Our top 5 activities to do with small children in Dublin, Ireland!
Located in the center of Dublin, this museum is a great stop for kids and adults alike. Here you can learn all about Dublin's viking history. You get to walk through interactive exhibits that put you right in the middle of Medieval Dublin. This isn't a stuffy kind of museum where you might worry about your kids touching things or knocking things over! They actually are encouraged to touch everything and even try on viking clothing! It's just a really fascinating glimpse into the past that you and your kids can truly feel a part of. You can purchase your tickets at the museum (10 euros for adults, 6.50 for children), or you can purchase a Dublin Pass (which is what we did) and gain free entry to the museum. If you're feeling energetic, you can also climb the 96 stairs of St Michael’s Tower and get a panoramic view of the city!
2. Dublin Zoo
This Zoo is one of the loveliest zoos we've ever been to! While it did require us to hop on a bus to get there, it's still close to the city. We visited in August and were expecting large crowds, as is the case in most zoos in the US, but this one was surprisingly quiet! At times, we felt like we were the only ones there. The grounds are beautiful and wooded and we felt more like we were in a nature park than in a zoo. We were able to get right up close to all the exhibits, with no one impeding our views of the animals. Entry to the zoo is free with the Dublin Pass or 19.50 euros for adults, 14 for children 3 to 16, free for children under 3 at the gate.
This was an unexpected stop for us, but we're so glad we did it! Often referred to as the 'dead' museum, this building if packed full of native Irish specimens. We were worried that all the dead animals might freak our little one out a bit, but she was totally cool with it. It is a fascinating look at the wildlife of Ireland, both past an present, and also a sobering reminder that if we do not protect them, endangered wildlife can and does go extinct, only to be seen forever more in a museum such as this.The entry is free, which is a nice added bonus, and across the street is a lovely playground for your kids to run around in! I don't have any pictures inside the museum (oops, sorry), but here is the park:
While not technically in Dublin, this one is a must see and is just an easy 30 minute train ride away from the city. There is so much to do in this area and it's all really kid friendly! The easiest way to get to the castle from the train station is the Toots Trolley. This trolley takes you on a bit of a scenic route up to the castle, which you may not otherwise see if you walked. The total cost for our family of 3 was about 16 euros, and it was worth every penny .Our little one absolutely loved it, I mean, look at the smile on that face below!
Malahide Castle itself is wonderful. This time around, we opted not to go into the castle building, but instead wandered around the expansive grounds. There is a walled garden, a butterfly house, a victorian conservatory, oh, and a fairy trail! Tickets to the gardens only (not the castle) cost under 20 euros for our family. There is a lovely little cafe on the grounds, as well, Avoca, which is so charming and had the most delicious food, including many vegan options!
One of the highlights of Malahide for us was the playground. Just a short walk from the castle is the most amazing place for kids to play. Honestly, we've never seen a playground like it. It is tucked away in the a wooded area, so the walk to it is scenic and peaceful. The playground will really appeal to kids of all ages - with a toddler area for the littles and larger structures, like really tall slides and climbing contraptions for the older set. If you are in Malahide with kids, don't miss this park!
One of the most memorable parts of Dublin for us was the number of parks and playgrounds dotted throughout the city. I mean, they are literally everywhere, which is so refreshing when you have a little one who is all museum-ed out and just wants to run around. And, they're not just your ordinary playgrounds - they're all unique and special and beautiful! Of course, when we had been to Dublin without our daughter, we never saw any of these - and that's one of the greatest things about traveling with kids. You see things you might otherwise overlook when you're too busy sightseeing!