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 outings and family things to do in Leinster! You’ll find a mixture of paid for and free places to visit, indoors and outdoors places, old historical places and brand new attractions.
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From museums, tours and famous gardens to tree top adventures, animal encounters and a lavender farm, our pick of things to do in Leinster is a mix of family-friendly activities you can enjoy all year round.
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Historical and Educational Things to Do in Leinster
National Museum of Ireland
The National Museum of Ireland museums in Dublin are all free to visit and have great collections as well as a wide range of ongoing events for families.
The National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts & History is home to a wide range of objects, which include weaponry, furniture, silver, ceramics and glassware; as well as examples of Folklife and costume.
The National Museum of Ireland – Natural History has galleries of animals from Ireland and overseas, also geological exhibits form a total collection of about 2 million scientific specimens with a Discovery Zone.
Opened in 1890, the National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology is the national repository for all archaeological objects found in Ireland and displays artefacts dating from 7000 BC to the 20th century. The Irish archaeology collections include The Treasury, featuring outstanding examples of Celtic and Medieval art.
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The Ark, Dublin
The Ark is a unique cultural centre where children aged 2-12 and their families can explore theatre, music, literature, art, film, dance and more.
The Ark’s programme is always a big hit with families looking for creative and fun activities, and you can expect a different experience every visit!
Based on Eustace Street in Temple Bar, it is very easy to get to by public transport, or the nearest car park is on Fleet Street.
At Dublinia, travel back to Viking and Medieval Dublin, and witness the sights, sounds and smells and unearth the city’s archaeology in the History Hunters exhibition!
With a full programme of events taking place at weekends during the summer, including Family First Saturdays which includes medieval pot making workshops, puppet shows and much more, and there’s Viking Dublin Tours, Medieval Dublin tours and lots more, there’s heaps for families to do at Dublinia.
National Botanic Gardens, Dublin
Get lost in the glorious green haven and excite your senses with a visit to the National Botanical Gardens in Glasnevin, just 3km from the city centre.
Home to thousands of plant species, you’ll also find some stunning restored glasshouses, daily tours, a regular programme of family events and seasonal activities.
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Imaginosity, Dublin Children’s Museum is a child-centred creative, educational and interactive space suitable for children up to the age of 9 years and their families. Imaginosity is a space for adults and children to engage in creative play, emphasising learning through hands-on experience and engagement.
Booking is essential to guarantee entry. Don’t miss the TV Station and Reporter’s Desk where you can read the news or present the weather!
Powerscourt Estate, Wicklow
Powerscourt Estate offers a fantastic day out for families with a choice of attractions to visit – Powerscourt Gardens and Waterfall, and children’s museum, Tara’s Palace, in Powerscourt House. Experience one of the best views in Ireland at Powerscourt Gardens.
Visit Powerscourt Waterfall, the highest waterfall in Ireland, located 5km from the main Estate where you can discover trees that are hundreds of years old, such as the Giant Redwoods which grow up to 80m high!
There are some great value options for family dining also. Enjoy the year-round events programme of treasure hunts, enchanted walks and lots more.
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Tara’s Palace Museum of Childhood, Wicklow
Explore the magical miniature world of Tara’s Palace Museum of Childhood at Powerscourt House.
Each room in Tara’s Palace is furnished with miniature masterpieces, hand painted ceilings and hand crafted wooden and marble floors.
The museum is home to Ireland’s largest period dolls house, Tara’s Palace, and contains hundreds of fascinating exhibits, including the amazing 17th century house in a bottle, the smallest doll in the world and a 300-year-old doll’s house. Perfect for all ages from 5 to 105! There’s an interactive room for younger visitors and a Museum Quiz for all the family.
Belvedere House, Westmeath
Belvedere House is set on an elevated site overlooking Lough Ennell with spectacular views of the 160-acre estate, complete with Victorian walled Garden, exotic trees and numerous follies including the infamous Jealous Wall.
Don’t miss the Narnia Trail and the Fairy Garden. The House is fully restored and offers an interpretative ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ experience and an Owner’s Gallery. There’s a Café, gift shop, interpretative centre and exhibition galleries. Check their website for fun events throughout the year.
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National Maritime Museum of Ireland, Dublin
Experienced guides will bring you on a voyage of discovery at the National Maritime Museum, enthralling you with stories of discovery, heroism, war and disasters at sea. You will learn about maritime history, exploration, navigation, radio, deep-sea cable technology, nature, wildlife and view art inspired by the sea.
See the 10-tonne revolving Baily Optic, try the electrified steam engine, and pause to reflect at the Titanic exhibit, the re-created radio room, the Royal Navy prisoners docks and the war memorial. Try your hand at sailor’s knots, or learn how they lift heavy weights. Afterwards visit the shop and café for a treat.
Don’t miss being photographed with the pirate!
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Killruddery House and Gardens, Wicklow
Often described as a wonderful place to escape for a great day out, Killruddery has been home to the Brabazon Family (the Earls of Meath) since 1618. Conveniently located on the outskirts of the capital where Dublin meets Wicklow, here’s your opportunity to discover a hidden gem in our midst.
