Family Things to Do in Galway and Connacht

Jill Holtz

May 26, 2014

Boda Borg at Lough Key

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Are you looking for things to do with kids ? As parents, we are always on the lookout for great places to go with kids. In no particular order, we have rounded up our pick of fun summer outings and family things to do in Galway and Connacht. You’ll find a mixture of paid for and free places to visit, indoors and outdoors places, old historical places and new attractions.

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We hope you have fun visiting them all and be sure to let us know how you got on and what you thought of them, we always welcome feedback!

1. Galway Atlantaquaria

galway-atlantaquariaThe first time you venture through the entrance to Galway Atlantaquaria, Ireland’s largest aquarium, we guarantee you’ll jump!  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.

2. National Museum of Ireland – Country Life

museum of country lifeThe National Museum of Ireland – Country Life in Castlebar, Co Mayo, brings to life the traditions of rural life in Ireland.  Exhibitions are full of wonderful objects from long ago.  See what schools were like, the toys children played with and how they marked special events like Halloween & Christmas.

Learn about how people lived in the towns and countryside, cut turf, caught fish and worked in the home. Workshops, exhibitions and family programmes for all ages. Free entry, and great for those rainy days.

3. Lough Key Forest & Activity Park, Roscommon

Unusual things to do at Lough Key Forest Park

Lough Key Forest & Activity Park offers hours of entertainment for all the family. A wonderful enclosed Adventure Play Kingdom will entertain the smallest visitors while the Boda Borg Challenge will test the mental skills and physical agility of everybody over seven!

Be guided back in time through 19th Century tunnels and stroll Irelands only Tree Canopy trail on the Lough Key Experience. Take a well-earned break and enjoy the vista of Lough Key in the Lakeside Café. You can even stay over in the landscaped Caravan and Campsite.

Other Fun activities in the park included Woodland Segway offering fun Glides and Historical Tours, Electric Bike trails with Traditional and Electric Bikes, Zipit Forest Adventures, Lough Key Boat Tours and Orienteering Trails!

Recommended ReadingFamily Holidays in Ireland

4. Brigit’s Garden, Galway

Brigits Garden Spring walks for families in Ireland

Brigit’s Garden located between Moycullen and Oughterard, is a magical place for families to explore..

With family-friendly Celtic gardens, Kids’ discovery trail, willow play area and sandpit, Nature trail, ring-fort and crannog, Gift shop and The Garden Café, recommended in the Georgina Campbell and Bridgestone guides.

There’s a giant sundial too where you can tell the time (provided it’s sunny!).

5. Galway City Museum

Photo: Reg GordonGalway City Museum is a spacious, modern building, situated in the heart of Galway City, on the banks of the River Corrib, overlooking the Spanish Arch and the Claddagh.

The museum, which is free of charge, tells the story of Galway’s past and regularly hosts touring art and craft exhibitions. There’s also a new Sea Science exhibition for children of all ages. The museum also holds a regular programme of events with activities for all ages.

6. Zipit, Roscommon & Dublin

Zipit - Leinster & Connacht_smallZipit Forest Adventures (in Dublin & Roscommon) offers up to 4 hours of tree-top, fun-filled, thrilling experiences in a healthy, outdoor setting for adults and children from age 7.

At their locations in Tibradden Wood in Dublin and Lough Key in Roscommon, you can climb poles and climbing walls, swing into cargo nets, balance on a rope bridge, hurtle down a zipwire.

From beginners to adrenaline junkies, you can have a fun experience with guidance and encouragement from qualified instructors, knowing you are secure in your harness.

7. Vertigo @ Funny Bones in Collooney, Sligo

Funny Bones House of Fun is a children’s activity and play centre based in Colloney, just outside Sligo.

For younger kids there’s a soft play area, and for older children, there’s Vertigo – a unique adventure zone which has a specially built 6 meter climbing wall and high ropes adventure course. Go Karting and Laser Fun are also available. Don’t miss the hurricane simulator!

Recommended Reading: 100 Rainy Day Places in Ireland

8. Jackie Clarke Collection, Mayo

jackie clarke collectionLocated in Ballina, Co Mayo, the Jackie Clarke Collection showcases one of the world’s leading collections of historical Irish material.  Discover 400 years of Irish history through the self-guiding family friendly interactive touch screens. In the memory pod you can record and share your stories and memories.

Discover something new about your family history by searching the in-house census and eviction records. Learn about Irish Native trees, organic vegetable gardening and the importance of our hedgerows in the Urban Walled Garden.

Admission is FREE and you can enjoy lunch in cafe after your visit.

9. Westport House and Pirate Adventure Park, Mayo

westport house

There’s plenty for families at Westport House & Pirate Adventure Park. Set on the 480 acre estate, the Pirate Adventure Park is a treasure trove of family fun with its Grace O’Malley-themed amusement park with rides and activities ideally suited to families with children under 12.

