Guide to Galway for Families: Where to Eat, Stay, Play and Explore

Jill Holtz

November 3, 2022

guide to galway for families

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Galway located on the West coast of Ireland right in the middle of the Wild Atlantic Way combines gorgeous scenery with beaches, history, fun places to take the kids, and more. Enjoy nature, culture, delicious food, and a whole host of unique family-friendly activities and places to visit to keep you busy.

In our Guide to Galway for Families, we’ve picked some of our favourite things to do with the family around Galway city and county, whether you’re planning a weekend break, looking to fill a rainy day, explore in the sunshine, or just try something new.

Our Guide to Galway for Families

Family-Friendly Things to Do in Galway

Wildlands Zip n Trek course

Discover the Wild at Wildlands Galway! This adventure park, located in Moycullen, just 10 minutes from Galway city, offers indoor and outdoor adventures including: Zip ‘n’ Trek, Indoor Climbing Walls, new Irish mythology themed Celtic Challenge Rooms, Cloud Climb and Ninja obstacle course, Bushcraft survival skills, Archery, Disc Golf, Yoga, Off Road Adventure (mini 4×4 driving), Baile Beag miniature play village, woodland walks, Fairy Trails and lots more to explore! Food lovers are spoiled for choice in the Olive Tree Kitchen Restaurant.

We guarantee you’ll jump (!) the first time you venture through the entrance to Galway Atlantaquaria, Ireland’s largest aquarium, and that’s because their first exhibit is Ireland’s largest “Splash” tank! You’ll also enjoy the ray pool, ocean tank, fin whale skeleton, touch pools and heaps of activities and fun things to do while you visit such as feeding the fish and touching starfish and crabs.

At Turoe Pet Farm near Loughrea, kids will enjoy feeding the animals at the pet farm, they also have outdoor playgrounds, indoor soft play areas, picnic space and more.

Hop on the Corrib Princess, which departs from Woodquay in the city centre and tour the Corrib river and lake. See what Galway looks like from the water as you pass by the university on the left and go up towards the ruin at Menlo on the right.

Loughwell Farm Park in Moycullen has plenty of options for indoor and outdoor fun for kids of all ages. They also run seasonal themed events at Halloween, Christmas and Easter.

Join visitors and locals alike and take a stroll along the Promenade at Salthill. You can find your own way or follow our three fun family trails. There are several beaches to visit, the diving board at Blackrock, views across to Clare and of course you can ‘kick the wall’ at the end of the prom in a time honoured tradition!

Brigit’s Garden in West Galway, located between Moycullen and Oughterard, is a magical place for families to explore. With family-friendly Celtic gardens, children’s discovery trail, willow play area and sandpit, Nature trail, ring-fort and crannog, gift shop and the award-winning, family friendly Garden Café. Look out for special events that run throughout the year.

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Free Things to Do in Galway

Coole Park walks in Galway - Mykidstime

Entry to Coole Park is free and it is a lovely day out for all the family. There are nature walks through the forest on marked trails of different lengths, a walled garden that is perfect for picnics, deer in an enclosure and lots of literary references – be sure to visit the Autograph Tree in the walled garden to spot some very famous autographs. There is a tea room and information centre; kids will enjoy playing Hunt The Thimble and learning about Lady Gregory’s grandchildren.

Bring the kids to one of these great local libraries in Galway. Most have children’s sections where the kids can sit down and entertain themselves with the great selection of books, games and puzzles. There are also weekly story time sessions in the Bunclody, Enniscorthy, Gorey, New Ross and Wexford town branches.

Most of the towns in Galway have playgrounds, but here are some great playgrounds in Galway that we can recommend, including Rinville Park Playground near Oranmore and the fabulous play park at Doughiska.

Outdoor Activities in Galway

Diamond Hill 99 fantastic places to go in Ireland with kids

Rinville Park near Oranmore offers a wide range of recreational space and amentities for families. Enjoy a picnic at one of the numerous picnic spots across the park, including accessible picnic tables. Run, scoot, play ball games, enjoy a forest walk with fairy trail. Kids will definitely love the playground set in the original walled garden near Rinville Castle. There’s usually an ice cream van with coffees on duty for refreshments near the playground. Or head to the beach across from the main car park to enjoy some stone skipping and fossil hunting. The beach walk down to the end of Rinville point and back is 4k and is fairly buggy and bike friendly.

Galway offers plenty of opportunities to head to the beach and there are 8 blue flag beaches:

  • An Trá Mhór (Inverin)
  • Cill Mhuirbhigh, Inis Mór
  • Loughrea Lake
  • Portumna
  • Salthill
  • Silverstrand
  • Trá an Dóilin (An Cheathrú Rua)
  • Trá Inis Oírr (Main Beach)

Spanning nearly 3,000 hectares of mountains, bogs, heaths and woodlands, Connemara National Park is a fantastic spot for hiking and walks in Galway. There are four designated trails, all starting at the visitor centre at Letterfrack. Whether you have little ones who just need to run off some steam or more adventurous kids who are up for a hike, there is a suitable trail to choose from from the Ellis Wood Nature Trail (0.5km) to Upper Diamond Hill Walk (6.7km).

