I love Dublin! Every year, since I moved to Europe, I visit friends who live and work there. I have seen a lot of the Emerald Isle over the years.
This year, we had to plan our visit with Becca in mind. For the first time, I found myself researching where to go and what to do with a toddler in tow. In our week in Dublin, we visited Imaginosity, the Dublin Zoo and Rathwood. This is, of course, in addition to meeting up with our friends and Becca playing with their kids.
I wanted to share what you can do at those three kid-friendly venues. I start with Imaginosity.
Dublin for Kids: What is Imaginosity?
Imaginosity, or Dublin Children’s Musuem, has been designed with children in mind. It is three floors full of different activities catering to kids from toddlers to young children. You will need to book your visit and buy your tickets in advance (see here for their website). There is a limit to the number of visitors to make sure that all the children have adequate space and time to play.
It is a bit far from the city center though, if that is where you are staying, but it is accessible by train or bus. We got lucky and our friend, Rommel, had a free day so he drove us there.
We went on a Monday afternoon, which I think is a good time as it was not busy and Becca didn’t have to share (she is still not good at sharing at the moment, but I am positive that it’ll come), so no tantrums on that end. Also, each visit is limited to two hours. I thought it wouldn’t be enough, but Rommel, who has 4 (!!) kids assured me that it is more than enough. He was right, at around 1 hour 30 minutes into our visit Becca was getting tired.
So much fun for all kids!
When you go in, at the reception you give your name and they check your appointment. They didn’t even need the print-out of our ticket (which the email I received stressed to bring.) The receptionist also explained that there was an Arts and Crafts session at 4pm to make crowns, if Becca will be interested.
You then climb up the first set of stairs (which are numbered so you can practice counting with your kid!) to get to the café and first floor. Older kids can use the climbing frame in the middle to go up and down the three floors.
We started on the first floor
On the first floor, a yellow car was waiting for us, where older kids can practice driving. Becca was not interested.
What she wanted to do instead was to play with wooden toy cars and make them roll down a sloped wooden course. Once all the cars were collected at the bottom, she would gather them into a basket and start all over again. We had a hard time making her leave and move on to the next activity. She really enjoyed doing this.
On the first floor is also a spacious play area for under-two’s. Becca was thoroughly entertained here. There were a lot of toys for toddlers as well as this huge play area.
There was a farm corner with different animals on the wall and a play barn.
When you push the button found on each farm animal, it makes it’s respective sound. Becca is still so into animal sounds so this was a huge hit. She went back and forth pushing the buttons and hearing all the “moos”, “oinks”, etc.
She also went apple picking.
and played make-believe with teddy bears in a toy house.
When we left the under-two’s play area, we quickly visited the Diner. She wasn’t interested.
So instead, we went grocery shopping. This she loved! She had a blast choosing the fruits and vegetables, then bread, canned goods, and meat.
She didn’t want to leave the first floor! We stayed there for more than an hour.
Then we headed up to the second floor
We eventually persuaded her to go to the next floor. Here we found activities that were more suited for older kids. There were different puzzles, pretend playing, a math exhibit, and more.
Becca enjoyed dismantling the wall puzzles. She didn’t want to put them back so we had to do that. There are signs all over saying to help/teach your kid to clean up after themselves. Becca doesn’t understand that concept yet, so we still have to tidy up after her.
She also did a TV stint with her Papa. And played with the puppets at the Children’s Theatre located next to the TV studio.
And we ended up at the outdoor space on the third floor
At this point she was getting quite tired. We then brought her up to the 3rd floor, which was an outdoor space with a fairy garden in the middle open during good weather. Becca really wanted to go into the fairy garden, which of course was off-limits. We distracted her by playing Mega 4 in Line. She enjoyed dropping the huge discs in.
And just like that, our time was up! It was a worthwhile visit. I really appreciated that there was no time-limit for the kids at each activity, they got to go at their own pace. This is really important as each child learns and plays differently. We also really enjoyed watching Becca go crazy with all the things she could do!
For more pictures of our visit, see here!
What else can you do in Dublin with kids?
See my post on Dublin Zoo here.