Family Things to do in Dublin
Like any major European city, Dublin has plenty to occupy families of any size or age group. It’s a unique city, with a long, rich history and an eye to innovation.
Dublin family activities combine the best things about Ireland – a sense of community, a love for nature and the outdoors, a passion for sport and activity, and some creative and innovative ideas.
From walking tours to world-class water parks to interactive creative activities and beyond, the only real dilemma for visiting families is deciding what to do next.
There’s a lot going on across these 38 acres.
Airfield Estate dates back to 1894 and was left to the people of Dublin in 1974. Now, it’s a public space, with a working farm, award-winning restaurant, museum, gardens and even beehives.
Daily events include egg collection from the hens, calf-feeding and milking. As well as nature-themed attractions, there are also heritage highlights, like tours of the old house and chances to see the original vintage cars that the owners used to drive around South Dublin.
Keep an eye on the Airfield calendar for other events, like gardening workshops for kids, sheep herding exhibitions, beekeeping demonstrations, and much more.
Airfield is just 20 minutes from this Dublin hotel. Ideally located in the greater Dublin area and next to the M7. M50 and Red Cow Roundabout, it’s a perfect jump-off point for family holidays around Ireland.
Phoenix Park/Dublin Zoo
Europe’s largest walled park, Phoenix Park is a treasure. As you might expect, it’s wonderful for strolls, family cycles and general play. There are plenty of wide-open spaces that are far from any traffic (even though there are a few through-roads in the park) and it’s a scenic, vast and well-maintained park. You might also see some of the hundreds of deer that roam the area.
Then there are additional attractions throughout the park: Farmleigh includes the gorgeous Farmeigh House that’s used for State visits, a working farm, a gallery, a walled garden and a monthly food market; the Visitor’s Centre is very popular with families, with a café, small museum about the Park and a playground; and the Zoo, which demands a paragraph of its own!
Dublin Zoo is a beautifully kept place with plenty to offer people of any age. For younger kids there’s a farm with pigs, goats, cows and more; the bigger attractions include the African Plains, which have giraffes, ostriches and rhinos roaming; and there are the usual big-ticket animals, like lions, tigers, elephants, primates and (our favourite) the adorable red pandas. Phoenix Park and Dublin Zoo are less than a 10-minute drive away from our hotel Smithfield.
Aquazone/The National Aquatic Centre
Aquazone is a vast, elaborate indoor waterpark that includes several steep and thrilling water slides and tunnels (or “flumes”), a flow rider (which recreates conditions for surfing) and an artificial waves pool. For parents, there’s a “bubble pool” to relax in, and younger kids will love the pirate-themed play area. Arr!
Aquazone is part of the National Aquatic Centre, which includes state of the art swimming facilities, running tracks and a sports campus. The pool is of international competition standard, so is perfect if there are keen, competent swimmers in the family.
The National Aquatic centre is in Blanchardstown, Dublin 15, which is a short drive from the city and just a few minutes from the Maldron Dublin Airport Hotel. This is easily the handiest airport hotel in the city, at walking distance from the airport and with a 24 hour airport shuttle service.
Viking Splash Tours
The amphibious vehicles for the Viking Splash Tours have become a fixture in Dublin in recent years. Every Dubliner knows the “duck” vehicles, horn-helmeted tourists and their loud Norse roar the passengers and tour guides make as they pass by.
This brings you around the city where the fun, informative tour tells you of Dublin’s fascinating history and cultural highlights. You’ll learn about Victorian Dublin, Christchurch Cathedral and Trinity College before the vehicle splashes down into Grand Canal Basin and brings you along the River Liffey.
Frequently cited in Dublin travel guides’ top ten lists, the Viking Splash Tour is a weird but satisfying combination of historical guide and boat ride.
It’s sometimes easy to forget how old Dublin is, but the city’s tech companies, hipster cafes and chic, modern restaurants are all sharing space in a medieval city.
Dublinia is an entertaining, fascinating reminder of what the city once was. This attraction is separated into Viking Dublin and Medieval Dublin. See what life was like aboard a Viking ship, and try on Viking clothes and the chains of their prisoners. After you’ve had your fill of Vikings, step back in time to 700 years ago, and learn of day to day life, warfare and even toothache remedies (trips to dentist won’t look so bad after this!).
Visitors can also check out St Michael’s Tower, a medieval vantage point that still offers a fabulous view of the city.
A creative space and cultural centre for children, the Ark has a calendar full of events, workshops and more for kids, year-round. With its own child-friendly theatre and award-winning facilities, the Ark has been nurturing creative minds since the mid-1990s. They frequently collaborate with regular Dublin arts festivals (based around the likes of literature, theatre and dance), so it’s worth checking their site in advance of a visit in case there’s something coming up that your family would be especially interested in.
Yes, Dublin is bursting with historical, educational and cultural family activities. But sometimes you just want to go to an indoor trampoline park. Jumpzone has two locations, one in North Dublin’s Santry, and another in Southside Sandyford. If you like trampolines (and who doesn’t?), Jump Zone will feel like you’ve gone to heaven (via a huge trampoline, presumably).
Jump Zone has all the trampolines you can wish for, soft landing areas to dive into, and some thrilling variations on its springy central theme. There are fitness classes, climbing walls and – best of all – trampoline dodgeball courts! This is the only facility in Ireland (if not Europe) with wall-to-wall trampoline-based activities.
A short drive from the Sandyford Jump Zone, this hotel in Tallaght has a state of the art leisure centre, including a swimming pool (and lessons for adults and kids) and a fully equipped gym. Or check out our full list of family hotels in Dublin and find a place to stay for your family trip today!