What are the best rainy day activities in Dublin to keep kids active and happy? In this post our favourite ways to spend a rainy day in Dublin with children.
There is no getting away from it: in Dublin, it rains often and if you have children this means that finding indoor fun activities is crucial to keep their sanity and yours during wet, dark days.
I often look out of the window in despair, when stormy weather hits, but this year I decided to do something about it.
This is my list of kid-friendly things to do on a rainy day in Dublin and indoor activities that now looks at me from my fridge door and gives me inspiration any time I need it.
10 of the best kid-friendly rainy day activities in Dublin
Imaginosity children museum
Imaginosity is the children museum of Dublin and it’s a magical place for kids. It caters for many ages, from babies to pre-teens and has both free play areas and adult led activities such as workshops and classes.
There are two soft play areas for under 3s but I feel the place really comes into its own in the role play sections.
In the supermarket, kids get a small trolley and can do their pretend shopping and pay/work at the till.
A diner will make budding chefs and gourmands happy and a doctor’s office will get you try your hand at putting together bones and cure dolls and friends alike.
If you need a break or you want to snuggle up with mum to read a book, you can head to my favourite corner of all, the library.
If you prefer a dash of adrenaline, you can drive the (real) car parked on the first floor or operate the working crane you can use to build a house.
Facilities include a cafe, changing stations and parking. The cost is steep so going is a bit of a treat: if you are local or have more than one child, it is worth looking into their yearly pass as savings are significant.
Indoor playgrounds / indoor play centres in Dublin
Dublin has a few indoor play areas that are a lifesaver when it rains.
They all have different set ups, but they usually have high padded climbing frames and slides: most include and under 3 area and cafe facilities.
Some my kids particularly enjoy are:
Kidspace: located in Rathfarnham village, this is a nice, not-too-big play centre with an under-3′ soft play area, climbing frames and a coffee shop serving hot and cold food.
Funky monkeys: a huge indoor play area in Dundrum shopping centre with climbing frames, slides and some role play areas. Kids adore it, while parents usually have mixed feelings: they love to see the kids playing but they do find the noise levels and the lack of natural light headache inducing.
Panda play cafe: a great option for younger kids, Panda play is where we spent most of our winter afternoons when our kids were babies and toddlers.
Here you don’t have climbing frames but toys, walkers, bouncy chairs, pools of balls and enough space to run around freely: it is a relaxed space with some simple food options for adults and kids including fruit pouches, sandwiches and an option for hot snacks such as toast and cocktail sausages.
Go to a museum
I love bringing the kids to museums and some in Dublin are great for a family day out even in the worst of weather. Some of our favourites are:
Dublinia, where you walk into a reconstruction of medieval Viking and medieval Dublin and can play medieval games.
My kids adored it and, contrary to my expectations, is a fun site for adults too and remarkably educational. You can find here our Dublinia review
Another great place for kids is the natural history museum, aka the dead zoo, with specimens of weird and wonderful animals of pretty much any size you can imagine, from a seahorse to a moose!
My kids find it fascinating (as an adult, I think ‘slightly disturbing’ is probably a more precise description): you can read all about it in our Dublin Dead Zoo review
Last but not least, I love IMMA, the Irish Museum of Modern Art: it hosts permanent and temporary exhibitions and what makes it special for kids, especially little ones, it the cafe and play area in the basement. Imma is surrounded by stunning gardens so do bring wellies in case the rains stops for a while as a stroll there is well worth it
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4 Play at Rainforest adventure golf
Located in the big Dundrum shopping centre, itself a good place to find refuge from the rain, Rainforestrest adventure golf is an indoor crazy golf course with a Mexican jungle theme.
We first discovered it thanks to a friend’s birthday party and the kids had loads of fun: as well as the mini golf courses, it also has a cafe area serving sandwiches and pizza
Become a pottery painter at Giddy studios
Again in Dundrum, Giddy studios is a pottery painting studio where kids can paint their own mugs, egg cups, plates etc.
It is a lovely, colourful space: on arrival, you are given a table, a choice or items to paint and a set of colours and brushes and the rest is up to you! You can make your creation exactly as you like it and then bring it home: depending on the materials and paints used, some items need up to a week to be ready while others can be brought home on the same day- just ask a member of staff for details.
Go to the pool
Several indoor swimming pools in Dublin have pay as you go tickets and lanes reserved for families. They get very popular on weekend and some operate with fixed times and turns but they are an excellent escape from the rain.
For little kids, one we love is Cheeverstown: the pool is part of a special needs school and has lovely warm water and an area with shallow water perfect for non-swimmers. Floats, balls etc are provided. Being part of a school, rather than a leisure centre, no cafes or additional facilities are available but the swimming is great.
For a high energy activity, a great place is Aquazone at the National Aquatic Centre, a real waterpark with slides and splash areas. Children under 3 go free, adult supervision is mandatory.
It’s raining? Go to the library
I love libraries and I was delighted to discover many have good children sections equipped not just with books but, often, board games and colouring supplies. You can easily spend at least a couple of hours in them, they are free and some even have programmes specific for kids such as story time or more hands on activities for older children.
The ones I am most familiar with are in the South Side of Dublin (Ballyroan and Rathmines are great) but you can find a list of many more of them with opening hours here.
Go to the puppet theatre
The Lambert Puppet theatre is one of our favourite places in Dublin. Located in Monkstown, outside Dublin city centre but easily accessible by bus and DART, it is a small, charming theatre offering puppet shows for kids.
We saw here Goldilocks and the bears and the Three little pigs – I will never forget my usually shy Little Ms E getting so into it to join the crowd of kids shouting at the wolf!
The theatre has a lovely vintage, artsy feel about it, with posters from puppet shows from all over the world, colourful walls and wooden benches.
We love to go there on a Sunday, it is one of our favourite rainy day activities in Dublin to do with children.
Build a bear
Located in Dundrum, this is a fun activity at the end of which you bring home your very own bear. If your house is not already exploding with teddies, building your own is a great way to get the kids entertained and go home with an extra toy.
The build a bear is in Dundrum Shopping centre and our favourite way it to then finish the trip there with an ‘Aussie Ice’ ice cream (on the shopping centre ground floor)
Few things consume as much energy as jumping around and jump zone will make all ages exhausted in no time! Jumpzone is an indoor trampoline centre open for ‘jumping sessions’ and birthday parties.
It is only open for kids aged 5 or above (my daughter is counting the days to be able to go) and Mr M loves it so much he has already demanded to have his birthday party there.
Additional resources to make the most of your time in Dublin
If you are planning a family visit to Dublin, these resources may come in handy.
Start with our very own family guide to Dublin, packed with tips and advice on the best activities and sites for kids
Guidebooks: I am fond of the lonely planet books, both country ad city specific. Click on the banner to check out their 3×2 offer!
Tours. In Dublin, there are many family-friendly tours. The easiest and most convenient way to book them is online – you can check available tours, latest prices and offers on Viator, clicking on the image here:
If you are looking for accommodation in Dublin, we recommend the following sites:
I hope you enjoyed these 10 things to do in Dublin on a rainy day with kids! Don’t forget you can find additional ideas in our family travel guide to Dublin
Please note: this post is unsolicited and unbiased and we received no compensation nor incentive to include these attractions.
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