The biggest County in Ireland, Cork certainly has plenty of great visitor attractions for children. Where else can your kids hop with a kangaroo in the morning and spend time on a former penal colony in the afternoon? Here’s our top child friendly things to do in Co. Cork….
(For the purposes of comparison we have included the price of a family ticket for two adults and two children under 12 years. This information is correct as of July 2019)
Fota Wildlife Park
Arguably one of the best family days out in the country, Fota Wildlife Park is the perfect mix of dangerous animals and very safe kids! With a wide path all through the park flanked on both sides by the most incredible variety of wildlife, it’s not just the animals that can roam free. Your children can stroll along past zebra, giraffes and cheetahs. Buggy friendly paths and accessible facilities along the way ensure everyone is welcomed. Learn as you go about these remarkable animals and the ongoing conservation efforts by the team at Fota.
There are lots of food offerings in the park. And even better, plenty of picnic spots so you’ll be in good company if you decide to bring your own lunch. The train half way around is often a welcome rest for small kids.
Although not the cheapest day out, it must be one of the best value things to do in Cork. Anyone living locally should consider an annual pass. For more details visit fotawildlife.ie
(Family of 4 = €49.00)
Top tip: Don’t forget the car park is €3
A visit to a prison may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of family fun. However a trip to Spike Island is one day out that won’t fail to impress. Particularly suitable for older kids, this tour gives the history of an island that has been home to both monks and convicts. At one stage 2,300 prisoners were detained in it’s Fortress. The experience starts with a ferry crossing, taking in the beautiful Cobh Harbour. It is recommended that you allow about 3.5 hours for your visit.
There is a café on the island and lots of picnic areas. A guided tour is included in the ticket price, where you will hear to history of the island and stories of prison life. The Punishment Block should encourage good behaviour. Bring warm clothes and sunscreen if appropriate. The island is quite exposed. And if you have particularly cynical teens? Book the After Dark tour that runs on Saturday That should keep them quite for a while…. Visit spikeislandcork.ie for all the details.
(Family of 4 = €49.00)
Leahy’s Open Farm
Leahy’s Open Farm in Dungourney has all the ingredients for a perfect family day out. Situated about 15 minutes from Midelton, this is so much more that a petting farm. There are plenty of animals to be seen, from camels to cows and geese to goats. At various times throughout the day, children have an opportunity to handle the small animals, see the cows being milked and on certain days watch dog agility shows. There are real diggers for wannabe construction workers (extra charge) and a super long slide for adrenaline junkies. The barrel train is always a huge hit..
But what makes Leahy’s Open Farm so special is the collection of artifacts from Irish farming and rural life on display. Bring the grandparents, treat them to a trip down memory lane. There is a lovely cafe with reasonably priced food and a great indoor play area, meaning you can drink your coffee in peace. Also a brand new ice-cream and chocolate factory makes it very hard to resist a treat before the trip home. For more details visit leahysopenfarm.ie
(Family of 4 = €42.00)
Blackrock Castle Observatory
The Blackrock Castle Observatory may look like it belongs in the past, but it most definitely has an eye on the future. Hidden within the walls of the 16th century castle lies the science centre of dreams for all would be astronauts. From tots to teens, there are interactive exhibitions for all ages and interests. The Cosmos at the Castle exhibition is all about extreme life forms on Earth and their implications for life in outer space. The Journeys of Exploration interactive experience will mesmerise young minds with stories of smugglers and pirates. Check out the website before you go as there are often great seasonal events planned. Find more details at bco.ie
(Family of 4 = €20)
Doneraile Wildlife Park is one of Ireland’s most visited free tourist attractions for the last number of years. And it’s just got even better. Doneraile Court, a house that dates from the 1720s, has just been opened to the public after an extensive renovation. The Park itself is a beautiful place to spend a family day out. There is plenty of free parking and picnic spots galore. Bring the buggeys and the scooters and explore the magnificent grounds. Keep an eye out for herds of deer. Play hide and seek in the woods. And then on to the playground for a while. After all that, a treat in the tea rooms will be well deserved. Find out opening times and more information at doneraileestate.ie
(Entrance to House – Family of 4 = €20)
More Child Friendly Things to Do in Co Cork
Obviously we always have lots of great events listed for Cork city and county on InspireMe.ie. So be sure to find out what’s happening near you. And don’t forget to sign-up to get reminders of the best festivals and events in your locality.
All details were correct at time of publication. But please confirm the details on the venue website before you travel.