Places to visit: For Kids

National Aquatic Centre (Aquazone)

Aquazone, at the National Aquatic Centre, is one of the most innovative water parks in Europe. The Centre has over 650,000 visitors per year. Aquazone offers thrills, water adventures and loads of fun. Rides include:

  • Master Blaster (water roller coaster) – with hair-raising drops and thrilling banked curves, this is a rollercoaster-style ride that is a proven hair raiser.
  • Flow Rider (Surfing Machine) – the fun and excitement of surfing, skateboarding and snowboarding in a truly interactive ride.
  • Beach Pool – the waves start in the deep end of the pool and gradually wash up on the centre shoreline, just like the ocean.
  • Pirate Ship – heaven for kids aged 8 and under. Full of safe and fun rides, complete with pirate ship, cannons and small slides.
  • Flumes – continuous fun for all the family on a variety of high speed water Flumes, twisting and turning in a river of bends.
  • Lazy River – float around the Beach Pool at two miles an hour, a relaxing 120 metre ride.

The opening times of Aquazone vary depending on the season. The general opening hours are from 10.00 am until 6.00 pm seven days a week, but the complex has longer opening hours in the peak season and at other high demand times. Consult their hard-to-follow website!

The off season period is from September to mid-May. Rides are limited mid-week and are only fully available on Fridays from 4.00 pm till 7.00 pm, at weekends, on bank holidays and and on mid-term breaks from 10.00 am till 6.00 pm.

The peak season is from mid-May until August. All rides are fully available every day.

The Competition Pool opens from 6.00 am until 10.00 pm on Monday-Friday and from 8.00 am-8.00 pm on Saturday-Sunday. The International Competition Pool is included in the price to day visitors. This is a 50 metre pool with movable floors and a comprehensive Academy of Swimming.

Rates for Off Season Period
Monday-Friday 10.00 am-12.00 pm
Pirate ship and Beach Pool ONLY – Adults: €4.80 Children: €3.80
Monday-Friday 12.00 pm-7.00 pm
Pirate ship and Beach Pool ONLY – Adults: €7.50 Children: €5.50
Saturday & Sunday 10.00 am-6.00 pm All Rides Fully Open
Adults: €15 Children: €13

Rates for the Peak Season 
Full Pricing during School Holidays; at Weekends; and in the high season (June 3-September 4). Full Pricing is Adults: €15; children €13.

Weekend opening hours apply on Bank Holiday Mondays.

www.aquazone.ie

National Aquatic Centre, National Sports Campus, Snugborough Road, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15

Tel: 01- 6464 300

Leprechaun Museum

National Leprechaun Museum

The National Leprechaun Museum is a light-hearted celebration of Irish fairy tales and folklore. It covers such territory as the festivals of Samhain, Bealtaine and Lughnasa; the Tuatha Dé Danann; Cúchulainn and the Fianna; and ghosties such as the Púca and the Banshee. Exhibits include the rainbow room, a leprechaun well, the Giant’s Causeway, and the rain room.

Open daily 10.00 am-6.30 pm.  In the high season tours are every 20 minutes; in the low season, tours are every hour (Mon-Fri) and every 30 minutes (weekends).

Evening tours Fridays 7.30 pm & 8.30 pm; Saturdays  7.00 pm, 7.30 pm, 8.30 pm.  Evening tours are unsuitable for children.

Daytime tours are 45 minutes long; evening tours last 60 minutes.

www.leprechaunmuseum.ie

Jervis Street, Dublin 1.

Tel: 01 873 3899.

Day tours – Adults €16; concessions. Night tours – Adults €18.

National Wax Museum

National Wax Museum

Get up close and personal with Setanta and his wolfhound, view a Viking slaying a monk, capture a glimpse of famine life, view a real 1916 gun, and meet the political figures who secured peace in Ireland. Visitors to the National Wax Museum are taken on a journey through Irish history, to a Kids zone, and to a Chamber of Horrors.

Enjoy a history lesson in Irish culture and life from the Bronze age right up to the Good Friday Agreement peace talks in Northern Ireland and stand side by side with some of Ireland’s most famous historical figures. And join in the celebration of Irish scientific inventors, designers and scientists with a visit to the science and discovery rooms, which feature live and interactive experiments.

The Writers Room is a salute to the literary legacy of Ireland’s greatest writers. Enjoy the Father Ted exhibition where the iconic sitting room is reproduced. And the Grand Hall features the ultimate musical gallery of Irish rock ‘n’ roll and film legends including U2, Phil Lynott and Liam Neeson.

