16 Things To Do In Dublin With Kids
Most people associate visiting Dublin with its storied Temple Bar neighborhood, filled with pubs, restaurants, and “craic” (the Gaelic word for an enjoyable social activity). While this may be somewhat accurate, Dublin is one of Europe’s best travel destinations for the whole family.
The city is choc-full of things to do in Dublin with kids, including educational attractions and some of the best kid-friendly museums you can find. The streets of Dublin alone are entertaining. Historic buildings and eccentric historical monuments line the streets. Every single nook and cranny seems to have its own fascinating (and at times fanciful) story. Looking at it through the eyes of a child, Dublin is the capital of a land of castles, Vikings, leprechauns, and a myriad of mythical characters and battles. These stories are vital to the Irish experience, and Dublin is the best place to learn them.
With the DART train service and Dublin bus service being accessible and relatively easy to navigate, this city is extremely easy to navigate, even with a group of little ones following along. There are also many family-friendly hotels throughout Dublin. If you’re with teenagers, bike rentals are a perfect method of transport and a way to stay active.
While there are dozens of world-famous tourist attractions and sightseeing hotspots, Dublin itself is an experience worthy of its stellar reputation. It has something for everyone, no matter the age, there is an incredible variety of amazing things to do in Dublin with kids. So drop off your bags at a Bounce luggage storage in Dublin to make it easier to get around the city. When you see all the great things to do with kids here, you'll be glad you did.
This is Dublin’s most famous interactive museum. Their mission is to nurture children's curiosity, creativity, and problem-solving through a variety of fun activities like a rocket ship, wizard's lair, quirky characters, and other imaginative features. Imaginosity also has an Art Studio, a Theater, a Cyber Room, and dozens of unique workshops. Imaginosity is first-come, first-serve, and intended for kids under the age of 9.
The Science Gallery
This non-profit cultural center and gallery curate unique exhibitions, workshops, and other science-forward attractions for teenagers and other young kids. Most of the gallery’s kids' activities are interactive, where teenagers and older kids experiment with memory, light, sound, and other mind-blowing subjects. This is a great way to cultivate your kid’s interest in science. Perhaps it will inspire the next generation’s great inventors!
The Ark Cultural Center
This cultural center in Temple Bar hosts one of the best educational programs in Dublin. There are science workshops, music, crafts, and other constructive and entertaining activities for every age group. If school is out for summer, an afternoon at Ark represents an essential opportunity to put their minds to work!
Viking Splash Tour
Americans might recognize these amphibious vehicles as “Ducks,” but Viking Splash Tour has repurposed this WWII cross between a truck and a boat to provide one of Dublin’s best tours. These large yellow boats will take you throughout Dublin City centre, providing a variety of can’t-miss views throughout the river and city. It's one of the most fun things to do in Dublin with kids, and it's informative
Butler’s Chocolate Experience
You’ll want to pick up some fruits and vegetables from one of Dublin’s many farmer’s markets to balance out the chocolatey cathedral that is Butler’s Chocolate Experience. This chocolatier and coffee chain’s factory just outside the city center gives tours (sans Oompa Loompas) to sweet-toothed groups of all ages. The kids will love it (and select parents) and it is a great way to start or end a road trip from Dublin.
Phoenix Park is one of Europe’s largest walled city parks. And The Dublin Zoo is located within the expansive and grassy terrain within the park. Phoenix Park itself has a rich history that can be learned via guided tours and its visitor center. The Dublin Zoo is one of Dublin's best things to do in Dublin with kids, with hundreds of exotic animals from around the world, and grounds set up to simulate a gorilla rainforest, and African Savanna. Commendably, this zoo is one of the world’s most committed organizations to the conservation of endangered species. So the price of a ticket to Phoenix Park, already one of the best things to do in Dublin with kids, will provide an incredible afternoon, as well as serve a noble cause.
The Natural History Museum
Known irreverently by locals as the Dead Zoo, Dublin's Natural History Museum is a fantastic place to bring the family. The skeletons of dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures are always popular with little ones, and they'll have so much fun exploring that they won't even realize they're learning something. As well as giving you free public transport in the city, a Dublin Pass can get you free entry to the Dead Zoo, so a visit to this popular attraction doesn't have to be expensive.
National Leprechaun Museum
Saturday morning cereal jokes aside, learning about Leprechauns is serious business in Dublin. Located across the River Liffey from Temple Bar, the National Leprechaun Museum is highly accessible and has some of the best guides in a city full of world-class museums. The charming storytelling and historical insight will enthrall curious visitors with tales of Ireland’s most famous (and mischievous) folklore. For families that don’t take themselves too seriously, a visit to this museum will be one of your most memorable experiences.
Skyline Tour of Croke Park
Croke Park is the home of Ireland’s national soccer team and rugby team, and the venue also hosts a variety of sporting and entertainment events. Kids of a certain age (and height above four feet) will be able to join their parents and walk around the roof of this historic stadium to enjoy unbeatable vantage points of the stadium. There are incredible views of the city skyline as well.
If you’re coming from Butler’s Chocolate Factory and need the kids to calm down, Jump Zone is the place to go. Kids are literally encouraged to bounce off the walls of this indoor trampoline center. The place is massive, with different rooms for various types of bouncing. There are private rooms for large groups, dodgeball, a foam pit, and much much more.
Regarded as one of the best museums in Dublin, Dublinia is a non-profit heritage center and recreational museum that highlights the city’s medieval and Viking history. The programming, walking tour, and setting allow visitors to walk a mile in the shoes of a Viking settler, with authentic artifacts including weaponry, tools, and other treasures. You can also visit Christ Church Cathedral, one of Dublin’s Neo-Gothic architectural wonders. Your family’s bravest can even visit a large crypt!
