The Phoenix Park
The Phoenix Park Visitor Centre – located within the sprawling grasslands of one of Europe’s biggest walled city parks – offers an enjoyable exhibition on the history of the surrounding park and an introduction to the many types of wildlife that call this area home. The visitor centre adjoins the park’s walled gardens and has a universal-access playground and café. Dublin Zoo, one of the city’s most popular attractions, is also situated within Phoenix Park. While zoos may induce guilt, young animal lovers will be relieved to know that Dublin Zoo is particularly committed to working to conserve endangered species.
This purpose-built children’s theatre and exhibition space in the cultural quarter of Temple Bar hosts performances of music, theatre and dance, as well as workshops and exhibitions for kids. Opening its doors in September 1995, The Ark was named to communicate the mission of the project: a place for ‘safe, adventurous voyaging’. Accommodating little ones from aged two to 12, it saw over 200,000 children come through its doors in its first ten years of operation, producing programmes in partnership with Dublin-based festivals such as Dublin Theatre Festival, Dublin Dance Festival and Temple Bar Tradfest.
Viking Splash Tours
Dublin’s Viking Splash Tours provide a quirky way to see the sights of the city. Using a World War II amphibious vehicle – it can travel on land and water – these tours depart from Stephen’s Green North, close to Grafton Street, before taking a one-hour-and-fifteen-minute journey around Dublin. Along the way a ‘Viking’ guide will point out and explain the major city attractions – such as Christ Church Cathedral, Trinity College, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and government buildings – in a uniquely entertaining manner.
Imaginosity, Dublin Children’s Museum
Imaginosity is a children’s museum dedicated to creating appealing learning experiences for young children and their families. Opened in 2007, it caters to children under nine years of age, with three floors incorporating 19 exhibit spaces in which youngsters can fully immerse themselves. With a children’s theatre, puppet room, library and art studio to name but a few, this is a place where the whole family could happily spend a day. Due to limits on the number of workshop participants, pre-booking is essential.
Delighted to be heading to the Bord Ma Mona OurLand festival in @loughboorapark on the 20th August! @imaginosity will b keeping the kiddies entertained in the Earth Zone with arts, crafts and interactive Storytime! See you there! #LoveImaginosity #ImaginosityonTour #loughboora #bordnamona #familyfestivals #playcreatediscover #summerfun
National Concert Hall
The National Concert Hall hosts plenty of events for families. Their 30-minute Mini Music workshops on Saturdays are suited to babies and children aged from three to eight, while their Musical Stories workshops teach kids aged from five to ten how to improvise, creating their own stories alongside a band and singer-narrator. AfriKaa! is an experimental concert devised for children on the autism spectrum. The Concert Hall also holds various family concerts throughout the year, often accompanied by the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.
A not-for-profit heritage centre and recreational museum celebrating the history of Dublin’s Medieval period, Dublinia brings visitors back to Viking times through the telling of myths and stories as well as visits to medieval sites, like the late-17th-century St Michael’s Tower. Housed at Christ Church, the Dublinia experience also offers a combined experience that includes crossing the neo-gothic archway into Christ Church Cathedral – the oldest medieval cathedral in Dublin – where you can visit the large crypt.
The Chocolate Warehouse
A dream come true for anyone with a sweet tooth, The Chocolate Warehouse in Walkinstown was created to allow children to learn about the history of chocolate and where it comes from. The venue offers seasonal events around Easter and Christmas, but also runs regular workshops throughout the year and hosts birthday parties and special events. A two-hour workshop involves a 25-minute film exploring the origins of cocoa beans, a chocolate-making demonstration and a tour of the machinery used in a chocolate factory, as well as a practical session of coating and decorating fresh chocolates.