In the Kids zone, children can meet the Simpsons and Harry Potter. The Hall of Irish Legends features some of the greatest Irish entertainment and sporting legends. Finally, within the Chamber of Horrors, visit the Horror Hotel where you make your way down creepy hallways and come across horror classics like The Jigsaw and Hannibal. 

 Open Mon–Sun 10.00 am-10.00 pm.

Closed 24-26 Dec.

www.waxmuseumplus.ie

22-25 The Lafayette Building, Westmoreland Street, Dublin 2

Tel: 01 671 8373.

Adults €15; concessions. Check for discount tickets online.

Phoenix Park

Phoenix Park

The Phoenix Park contains over 700 ha. (1752 acres) and is the largest enclosed public park in any capital city in Europe. Open to the public since 1747, the Park is home to a large herd of fallow deer, a Visitor’s Centre, a Victorian kitchen walled garden (2.5 acres) , the Zoological Gardens and Aras an Uachtarain (the President’s residence). There are many walks & cycle routes.

The Park is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The walled kitchen gardens are open daily 10.00 am-4.00 pm all year round.

On the second Saturday of every month, visitors can meet the Park Gardeners between 10.30 am and 12.30 pm in the Kitchen Garden.

The Visitors’ Centre houses an exhibition on the history/wildlife of the Park. Nearby is the fully restored Ashtown Castle, a medieval tower house.
Open Apr-Dec 7 days a week 10.00 am-5.45 pm (last admission 5.00 pm). Jan-Mar closed on Mon & Tues, open Wed-Sun 9.30 am-5.30 pm (last admission 4.45 pm). Tel: 01-6770095.

Tours of Ashtown Castle are organised from the Visitors’ Centre.  The Castle tour times are 10.30 am, 12 pm, 1.30 pm, 3 pm and 4.30 pm.

There are tours of Grangegorman Military Cemetery on Blackhorse Avenue (Dublin 7) from April 5th to November 30th on Thursdays at 11.00 am. Walkers assemble inside the Cemetery Gates. Admission is free and all are welcome. Please wear suitable shoes and clothing. For further information, phone 01-6770095.

The Magazine Fort is strategically sited on St Thomas Hill, off the Military Road, and close to the Islandbridge Gate. It was built in 1734 -1736 to store gun powder and ammunition for British Government Forces. One third of the British Army was stationed in Ireland and was regularly rotated around the Empire. The Fort was raided on two occasions: Easter Monday 1916 and the 23rd of December 1939.

Free guided tours are available. Tickets are limited and are issued from the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre, on a first come first served basis on the day of the tour. Phone 01-6770095 the day before arrival as there can be short notice closures. Tours run from April 8th to October – on Sundays only at 10.00 am, 12.00 pm & 2.00 pm.

Visitors have access to a number of areas within the Fort including one of the magazines and two viewing platforms. Conservation works are ongoing within the Fort. Ground conditions are uneven so sturdy footwear is advised and suitable outdoor clothing should be worn.

www.phoenixpark.ie

www.heritageireland.ie (Phoenix Park)

www.heritageireland.ie (Peoples’ Flower Gardens)

www.heritageireland.ie (Visitor Centre, Ashtown Castle)

Phoenix Park, Dublin 8.

Tel: 01 8205800.

Admission free.

Rathfarnham Castle

Rathfarnham Castle **

Dating back to the Elizabethan period, Rathfarnham Castle is a fine example of an Irish fortified house. Dating back to the Elizabethan period, the building houses the Berkeley Costume and Toy Collection of 18th and 19th Century toys, dolls and costumes.

The castle was built for Archbishop Adam Loftus, an ambitious Yorkshire clergyman, who came to Ireland as chaplain to the Lord Deputy and quickly rose to become Archbishop of Dublin, Lord Chancellor of Ireland and was closely involved in the establishment of Trinity College. The castle with its four flanker towers is an excellent example of the fortified house in Ireland. In the late 18th century, the house was remodelled on a splendid scale employing some of the finest architects of the day including Sir William Chambers and James ‘Athenian’ Stuart. The collection includes family portraits by Angelica Kauffman (1741-1807), Sir Peter Lely (1618-1680), and Hugh Douglas Hamilton (1740-1808).

The Castle and Tearooms re-opened in October 2015 after major improvement works designed to significantly upgrade access to the principal floors of the Castle. In general, the rooms are fairly bare so the Castle is more an interesting look at a major restoration project in progress than a detailed finished product.

Open May-Sept: 9.30 am – 5.30 pm daily (last admission 4.45 pm)
Oct-Apr: Wed to Sun and Bank Holiday Mondays 10.30 am – 5.00 pm (last admission 4.15 pm)
Closed 24-27 Dec. Open 28-30 Dec.
Closed 31 Dec & New Year’s Day.

www.rathfarnhamcastle.ie

www.facebook.com

Rathfarnham, Dublin 14.

Tel: 01 493 9462.

€5 Adults; concessions. Free admission on the first Wednesday of every month. Guided tours are available throughout the day. You can also tour the house without a guide.

 

Science Gallery

Science Gallery

The Science Gallery is a venue promoting current areas of science and art-science collaborations. It is noted for its knowledgeable, enthusiastic staff. There are 4-6 temporary exhibitions each year, as well as lectures and other events. The exhibitions for 2017 are:

02.03.2018-03.06.2018
FAKE
From fake meat to fake emotions, if faking it gets the job done, who cares? In both the natural world and human society, faking, mimicking, and copying can be a reliable strategy for success. When the focus is on how things appear, a fake may be just as valuable as the real thing. But what about faking taste, emotions, chemical signatures, facts and trademarks? Have patents, politics and art given copying a bad name? From bio-mimicry to forged documents, from scandals to substitutes, we’ll ask when is authenticity essential, copying cool, and what is the boundary between a phoney faux-pas and a really fantastic FAKE.

22.06.2018-30.09.2018
LIFE AT THE EDGES
How do things survive in outer space, on the bottom of the ocean or inside volcanoes? Why do extreme environments excite our imagination and our drive to explore? How do inhospitable environs inspire new technologies, designs and methods? From terra-forming planets to tracking microbes on geothermal vents, this exhibition will explore LIFE AT THE EDGES. Who are the scientists and designers preparing for a future of frontier living and what might we find living in the most unexpected places like lava tubes, Antarctic mountain tops, or Martian permafrost? Will humans ever inhabit the moons of Saturn or the deep sea, or have we already contaminated the last frontiers with space junk, plastic gyres and invasive species?

19.10.2018-03.02.2019
INTIMACY
INTIMACY examines the science and art of connection between humans, bringing together neuroscience, behaviour, belief and trust. How does brain chemistry change when your parents first see your face? Does absence really make the heart grow fonder? Can our bodies align physiologically when we spend a lot of time with a person? We’ll find closeness in surprising places and explore how INTIMACY can emerge between enemies, opponents, or across time. And with new generations communicating electronically most of all, INTIMACY explores how electronic interconnectedness may be disrupting traditional notions of togetherness, opening new avenues for connection, or killing off intimacy altogether.

It is essential to consult the Gallery’s website for detailed current information.

Opening hours –
Tuesday – Friday 12.00 pm to 8.00 pm; Saturday & Sunday 12.00 pm-6.00 pm;  Closed Mondays.

Quirky gift shop.

https://dublin.sciencegallery.com/

Naughton Institute, Pearse Street, Trinity College, Dublin 2.

Tel: 01 896 4091.

Admission free.

 

 

Trinity College Zoological Museum

Zoological Museum (Trinity College)

Getting your picture taken through the jaws of a shark and feeling the might of a crocodile’s teeth are just some of the thrills on offer at Trinity College’s Zoological Museum. This 250-year old collection houses 25,000 specimens. Despite over two centuries of disruption and change, much of the collection remains intact and provides a vital undergraduate teaching resource for the Department of Zoology.

The Zoological Museum holds some of the most amazing creatures on the planet.

  • Don’t miss the tragic tale of Ireland’s Last Great Auk. Extinct since 1844, only a handful of these beautiful birds survive in museums today.
  • Meet Prince Tom, the ‘Royal’ elephant who travelled the world with Queen Victoria’s son, Prince Alfred.
  • Have your photograph taken through the jaws of a Great White Shark.
  • Admire the world-renowned delicate glass artworks of sea creatures crafted by father and son team Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka in the 19th century.
  • Keep clear of the giant Gavial – Is it as fierce as it looks?
  • Hold one of the world’s strangest teeth – What animal do you think it’s from?
  • Look out for the Tasmanian wolf – Is it really extinct?

Open Mon-Sun 10.30 am-4.00 pm (1 June to 31 August only).

www.tcd.ie/Zoology/museum

To enquire about booking a guided tour, please visit  www.tcd.ie/Zoology/museum/guidedtours.php

Zoological Museum, School of Natural Sciences, Department of Zoology, Trinity College, Dublin 2.

Tel: 01-8961366.

Admission €3.

 

Bog of Allen Nature Centre

Bog of Allen Nature Centre

The Bog of Allen Nature Centre is an international centre for peatland education, conservation and research run by the Irish Peatland Conservation Council.

