Exploring Dublin with kids can be as much fun for adults as it is for little ones. The city is quite child-friendly when it comes to accommodation and dining out. Getting around is easy. The city centre does have some narrow footpaths to contend with if using a pram or buggy, but otherwise it can be navigated on foot, by bike, or if you’re venturing further afield by Luas, Dublin Bus, Irish Rail’s Intercity Service and of course by car.
This guide features the best things to do in Dublin with kids that are divided into five sections, along with a handy table at the end of this article.
- Animal Lovers
- Parks & Gardens
- Fun History Lessons
- Castle Adventures
- Imagination & Adventure
Visitor Tip: Before you go exploring Dublin with kids check out the Dublin Pass sightseeing package which offers visitors free entry and discounts to top attractions, museums and monuments in Dublin.
1. Animal Lovers
Location: Phoenix Park, Dublin 8.
Opening Hours: Open 363 days a year. Monday to Sunday, usually 9:30am – 4:00pm but times change per season so advisable to confirm via Dublin Zoo website.
Dublin Zoo is Ireland’s most popular family attraction. A registered charity, it welcomes over one million visitors a year, and their aim is to educate visitors of all ages about conservation as well as the animals they home. Dublin Zoo is also home to Zoorassic World, a place for reptiles past and present, and plenty to keep future palaeontologists entertained.
Visitor Tip: Admission tickets are cheaper online, and you don’t have to queue when you use them.
Location: Overend Way, Dundrum, Dublin 14.
Opening Hours: July and August 9:30am – 6:00pm, September 9:30am – 5:00pm, October – January 9:30am – 4:30pm, February – June 9:30am – 5:00pm.
Airfield Estate is a 38-acre estate filled with a working farm, beautiful gardens, heritage tours, and an award-winning restaurant called Overends Kitchen. It’s an ideal spot for children of all ages to get a glimpse of farm-life and understand where their food comes from. Their ethos is sustainability and the Airfield Estate aims to educate on sustainable living.
Natural History Museum – Dead Zoo
Location: Merrion Street, Dublin 2.
Opening Hours: Sunday and Monday 1:00pm – 5:00pm, Tuesday to Saturday 10:00am – 5:00pm.
The Natural History Museum is a branch of the National Museum of Ireland. The museum, which is currently spread across two floors, encourages visitors to explore natural history, zoology and geology. On display are mammals, insects, birds and sea creatures from Ireland and beyond, along with many species that are now extinct.
Visitor Tip: Entrance to the Natural History Museum is free!
2. Parks and Gardens
Location: Phoenix Park, Dublin 8.
Opening Hours: Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year round.
The Phoenix Park is a must when exploring Dublin with kids. It’s the perfect place for family fun, and there’s certainly enough space for children to run and play. After all, compared to Europe’s capital cities, it is the largest enclosed public park in existence. Plus it’s home to Dublin Zoo, Farmleigh, Áras an Uachtaráin (the President of Ireland’s home), a Victorian Walled Garden, the largest Viking cemetery outside of Scandinavia, numerous playing pitches, monuments and wildlife including deer. Fantastic in any season.
Travel Tip: The Best Festivals in Ireland for 2019
Location: St Stephen’s Green Square, Dublin 2.
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday: 7:30am – dusk. Sunday and bank holidays: 9:30am – dusk. Christmas Day: 9:30am – 12:30pm.
The Green Flag-awarded St Stephen’s Green Park is a 22-acre park in Dublin City Centre. Its features include its original Victorian layout of treelined pathways, Victorian bedding, Victorian lakeside shelter and Swiss shelters. The park also includes a waterfall, ornamental lake, numerous historical monuments, and a garden for the visually impaired. There are plenty of green lawns for lazing on, and for smaller children a great playground to play in.
Visitor Tip: On a sunny day get your lunch to take-away and enjoy a picnic in the park.
Location: Glasnevin, Dublin 9.
Opening Hours: Summer opening hours: 9:00am to 5:00pm weekdays, 10:00am to 6:00pm Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays. Winter opening hours: 9:00am to 4:30pm weekdays, 10:00am to 4:30pm Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays.
