Things to Do with Kids in Dublin: Top Family-Friendly Attractions

Exploring Dublin with children offers an array of activities that cater to curious young minds and provide fun for the whole family. This vibrant city is not only steeped in rich history and culture but also presents a host of modern attractions that engage and delight kids of all ages. From interactive museums to lush parks and thrilling adventure spaces, Dublin extends a warm welcome to families looking for an exciting and educational experience.

Children play in a colorful playground in Dublin, surrounded by green parks and a lively atmosphere. Laughter fills the air as kids run, climb, and swing, enjoying a fun day out in the city

We understand that planning outings with children requires a blend of entertainment and convenience. That’s why the numerous family-friendly venues across Dublin are easily accessible whether you choose to take a short drive or hop on public transport. Attractions like the imaginative play spaces and engaging historical tours keep the little ones absorbed while offering genuine enjoyment for adults as well.

Our selection of activities ensures that your visit to Dublin will be memorable. Indulge in the fresh air with walks in the Dublin Mountains, ignite the spirit of adventure at forest adventure parks, or soak up knowledge at interactive galleries. Dublin’s blend of outdoor and indoor venues means the city’s unpredictable weather will never dampen your plans, ensuring that every moment with the family is well spent and cherished.

Top Family Attractions

Families enjoy a lively atmosphere at Dublin Zoo, with kids watching animals and playing in the playground

When visiting Dublin with children, we’re looking for diverse experiences that are not only educational but also entertaining for the entire family. The city offers a mix of wildlife, cultural, and interactive attractions ideal for keeping the kids engaged and happy.

Dublin Zoo

Dublin Zoo is one of the city’s premier family-friendly destinations. Situated in Phoenix Park, it’s home to over 400 animals where conservation and education play a pivotal role in the zoo’s mission. A visit here allows families to get up close with various wildlife in habitats designed to replicate their natural environments.

The Ark Cultural Centre for Children

The Ark is a unique cultural centre in the heart of Dublin, specifically designed for children aged 2 to 12. This pioneering venue hosts a range of kid-centric performances, exhibitions, and creative workshops that actively engage children in the arts, fostering a love for culture from a young age.

Imaginosity

Imaginosity champions children’s museum concepts, delivering an interactive space for kids up to the age of 9. The exhibits encourage learning through play with activities that stimulate creativity, imagination, and education. Workshops and events are a staple here, providing hands-on experiences that are both fun and beneficial for young minds.

National Aquatic Centre

Among Europe’s largest indoor water centres, the National Aquatic Centre provides an aqua adventure for families. With a host of pools and water slides to suit everyone from toddlers to teens, it’s an ideal spot for an active day out. Importantly, it also supports family-friendly activities within its extensive swim facilities.

Educational Activities

Children engage in educational activities at a Dublin park, exploring nature, reading books, and participating in hands-on science experiments

In Dublin, we find a wealth of educational activities that seamlessly blend fun with learning. Museums and exhibitions are tailored to captivate the curiosity of kids and families, offering engaging insights into Ireland’s rich tapestry of history and natural wonders.

Dublinia

At Dublinia, we step back in time to experience the life of Dublin during the Viking and Medieval periods. Kids can interact with historical exhibits that illustrate the city’s past, making the exploration of Viking history tangible. The engaging nature of Dublinia ensures that learning about our heritage is an adventure for the whole family.

Natural History Museum

Often referred to as the “Dead Zoo,” the Natural History Museum houses a vast collection of animals from Ireland and across the world. Here, families have the chance to come face-to-face with a variety of species, learning about biodiversity and the importance of conservation. It’s a fascinating window into the natural world for curious minds.

Veterinary Museum Dublin

Within the Veterinary Museum Dublin, we uncover the history of veterinary science in Ireland. This unique educational spot offers insights into how animal care has evolved over the years. Although smaller than other museums, it delivers a focused experience that can enrich a family’s understanding of veterinary medicine and its role in society.

Collins Barracks

Collins Barracks is not just a military museum; it’s a chronicle of Irish social, political, and military history. As one of the history museums constituting the National Museum of Ireland, it presents historical artefacts that span centuries, providing a deep dive into the stories that have shaped our nation. Its exhibitions are designed to be thought-provoking and educational, ideal for instilling a sense of history in young visitors.

Outdoor and Nature Escapes

Children playing in a lush green park, surrounded by trees and flowers. A winding path leads to a tranquil pond where ducks swim

As we explore Dublin, we’re fortunate to have an array of stunning outdoor spaces ideal for family outings. From the expansive Phoenix Park boasting a variety of activities to the tranquil settings of Malahide Castle and Gardens, each location promises a delightful escape with the kids to immerse in the natural beauty of Ireland.

Phoenix Park

Phoenix Park is one of the largest walled city parks in Europe, offering us ample space to roam and enjoy outdoor activities with our families. It is home to the Dublin Zoo, where kids can marvel at a range of exotic animals. The park’s vast open spaces are perfect for picnics, playground visits, and ample opportunities to spot wild deer.

Malahide Castle and Gardens

Just a short journey from the city centre, Malahide Castle and Gardens present us with a historical backdrop teeming with intricate beauty. The gardens afford a peaceful respite, while the castle’s playground entertains the little ones. Educational tours of the castle add a historical note to our family day out.

Howth Cliff Walk

For those of us seeking scenic views and a dose of fresh sea air, the Howth Cliff Walk is a must-visit. The routes offer panoramic vistas of the coast and are manageable for families. This area provides a sense of countryside tranquillity while remaining accessible from the city.

Dollymount Strand

Dollymount Strand gives us a chance to enjoy the seaside without straying far from Dublin. This beach is a hit with families thanks to its long stretches of sand and safe swimming conditions. Adjacent is Bull Island, a nature reserve ideal for wildlife spotting and a birdwatcher’s haven.

Each of these locations offers us unique ways to engage with Ireland’s natural and cultural heritage, providing outdoor adventures that are as educational as they are entertaining.

Interactive and Creative Experiences

Children laughing and playing with colorful interactive exhibits in a vibrant indoor playground in Dublin

In Dublin, we find a wealth of engaging attractions designed for families and children. These range from culturally rich museums to enchanting outdoor activities that are sure to spark the imagination of the young ones.

Dublin’s Wax Museum

At the Dublin’s Wax Museum, our adventure takes us through captivating waxwork scenes. Kids beam with excitement as they encounter life-size figures from Irish history, music, and even fantasy. It’s an electronic treasure hunt that keeps the family immersed in an interactive journey of discovery.

Leprechaun Museum

Next, we venture into the whimsical world of the Leprechaun Museum. This spot offers a playful exploration into Irish folklore with guided tours that are as informative as they are enjoyable. Children are particularly enchanted by the tales and settings that allow them to step into a storied, mythical past.

Chocolate Warehouse

At the Chocolate Warehouse, the family dives into a sumptuously sweet experience where children learn about the art of chocolate making. They don gloves and aprons, becoming chocolatiers in training; it’s hands-on, educational, and ends with delicious self-made treats to savour.

Fairy Trails and Adventure Parks

We round out our interactive experiences by stepping outside into Dublin’s magical Fairy Trails and Adventure Parks. These outdoor escapades feature themed playgrounds, zip lines, and BMX tracks, alongside quieter fairy trails where imaginations roam free amidst nature’s playground. It’s an invigorating mix of physical activity and creative play, perfect for families looking to balance education with excitement.

Historic Explorations

Children explore ancient ruins in Dublin, uncovering artifacts and learning about the city's history. The sun shines down on the ancient stones and lush greenery, creating a sense of adventure and discovery

When we visit Dublin with our families, it’s essential to introduce our children to the rich tapestry of history woven into the city’s fabric. From the hallowed halls of Trinity College to the ancient stones of Christ Church Cathedral, let’s guide our kids through the corridors of time in these historic landmarks.

Trinity College and The Book of Kells

Trinity College is not only Ireland’s oldest university, founded in 1592, but also home to one of the most famous and exquisite medieval manuscripts, The Book of Kells. Encased in the Old Library, this ornate 9th-century book offers us a chance to gaze upon intricate illuminations while we imbue the importance of Ireland’s academic and artistic heritage on our young ones. If time allows, explore the Long Room, where literary history spans shelves reaching two stories in height.

Christ Church Cathedral

Our next stop, Christ Church Cathedral or in Irish, Ard-Eaglais Naomh Críost, acquaints us with Dublin’s spiritual history. This magnificent structure, dating back to 1028, allows us to tread through medieval architecture and uncover tales of time. We can lead our curious explorers down into the cathedral’s crypt, one of the oldest in Britain and Ireland, to discover historical artefacts and echo stories of Dublin’s past.

Dublin Castle

Lastly, Dublin Castle stands as a testament to the city’s complex history, from Viking invasions to the machinations of English rule. For centuries, it served as the centre of English power in Ireland, and now, they open their grandiose doors for us to explore state apartments, medieval undercrofts, and the Chapel Royal. Moreover, the interactive exhibitions hold the potential to capture young imaginations, making history feel more tangible through a captivating display of Ireland’s chronological journey.

Shopping and Urban Adventures

Families explore busy Dublin streets, passing colorful shops and bustling markets, while kids enjoy urban adventures and interactive activities

Dublin offers an enthralling mix of shopping areas and captivating urban experiences that delight adults and children alike. As we explore the city, we find bustling streets lined with both high-end boutiques and charming local shops, along with areas rich in culture and entertainment.

Grafton Street Shopping

Grafton Street is one of Dublin’s premier shopping districts. Brimming with life, street performers, and a wealth of stores, it makes for an extraordinary shopping experience. We’ll find everything from international high-street brands to unique Irish shops. For a break from shopping, we can pop into one of the many cafes that line the street.

Key Places on Grafton Street:

  • Department Stores: Home to major retailers offering a selection of fashion, homewares, and toys.
  • Local Flavour: Enjoy handmade chocolates and artisanal goods from specialty shops.

Temple Bar Area

The Temple Bar area isn’t just for nightlife; it’s a cultural quarter during the daytime as well. With cobbled streets that exude historic charm, we’re never far from a gallery or a quirky shop selling local crafts. For a bite to eat, there are numerous family-friendly restaurants and cafes, where we may indulge in a hearty meal or a delicious pastry.

Experience at Temple Bar:

  • Market Visits: Browse the book market on weekends or indulge in food markets where local producers showcase their goods.
  • Cultural Venues: Explore family-friendly exhibitions in the area’s many galleries and museums.

Dundrum Shopping Centre

The Dundrum Town Centre provides a modern shopping experience with over 120 stores and leisure facilities. It’s a place where family members of all ages can find something to enjoy, from fashion outlets to a cinema and a range of dining options.

Activities in Dundrum:

  • Shopping: A wide variety of shops with something to suit every taste and age.
  • Dining: From fast food to sit-down restaurants, the options are plentiful.

Markets and Local Crafts

Dublin’s markets are treasure troves for unique finds and local handicrafts. We can visit the People’s Park for its Sunday market, or explore the various pop-up markets across the city. These markets are hubs for artisan food producers, local artists, and craftspeople.

Market Highlights:

  • Artisan Foods: Sample homemade cheeses, breads, and confectionery.
  • Handcrafted Items: Hunt for bespoke jewellery, ceramics, and textiles made by Dublin’s talented craftspeople.
Stephanie Creek