There’s so much to see and explore in one of Ireland’s most renowned gardens, filled with beautiful planting and wooded areas, water features and distinctive outdoor “rooms”. Delightful Tea Rooms and guided tours of one of Ireland’s Great Historic Houses are just some of the other treats on offer.
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Spire of Lloyd, Meath
The Spire of Lloyd in Kells is an inland lighthouse designed by Henry Aaron Baker (designer of the King’s Inn, Dublin) for the First Earl of Bective in memory of his father Sir Thomas Taylor in 1791.
The Spire was originally used to view horse racing and the hunt in the 19th century.Now, At 30m high, you can see magnificent views of the surrounding Leinster countryside, even as far as the Mourne Mountains in County Down, Northern Ireland on a clear day.
It is open on selected dates during the summer. Don’t miss the “Paupers Graveyard” in the community park (The People’s Park) in which many victims of the mid-19th century famine lie buried.
Gairdin an Ghorta, Kilkenny
Gairdin an Ghorta in Newmarket, Kilkenny is a garden of remembrance dedicated to the victims of the famine, and every single inch has been thoughtfully and carefully designed and selected.
You can give your family a self-guided tour using one of the brochures available at the Garden, or call ahead for a really informative conducted tour.
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Active Things to Do in Leinster With Kids
Zipit Forest Adventures
Zipit Forest Adventures (in Dublin & Roscommon) offers up to four hours of tree-top, fun-filled, thrilling experiences in a healthy, outdoor setting for adults and children from age 7 up. 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, or 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.
Jump Zone is Ireland’s first indoor trampoline park, located in Stillorgan and Santry, Dublin. This first of its kind sports and entertainment facility offers a number of trampoline activities, including open jumping, Trampoline Dodge ball, and trampoline Aerobics on its wall-to-wall trampolines.
Jump Zone is family-friendly environment and suitable for ages 5 and up (16+ after 6.30pm) to 55+ yrs.
Malahide Castle, Dublin
Head to North Dublin and visit the extensive grounds of Malahide Castle. While the Castle itself, the butterfly house and the walled gardens require a ticket, the sprawling parklands are free to enter. With plenty of walking trails, green space, playing fields and woodland to discover, this is a real hidden gem.
Don’t miss the enormous playground, with plenty of equipment for toddlers to older kids. You can also follow the paths out of Malahide Castle for a short walk into Malahide village, home to a marina, beautiful beach, and plenty of independent shops and restaurants.
The Zone, Meath
The award-winning Zone Extreme Activity Centre in Navan has 54,000sq feet of indoor adrenaline action activities – so no need to worry about the weather! Take part in karting, paintballing, laser tag paintball, laser clay pigeon shooting, Lazer Maze, archery and shooting simulator.
Suitable from 8 years up (paintball for ages 13 and up) and large groups of up to 140 people can be accommodated!
Ireland’s largest indoor entertainment centre is located in Leinster, two minutes off the M1 motorway and 20 minutes north of Dublin airport. Funtasia’s Pirate Cove Waterpark (all 35,000 sq ft of it) remains a firm favourite with the kids.
Tackling their adrenaline pumping Sky Climb aerial assault course never fails to thrill, while youngsters will also love the Egyptian-themed bowling, indoor climbing wall, crazy golf, disco rollerskating and multi-level play area with surprises around every corner. Funtasia Waterpark offers fun for every age group, plus don’t worry about the weather – the indoor waterpark is heated to a glorious 28 degrees!
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Outdoor Things to Do in Leinster
Secret Valley Wildlife Park, Wexford
Secret Valley Wildlife Park has 14 fun-filled acres for all the family. Get up close to lemurs, raccoons and meerkats, feed the hungry kid goats, ride Snowball the pony, and meet a large variety of animals – there’s even a Tarantula!
There are large outdoor and indoor play areas, and you can also play crazy golf throughout the day. Bring a picnic along or enjoy a snack from their coffee shop. Secret Valley Wildlife Park promises an unforgettable, great value, day out of family fun.
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Wexford Lavender Farm, Wexford
Wexford Lavender Farm is Ireland’s first lavender farm, with two acres of lavender and three woodland walking routes to suit all abilities. Kids will love riding through the lavender field on Billy the friendly Bull quad train, and playing in their outdoor playground. Stop for lunch or a homemade treat in The Purple Haze Cafe or take home some lavender plants for your own garden.
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Irish National Stud & Gardens, Kildare
The Irish National Stud is home to both wonderful horses and great gardens. From horses to horticulture the Irish National Stud offers an unforgettable experience in 800 acres of beautiful Kildare countryside that can be enjoyed by all the family.
It is a unique attraction of outstanding natural beauty with some of the most magnificent horses and sumptuous gardens to be found anywhere in the world. On top of the magnificent gardens and horses there’s also a playground and picnic area – and don’t miss out on the hearty and delicious dishes available in their visitor centre cafe. During summer, there are free pony rides and fun activities for kids visiting on Wednesdays and Sundays.
