Parents with little children can agree: traveling with kids is expensive. Theme parks, zoos, science museums, waterparks, and other kid-approved attractions all come with a hefty price tag. Adding up to the cost are travel essentials like transportation, hotel accommodation, and food expenses.
While it’s priceless to see the joy in our kids’ faces as they hop on an expensive theme park ride, we’d totally appreciate it if there are other alternative ways to make our kids happy for free.
If you’re Dublin, we can round up a few kid-friendly attractions that won’t cost a single penny.
1. Feed the ducks and swans at Stephen Green Park
Stephen Green park is a vast, picturesque park situated in Dublin city center. Whether you want to escape the hustle and bustle of city life or let the kids enjoy without paying a fee, this park is the perfect place to be in.
Here, you can encourage the kids to feed the ducks and swans in the ponds, play in the green lawns and flower gardens, enjoy a nice picnic, take pictures with the statues, and walk along the shaded pathways. Bonus: if you visit during the spring and summer months, you can see the park covered with vibrant flowers.
2. Meet a herd of wild deers at the Phoenix Park
Phoenix Park is the largest enclosed inner-city park in Europe. Unlike other parks that feature nothing but lines of trees and vast grasslands, this park has both flora and fauna.
No need to visit the nearby Dublin Zoo (which comes with a fee) to see animals – the Phoenix Park is home to a herd of wild fallow deer. Your kids would surely love to introduce themselves to a real-life Bambi.
The 1752-acre park, which would take days to explore, also houses the 22-acre Victorian People’s Flower Gardens, the 17th-century Ashtown Castle, and tea rooms.
3. Have a picnic at National Botanic Gardens
Just a short drive or bus ride north of the city centre and you can find this stunning green haven.
No matter what season it is, the National Botanic Gardens are always worth the visit. The gardens also contain the National Herbarium and a few historic wrought iron glasshouses.
The oasis makes a great spot for a family day out. The kids will also love chasing the cheeky squirrels.
4. Tour the National Gallery
If your little ones have keen eyes for art, then the National Gallery should be included in your list. The museum features an extensive collection of fine masterpieces from Ireland and around the globe across seven centuries.
Next to merely looking at the impressive exhibits, you can also join free tours every Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays to learn more about the pieces. You can also let your kids join the 12:30 Sunday tour which is designed with younger audiences in mind. There are loads of free workshops and kids’ corners too.
5. Visit “The Dead Zoo”
The admission to the National Museums of Ireland (The Archaeology Museum, The Decorative Arts and History Museum, and The Natural History Museum) is free. Of these three branches, the Natural History Museum, also known as “The Dead Zoo”, is the most appealing to kids.
The Natural History Museum features skeletons and stuffed specimens of animals, from tiny insects to massive mammoths. It houses an extensive display of mammals, birdlife, sea and river life, arctic animals, and even extinct species from the Ice age.
6. Walk along the Great South Wall as a family
Have you ever seen that vivid red tower in the middle of the Dublin bay? The iconic tower called the “Poolbeg Lighthouse” resides in the Great South Wall. Enjoy a scenic 800-meter stroll along the walkway until you see the massive tower up close and personal. Whether you visit before sunrise or around sunset, the views of the bay and the city from the Great South Wall are splendid.
7. Sign up for free walking tours in the city
If you want to do something beyond park picnics, you can sign up for free walking tours. Learn more about the city from passionate local guides. If you’re in Grafton street, you may find Sandeman’s New Dublin Tour, a free enjoyable three-hour walking tour.
8. Say hello to the animals at Corkagh Park
If you’re in South Dublin, the Corkagh Park in Clondalkin is worth a visit. The kids will love the pet farm at the park, which is home to a bunch of farm animals and a wide variety of birds. The park also has a playground, rose garden, and fishery.
9. Spend a day at a Dublin beach
Forget the overpriced water parks with dirty waters. Kids who are fond of swimming and water activities may enjoy the beaches Dublin has in store. Dollymount, Balcarrick / Donabate, Dalkey, Killiney, Portrane, and Portmarnock are some of the best beaches in the county.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is a resident writer for PREMIER SUITES Sandyford, a home to modern and stylish serviced apartments that provide business and leisure travelers the perfect place to stay in Dublin. When she’s not watching travel documentaries, you can see this free-spirited blogger writing articles about travel, food, and lifestyle.