Dublin Zoo Discovery Book Club — Photo courtesy of Dublin ZooDublin is an extremely manageable city in terms of size and transport and this makes it easy to bring kids to the action without enduring long hours of travel. For a family day out when the weather is good, the best course of action is heading to the Phoenix Park, one of the largest outdoor parks in Europe and home to Dublin Zoo.
Dublin Zoo is currently Ireland’s top tourist attraction and with over 400 animals to see, you can understand why. The zoo’s walkways trail along two main bodies of water from the ‘Asian forests’ to ‘Fringes of the Arctic’ and the ‘African Savannah.’ Daily activities and feeds take place that you can keep up-to-date with on their website, if your child has a love of elephants or an interest in chimpanzees.
Phoenix Park — Photo courtesy of Craig McInnes
Outside of the zoo itself, the Phoenix Park is full of wildlife of its own with herds of deer roaming across its grounds. For the duration of the summer a Family Fun Train Service will be running the length and breadth of the park so you can take in all of the different monuments and buildings along the way. Those who ride will also get a fun 3D map to take home with them!
The Phoenix Park is home to the Irish President and Ashtown Castle, a medieval tower house that dates back to around the 17th century. The Phoenix Park visitor’s centre also runs some historical interpretations of the park from 3500 B.C., and on Sunday there is a free children’s workshop on nature awareness, heritage and history with arts and crafts involved.
If you want to step back in time to the opulence of the late 18th century, then head to Farmleigh Estate at the northwest end of the park. Here you can enter the grounds and explore the exotic and classical gardens before walking through the grand conservatory, corridors and drawing rooms. If your children are a bit older and enjoy stepping into another world preserved from the past, then this is a really exciting afternoon.
Farmleigh bulls — Photo courtesy of Farmleigh
This part of Dublin is full of luscious green spaces, historical monuments and buildings and plenty of things to learn and do. Whether you want to spend the afternoon looking at the animals or admiring the ornate gardens at Farmleigh, you’ll be enjoying beautiful natural surroundings that are set only slightly apart from the city centre.