Fun Things to Do with The Kids At Forest Parks in Ireland
Whether you're looking to explore ancient woodlands, spot wildlife, or simply enjoy a picnic surrounded by nature, there's something for everyone in Ireland's forest parks. In this article, we'll take a closer look at some of the most fun things to do with kids when visiting a forest park in Ireland.
1. Go on a nature walk
One of the best ways to experience the beauty of a forest park is by going on a nature walk. Many parks have designated walking trails that are suitable for families with young children, with a range of different lengths and difficulty levels to choose from.
Walking through the forest is a great way to get up close and personal with nature, and kids will love exploring the different trees, plants, and wildlife they encounter along the way. Many parks also offer guided nature walks, where a park ranger or guide can provide insight into the ecology and history of the area.
2. Have a picnic
There's nothing quite like enjoying a picnic surrounded by nature, and forest parks provide the perfect backdrop for a family picnic. Many parks have designated picnic areas, complete with tables, benches, and barbecue facilities.
If you're feeling more adventurous, you can also take a picnic blanket and find a secluded spot in the woods to enjoy your lunch. Just be sure to follow park rules and regulations when it comes to disposing of your rubbish and avoiding damage to the environment.
3. Go wildlife spotting
Ireland's forest parks are home to a wide range of wildlife, from deer and foxes to birds and insects. Going on a wildlife spotting adventure can be a fun and educational activity for kids, as they learn about the different animals that call the forest home.
Binoculars can be a useful tool for spotting wildlife, and many parks also offer guided wildlife walks where a knowledgeable guide can help identify different species and provide information about their habitats and behaviours.
4. Take a bike ride
Many forest parks have designated cycle paths, making them the perfect destination for a family bike ride. Cycling through the forest is a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the scenery at the same time, and kids will love the sense of adventure that comes with exploring the woods on two wheels.
If you don't have your own bikes, many parks offer bike rentals, including child-friendly options like tag-alongs and trailers. Just be sure to wear helmets and follow park rules when it comes to cycling on designated paths.
5. Go on a treasure hunt
Kids love a good treasure hunt, and forest parks provide the perfect setting for a scavenger hunt or treasure hunt adventure. You can create your own treasure hunt using clues and riddles, or use one of the many online resources available that provide pre-made scavenger hunt templates.
Some parks also offer guided treasure hunts or orienteering activities, where kids can learn how to use a map and compass to navigate their way through the woods and find hidden treasures.
6. Visit a playground
Many forest parks have designated playground areas, where kids can climb, swing, and slide to their heart's content. Playgrounds provide a great opportunity for kids to burn off some energy and make new friends, and parents can relax and enjoy the natural surroundings while their children play.
Just be sure to supervise younger children and follow park rules when it comes to using playground equipment safely.
7. Learn about the history and culture of the area
Many forest parks in Ireland have a rich cultural and historical heritage, and visiting these parks can provide a unique opportunity for kids to learn about the history and culture of the area. For example, Coillte Forest Park in Wicklow is home to the ruins of an old lead mine, while Killarney National Park in Kerry features ancient stone circles and the remains of a 15th century castle.
Visiting these historical sites can be a fun and educational activity for kids, as they learn about the people who once lived and worked in the area. Many parks offer guided tours or information boards that provide insight into the history and culture of the region, making it easy for families to explore and learn at the same time.
8. Take a dip in a river or lake
Many forest parks in Ireland are located near rivers, lakes, or other bodies of water, providing the perfect opportunity for a refreshing swim or paddle. Kids will love splashing around in the water and exploring the banks of the river or lake, and parents can relax and soak up the scenery.
Just be sure to follow park rules and regulations when it comes to swimming or paddling in natural bodies of water, and always supervise children when they're near the water.
9. Go on a camping adventure
For families who love the great outdoors, camping in a forest park can be an unforgettable experience. Many parks have designated camping areas, complete with tents, sleeping bags, and cooking facilities.
Camping provides a great opportunity for families to disconnect from technology and spend quality time together in nature. Kids will love roasting marshmallows over the campfire, telling ghost stories, and falling asleep to the sound of the forest at night.
10. Attend a forest festival or event
Throughout the year, many forest parks in Ireland host festivals and events that celebrate the natural beauty and cultural heritage of the area. For example, the Enchanted Forest Festival in Wicklow features music, storytelling, and outdoor adventures, while the Ballyhoura International Walking Festival in Limerick offers guided walks through the forest and surrounding countryside.
Attending a forest festival or event can be a fun and memorable experience for the whole family, with something to suit every interest and age group.
In conclusion, Ireland's forest parks provide a wealth of opportunities for families to explore and have fun together in nature. From nature walks and wildlife spotting to picnics and playgrounds, there's something for everyone to enjoy. By taking advantage of the many activities and adventures available in these parks, families can create unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime.