A local mama’s guide to the best things to do in Dublin with kids for visitors or local parents looking for fun kids’ actives in Dublin City. From Dublin landmarks you can visit with children to fun family activities in Dublin for a fun family afternoon, these are many ideas for family fun in Dublin Ireland!
2021 update: need to know! Due to current restrictions, children venues in Dublin and all attractions are closed. Parks are open. Please abide local rules and check opening hours and additional regulation with each venue you plan on visiting once possible again
If you are planning a family trip to Dublin or wondering how to spend an afternoon with your little ones, you might be wondering what are the top things to do in Dublin with kids.
I am here to help! I have been living in Dublin for over 10 years (make it 15, since I first published this guide!) and my kids were born here so we know a thing or two about enjoying Dublin as a family.
We have explored the best things to do in Dublin with toddlers, we have seen city landmarks pretending we were visitors, we have played in play centres, run in the park and do anything and everything in between.
In this guide, we share our insider knowledge of the city to help you find the best things to do in Dublin with children and practical tips to make the most of your time in the city as a family.
The Rabbit and the Bear, as I call them, are now respectively 9 and 10 and together we always try to explore our city with the same curiosity we show for far away places.
Sometimes we go into town for a walk, sometimes we visit museums, some other times we just go to the park and stop for lunch out.
Over the course of the years, we have discovered together many fun family things to do in Dublin with kids, and now I believe the time has come to put them into a mini guide for parents.
So here it comes, my mini guide for families visiting Dublin with kids, packed with fun things to do in Dublin with children, family activities in Dublin, attractions and things to do in Dublin for kids and fun places for kids in Dublin.
Please note: this post contains affiliate links and, should you make a purchase through them, we might make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Dublin has many family friendly attractions: some are main sightseeing locations you can visit with kids and some and attraction that are specific for children.
The top things to do in Dublin with kids
The best things to do in Dublin with kids are:
|Name of attraction||Type of attractions||Age suitability||Indoor / Outdoor||Free|
|Imaginosity Children Museum||Children Museum / Kids attraction||All||Indoor with terrace||No|
|Dublinia||Viking Museum: children attraction||Toddlers and up (most suited for primary school kids)||Indoor||No|
|The Ark Cultural Hub for kids||Children venue / workshop venue for kids||All||Indoor||No|
|Natural History Museum||Natural History Museum – child friendly museum||Preschoolers and up, toddlers my find some of the animals scary||Indoor||yes|
|Airfield Estate||Farm||All||Both (mostly outdoors)||Yes|
|Viking Splash tour||Land and water tour||All||Outdoor||No|
|Hop on Hop off bus tour||Bus tour||All||Bus with open top deck||No|
|Trinity College Library and the book of Kells||Museum||School age kids||Indoor||Yes|
|Dublin castle||Museum||School age kids, the outside is suitable for toddlers||Both||Free courtyard / Ticketed entry|
|IMMA, Museum of Modern Art||Museum||All, lovely play cafe inside||Indoor with large grounds||No|
|Guinness Storehouse||Brewery / museum||School age kids||Indoor||No|
|Kilmainham Gaol||Gaol / Museum||Older kids / teenagers||Indoor||No|
|City Parks||Free public gardens with playground||All||Outdoor||Yes|
|Giddy studios pottery painting||Pottery studio for kids||School age kids||Indoor||No|
|Jump Zone Trampolines||Trampoline center||5 and up (height restrictions apply)||Indoor||No|
|Rain forest crazy golf play centre||Crazy Golf||all||Indoor||No|
Let’s look more in details at each of these attractions and discover more things you can do in Dublin with kids.
Top 10 things to do in Dublin for kids
If you are looking for fun family actitivisites in Dublin that are just for kids, these are our recommendations:
Imaginosity Children Museum of Dublin – the most fun place in Dublin for toddlers and primary school kids
For little children Imaginosity is a piece of heaven.
Here you can play supermarket, doctor, rock star, you can drive a real car (kind of), build a house with foam bricks and even pretend to work at the post office.
They also have soft play areas for children under 3 and a nice cafe.
This is a super fun place in Dublin for kids and adults like it too as they can play with their kids or relax in the cafe while little ones make discoveries and friends in this fun, safe space.
Address: The Plaza Beacon South Quarter Sandyford Sandyford, Dublin 18 Family membership available.