Renowned for its beautifully restored and planted glass houses, The National Botanic Gardens really are an oasis close to the Dublin city centre. From The Teak House through to The Victoria Waterlily House, children and adults alike will be impressed with the abundance of plant species. Take a walk through the gardens and see the bandstand, the sundials and the Viking House. There’s a Garden Tearoom on site, and lots of child-friendly events and workshops held throughout the year. It’s an idyllic place for a family day out in Dublin.
Travel Tip: Best Places for a Full Irish Breakfast in Dublin
3. Fun History Lessons
Location: St Michael’s Hill, Christ Church, Dublin 8.
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday 10:00am to 6:30pm (Last entry 5:30pm) March to September. 10:00am to 5:30pm (Last entry 4:30pm) October to February. Closed on 24th, 25th and 26th of December.
Dublinia is a heritage centre in the city centre that explores Dublin and Ireland‘s Viking past. Experience what life was like on board a Viking Warship, or in a Viking House. Dress in Viking clothing and witness what a Viking ate. Learn what Medieval Dublin was like 700 years ago. And after all that walk the 96 steps up an original Medieval tower and explore Dublin with views from the top.
Location: CHQ Custom House Quay, Dublin 1.
Opening Hours: Open seven days a week at 10:00am. Last entry Friday to Wednesday: 5:00pm. Late opening Thursdays, last entry 7:00pm.
The EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum, can be found in the Dublin Docklands area of Dublin City. Recently voted ‘Europe’s Leading Tourist Attraction’ at the World Travel Awards, EPIC explores the history of Irish diaspora and emigration, and the impact these 10 million emigrants had on the world. It’s an interactive museum that will get your fingers swiping video galleries and touch screens. And the Music and Dance section will definitely have you and your children’s toes tapping. Family fun guaranteed.
Location: Old Garrison Chapel, Beggars Bush Barracks, Dublin 4.
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 9:00am – 5:00pm, Saturday and Sunday 2:00pm – 5:00pm. Closed Bank Holiday weekends.
As well as collecting and exhibiting a selection of printing equipment from Ireland’s printing past, The National Print Museum also exhibits samples of print used throughout history. Through tours, workshops and exhibitions the museum educates visitors of all ages on the skills required of the printing craft in Ireland. And you even get the opportunity to practice the craft yourself. And when you’re waiting for your prints to dry, it’s good to know there’s the aptly named ‘Press’ café on site for lunch or sweet treats.
Visitor Tip: Keep an eye on the National Print Museum website for children’s workshops and events held throughout the year.
4. Castle Adventures
Location: Dame Street, Dublin 2.
Opening Hours: Open seven days a week from 9:45am to 17:45pm. Last admission at 17:15pm. Castle tours times are 10:00am, 11:00am, 1:00pm, 2:30pm, 3:00pm and 4:00pm.
As well as being one of Dublin’s most popular tourist attractions, Dublin Castle is also home to government buildings, still in use to this day. The castle can be viewed inside by tour and it’s also used for exhibitions and events throughout the year. Outside Dublin Castle plays host to concerts and festivals throughout the year. When visiting Dublin with kids you’ll be happy to know that the castle offers families and children a number of activity sheets, that can be collected from the information desk.
Visitor Tip: On good weather days the lawn to the rear of the castle is used as a sun trap by regular and new visitors for lunch and coffee breaks. So if you feel like pit stop in the sun, you know where you can come.
Location: Malahide Demesne, Malahide, Co. Dublin.
Opening Hours: Open daily from 9:30am to 5:30pm. Closed on 24th, 25th and 26th of December.
Malahide Castle offers visitors 800 years of history, beautiful walled gardens, lawns, walks and trails, including a Fairy Trail, and even has its very own Butterfly House. And at only 25 minutes from the Dublin City Centre, it isn’t a far commute to travel. It’s also home to festivals, concerts and events throughout the year, so keep an eye on their website for kids activities and fun things to do with the family.
Location: Balbriggan, Co. Dublin
Opening Hours: Castle Tour times are Monday to Friday 11:00am, 1:00pm and 3:00pm. Saturday and Sunday 11:00am, 1:00pm, 3:00pm and 4:00pm during peak season. From November to February there is no 4:00pm tour at the weekend. The park opens daily from 9:00am and the playground opens daily from 9.30am. Closing times depend on the season so check with the Ardgillian Castle website.
