Dublin with Kids: A Perfect Family Day
Day one on a Dublin family vacation: kids are grouchy and it's pouring down with rain. What do you do? First of all, feed them up with a good Irish breakfast while brainstorming a few family vacation ideas. Then head out from your hotel for a morning of fun and excitement. Hopefully, you've chosen a hotel close to St. Stephen's Green in the middle of the city. This should keep everyone happy, because it is centrally located, close to great shopping and attractions and won't require a lot of travel time and energy to get to where you want to go. What follows is a list of suggested things to do in Dublin with kids.
First, breakfast. Whether one chooses to stay at the modest Stauntons on the Green, located at 83 St. Stephen's Green, or the more upscale Conrad Dublin on Earlsfort Terrace, you'll find a children's breakfast menu that includes simple offerings of biscuits, eggs, cereals, fruit, juice and milk. This is the usual fare offered to children regardless of the hotel, and families will find the same selections at most of the local bed and breakfasts as well.
However, if parents wish to treat their children to more upscale offerings, Kilronan House on 70 Adelaide Road is, without a doubt, the best place to experience an authentic Irish breakfast. Ideally located within walking distance of the National Concert Hall, Trinity College, Dublin Castle, and Aviva Stadium, this reasonably-priced hotel is perfect for Dublin family vacations. The walk through the park to get to St. Stephen's Green is pleasant, and children love the squirrels that can be seen scampering about the Green.
If your family can still walk after this massive breakfast and the sun is out, head over to Dublin Zoo. There are almost 300 varieties of animals in this lovely park-like environment and plenty of room for the family to wander. Dublin Zoo is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Dublin with kids. Here's a word to the wise: don't take a trip to the Dracula exhibit if you are traveling with young kids. Locals may recommend it for children, but unless they are over 14, they will probably be scared out of their wits.
Dublin Zoo is open 9:30AM-4PM in winter and 9:30-6PM in summer, every day of the year. Kids under 3 get in free, older children pay $10 and adults pay $15.00. It's easy to reach, with various buses, the Dart train and the Luas light rail line all traveling there from the city center. Call +353-1-474-8900 for more details.
Rattle and Roll Club is the perfect place to take active children to burn off some energy. The club is part of the latest dance craze for families and is the first dance club for kids in Ireland.
Toddlers and kids can get out on the dance floor and shake their booty while the parents relax with a refreshing drink. The place is decorated with eclectic musical memorabilia from decades past and even comes equipped with a disco ball that twinkles and reflects sparkles all over the room. The dance leader coordinates dance activities for kids of all ages and makes sure that the volume isn't up too high for the little ones.
The thing a lot of parents love about the Rattle and Roll Club is that it not only serves food, it serves healthful, nutritious food. Nothing on the menu can be classified as junk food. They serve freshly squeezed orange juice, mixed fruit smoothies and all kinds of soups, sandwiches and salads made with fresh, high quality produce. The Rattle and Roll Club is currently looking for a new permanent location, so be sure to visit their website or call +353-1-440 4289 for the latest information.
If you're looking for night-time things to do in Dublin with kids, check the program at The Ark, a cultural center for children. At first glance, it looks almost ominous with its Georgian red brick and rectangular windows topped with elaborate designs. However, the moment a child steps inside, he or she is swept away into a fantasy world. The place has a child-friendly atmosphere with exhibits, theater and thoughtful art projects for kids.
The theater sets at the Ark are beautifully designed and the costuming here is taken every bit as seriously as in adult theaters. The plays are examples of professional work that cause children to think about important issues such as ecology, kindness, sharing, discrimination and other pertinent subjects that children are faced with on a day-to-day basis. The visual art area involves hands-on exploration of children's creativity. There are great children's exhibits and costumed employees who interact with the kids. This is truly one of the best things to do in Dublin with kids aged four and older. Prices vary, so visit the website for events and tickets.
The Ark is located at 11 Eustace Street 2 in Dublin. Call +353-1-670-7788 for details. To access it using public transportation, take a bus to either College Green or Dame Street, proceed down Dame and turn onto Eustace. The building is halfway down the street on the left.
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