There are plenty of entertaining attractions for the young around Belfast. Here, we’ll help you plan some fun outings for your family and youngsters, while you discover Belfast’s top fun family friendly attractions. Whether you’re looking for adventurous or learning experiences, it’s all there at these top venues for children activity.
South 13 is a new venue from Square Pit, the team behind T13 Belfast & Belfast Contained. The former B&Q Warehouse has been transformed into an intercultural hub for leisure, events & enterprise. S13 will provide sessions with professional coaches in urban sports, such as boxing, wrestling, basketball, BMX, scooter, nerf blasting, segway, archery and creative arts.
“This is a very exciting and inspirational business project that will deliver dividends to the community. S13 is conveniently located on the South/West corridor close to residential communities, public transport and the road infrastructure of the Westlink giving accessibility to all who want to avail of its resources.”
– Gary Flynn, Director of Square Pit Productions.
- Saturday: 12:00 pm–06:00 pm.
Exploris Aquarium is located in Portaferry on the shores of Strangford Lough. This is a place where kids can have a blast exploring a marine life of various species of coral reefs, fishes and jellyfish from around the world. You will find the colourful coral reefs of the Tropical Ocean, and see the various colourful fish on your way to the smugglers cove where sharks circle above you. Then on the shores you will get to see the playful otters, which are rare and endangered of extinction, and witness conservation in action in the nursery seal pens and outdoor pools.
Not only is this place fun, but also educational. Besides fish and coral reefs, kids can also learn about reptiles in the dark depths of the Reptile filled rainforest, where a snappy crocodile and green gecko hide. After that, you get to explore the seal sanctuary as well where kids can learn about the seals’ journey before returning to the wild. Exploris, with the support of Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), takes in sick or abandoned common and grey seal pups. These seals are well taken care of where there is a seal hospital for treating them. You can explore the hospital on your visit there, and watch the seals as they move to the nursery pool and rehabilitation pool from an underwater viewing arena.
“We receive and record a high volume of calls direct to our dedicated seal helpline and our team spring into action, reviewing, assessing and where necessary, rescuing and returning the injured or orphaned pup to our rehabilitation unit where our team can care for them around the clock, if necessary.“
– Ann Moreland, General Manager.
Before you leave the place, don’t forget to buy souvenirs and gifts for your family and friends from the gift shop. Kids can play at the soft play area, and you can all enjoy a meal at the Cracken Cafe and Restaurant, which offers some fabulous home bakes and authentic fusion cuisine, all sourced from local producers and suppliers.
ِAlso check out the new ‘pollution zone’, where a series of storyboards tell the story of human-induced climate change in the ocean. There is a lot of stuff to do at Exploris, it regularly organizes workshops, events and activities for everyone, and ensures that everyone would spend a great time.
- Everyday: 10:00 am–06:00 pm.
Castle Espie Wildfowl & Wetlands Centre
Castle Espie offers the best experience for a fun family day. It has a lovely view overlooking Strangford Lough, County Down. It is a kingdom of wildlife being home to Ireland’s largest collection of over a 100 native and exotic water-birds. Hosting different activities, events and workshops, the place caters for all ages and interests. It is the perfect destination for adventure or relaxation with the sights and sounds of nature around, and there are soft play areas for children.
In autumn, you will get to see almost the entire population of migratory brent geese. The centre has the most significant habitat improvement of its kind in Ireland, including restored lagoons, grasslands, salt marshes and reed beds. In the morning, you can join the wardens for birdwatching and see the wonderful wildlife that changes all year round with the seasons change.
Enjoy the hundreds of ducks and geese, including the red-breasted goose and the white-faced whistling duck. The kids can also feed the friendly Nenes. Among the Winter birds you will get to witness the world’s largest population of Light-Bellied Brent Geese.
Don’t worry about guidance around the place as an expert will lead you around the Reserve and Woodland. We recommend you bring along a pair of binoculars and sensible footwear. By the end of the day you should try out food and drinks at the Kingfisher Kitchen at Castle Espie, and enjoy some coffee and cake or a delicious meal.
Open seven days a week, except 24 and 25 December.