Sitting on 194 acres of rolling green fields, woodlands and gardens, and over-looking the Irish Sea with views of the Mourne Mountains – Ardgillan Castle has the opportunity to be the perfect day trip for children and adults alike. Because, as well as the castle with its history tours and afternoon tea, the castle grounds are a wonderland for children. From the walled garden, to the rose garden, and the playground to Fairy Tree Trail, Ardgillan Castle might be 35 minutes from the city centre, but when exploring Dublin with kids it’ll be worth every kilometre.
Travel Tip: 10 of the best castles in Ireland 2019!
5. Imagination & Adventure
Location: The Plaza, Beacon South Quarter, Sandyford, Dublin 18.
Opening Hours: Sessions last two hours and session times are: Monday: 1:30pm and 3:30pm. Tuesday to Friday: 9:30am, 11:30am, 1:30pm and 3:30pm. Saturday and Sunday: 10:00am, 12:00pm, 2:00pm and 4:00pm. Mondays open all day during the months of July and August.
Imaginosity is an interactive, creative and educational children’s museum spread over three levels. Suitable for children up to the age of eight, along with their parents or guardians – it is one of the best places in Dublin for children to let their imagination wander and explore. The exhibits feature science, maths and engineering, environmental awareness, and arts and culture in a fun and exciting way. Children can role play, climb, build and dance their way through the museum. And when it’s snack time there’s a café on site too.
Visitor Tip: Always book in advance. Sessions usually last two hours, but if the museum isn’t busy you can stay longer. Keep your ear out for events that happen throughout your session, they’re normally broadcasted over the intercom.
Location: 11a Eustace St, Temple Bar, Dublin 2.
Opening Hours: The Ark Booking Office is open Tuesday to Friday from 10:00am – 4:00pm, and one hour before performances and workshops. Opening hours for exhibitions, workshops and performances vary so check The Art website for full details.
The Ark, in Dublin’s famous Temple Bar, is a cultural hub for children from the age of two to 12 years old. The Ark’s mission is to create a space and opportunities for children and their families to discover and love the arts. This is done so through the means of workshops, events, exhibitions, performances and festivals at The Ark, and sometimes on tour. The Ark in Temple Bar has its own child-sized theatre, and ongoing workshops include everything from drawing to music and drama. Always check their website before you head along.
Location: From a dedicated bus stop, which is located on the North side of St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2.
Opening Hours: Open seven days a week from 10:00am – 6:30pm. Tour times depend on the time of year and day of the week, but usually run every 30 minutes to 60 minutes.
The Viking Splash Tour is possibly the most unique and exciting way to sightsee Dublin with kids. Travel along the streets of Dublin in one of the Viking Splash Tour amphibious vehicles. See some of the most important sights and landmarks of Dublin City, listen to stories about Medieval Dublin, and even learn to roar just as we imagine the Vikings did. And when you think the excitement stops there, you’re mistaken. It’s called a splash tour for a reason – hold onto your life jacket as you splash into the waters at Grand Canal Basin. The tour takes approximately 75 minutes but can be longer depending on traffic.
Visitor Tip: You won’t actually get wet when you splash into the waters of the Grand Canal Basin. However if it is raining you will get wet, so always be prepared for changeable weather.
Things to do with kids in Dublin 2019:
|Animal Lovers||Dublin Zoo||Dublin 8|
|Airfield Estate||Dublin 14|
|Natural History Museum||Dublin 2|
|Parks & Gardens||Phoenix Park||Dublin 8|
|St. Stephen’s Green||Dublin 2|
|National Botanic Gardens||Dublin 9|
|Fun History Lessons||Dublinia||Dublin 8|
|EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum||Dublin 1|
|National Print Museum||Dublin 4|
|Castle Adventures||Dublin Castle||Dublin 2|
|Malahide Castle and Gardens||Co. Dublin|
|Ardgillan Castle||Co. Dublin|
|Imagination & Adventure||Imaginosity||Dublin 18|
|The Ark||Dublin 2|
|Viking Splash Tour||Dublin 2|
More ideas: Best things to do in Dublin 2019