Dublin For Kids

Dublin Zoo: Located in the Phoenix Park, Dublin Zoo has always been a popular attraction. Opened in 1830, the Zoo has a long and interesting history. With fascinating and informative displays, children will be enthralled by the giraffes and scared by the lions. Currently undergoing phase by phase renovation, the zoo is a modern home for animals in a tranquil Victorian setting.

National Wax Museum: Packed full of life-size models of famous figured from Irish history, such as Wolfe Tone, Robert Emmet, and our Presidents and Taosigh. The Children's World of Fairytale and Fantasy is a discovery of joy for children, with beanstalks, magic lamps and genies galore. There are two exits from the Wax Museum: The Chamber of Horrors or the Hall of the Megastars. Depending on whether you prefer bloodcurdling screams or the glittery world of rock and roll, choose carefully. And before you leave, take a closer look at the man reading the Irish Times in the lobby.

Pantomime: If you're visiting Dublin around Christmas time, the pantomimes run in the Gaiety and the Olympia are a treat! With favourite children's TV stars and wacky story lines these are enjoyed by children and their parents alike. Audience participation is a must, but don't worry, your lines are "Oh yes it is!" "Oh no it isn't!" and "Behind you!" A truly enjoyable way to spend an evening out with the kids.

St Stephen's Green : In the heart of the city centre, St Stephen's Green is the perfect place to take a break from sightseeing. Spacious, with benches or for those who prefer to be closer to nature, grass to sit on, one can relax on Stephen's Green and watch the world pass by. Also fun is the children's playground, where the kids can run around while you relax. No admission to adults unless accompanied by a child? a perfect revenge for those who have been dragged around the shops all day!

The Ark - Temple Bar: A cultural centre for children, The Ark hosts plays, puppet shows, storytelling and poetry readings. Aimed at kids from 4-14 years of age, The Ark is popular, and places must be booked early to insure admission. Sessions run at under ?5 a turn, The Ark provides fun-filled educational diversion for the kids.

UGC Cinemas - Parnell Centre: Not an original idea, nor unique to Dublin, there is something to be said for a trip to the cinema. It's an interesting experience to be in a cinema in another city when one is young, and there's all the excitement of the latest action-packed children's movie. The kids will stay quiet for two hours and you can all sit back, relax, and enjoy the movie.

Hey! Doodle Doodle: In Crown Alley, Temple Bar, Hey! Doodle Doodle is a ceramics workshop, where you can paint your own design on a readymade piece of pottery. All customers are catered for, little and large, and paints are non-toxic, and so safe for kids to use. What better memento of your trip to Dublin than a custom hand-painted mug?

Leisureplex: With branches located in several different locations around the city, the Leisureplex has bowling, Q-zar (where teams compete in inter-galactic laser combat to shoot as many bad guys as possible without getting shot yourself), indoor play areas for younger kids, and billiards and computer games for older children.

Fort Lucan Adventure Centre: In the heart of County Dublin, just fifteen minutes from the city centre, Fort Lucan is a fully supervised adventure playground. With crazy golf, trampolines and an assault course, Fort Lucan is a fun day out for the kids. A quiet caf? provides a well-earned repose for those who do not wish to run around noisily. You can keep an eye on your precious ones, and enjoy the relaxing peace of mind afforded by knowing that they'll be well tired out after their romp around the Fort.

Clara Lara Funpark: Located in picturesque Clara Vale, Co Wicklow, forty minutes south of the city centre, Clara Lara is packed full of exciting rides and adventures, mostly related to water. Go Karts and the highest slide in Ireland are among the attractions. There is also rafting, climbing frames, boats and swings, all of which are fully supervised by trained professionals. There is a picnic area and shops. A quick tip: it is advisable to bring a towel, at least one change of clothes and dry shoes.

The Phoenix Park: The largest enclosed park in Europe, the Phoenix Park has a long and colourful history. Apart from that, it is wide open, and local families frequently spend sunny afternoons in the park enjoying picnics and just taking in the peace. The grassy park has many sports grounds and there is a children's playground in the People's Gardens.