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22nd Jul 2022

6 exciting wildlife experiences for families to visit in Ireland this summer


Brought to you by DiscoverIreland

The perfect summer day trip for any animal lovers…

Turn a day in the great outdoors into a wide-eyed family adventure with a wonderful wildlife-watching activity.

From farms to wildlife parks, zoos to sanctuaries, there’s so much to do and see in Ireland’s Ancient East if your family are animal lovers.

Ready to wild with your kin? Here are our top picks for animal encounters this summer…

Fota Wildlife Park, Cork

Fota Wildlife Park is one of Ireland’s most popular wildlife attractions, and for a good reason. You can see animals from all over the world, many of which are free-roaming, which gives a unique opportunity to see wildlife in their natural surroundings. Watch as kangaroos hop right past you, spot King Julien’s relatives from Madagascar on the Palm Walk, and visit the seal habitat, where the entertaining Humboldt penguins also live.

Top tip: book a Wild Experience Tour to spend a few hours with a ranger, and go behind the scenes at the park. You’ll also get an experience certificate — a wonderful souvenir for the summer holidays.

National Reptile Zoo, Kilkenny

If reptiles rock your world, slither to the National Reptile Zoo, where you can get close to crocodiles, learn about lizards, and stroke a snake.

Admire the fantastic animals from behind the glass or get to know them more intimately at the animal encounter sessions, where wranglers introduce the animals to you and tell you about their importance to our ecosystem.

Apart from reptiles, you’ll also find spiders and scorpions, a children’s play zone and a cafe.

Top tip: Animal Encounters take place hourly throughout the day, starting at 10:30 am. The last encounter starts at 4:30 pm.

Nore Valley Park Pet Farm, Kilkenny

Nore Valley Park Pet Farm has everything Old MacDonald sang about – lambs, goats, chickens, rabbits, donkeys, deer and, oh yeah, ostriches.

On a highly interactive visit, the whole family can bottle-feed the baby animals before cuddling up with some of the adorable creatures. As children wander around the beautiful grounds, they’ll also learn about the remarkable Irish farming heritage. Up the fun factor by climbing on board a trailer for a terrific tractor ride around the farm.

Top tip: There is a campsite at Nore Valley Park, where you can pitch a tent or mobile home or go wild in one of the wooden lodges. A night on a farm is a fun-filled adventure for the whole family.

Causey Farm, Meath

Home to cows, sheep, ponies and pigs as well as hens, a noisy gaggle of giggling geese and a retired turkey and his wife, a trip to Causey Farm is a wonderful way to experience family life on a working farm.

Children can also search for dairy fairies and have fun on the Causey Ice Cream Adventure, full of Irish foclóir, games, puzzles and giant bubbles. Of course, you can devour ice cream along the way or enjoy a few scoops at the Cow’s Lick Ice Cream Parlour. It’s a delicious day out for all the family.

Seal Rescue Ireland, Wexford

Meet adorable seal pups on the road to recovery at the super Seal Rescue Ireland centre in Courtown. This hospital for sick and injured seals has loads of different ways to hang out with these playful pinnipeds. You can enjoy a guided tour of the facilities, help prep and deliver their daily feeds, and actively participate in their rehabilitation. You can even go one step further and become a rescuer for the day and assist the animal care team in preparing feeds and baths, cleaning, weighing, and other activities around the rehabilitation hospital.

K2 Alpacas, Wicklow

Book a trek with K2 Alpacas in scenic Wicklow for a truly unique, memorable and enjoyable animal encounter this summer. Alpaca trekking is really good fun and suitable for all ages. Spending time with these cute, curious camelids with their floppy tufts and coy grins is guaranteed to cheer you up and put a smile on your face. K2 Alpacas organises meet and greet experiences where you get to hang out with an alpaca, feed them and watch them go about their daily business in their fluffy, friendly way.

Top tip: K2 Alpacas has experience working with children with Autism and ADHD. The Alpaca Therapy sessions are particularly suited to children and adults with additional needs and those suffering from stress and anxiety.

Brought to you by DiscoverIreland