Enjoy the log flume water ride, swinging Pirate’s galleon, a ride on the miniature railway, Swan Pedalo Boats, Cannon Ball Run slide, pitch & putt, indoor soft play, paint your own pottery and outdoor playground in this beautiful parkland setting.

The house has plenty to offer families too, where the grown-ups will enjoy the beauty of the entire House, children will love the basement area where the dungeons host an installation depicting Grace O’Malley’s maritime lifestyle – an ageless favourite of children since the house opened in the 60’s. There are funny mirrors, an antique coin operated puppet show , and a bunch of illusions and tricks to keep everyone entertained. 30 min tours for under 12 yrs.

10. Leaning Tower of Galway

leaningtowergalwayVisiting Galway with kids or looking for something different to do with the kids in County Galway?  Head out to Kilmacduagh to see the “Leaning Tower of Galway”! Located 5 km from the town of Gort, 7th century Saint Colman, son of Duagh, established a monastery on land given him by his cousin King Guaire Aidne mac Colmáin of Connacht.

Kilmacduagh’s tall round tower is not only a good example of an Irish round tower but has a noticeable lean, over 2 feet from the vertical. 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.

11. Cycle the Greenway

Family Cycling the Greenway

Escape the bustle of urban life on the longest off-road walking and cycling experience in the country – The Great Western Greenway. The Greenway traverses Ireland’s Atlantic coast between Westport town and Achill Island and visits the picturesque villages of Newport and Mulranny.

12. Turoe Pet Farm, Galway

turoe pet farmA family run farm just off the M6 Dublin-Galway motorway near Loughrea, Turoe Pet Farm makes a perfect spot to break the journey if you are travelling with the family this summer but there is enough to do there to make a visit a full day out.

Stretch your legs on the all weather nature trail, where you can meet llamas, alpacas and even Dundee the Crocodile! Cuddle the rabbits in Pet’s Corner, enjoy the playground and football pitch.  Jungle Town is a fully supervised indoor activity centre on the site while in Inflatable City you will find a massive 8,000ft bouncing castle!

13. Burren Nature Sanctuary

burren nature sanctuary

The Burren Nature Sanctuary, Kinvara, is an interpretive centre for the natural history of the Burren. There’s an Adventure Playground with excellent equipment, including a fantastic sand pit.

Afterwards, take the 1K Nature Trail, a gentle loop walk where you can feed the sheep and see llamas. Kids can do a nature trail activity where they can make rubbings of leaves and other nature items on the way around and return their sheet for a “reward”. Indoors there’s an artisan cafe, and soft play area with slides, ball pool and climbing frames. Free for Adults.

Recommended Reading: Family Day Trip to the Burren

14. Glendeer Pet Farm, Roscommon


A visit to Glendeer Pet Farm (5 miles west of Athlone, exit 13 off M6, follow signs for Drum) is an interactive experience where people can feed, pet & hold some of the animals, which include deer, pigs, llamas, emu, ostrich, goats, donkeys, sheep, and lots more including monkeys, wallabies & a tortoise, not to mention all the babies the new arrivals every year incl. kid goats, llamas & pups. Indoor & outdoor picnic & play areas and coffee shop.

15. Boyle Model Railway, Roscommon

The Boyle Model Railway is a unique model railway project and the only one of its kind open to the public in Ireland. Over 20ft x 20ft in size, HO scale, with tracks, trains, towns, mountains, mines, tunnels and stations currently being constructed by volunteers & Boyle Men’s Shed. It is great for all the family, Choo Choo! Meet the model makers and hear how they have put the project together. Open every Friday for the summer and admission is FREE.

16. Eagles Flying, Sligo

Eagles Flying Sligo

The highly entertaining and interactive shows at Ireland’s largest sanctuary for Birds of Prey and Owls, the Irish Raptor Research Centre Eagles Flyingmean excitement, photo opportunities and the chance to get up close with birds of Prey.

Experience Eagles, Hawks and Vultures flying right over your head or landing next to you. You have never been that close to such a bird.  If you are lucky, you can fly or touch one of them during the show. If you like more cuddly creatures you can visit the animals in their large supervised pet-zoo.

17. Glencar Waterfall, Leitrim

glencar waterfall leitrimGlencar Waterfall is situated near Glencar Lake, 11 kilometres west of Manorhamilton, County Leitrim. It is particularly impressive after rain and can be viewed from a lovely wooded walk. There are more waterfalls visible from the road, although none is quite as romantic as this one. There are also on-site picnic facilities and an information kiosk.

Recommended Reading: Family Walks in Galway, Leitrim, Sligo, & Great Family Walks Ireland.

We also have lots more ideas for fun outings in Family Things to Do in Leinster, Munster and Ulster

Did you visit any of the Connacht places we recommended ? Tell us how you got on in the comments below!

Like this? Share it with your network!

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Published On: May 26th, 2014 / Categories: Things To Do / Last Updated: March 30th, 2021 / Tags: , , , , , , /

About the Author: Jill Holtz

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Jill is one of the co-founders of Mykidstime and a mum of 2 girls

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