The Phoenix Park has an abundance of things to see and do for all ages, but if you have little ones to entertain, here are some of the best things to do in one of Europe’s largest city parks.
The Phoenix Park is one of the best free things to do in Dublin. It costs nothing to enter and is open 24 hours a day.
See the deer in the Phoenix Park
The Phoenix Park is home to a herd of approximately 600 fallow deer and it is a real treat and thrill to see these beautiful creatures in the park. The park is huge but if you head towards the Papal Cross or the American Ambassador’s Residence you should see the deer roaming around. Please do not get any closer than 50 metres to the deer and do not feed them either.
Picnic in the Furry Glen
The Furry Glen is a picturesque and tranquil part of the Phoenix Park. The Glen is set in a hollow and surrounded by statuesque tall trees. This sheltered area is a sun trap so picnics here, even in winter, are rather pleasant. There is a lovely small pond here too. Just remember to leave no trace.
Follow the nature trail
The Furry Glen is also the site of the first nature trail in the city of Dublin. The Phoenix Park Nature Trail in the Furry Glen takes around an hour to complete and there are twelve designated stops along that route that highlight that flora and fauna of the park.
Play in The People’s Gardens
Marvel at the blooming beautiful display of Victorian horticulture and large ornamental lake. The grass is perfectly kept and ideal for lazing on a sunny afternoon and there are picnic areas too. Best of all, there is a children’s playground where the little ones can run wild and free and burn off some energy. The playground has a great selection and variety of play units with provision for children with disabilities.
Learn about the history of the Phoenix Park
To find out more about the Phoenix Park; its history, wildlife and attractions, spend some time in the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre. Admission is free and there is a fun and fascinating self-guided exhibition. Enjoy a historical interpretation of the park from 3500 B.C. to the present day as well as a short film, art exhibitions and a nature display. If you time it right, you might even catch an art and craft demonstration. Plenty of things to keep the little ones entertained and a perfect activity if it starts to rain.
Search for the sculptures at Farmleigh House
There are several wonderful sculptures dotted throughout the grounds of the Farmleigh Estate. The sculptures are by Irish and international artists and you can have great fun with the kids trying to find all the artworks and learning about them. The grounds of Farmleigh are really lovely with plenty of things to see and do including the Boathouse Restaurant where you can stop for snacks and refreshments.
Pay a visit to the President of Ireland’s home
Áras an Uachtaráin is the residence of the President of Ireland and it is situated right here in the Phoenix Park. You can’t tour Áras an Uachtaráin at the moment but if you head to the back of the house on Chesterfield Avenue you get a great view of the beautiful white house. If you are really lucky, you might also catch a glimpse of Bród and Síoda, the two Bernese Mountain dogs that belong to President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina. The good doggos sometimes come out to lie on the lawn.
Eat some treats in the Victorian Tea Rooms
Fuel up in the beautiful Victorian Tea Rooms which was built in 1896. This quirky building has seating inside, but the best seats in the house are outside amongst the trees. The menu has some lovely hot and cold dishes and snacks as well as freshly baked treats. There is something here to satisfy the fussiest of eaters.
Discover the animals in Dublin Zoo
The Phoenix Park is home to Dublin Zoo, which is a huge hit with children and is Ireland’s most popular family attraction. Opened in 1831, it is one of the oldest zoos in the world. However, nowadays, it is a thoroughly modern zoo with noble aspirations of species conservation and education.
Explore more by bike
Little legs can tire easily, so why not join us on our weekly guided bike tours so you can explore more of the Phoenix Park? Explore the wonders of the Park on this exciting yet relaxing bike tour. There are plenty of cycle lanes and off-road tracks in the park for the whole family to enjoy. Plus, kids go free when they bring their own bikes!