Portumna Forest Park makes a great day out for kids, situated 1 km from Portumna town in Co. Galway. Pack up a picnic, outdoor gear and kids bikes/scooters for lots of outdoor fun, including leisure and mountain cycling, the Arboretum, Forest Park, Walking Trails, and Orienteering with access for all. Picnic facilities available on-site. There are 4 looped trails in the park, ranging from a multi-access trail suitable for all visitors of approx 1km length, to a long multi-use trail of over 10km for walkers and cyclists.

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Are you searching for what’s on for families in Ireland? Enjoy hours of family fun with our monthly round up of exciting events and things to do!

What's on in ireland container

Family-Friendly Museums & Galleries in Galway

galway city museum sea science

Galway City Museum has three floors of exhibitions about the archaeology, history and sea science of Galway. The Sea Science Wild Atlantic Exhibition is interactive, taking you from the rocky shore to the ocean depths, and helps you find out more about the wonders of our marine world; from about how the moon affects the tides and the global movement of ocean currents, to who eats whom in the ocean depths, and what it’s really like to explore our oceans. The Museum has activity sheets, in English and Irish, as well as colouring sheets for younger kids. And there is a lovely cafe for a bite to eat after your visit.

Athenry Heritage Centre is the ideal place to experience history the fun way. The ‘Medieval Experience’ provides visitors of all ages the opportunity to dress up in medieval costume and become a Knight, Princess, a Lord or Lady of the Manor. Discover your inner Robin Hood with exciting Have-A-Go Archery activity and engage with history using interactive exhibits, which includes weapons and armour from the middle ages. Relax in the picnic area afterwards. The centre’s tour guides are here to make sure everyone has fun in the best-preserved medieval town in Ireland.

Portumna Castle is located in the heart of the town. It is an OPW site (free to visit on first Wednesdays) and visitors get access to the house and a lovely walled garden. There’s also a kids’ playground in the town nearby.

Rainy Day Activities in Galway

kids swimming

Enjoy some swimming and splashing time at Leisureland in Salthill, with 25m pool, warm up pool, Kiddies Leisure pool complete with interactive water features, Giant 65-metre water slide and Giant Commando Run inflatable obstacle course.

For some bookshop time, head to Charlie Byrnes, which has a kids’ books section perfect for browsing. Eason also has a kids section in their Galway Shop Street store, and can also be found in the Galway Shopping Centre. There’s also a small kids section in Dubray Books on Shop Street.

For indoor soft play:

  • Monkey Business in Knocknacarra
  • Planet Galway in Galway city
  • Busy Bees in Oranmore
  • Fun Shack in Loughrea
  • Treasure Island Kids Zone in Doughiska

Jump Lanes Galway on the Monivea Road in Galway City has indoor trampoline area with dodgeballs and other fun activities for all the family to enjoy.

Planet Galway has 10 pin bowling and Laser Tag while you can enjoy karting at Galway City Indoor Karting.

Puzzle your way out of the escape rooms at Asylroom Galway and Galway Escape Rooms.

Catch a movie at The Eye Cinema or IMC in Galway or Oranmore or the Ominplex in Salthill. Pálás in Galway also shows the occasional family film.


Plan a whole range of family days out with this brilliant checklist of 99 fantastic places to visit around Ireland!

Crop Download 99 Places to Visit in Ireland with Kids Checklist - Mykidstime

Family-Friendly Hotels & Accommodation in Galway

The Connacht Hotel is the perfect hotel for breaks with the family. With all-day family friendly dining now available in Bar Solo, live music at weekends and a fantastic location – it really is the perfect destination for a family break. Choose from a range of family accommodation options including:

  • Bunk Bed Rooms
  • Family Rooms
  • Family Suites

Whether you are travelling with small children, teenagers or grandparents, The Connacht Hotel can tailor make a family package to suit. Also on site are amenities including Kids Club, Swimming Pool and Leisure Centre.

Maldron Hotel Oranmore offers large family rooms for a comfortable and relaxing stay with your smallies. From the moment they check in, the Maldron’s little VIPs get the star treatment with a cool Crafty Kids activity pack as well as ice-cream during the summer holidays! There’s a dedicated kiddie’s pool at the Leisure Centre, outdoor playground and they’re welcome to join in the fun of the Crafty Kids Club during school holidays too.

Delphi Resort is renowned for the superb range of adventure activities available, with over twenty family friendly outdoor activities to experience suitable for age 4+. You can choose between 4-star luxury accommodation in family rooms or for those on a budget, check out the Wild Atlantic Hostel. There are supervised kids activities all day during school holidays, so parents can leave their children safely in the hands of expert Delphi staff and enjoy some much deserved peace and quiet with dinner and drinks in the bar, indulging in a spa treatment or simply enjoying a good book in a comfortable arm chair.

