collect eggs from the free range hens and watch baby animal feedings.
They also run workshops such as Bee Keeping and Nose to Tail Butchery, to encourage visitors to embrace a more sustainable lifestyle.
Opening Hours: 9:30 am – 4:30 pm / 6 pm (winter / summer)
16. Drimnagh Castle
If you happen to explore the South of Dublin, you can’t miss visiting the Drimnagh Castle. Originally a Norman castle, Drimnagh has been fully restored to bring back the splendour of this unique monument.
There is a beautiful garden to wander around full of different herbs used for cooking but also to curing diseases. A full-guided tour is available to make the experience even more engaging. Just call the castle to reserve your tour with your children.
17. National Leprechaun Museum
Suitable for Children 7+ years old
Suitable for children aged above 6 years old, the National Leprechaun Museum is a great activity for kids visiting Dublin. This privately owned museum is taking you on a 45 minutes immersive tour where you will hear about different stories around leprechauns in Ireland.
So if you and your children love listening great storytellers, you simply can’t avoid visiting this little museum specialised in Irish folklore. Don’t forget to pre-book your tour as there is a limited numbers of persons allowed to visit the museum at a given slot.
Reviews from recent families have been very positive so no wonder why it is featured on the best things to do in Dublin with children.
18. Clara Lara Funpark
Open between 29th April and 3th September 2023
During your visit to Dublin with children, pending you spend more than just a weekend; have a look at the Clara Lara Fun Park situated in the South of Dublin nearby the Wicklow Mountains National Park. You would probably need to a rent a car to drive down to Clara Lara Funpark but once you are there, let the fun begins.
You can easily spend a whole day at Clara Lara Fun Park where you will enjoy different activities such as zip lines, karts, water slides, outdoor play areas and so much more. Clara Lara Fun Park is your escape route to the busy streets of Dublin where you can take the kids away for the day. And don’t forget to bring your picnic if the sun invites itself on the day.
19. Incognito Escape Room
You are visiting Dublin on rainy day and need an exciting adventure activity to do with the kids. Not a problem. Incognito Escape Room is a great venue where you can choose different escape games suitable for families.
You will have the choice to book the Game of Stones, Baker Street Mystery or The Cabin in the Woods games. All have different level of difficulty to escape the room but are not too scary. Make sure your children are OK to be locked inside the room with you for 1 hour or less if you are very smart!
20. Go Kids Go!
If you are looking to entertain young children on a rainy day in Dublin, you can’t go wrong by spending a morning or afternoon at Go Kids Go! This indoor venue is a great soft play open every day with lots of activities available.
For example, you can find a gigantic ball pit, a football pitch and different areas suitable for all age groups from babies to 12 years old kids. Parents can enjoy a nice cup of tea or coffee whilst watching their kids having a blast with their peers.
21. ZipIt Forest Adventures
Situated in Tibradden Wood in the south outskirts of Dublin, ZipIt Forest Adventures is the perfect place to go outdoors with the family. As you would expect, there are different zip lines courses for all skills and levels. So you can safely feel at ease at this adventure activity suitable for children aged 7+.
Typically, families spend up to 3 hours on different courses with a 30 minutes introduction session with instructors. Being in the wild and experience climbing in the middle of the trees is a fun and exciting experience to do in Dublin. Make sure to book in advance your session especially on weekends and during school holidays.
22. Fort Lucan Adventureland
Here is another great idea to spend half a day outdoor with top activities for children and their parents. Fort Lucan Outdoor Adventureland is located on the East side of Dublin in Lucan and claims to be the largest Dublin’s adventure playground.
There are plenty to let your kids go wild such as ziplines, crazy golf, waterslides and a huge fort playground. I would say the place is ideal for children over 5 years old. For toddler and babies, there isn’t much to do for them unfortunately.
The venue also has several benches and tables where you can have your own picnic. Otherwise, you can still pay a visit to the Café where you can eat pizzas or other hot food dishes. There is of course an ice cream shop available too. Overall, Fort Lucan is a great outdoor activity to do near Dublin on a sunny day.
23. Vue Dublin
With all the streaming services available on our own devices, we tend to forget how different it could be to watch a family friendly movie on the big screen. So why not going to Vue Dublin in the evening and see the latest movie you wanted to see with a big box of fresh popcorns.
Vue Dublin offers 14 modern screen theatres with 3D treatment for 5 screens if the movie needs it. When you go to Vue, you sure to enjoy a great cinema experience unless you neighbours make too much noise commenting the movie scenes!
24. Kylemore Karting
If you are running out of ideas on how to put a smile on your teen face whilst exploring Dublin, you should have a look at Kylemore Karting. Available for children over 4ft6’’ (137cm), this indoor karting venue is great for parents who feel competitive against their children!
Kylemore Karting sets up some initial trial sessions from 15 to 30 minutes in case you’ve never experienced this exciting sport to test your adrenaline. So are you ready to enter the arena and test your driving skills?
25.The Rink at D12
Beware! Some parents might find this activity in Dublin more exciting than their children. The Rink at D12 is an indoor venue where you can roller skate at your leisure. There is all the equipment available you can hire on site from Junior 9 shoe size to adults size. You can also have a light dinner with pizza, hot dog and your favourite drink.
On weekend, the place is open in late morning or afternoon so perfect if you would like to book a roller skating lesson with an instructor. Or simply enjoy skating with the family for an hour or two before heading to the next attraction in Dublin on your wish list.
26. Rainforest Adventure Golf
If you are looking for a fun mini golf experience, Rainforest Adventure Golf is one of the few options available near Dublin in the South of the city. Located in Dundrum, families will enjoy two indoor courses with exciting and challenging holes.
You can easily spend 60 to 90 minutes trying these courses and challenge yourself against your children to score the lowest points. A café is available on site, which serves pizzas and various drinks for everyone.
The lucky last hole is the highlight of the course where you can aim for a hole in one and win a complementary free round.
27. Butlers the Factory Tour
Having researched a lot on family friendly tours in different capitals of Europe, it looks like a Chocolate tour is becoming more and more popular these days. Dublin is no stranger to this activity either. Butlers, an Irish chocolate company organises a factory tour on their premises from Wednesday until Sunday.
The tour lasts around 90 minutes and includes a tasting session at the end of the visit. So if your family is interested to learn the history of the cocoa beans and the different chocolates manufactured at this factory, don’t hesitate to check their website to plan your tour in your busy day visiting Dublin with the kids.
Located nearby Drimnagh Castle, this indoor activity centre is a great spot to entertain your young children in Dublin, especially if rain invites itself on the day. The venue has great modern facilities such as a large café, balls pit, a huge climbing wall and different soft play structures suitable for all age groups.
Open Wednesday until Sunday 10am to 5pm, Spraoi is one of the most popular and highly praised indoor soft play centre in Dublin. And toddlers or babies are very welcome too with their own dedicated area. Maybe check before hand if there is a kids birthday party to avoid an overcrowded session.
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That’s it for now! We hope that you have found this mini guide on the best things to do with your kids in Dublin valuable. Dublin is a great city break destination that can be visited all year round. We will keep updating this page if we find more kids friendly activities in the city.
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