Newgrange Farm, Meath
Newgrange Farm is a fabulous pet farm set in 333 acres of Boyne Valley. Feed the lambs, pet the baby chicks or visit the indoor maze, go-kart and play area. There are also outdoor sandpits, guided tours by tractor trailer, a gift shop and coffee shop serving homemade food. Newgrange Farm closes to the public for Winter and re-opens in March so please check their website before you travel.
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Avondale Forest Park, Wicklow
It was at Avondale that Charles Stewart Parnell, one of the greatest political leaders of modern Irish history, was born in 1846. The House is now a museum to his memory.
Avondale Forest Park has much to offer the visitor; the forest park lies mainly on the west bank of the Avonmore river on 505 acres of land. There’s an endless variety of walks, with scenery ranging from the magnificent openness of the Great Ride to the towering impressiveness of the massed conifers on the banks of the river. Amenities include arboreta/gardens, toilets, picnic site, playground, orienteering course, walking trails, and viewing points.
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Lough Boora Parklands, Offaly
For something unique, visit Lough Boora Parklands in Co Offaly. At Junction 7 on the M6 Dublin/Galway, exit towards Moate/ Clonmacnoise. Follow signs for Kilcormac and Lough Boora. The Parklands consist of a magnificent collection of natural and manmade lakes, wetlands, woodland areas, and 50km of walkways. There are picnic benches and a bike hire facility, as well as guided tours. There are sculptures too throughout the parklands.
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The Kildare Maze Family Activity Park, Kildare
The Kildare Maze Family Activity Park has Leinster’s largest hedge maze and is a fabulous attraction located just outside Prosperous in the North Kildare countryside.
Out in the fresh air, this is a great place for families to enjoy a day together. Enjoy a challenging and exciting day out with good old fashioned fun. There’s a Wooden Maze too for when you have completed the Hedge Maze.
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Castlecomer Discovery Park
Located 18 km north of Kilkenny City, Castlecomer Discovery Park has a range of exciting recreational, cultural and educational activities for visitors of all ages.
Attractions at the Park include a Tree Top Adventure Walk (nestled 10m high in the trees), a ‘Leap of Faith’ and Climbing Wall. This ‘young park’ opened in 1997 and has 80 acres of natural woodland, fishing lakes and new orienteering trails. Enjoy the fascinating coal mining museum, design craft workshops and Jarrow café (Bridgestone listed).
Oak Park Forest Park, Carlow
Oak Park Forest Park in Carlow consists of colour-coded circular walkways of varying lengths with excellent surfaces and easy gradients to make a visit here an enjoyable experience for young and old alike.
The woodland walks have been laid out to encompass the broadest range of natural features. Situated on the outskirts of Carlow Town, the park is an oasis of tranquility and a popular destination for walking and educational visits. The park also features a picnic area, informal leisure areas and seating at regular intervals. All trails are wheelchair accessible.
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Emo Court, Laois
Emo Court is a hidden gem in the midlands. The park is free and open during daylight hours. As well as the Gandon-designed stately home, there are beautiful gardens, gently rolling lawns, parkland, wooded walks and a lake with lots of swans and ducks. Picnic benches are available and the Park is home to red squirrels and deer. There are tours of the house in Summer. CaToCa Café at Emo tea rooms is child friendly and has wheelchair and buggy access.
Tayto Park, Meath
Tayto Park Theme Park & Zoo is one of the most famous things to do in Leinster, and has plenty to offer all the family for a fun day out, with over 100 attractions in the theme park and zoo. Learn about a host of different animals from rabbits to meerkats to Amur tigers. Test yourself on the Tayto Sky Walk High Ropes Course and the Ziplines. Bounce, climb and mine in the Geronimo Thrill Zone.
A visit to the park would not be complete without learning the secrets of Tayto crisp making on the Factory Tour. The park has plenty of cafes, shops and picnic areas.
And then if you dare, take a ride on Europe’s largest wooden rollercoaster, The Cú Chulainn Coaster!
The Royal Canal Way is a 90-mile long publicly owned right of way through part of Leinster, linking Dublin to Clondra in Co. Longford. The pathway crosses through counties Dublin, Kildare, Meath and Westmeath before entering County Longford.
It is a unique walkway that allows the visitor to meander at their own pace through County Longford from Abbeyshrule, then Ballymahon, Kenagh, Longford Town, Killashee, and on to Clondra village. You have the choice of branching off into Longford town or continuing on to Clondra.
Corlea Bog, Longford
Take a trip to Corlea Trackway Visitor Centre (3km from Kenagh), and see the 2,000 year old trackway and enjoy the unique plant life in the bog habitat. The oak road is the largest of its kind to have been uncovered in Europe.
Inside the interpretive centre, an 18-metre stretch of the preserved trackway is on permanent display in a hall specially designed to preserve the ancient wooden structure. As well as the exhibit area, there’s a short audio-visual presentation. Tearoom, toilets and picnic area by the carpark.
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Lead image: Children near Trim Castle, courtesy of Tourism Ireland