The Galway Bay Hotel in the heart of Salthill offers spacious and comfortable family rooms. Amenities include heated family-friendly pool, plenty of food options in their bar, café or restaurant. Their Galway Bay Hotel Kid’s Adventure Club includes a mix of games and activities like cookery school, music & dance, arts & crafts, treasure hunts and lots more.

The Ardilaun Hotel Galway has a choice of family or interconnecting rooms. Their Leisure Club with 18m swimming pool is perfect for family breaks and children love it! Kids can also play in the safe gardens with winding walkways and enjoy the fairy trail. Plenty of dining options at the hotel and they also have a pet-friendly room.

Check out more of our favourite family-friendly hotels and accommodation in Ireland – from luxury breaks and hotels with kids clubs to self-catering choices and family camping and glamping.

Family-Friendly Restaurants in Galway

There are many good restaurants in Galway to choose from, here are just a few recommended by parents

  • The Dough Bros Wood Fired Pizza, Middle Street. Staff are always very welcoming and accommodating and make an effort to chat to kids. They also have colouring available for children – and of course the pizzas are amazing!
  • Milano, Middle Street. Very family-friendly restaurant with plenty of space. They have a delicious ‘Piccolo’ set menu for the kids, with dough balls, pizza, pasta or salad and a dessert, with a Bambinoccino to wash it down. They also offer a kids activity pack.
  • Established in 1965, The Galleon Restaurant in Salthill offers fantastic value, great service and tasty food – and they pride themselves on being a family-friendly restaurant. Young diners can choose from several options, including soup, wings, burgers, fresh fish, roast chicken, or the roast of the day.
  • Mr Waffle, Newcastle Road. Very family-friendly and serves crepes, pancakes, sandwiches, quesadillas and soups – and, of course, their delicious waffles! Gluten-free options available.
  • Basilico Italian restaurant in Oranmore has a good children’s menu with extensive options. They also offer colouring for kids and have nice staff.

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Get set for a real treat with tiers of delicious bite-sized goodies to enjoy at these fantastic places for kids’ afternoon tea in Ireland – they are definitely worth a visit!

Kids Afternoon Tea in Ireland

Things to Do in Galway for Older Kids and Teens

Enjoy ten pin bowling and laser tag at Planet Galway, or for some escape room fun, try Escape Rooms at Asylroom Galway or Galway Escape Rooms.

Ever played Footgolf? Yes it is as it is described, a game played on a golf course with a football. Enjoy Footgolf at Galway Footgolf near Loughrea, A game of Foot Golf takes around an hour, and is suitable for all ages and all levels of fitness.

Wildlands has something for everyone, whether you want to hone your archery skills or become the ultimate daredevil weaving 49 feet above the ground on the Zip n Trek course. Tickle your brain in the Crystal Maze-style Challenge Rooms, where you’ll need more than just physical skills to solve the puzzles. Conquer your fears on the eye-catching indoor fun walls, or learn bushcraft skills in the woods. For something a little different, the disc golf course is waiting to be discovered, and tag archery is an adrenaline-fuelled activity to playfully test your skill and endurance as you hunt your friends through the trees!

Killary Adventure Centre offers a range of both land and water activities. Land activities include tree top ropes course, skyfall, archery, clay pigeon shooting, climbing tower, electronic orienteering, giant swing, bushcraft and survival skills. Water activities include kayaking, fishing, bog obstacle course, gorge walking, ringo rides, and giant SUP.

Enjoy karting fun at Pallas Karting near Loughrea or Galway City Indoor Karting.

For those with a passion for sports, Pure Skill in Knocknacarra offers 10 different sports to try out in their 25,000 sq ft indoor sport and leisure centre. And Elilemental Activity Park offers a range of exciting outdoor activities including paintball, laser tag, archery, disc golf  and orienteering at their 50 acre site on the outskirts of Barna.

Need a retail blitz? There are lots of shops to choose from in Galway including Penneys and Flying Tiger in Eyre Square Shopping Centre, or find a few more shopping options at Galway Shopping Centre.

Don’t Miss!

Did you know there’s a Leaning Tower in Galway? It’s actually St Colman’s Tower in Kilmacduagh, a short drive from either Gort or Kinvara. It’s over 30 metres tall, and is notable not only as a good example of an Irish round tower but also because of its noticeable lean, over 2 feet from the vertical. The round tower sits next to the original Cathedral building within the graveyard just down the road a bit from the car park.

There’s plenty of room for kids to wander around and it’s enclosed so you don’t need to worry about them getting out on the road, quiet enough as it is. NB There are no facilites at the site, so head back to Gort or Kinvara for refreshments/toilets. Head to the Burren Nature Sanctuary, located near Kinvara, or Coole Park near Gort, to combine your Tower visit for a double day out option.

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ultimate guide to galway for families

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