- (November–January) Monday–Friday: 10:00 am–04:00 pm, Saturday and Sunday: 10:00 am–04:30 pm.
- (February) Monday–Friday: 10:00 am–04:00 pm, Saturday and Sunday: 10:00 am–05:00 pm.
- (March–June) Monday–Sunday: 10:00 am–05:00 pm.
- (July and August) Monday–Sunday: 10:00 am–05:30 pm.
- (September and October) Monday–Sunday: 10:00 am–05:00 pm.
The centre will remain open until 5.30pm on Bank and Public Holidays during the Spring and Summer months.
Ireland’s award-winning science and discovery centre based at the Odyssey Complex in Titanic Quarter, Belfast, W5 provides a unique fun experience for visitors of all ages. W5 is a science and discovery centre, not a museum, that will stir your imagination with over 250 interactive exhibits in four incredible exhibition areas: Discovery, Go, See and Do. W5 also holds large and small scale temporary exhibitions and events and has a daily programme of live science demonstrations.
Among the permanent exhibits is Meet RoboThespian, where kids get to meet RoboThespian, the life sized, humanoid, interactive robot actor and performer who can move, speak, educate, interact and entertain. You can make the robot sing or even do impressions via a touchscreen panel. And at Climbit, W5’s biggest exhibit ever, kids will have so much fun climbing the multi-storey three dimensional climbing structure, which is a cross between a maze and a jungle gym, and it takes over the Atrium at the heart of W5.
- Monday–Friday: 10:00 am–05:00 pm
- Saturday: 10:00 am–06:00 pm
- Sunday: 12:00 pm–06:00 pm
Lost City Adventure Golf
If you are a golf enthusiast or you and your family want to try something new, The Lost City Adventure Golf is your destination, based at Cityside Retail and Leisure Park. It is Northern Ireland’s first indoor adventure golf course that has become very popular for families, couples, students, or any group. There you will find two indoor jungle themed adventure golf courses, Sunken Skull Ridge Explorer Falls. It is perfect for adventurers of all ages, and kids will have so much fun with interactive obstacles and special effects. The place also organizes birthday parties, which include a round of adventure golf.
What happens is players face challenges as you make your way around the course. There’s a thunder and storm coming rumbling in the far corners of the rainforest, and the adventure is to battle all that out with the rainforest animals and moving walls and all. They have to navigate through the changing atmosphere to end the mission and win the Inca Gold.
- Everyday: 10:00 am–10:00 pm
- Adventurers (aged 12 and up) – £7.50
- Explorers (aged 6-11) – £5.50
- Young ‘Uns (aged 5 and under) – £4
- Early Bird (before 12pm) – £6
- Students – £6*
- Seniors – £6
- Family Pass – £22**
- Adventurers (aged 12 and up) – £12.50
- Explorers (aged 6-11) – £10
- Young ‘Uns (aged 5 and under) – £6.50
- Early Bird (before 12pm) – £10
- Students – £10*
- Seniors – £10
- Family Pass – £35**
* Student admission available Monday – Thursday. Student ID required.
** Family Pass admits 4 people, a minimum of 1 adult and 1 child 16 or under.
Address: 100-150 York Street, Cityside Retail & Leisure Park, Belfast BT15 1JH, UK.
Tel: +44 28 9099 5118
Enter the magical world of chocolate and sweets, and take a trip back in time at Aunt Sandra’s Candy Factory and watch up close old-time candy making at its best. Visitors can see how chocolates, sweets and fudge are made through a viewing window, enjoy the smells and learn how Aunt Sandra began making her famous sweets and its journey passing from one generation to the other.
The Candy Factory has become a popular attraction in East Belfast. It offers lots of treats, including yellow man, raspberry ruffles, macaroons, Belfast fudge and brandy drops. You can also make your own treats, let it be chocolate pizzas or lollipops.
“The secret of our success is being nice. It isn’t about being smarter because we’re not, it isn’t about being sharper because we’re not, it isn’t because we’re clever, because we’re not … I absolutely believe in the power of being nice.”
– Jim Moore in his Aunt Sandra’s Candy Store.