Explore the typical interior of a traditional Irish cottage, where the turf fire was the main source of heating and cooking in 19th century Ireland. See ancient treasures like bog butter, coins, the Great Irish Elk and an ancient dugout canoe, all recovered in an excellent state of preservation from the Bog of Allen.

Visit an exhibition celebrating the beauty of Irish boglands and their unique wildlife. Irish bogs have a valuable role in storing greenhouse gases and carbon, storing water, helping to control flooding, providing a refuge for plants and animals and providing spectacular places for recreation.

In the gardens at the Bog of Allen Nature Centre is a special feature called Flytraps, a greenhouse of insect eating plants which are found in bogs all over the world; it is the largest such collection in Ireland and Britain. You can see active insect trappers such as Sundews, Venus Fly Trap, Butterwort and Bladderwort. All these plants move to catch insect prey. You will also see passive fly trappers such as the Cobra Lily and Pitcher Plants (these plants use a range of tactics to lure insects to them, such as drugging them with “narcotic-enhanced” nectar).

The stages in the formation of a raised bog are shown in the gardens. See the reconstructed habitats of lake, fen and bog representing ten thousand years of history. Dip for mini-beasts in the wetland habitats and see sphagnum moss – the bog building plant that holds up to 20 times its own weight in water.

The wildlife conservation gardens at the Bog of Allen Nature Centre are situated on a one acre site to the rear of the centre. Work began on the gardens in 2004 with the aim of providing a refuge for biodiversity. The gardens are entirely peat free. Home-made compost is used to enrich the soil. The wild flower beds have been created to benefit insects. The gardens are managed without using pesticides, chemicals, peat based soil improvers or tap water. Pests such as snails are controlled by encouraging a healthy population of frogs and beetles.

Finish your day in the bog by visiting Lodge Bog, a living bog nature reserve in the Bog of Allen. Here you can find live sundews, feel the watery bog move and listen for the curlew calling. There is a boardwalk on the site and a seating area for you to take in all the sights and sounds.

Open all year from Monday to Friday: 9.00 am to 5.00 pm (last visit 4.00 pm).
Not open at Christmas or on public holidays.
Some special weekend openings during the year ((in May for Biodiversity Week, in July for International Bog Day, in August for Heritage Week and in September for Culture Night). Please check the IPCC website under “Events”.

www.ipcc.ie

Irish Peatland Conservation Council, Bog of Allen Nature Centre, Lullymore, Rathangan, Co. Kildare.

Tel: 045 860133

Adults €5; family (2 adults, 3 children) €15.

Causey Farm

Causey Farm *****

Causey Farm is a highly acclaimed venue for a variety of entertainment, tourism and educational programmes. The farm provides interactive cultural experiences in a friendly atmosphere for Irish and international groups, as well as seasonal events.

On their 300 acre farm, the Murtagh family breed Limousin-cross cattle, which they sell when the animals are around two years old. Their flock of Belclare ewes (an Irish breed famous for its high numbers of lambs) lamb in springtime; the lambs are sold, mainly to the French market, during the summer. The farm also produces winter wheat and spring barley, as well as curly kale, beet and turnips.

Causey Farm targets the school tours market, as well as corporate clients and international visitors (in groups). Typically, a group tour visit takes in a bodhrán workshop, a farmyard tour, céilí dancing, a trip to the bog & traditional turf cutting, a sheepdog demonstration, a nature walk and making your own soda bread. Prices start at around €14 per person. Definitely a 5-star experience for kids.

Tours are customised depending on the requirements of the group, so the price per individual can vary. Phone in advance to work out the package that suits you. Causey Farm also arranges popular hen party events, as well as hosting the chilling Halloween “Farmaphobia” extravaganza.

Farmaphobia is Ireland’s most horrifying Halloween Event. Now in its ninth year, it has had over 120,000 visitors to date. Journey through a frightful evening of screams and laughter… eerie corners, blood-curdling frights, ghoulish entertainers, heart-pounding, adrenaline pumping, life-threatening fear… your worst nightmares come true!

Farmphobia consists of five scare attractions with lots of other scaretainment taking place around the farm, guaranteeing a unique and different night out. The haunts include Dead & Breakfast, Vamporium, Field of Screams, Mutation Morgue and Scarecus.

You can opt for one of two Passes. The Scream Pass covers three Haunts (Mutation Morgue, Field of Screams and Vamporium) and costs €18 (Off Peak) or €20 (Peak). The X-Scream Pass covers all five Haunts and costs €27 (Off Peak) or €32 (Peak). The Peak Nights are 27th-31st October.

www.causey.ie

www.farmaphobia.ie

Causey Farm, Girley, Fordstown, Navan, Co. Meath.

Tel: 046-9434135.