Planning a visit to Cork? Are you looking for things to do with the kids in Cork? Here’s our suggestions for the top 10 things to do with kids in Cork (in no particular order!)
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#1. Dursey Cable Car
The Dursey Island Cable Car remains the most used means of transport across the Dursey Sound. Experience Ireland’s only cable-car and the only cable car that traverses open seawater in all of Europe! It stretches from Bullaghboy in West Cork to Dursey Island and is definitely not for the faint hearted! Tickets cost €10 return for adults and €5 return for children. Look out for the dolphins and whales which are regular visitors to the waters, as well as a wide range of different types of seabirds and butterflies. There is a coffee dock open at the cable car landing area during the summer months.
#2. Old Cork Waterworks & Lifetime Lab, Cork
Lifetime Lab at Old Cork Waterworks is a multi award winning visitor centre offering a fascinating insight into industrial heritage and environmental issues.
Visitors can journey through Victorian architecture and explore the age of steam, investigate the modern and interactive exhibitions and even transform into environmental detectives discovering how daily choices impact our world. The experience is suitable for all ages. Make sure to allow time for the great themed playground and garden with scenic views overlooking the River Lee.
#3. Fota Wildlife Park
Fota Wildlife Park in Carrigtohill is an award-winning park and is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Munster. Here you can come face to face with animals and birds from around the globe as you wander through the beautiful 70 acre park.
Fota is home to many of the world’s most highly endangered species such as the Lion Tailed Macaque, Rothschild Giraffe, European Bison and Scimitar Horned Oryx. See a Kangaroo hop in front of you or get close to a Ring-tailed Lemur! Kids can explore and learn throughout the day. Children under three go free.
Visitors can have lunch or a snack at the Savannah Café, or the Oasis Café also serves a range of hot food options. There is a newly updated playground and a large picnic area with plenty of benches and a marquee.
#4. Donkey Sanctuary
Visit the Donkey Sanctuary, Ireland near Mallow! You can take a stroll around the paddocks and get the chance to see some of the lovely donkeys that are being cared for here. Knockardbane Farm is their open farm outside of Liscarroll village and it is home to 140 donkeys and mules that kids can meet!
There is also a lovely gift shop and a picnic area on site. Entry is free but you can make a donation towards running costs.
#5. Gougane Barra National Park
Gougane Barra National Park, Ireland’s first National Park is a great option for a day out in Cork and is a beautiful destination in any season. There are walking and cycling trails and if the weather is nice, there is also a picnic area.
There are six walking trails to suit all levels of fitness, each one with its own unique story to tell. The 318 kilometre-long Cork City-Beara-Gougane Barra cycle route finishes in Gougane Barra. There’s also a looped 3km scenic drive with spectacular views of the deep valley and its walled sides.
Don’t miss St Finbarr’s Oratory or Small Church on the lake island! It has beautiful old stations of the cross and lovely stained glass windows.
#6. Blarney Castle & Gardens
Spend the day in Blarney: visit the Castle and Gardens and the Rock Close!
Blarney Castle is one of Ireland’s most popular visitor attractions probably due to the fact that it is the home of the Blarney Stone, legend has it if you kiss the stone you will never again be lost for words.
Built nearly six hundred years ago by one of Ireland’s greatest chieftains, Cormac MacCarthy, King of Munster, who is said to have supplied four thousand men from Munster to supplement the forces of Robert the Bruce at the battle of Bannockburn in 1314. Legend has it that the latter king gave half of the Stone of Scone to McCarthy in gratitude, what is now the Blarney Stone.
#7. Cork City Gaol
Get behind bars for a few hours with a visit to Cork City Gaol. The amazing castle-like building, which once housed 19th century prisoners, gives visitors an insight into prison life with an array of interactive and sensory exhibitions bringing it all to life. And don’t miss the incredibly life-like wax figures showing what life was like in the 19th and early 20th century in Cork.
As a bonus your entry ticket also gives you access to the radio museum where you can learn more about the birth of Marconi. Tickets are €6.00 for children and €10.00 for adults.
#8. Model Railway Village
Fly a kite at Inchydoney near Clonakilty and then afterwards, make sure to stop by the Model Railway Village. Here, kids will have a great time checking out the miniaturised old West Cork Railway Line as it was in the 1940’s. Walking into the model village, you really step back in time and you can see how life was for the people of Cork long ago. Relax and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee in their cafe or visit their unique Gift Shop, which is located in an authentic train carriage. Children under 2 go free.
#9. Ballyhass Lakes and Adventure Centre
The Ballyhass Lakes Aqua Park in Mallow is an inflatable water park that covers over 40m square of an old quarry lake where you can jump, slide, bounce and race each other around the wipeout style course. Suitable for ages 6+ (U12 must be accompanied by an adult on the water), the only qualification is that you must be able to swim 50m. They also offer kayaking, raft building, fishing and more at their outdoor activity centre.
#10. Fota House and Gardens
Once you’ve explored the wildlife park, why not check out Fota House and Gardens in Cork? This wonderful place offers visitors a look at how life was lived in the past, whether as a servant or as a member of the gentry. When you tour the house you get to see behind the scenes to the bedrooms and a Victorian nursery. Then visit the service wing, where you can see the working conditions of all the servants.
“Where is Mrs Kevin’s Cat?!” is a families tour through the House with a dedicated guide, solving the mystery of where the house keeper’s cat has got to. It’s a great way for children to enjoy learning about the house and the people who lived here.
Or you can go Digging for History in their award winning Victorian Working Garden, with a tour through the Victorian glasshouses with fun facts for kids, finishing off with a chance to pot up their own plant to take home and cherish. Both the Mrs Kevin’s Cat tour and Digging for History are suitable from 4 to about 11.
They also have fantastic trails for kids to follow in the gardens they have some really fun ones e.g. Junior Plant Hunters Activity Trail, Little Explorers Trail, and a Tree Trail.
Do you have a favourite place to go with the kids in Cork? Tell us about it in the comments below.