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Wednesday 29 November 2023 Dublin: 1°C

8 of the coolest family days out around the country

Grab the kids, you’re going on an adventure.

THE KIDS ARE all back in school by now, and while that may mean your week is going a bit easier, they still need to be occupied over the weekend.

Luckily, Ireland is home to a wide range of fun and beautiful places to spend time in. Whether you want dolphins or dinosaurs (yes, really) there are loads of great days out for the whole family.

Here are eight to get you started – and we’ve highlighted how you can get to each on public transport, ‘cos we’re sound like that.

1. Tayto Park, Meath

Dinosaurs may be extinct b simon_mcdermott / simon_mcdermott / /

You thought Tayto Park would be all about the crisps, didn’t you? Well, you’re wrong. There are many more attractions than the potato-based ones including the Dinosaurs Alive exhibition with Ireland’s only life-size animatronic dinosaur.

Getting there on public transport: Bus Éireann run a service from Dublin city centre, Blanchardstown , Duleek , Drogheda, Ratoath, Ashbourne & Kentstown.

2. Natural History Museum, Dublin

The Natural History Museum, otherwise known as The Dead Zoo, is a great place to bring kids of all ages. With dioramas, skeletons, and loads of insects and other animals you could spend hours in there and not get bored. And, bonus, it’s free.

Getting there on public transport: Pearse Street train station or any bus into the city centre.

3. Doolin Caves, Clare

Not only are the Doolin Caves home to the Great Stalactite – a 7.3 metre free-hanging stalactite (the longest in the northern hemisphere) – where you can take a 45-minute tour of the caves, you can also bring the kids on their farmland nature trail too. There’s even an enchanted fairy village there too.

Getting there on public transport: Bus Éireann, Ennis – Galway (Route 350). Stop at Ballinalacken Castle – Doolin Cave is approximately a five minute walk from this bus stop.

4. Titanic Museum, Belfast

Titanic Belfast / YouTube

The Titanic Museum in Belfast is a stunning building dedicated to the history of the Titanic, but also the impact the ship-building industry had on Belfast and the surrounding areas. No matter what age you or the kids are there’ll be something fascinating to see – like the ocean exploration centre or the White Star Line artefacts and recreations of the Titanic’s interior.

Getting there on public transport: Train to Belfast city, then Metro 26b to Science Park, Titanic Quarter. 

5. Dolphin watching, Clare

File Pics Fungie Celebrates 30 years in Dingle. Graham Hughes / Graham Hughes / /

You’ll only have a few more weeks to do this one, as they run the trips from April – October, but if you get the chance, it would be a great day-trip for you and the kids. Not only will you (hopefully) see lots of dolphins and maybe a whale, you could spot ocean birds like skuas, petrels and shearwaters too. Sometimes you can even spot basking sharks.

Getting there on public transport: Get the bus to Kilkee with Bus Éireann

6. Correlea Activity Centre, Fermanagh

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Whether you fancy canoeing, archery, mountain biking, caving or wall-climbing, there is something here for all you adventurous types. It all takes place in the gorgeous Fermanagh lakes and countryside. There is also a water park to splash around in and they do family or group day deals.

Getting there on public transport: The nearest town is Belcoo, you can get there by train to Sligo station and then bus. 

7. The Zoo, Dublin

DublinZoo_Rhino07 Patrick Bolger Patrick Bolger

If you like your animals to be more active when you’re visiting them, unlike at the Dead Zoo (The Natural History Museum), head over to Dublin Zoo for the day. They recently saw the birth of a baby white rhino and this weekend is Rhino Awareness Week – so a good time to go and have a gander.

Getting there on public transport: The Luas Red line Heuston stop, or buses 25, 26, 46A, 66/66A/66B, 67, 69

8. Fota Wildlife Park, Cork

Fotawildlife / YouTube

Fota Wildlife Park has seen over 200 cheetah cubs born there since 1984, and is dedicated to the conservation of all sorts of animals from around the world. The park is home to a load of animals from kangaroos to spider monkeys and you can also go to feeding times, the cheetah run or talks on different animals over the course of the day.

If you like tapirs (and who doesn’t) one was born in August – so go check it out while it’s still cute.

baby-tapir-fota-wildlife-park Gearóid O’Sullivan Gearóid O’Sullivan

Getting there on public transport: From Kent train station there are regular commuter services between Cork and Cobh and a stop at Fota. 

Where do you go for a fun family day out? Let us know in the comments below.

No matter where you want to head to around Ireland, make sure you plan your journey with Transport for Ireland’s Journey Planner app. With all forms of transport from trains to taxis included, you’ll always be able to get to where you want to go. 

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