The number one rule of family outings - if the kids are happy, everyone is happy. There’s no need to worry about breaking that rule in Kilkenny.
Art It @ MacDonagh Junction
For many years, professional artist DiDi Dobree-Wilson has taught children from her home in Kilkenny. She now manages Art It, located in MacDonagh Junction Shopping Centre.
Parents and children can spend time together working on joint or individual artworks. Glitter, paint, gems and feathers fly as young artists create unique craftworks to take home. The best bit – you don’t have to worry about the clean up!
There’s even a drop-in service if you want to sneak out for an hours’ peace in the shops.
- Opening hours are 11am to 6pm every day during school breaks. Closed Monday and Tuesday during term time.
- Psst! It’s not just for the kids… A couple of hours taking a life drawing class or throwing paint-filled balloons at a canvas makes for a creative and different hen party or girls’ get-together activity.
Art It also caters for birthday parties! Bring your own party food or let them cater for you.
Castlecomer Discovery Park
If the weather is on your side and the outdoors is more your style, Castlecomer Discovery Park is a must!
For the younger children, there’s a playground and a junior woodland course. The kids can play in the elf fairy village and cute café, only a 7-10 minute walk from reception.
For the unimpressed teenagers, the tree-top walk, archery and canoeing are all challenges to try. For the adrenaline junkies, the zipline, outdoor climbing wall and leap of faith will do the trick.
It doesn’t all have to be high-octane activity. The park itself is 80 acres of stunning natural woodland and lakes and the walks are dotted with wooden sculptures – the perfect escape to nature.
- The first hour of parking is free, with a small charge thereafter to help with the upkeep of the park.
- Just a 25min drive from Kilkenny city centre.
There’s a cafe on-site for a lunch break, if you can pry the kids away from the fun.
Kilkenny Activity Centre
For something completely different and a good laugh, Kilkenny Activity Centre holds regular bubble soccer sessions. Bubble soccer is a team game played on a football pitch with the object of the game to score more goals than the opposing team.
This is where the similarities to actual soccer end! In this game, the participants are protected by a big bubble which covers them from head to waist with only their legs free to move. Any efforts to actually play soccer bring hilarious results. You can take part or just watch as players crash into and knock each other over like human bumper cars while trying to show off their football skills.
Young adults might also enjoy paintball, splatball and the military assault course, Hell’s Kitchen! Definitely bring a change of clothes for everyone.
- Located to the rear of the Orchard House Bar and Restaurant off the M9 motorway.
- Only 5min drive from Kilkenny City.
Of course, you can always stay clean and dry in the coffee dock and enjoy a coffee while your family gets stuck in. But that's no fun!
The National Reptile Zoo
Located in Gowran, the National Reptile Zoo houses some of the world’s rarest and most unusual animals. The zoo is dedicated to the conservation of these amazing creatures and their habitats, and they want you to share their passion for all the exotic residents.
By visiting the zoo, you are supporting its conservation work. The zoo gathers data on the animals for research purposes, while educating people on the importance of these unusual species to our ecosystem in the hope of contributing to their preservation for future generations.
The zoo has 50 exhibits, an animal-encounter zone, a tropical walk-through habitat, indoor and outdoor picnic areas, a snack bar, souvenir shop and even a soft play area.
- Get up close and personal in an animal encounter – a chance to touch and hold one of our scaly friends!
- Just a 15min drive from Kilkenny City.