Ireland’s fascination with its vibrant mythology translates perfectly to children’s activities. A Fairy trail is a short (and doable) hike around parks or even castles. Charming “doors” that are constructed by fairies are set up around different landmarks and are perfect for getting the kids to explore the grounds. This is a uniquely Irish tradition, and a great way to keep younger children active. Here are a few Dublin-area Fairy Trails options to take younger kids:
Ardgillan Castle in Balbriggan
The Tymon Park Fairy Trail
The Fairy Wood at Corkagh Park
The Marlay Park Fairy Trail
Zipit Forest Trail
Dublin is surrounded by the Wicklow Mountain range. Built along these slopes is an adventure park called Zipit Forest Trail, where a series of zip lines and other features have been built for fun and active family attractions for the whole family. Climb through the trees, swing between platforms, and glide into cargo nets. There are even BMX bikes you can ride through the grounds. These activities are intended for older children, but they make for a memorable outdoor experience.
Dublin Bay Cruises
If you couldn’t tell from all the fish and chip stands, Dublin is a coastal city. This makes it perfect for experiencing both the urban joys of the city center, as well as exploring some of the surrounding natural beauty. One of the best things to do in Dublin with kids is Dublin Bay Cruises. These boat charters will give tourists a full tour of the beautiful Irish coastline (no paddling required). Their knowledgeable guides will fill you in on the history and point out castles, villages, and other captivating sights.
Boats depart from Dublin City, Howth, and Dun Laoghaire to a number of coastal locations. If you want to combine several activities, take a charter that visits the scenic fishing village of Howth, which is just outside the city on a small, scenic peninsula. You can take a quick hike around the peninsula, explore the village, enjoy the incredible ocean views, and then hop on one of the Dublin Bay Cruises. Howth has a number of excellent family-friendly restaurants for a family dinner before taking the DART back into the city centre.
Free Things To Do With The Kids In Dublin
St. Stephen’s Green Park
The Dublin city centre is about as bustling and vibrant as you get in Ireland, which makes this lush park a welcome escape for tourists and locals looking for quiet and relaxation. That doesn’t mean St. Stephen’s Green is boring by any means. This open space is full of child-friendly scenic beauty, and rich history.
Originally a leper colony (probably best to leave that part out when explaining the historical significance of the park), this park can be traced back all the way to the Medieval period in Dublin. Over the past 400 years, the city of Dublin has been built up around the lawns, woods, beautiful gardens, and ponds of St. Stephen’s Green. It is owned by the Irish state and operated by Dublin Public Works, so these gorgeous grounds are available to everyone. St. Stephen’s Green is commonly acknowledged as one of the best free things to do in Dublin with kids.
Throughout the park, there is an adventure playground, beautiful plant life, and plaques commemorating the Easter Rising and other pieces of Irish history. There are dozens of benches throughout the park, which make St. Stephen’s Green park the perfect place for a lunch break or picnic. Especially considering there is so much amazing street food nearby. Dublin Castle, Trinity College are other things to do in Dublin with kids within walking distance.
Explore Grafton Street or Temple Bar Farmer’s Market
The people-watching and energy in the neighborhood of Temple Bar and surrounding streets is the best that Dublin has to offer. The whole area is teeming with great restaurants, pubs, shopping. But that doesn’t mean this is not ideal for exploring with the whole family. Grafton Street is teeming with street food stalls, buskers (performing traditional Irish live music, and even some Top-40 pop music the kids will recognize), and souvenir stands. This is also navigable enough you won't need to take a walking tour.
On Saturday mornings, you can take the whole family to the Temple Bar Market. There are food stalls with freshly-baked sweets, local produce (fruits and vegetables will be a welcome sight for any parent), and local street vendors serving a variety of tasty snacks. It's one of the tastiest and most inexpensive things to do in Dublin with kids.
What Are the Best Family Activities in Dublin?
While you certainly have your fair share of options in Dublin, there are a few standout activities for the whole family. Boat tours are one of the most fun, yet involved, activities for the whole family. But the kids will be enthralled by the amazing Irish coastline and Malahide Castle. Even better, these tours are filled with information about the history, so they’ll learn something in between selfies.
One of the easiest and most affordable options is simply exploring Dublin city centre. St. Stephen’s Green is an iconic public park that is accessible from just about anywhere in the city centre. Its greenery is a welcome sight after navigating the hustle and bustle of the surrounding streets. Farmer’s markets and street food vendors are not to be ignored. They offer a unique window into the lifestyle of residents, and there is a wide variety of Dublin’s rich and diverse culinary heritage.
Educational and interactive attractions are also vital to children’s enjoyment. Museums like Dublin Children's Museum and the National Museum of Ireland are plentiful and cover everything from Dublin’s history, to science and nature, to leprechauns. Most importantly, parents will learn something as well.
Irish culture is inherently family-oriented and child-friendly, which is why there are so many amazing things to do in Dublin with kids. The communal nature of its pubs and restaurants is intended to include kids so that everyone can participate in the fun. Residents of Ireland are incredibly friendly and inviting, which makes this country easy and relaxing to navigate when traveling with the kids. Dublin has taken that one step further by offering dozens of fun-filled adventures for the whole family. Education is also incredibly important, so its museums, monuments, cathedrals, and gardens are designed so that even amusements will enrich the lives of the kids who participate.
With kids of any age, you’ll have your hands full navigating the winding alleys of Dublin's city centre, lush gardens, and vibrant streets. Let Bounce take your bags, so the whole family can enjoy Dublin to the fullest.