- Monday–Friday: 09:00 am–04:30 pm
- Saturday: 09:30 am–05:00 pm
- Sunday: 10:00 am–05:00 pm
Located between Lisburn and Malone Roads, South Belfast, Drumglass Park is a popular venue among families and young children. It is named after Henry Musgrave, a well-known landowner who was elected an Honorary Burgess of the City of Belfast in 1917. He lived in Drumglass House, one of the most prestigious houses in the Malone Road area. In 1922, he died leaving six acres of his property to the city to be used as a public park or a children’s playground. It also hosts music events in the summer.
The park was initially opened to the public in 1924 by Lady Turner, the Lady Mayoress of Belfast, under the name Drumglass Playcentre. The house and site’s remaining grounds now form part of Victoria College Girls’ School. It is commonly known as Cranmore or Marlborough Park.
- Everyday: 07:30 am–04:30 pm
Belfast Zoological Gardens
Belfast Zoological Gardens, one of the oldest attractions in Northern Ireland, is home to more than 140 animal species, many of which are in danger in their natural habitat. Belfast Zoo is an award-winning attraction in Northern Ireland, with more than 300,000 visitors each year. Among the animals there are the Asian elephants, Rothschild’s giraffes, California sea lions, penguins, apes, Malayan tapirs, giant anteater, Malayan sun bears, Visayan warty pigs, Goodfellow’s tree kangaroo, red-backed bearded sakis, crowned sifaka, Sumatran tigers and even dragons.
“We’re thrilled to have such an exceptionally rare creature here at Belfast Zoo. This dragon is an important addition not only for us, but for Northern Ireland as a whole. Despite their fearsome reputation and fabled ability to burn entire cities to ashes, we’d like to reassure the residents of Belfast that our keepers have received expert training, and we’re looking forward to seeing him thrive in his new environment.”
– Mark Challis, Belfast Zoo Manager.
The Zoo also holds events throughout the year. You can also adopt animals for one year and contribute to the cost of feeding and looking after rare and endangered species. Adoption packages can be bought online as well. The Zoo can be a lot of fun for children with its new junior-keeper-for-a-day experience, which combines fun with learning. It gives those little ones the chance to get closer to their favorite animals and learn about some of the world’s most endangered species. The junior keeper for a day experience is available to children aged 8 to 16, and is £125 per person and must be booked in advance.
- Everyday: 10:00 am–06:00 pm
- Last admission: 05:00 pm
- Animal houses close: 06:00 pm
- Zoovenir Shop closes: 06:00 pm
- Zoo closes: 06:00 pm
- Everyday: 10:00 am–04:00 pm
- Last admission: 02:30 pm
- Animal houses close: 03:00 pm
- Zoovenir Shop closes: 04:00 pm
- Lion’s Den Restaurant
- Treetop Tearoom
- Zoovenir Shop
- Children’s adventure playground
- Designated picnic areas
- Public toilets including accessible toilets
- Baby changing
- Accessible Zoo-mobile (fee applies)
- Free entry to Belfast Zoo
- Free entry for an accompanying adult
- A ‘zooper’ schedule of behind the scenes fun including animal encounters, feeding times, enrichment and much more
- Friendly and experienced zoo keepers to act as your guide
- A voucher for your ‘feeding time’ in the Lion’s Den Restaurant
- A voucher for the photography station
- An exclusive junior keeper for a day goodie bag
- A junior keeper for a day certificate.
Roar and Explore
Your little adventurers will have fun exploring two state-of-the-art, multi-level play frames full of obstacles, twists and turns at Roar and Explore in Belfast. Roar and Explore’s Junior Play is a fun and safe environment suitable for children up to 10 years and the Toddler Area for kids under 3 years to explore and learn. Roar and Explore is a social enterprise with all profits being reinvested back into the area and community.
Children can make new friends and have fun together. There’s a bumpy tiger slide onto the jungle floor and suspended rope bridges for climbing to the top of the trees, with dangling snakes along the way. While the kids play, parents can enjoy some hot drinks and treats at Roary’s Cafe. And if anyone’s birthday is coming up, you can plan them a two-hour birthday party in any of Roar and Explore’s three party rooms, which are available for booking and can accommodate groups of up to 25 children.
- Weekdays (During Term Time)
- Toddler Mornings: 09:30 am–11:30 am, £3.95 including juice and toast
- Toddler Mornings: 11:30 am–01:00 pm, £3.95
- Standard Entry: 01:00 pm–06:00 pm, £4.95
- Under one or non-walkers: All day, £1 or free with a paying sibling
Weekends, Bank Holidays and School Holidays
- Standard Entry: £5.75
- Under one or non-walkers: £1 or free with a paying sibling
- Everyday: 09:30 am–06:00 pm
Address: 3 Stewartstown Rd, Dunmurry, Belfast BT17 0AW, UK.
We Are Vertigo
As one of the largest indoor trampoline parks in Europe, We Are Vertigo offers the ultimate fun venue in Belfast for kids. It suits all ages, and there is a wide range of sessions to choose from. Not only should you go for trampolines, but also skiing or snowboarding. There is a ski centre for all ages who can already ski or snowboard or is willing to learn at the hands of professional ski instructors, and they provide all the equipment needed. The ski slopes are designed to help people learn up to eight times faster and boost your fitness. There is also a ski shop with all the latest ski equipment and cosy winter clothes you would need on your ski trip.
Not only that, there is much more fun awaiting at the adventure centre, where kids of all ages can enjoy an alpine themed play area, sky trail high ropes, low ropes, climbing wall, electric quads and log cabin themed party rooms.
“We pride ourselves in being at the forefront of new innovations within the leisure sector and we are thrilled to be bringing these exciting new world-class concepts to Belfast.”
– Gareth Murphy, Managing Director of We Are Vertigo
The park has some unique areas, which include:
- Dodge ball courts
- Basketball lanes
- Stunt pits
- Gladiator balance beam
- Performance wall
- An enormous main court
- Party rooms for those special birthday, group and corporate celebrations
There is also room for relaxation at the spa at We Are Vertigo. It offers an luxurious treatments including facials, nail treatments, waxing, tans and full body massages. While the children play in the trampoline park or adventure centre, parents can enjoy their time in one of five opulent treatment rooms. And after all the excitement, just have a lovely meal at the We Are Vertigo Lodge Restaurant, which provides wholesome food for all the family, or some coffee at Café Vertigo in the trampoline park.
- Mon–Fri: 10:00 am–09:00 pm
- Sat: 09:30 am–09:00 pm
- Sun: 12:00 pm–06:00 pm
- Mon–Fri: 10:00 am–09:00 pm
- Sat: 10:00 am–09:00 pm
- Sun: 11:00 am–06:00 pm
- Open most weekends during the summer, bookings are open from 10:00 am–05:00 pm Saturday and 12:00 pm–04:00 pm Sunday.
Ulster Museum Belfast is a history museum, art museum and nature museum all in one, which makes it an interesting attraction worthy of a visit. It has something for everyone, including art, history and zoology. The Nature zone of the national history museum offers loads for adults and kids, especially that it is very child-friendly. Ireland’s history is covered along with dinosaur bones, tasmanian tiger, edmontosaurus skeleton, animal specimens and more. Come face to face with dinosaurs, meet an ancient Egyptian mummy and see modern masterpieces with a visit to the Ulster Museum.
“The tapestry has been hugely successful … It has attracted visitors from all over the world to Northern Ireland and has been seen by around 150,000 visitors to the Ulster Museum. From Winterfell to the Iron Islands, the dramatic local landscapes that have brought this mysterious fantasy land to life are wonderfully illustrated on this unique work of art.”
– Finola O’Mahony, Head of Europe at Tourism Ireland
The Ulster Museum is part of National Museums Northern Ireland, which also includes the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum, Ulster American Folk Park, the W5 Science Centre and Armagh County Museum. It’s an excellent way to spend a few hours with the family. And best of all, admission is free. As Northern Ireland’s treasure house of the past and the present, the Ulster Museum houses a rich collection of art, history and natural sciences. The museum tells the story of the people of the north of Ireland from earliest times to the present day, as well as stories from around the globe. Impressive galleries and interactive discovery zones bring history, science and art collections to life. After the visit, you can enjoy a hot meal at the cafe.
- Everyday: 10:00 am–05:00 pm