Dublinia – Viking museum of Dublin for kids (and adults) who want to be Viking for a day
If your kids are into Vikings and history, this can be the most fun museum of all as it recreates the streets of Dublin as they would have been during the middle ages!
A full immersion in history, here you can try on Viking clothes, visit a medieval kitchen and learn medieval games.
It strikes a great balance between fun and education and both my kids adore it. You can read our full review here.
This is a wonderful place for families in Dublin especially on a rainy day since it is indoors and very cozy.
The museum is connected to Christchurch Cathedral with is also interesting to see with kids.
Address: St Michaels Hill Christ Church, Dublin 8
The Ark – best place in Dublin for creative kids
Located in temple bar, right in the centre of Dublin, The Ark is a space dedicated to teaching art to children.
A good address especially on a wet day, their programme involves workshops for kids to familiarise and experience theater, literature, art and creative endeavours of all types.
A wonderful creative space just for kids with amazing facilitators.
Address: 11a Eustace St, Temple Bar, Dublin 2
Top tip! The Ark is close to Temple Bar and the Ha’penny bridge so you can easily combine time here and sightseeing of some of Dublin’s main attractions!
Dublin Zoo – perfect for family fun in Dublin
What child doesn’t love a day at the zoo? If you are in Dublin with kids and need a fun family activity for toddlers and older siblings alike, you cannot go wrong with a day at the zoo.
Located inside beautiful Phoenix Park, Dublin zoo has plenty of space for kids to run around, several animal-themes playground, of course many opportunities to see animals both local and exotic and it also has a nice restaurant with a window over meerkats!
Stroller and toddler friendly, the zoo and restaurant also have good changing facilities, making a family day here super easy.
Address: Saint James’ (part of Phoenix Park), Dublin 8. yearly family membership available (and convenient for anything more than an occasional visit)
Natural History Museum – unique and spooky museum for kids in Dublin City center
The Natural History Museum of Dublin is known by the locals as the ‘dead Zoo’, a spooky name that describes it perfectly!
Located in the city centre, this is a museum with skeletons and stuffed specimens of many species of animals, most of them preserved in the museum since the last century.
I brought my kids there when they were tiny and the reaction was mixed: fascination and a bit of fear – some of the animals are immense! Entry is free.
Address: Merrion St Upper, Dublin 2
Airfield Urban Farm – a great place for kids in Dublin to explore the country without leaving the city!
Airfield is a lovely farm in Dublin, a wonderful piece of countryside in the heart of Dublin South!
You can spend a few hours or a full day here and the kids can see animals, participate in workshops, run, play at the zipline and the whole family can indulge in cake and food at the local cafes.
Events and camps are organised regularly and they are always fun and educational. By far, one of the best family activities in Dublin for all ages! Website here.
Address: Airfield estate, Overend, Dundrum, Dublin 14
Dublin splash tour – best way for kids in Dublin to visit the city from a new point of view!
A super fun way to see Dublin if you are a visitor with kids but also if you are a local who wants a bit of fun is to get on a Viking Splash Tour!
The tour uses an amphibious vehicle that will bring you around Dublin streets before pluging into the river.
Horn hats available if you want to join this super touristy but honestly fun tour.
Address: St Stephens Green North, Dublin 2
Dublin Hop on Hop off bus tour
We learned how good hop on hop off bus tours are when visiting a city with kids when we visited Barcelona and the hop on hop off tour of Dublin reinforced our love for them.
When your kids are tired but the day is still long or on your first day in the city to get a sense of what you may want to see and everythig is, you just hop on the bus and let the multilingual guide tell you about what you see.
Perfect with tired toddlers and school age kids. Hop off at the botanical gardens if you want to break up the tour with a cool, relaxing stop in a nice and safe green park.
See the seals in Howth – best place in Dublin for kids who want to see animals in the wild
If you are looking for ideas for family days out in Dublin and not just an attraction, then I highly recommend you spend the day in Howth.
Howth is a costal area of North Dublin and is one of the best places in Dublin for toddler, kids and even teenagers under a few accounts: here, you have fab playground, a lovely beach, seal you can spot from the pier and lovely coastal walks (the Howth Cliff Walk) which is perfect for older kids and teenagers.
Lots of local restaurants and cafes make it great for adults too! You can read all our tips for visiting howth with kids here.
Looking for a fun thing to do in Dublin with kids who need to use up a bitr of energy? Then head to Jumzone, Dublin’s Trampoline center!
Large and fun for kids and adults (there is also a cafe), this is a grea place for kids 5 and up – height restrictions apply.
Address: several locations in Dundrum, Santry, Liffey valley. Website here
More fun things to do in Dublin with children
Have family friendly afternoon tea at the Shelbourne hotel
If you want to experience afternoon tea in Dublin with your kids, then you have to go to the Shelbourne hotel!
A Dublin landmark, the hotel has wonderful Alice in Wonderland themed high tea for kids: pricey but so fun and elegant and indulgent, if you can go, you won’t regret it!
Find our review of children high tea in Dublin here.
Top Tip: right in the city center, you can combine this with a visit to St Stephen’s green or a stroll among the buskers of Grafton street (and the Disney store!)
Address: 27 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin
Go Pottery Painting at a kids Pottery studio
This is a fun family activity in Dublin for locals or people who have a few days in the city as you need to collect your creation a few days after making it: a potery studio for kids to pain their favorite piece of pottery!
Address: Dundrum Shopping center, Dundrum, Dublin 14 Website here
Play crazy golf
Another fun family thing to do in Dublin is playing crazy golf: we like rainforest adventure indoor mini gold course in Dundrum, handy to mix with a day shopping in the attached shopping center!
Address: Dundrum shopping center top floor, Dundrum, Dublin 14. Website here.
Go to a museum: Museums in Dublin also suitable for kids
There are numerous museums in Dublin, covering topics as varied as art and drink manufacturing and, among the many, I believe the following are the most fun for kids:
Trinity College and the book of Kells – good museum with free worksheets for kids
A historical and active University, Trinity College is a must see for all visitors both for its beautiful grounds and its historical library.
Home of many important manuscripts and the famous Book of Kells, it is a good stop with children.
It is a manageable size, it is impressive and if you have Star Wars lovers they will not miss the resemblance of its main library with the Jedi archive temple!
before you go, you can download free worksheets for kids from the Trinity College Website. The visit is suitable for school age kids and up although toddlers have plenty of space to run outside in the College yard!
National gallery – most toddler friendly museum in Dublin
One of Dublin’s main museum and home of a wonderful Caravaggio, as well as of some interesting Irish paintings, the National Gallery enters this list because of good family friendly activities offered at the weekend and because of its cafeteria.
Located on the ground floor, it is a popular spot for families with children as it is spacious, airy and buggy friendly. Entry to the National Gallery is free.
The Chester Beatty library garden
The Chester Beatty is a beautiful museum in the grounds of Dublin castle.
Home to fabulous collections of art from Asia, the Middle east and Europe, the Chester Beatty library is not interesting for children per se but has a lovely outside space perfect for running around.
With no cars allowed, we often go there to let off steam and the free entry to the gallery means you can visit at your own pace. They also have a nice coffee and gift shop and facilities.
Guinness storehouse – family friendly Dublin must see
What’s a brewery doing in a list of attractions for families? While kids will not be allowed to taste Guinness, the visit to the factory is a fun tour accessible to buggies and very much enjoyed by teenagers as well as adults.
When I worked for a school of English we used to bring all our students there and they always loved it.
A well stocked merchandising shop and a fantastic view over Dublin from the gravity bar, where the visit ends, are strong reasons for that. If you are over 18, you’ll have there the best pint of Guinness in the world.
Imma museum of modern art – great for families with toddlers
Maybe the most family friendly museum of the whole of Dublin, Imma has wonderful landscaped gardens and a fabulous cafe with toys and free play area.
The exhibitions themselves are not usually for kids but the grounds are so pleasant and beautiful, a visit here is easily one of the besyt things to do in Dublin with toddlers.
Address: Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Military Rd, Kilmainham, Dublin 8
Kilmainham gaol – one of the best things to see in Dublin with teenagers
With caution, I am including Kilmainham gaol into this list, as suitable and interesting for families with older kids (teenagers).
A place like no other to learn about Irish history, Kilmainham is Dublin’s historical jail.
It’s a chilling site and one younger kids might find disturbing, but an incredible insight into the dramatic and complex history of Ireland.
More things to do for kids in Dublin: the best parks, playgrounds, and play centres in Dublin for children of a
Dublin has some wonderful parks. Some of our favourites are:
St Stephen’s Green – large city center park and a Dublin City Landmark, St Stephens’ Green has a lot of space to run around, a nice playground for toddlers and older kids and a pond with ducks
Merrion Square – lovely city center park close to the National Gallery and the Government buildings, with a lovely playground
Phoenix Park – the largest park in Dublin with large lawns, free roaming deer, the zoo and playgrounds.
St Anne’s Park – wonderful, large park towards Howth, with gardens, playground, cafe and farmer’s market
Bushy Park – nice park in Dublin South with duck pond, playground and sportfields
Marley park – large park in Dublin South with large playgrounds, cafes and farmer’s market.
Go to a playcenter
If you are a local or you are lookig for a fun activity in Dublin that is just for kids, then you may want to consider one of the city’s many planters and indoor attraction.
From crazy gold to pottery painting, these are the best things to do in Dublin indoors on a rainy day.
Go on a family a hike
I can hear you: what? I look for things todo in Dublin with kids and you tell me to go hiking? Yes, becasue if you are not from Dublin you may not know that Dublin has lovely family hikes in close proximity to the city center!
The are perfect for kids and can easily be mixed with a morning in town, they are so near!
You can find our favorite spots for beautiful walks in Dublin here.
Go to the beach: family friendly beaches near Dublin to visit with kids
Dublin is on the coast and has some beautiful large, sandy tidal beaches that are great for kids.
You can run, spot birds, collect shells and on very good days even splash about (this depends very much on what kind of climate you are used to: I don’t go near the water here but kids and locals do). Some lovely spots are:
Sandymount: close to the city centre, great for collecting shells and close to Sandymount village, a pretty residential area with shops and restaurants
Killiney: in the south of Dublin and reachable by DART, one of the most beautiful beaches in the area, because of the wonderful view that stretches all the way to the Wicklow mountains
Howth: Just beside the Dart station, a fabulous soft sandy beach
Portmarnock and Malahide, on the North Side of Dublin, an area worth seeing also for the nearby Malahide castle
Bull island: windswept and wild, perfect for flying kites and watching kitesurfers
Go on a Dublin Bay Cruise
If you want to get an idea of how Dublin looks for the water, a fantastic thing to do in Dublin with children is to do a boat tour: some operate along the river Liffey and others bring you into the open sea, for great views over Dublin bay. (You can read about our day on a bay cruise here)
The best way to visit Dublin is on foot, but the city has a good public transport system including buses, tram (the luas) and urban light rail (the dart).
Tickets for the bus can be bought on board while the ones for the tram and train are sold at vending machines at the respective stops. Small children go free.
One word of warning about the bus: while technically accessible, buses often do not allow more than one wheelchair user/buggy on board at any given time (due to perceived lack of space).
This means that you might have to wait for more than one bus before you’re allowed in.
Worth considering especially if you find yourself in a hurry. Taxis are easy to find and car seats are not compulsory (they are compulsory in private cars, so careful if you are renting one)
Where to stay in Dublin with kids: best areas
The safest and most convenient area of Dublin, location wise, is the city centre around St Stephens green.
Tried and tested family friendly address in Dublin city centre that are sure to surround you with elegance and comfort are the Merrion Hotel (right in the city centre and with extra touches specific for little guests such as special junior room service menu served on bespoke Miss and Master Merrion crockery, mocktails and mini bathrobes to access the spa) and the Clayton hotel Ballsbridge, offering special family rooms and equipped with a handy restaurant onsite welcoming to kids.
For a comprehensive list of accommodation options in Dublin, you can also check my full guide to the best hotels to stay in Dublin with children with all my favorite hotels.
Dublin, especially in the last few years, has reinvented itself as a foodie paradise and the choices of where to eat are endless. Unfortunately not everywhere is child-friendly so it’s handy to have some addresses you can count on. My favourites are:
- Milano (Italian, with child menu)
- Dunne and Crescenzi (Italian, no child menu but they do small portions on request)
- Carluccio’s (Italian)
- Yamamori (Japanese)
It is always difficult to wrap up a post about your current city, but after over 3000 words I probably need to accept I will never feel I included all I wanted to include and trust I wrote enough to give you some ideas on what to do in Dublin fair city.
I hope you found this family guide to Dublin useful. Safe family travels!