As a hotel or accommodation provider, we understand you are always on the lookout for activities that will help create an attractive staycation destination or added value package for your guests. Thankfully in Cork, we are spoiled with a plethora of fantastic and family-friendly visitor attractions! This blog has compiled a list of things to do in Cork this summer aimed at families with young children.
- Fota Wildlife Park
- Fota House and Gardens
- Cork Harbour Boat Hire
- Old Cork Waterworks Experience
- Blackrock Castle Observatory
- West Cork Model Railway
- Fota Wildlife Park
We are proud to be one of Ireland’s leading visitor attractions, with 460,000 visitors annually. Fota Wildlife Park, which spans 100 acres, provides a safe, outdoor day out enjoyed by visitors of all ages.
As well as featuring135 species of animals including many endangered species such as the Sumatran Tiger, Asian lion and Indian rhino, our park provides everything needed for a memorable family day out.
Other facilities include, playgrounds, seating, and picnic areas and lots of rest areas (for those needing to take a short break or to simply take in the beautiful surroundings) and a gift shop. In terms of dining, our Savannah Café at the main entrance serves a variety of sandwiches, lighter bites and beverages, and the Oasis Café serves fast food options. Vendors at the Asian Sanctuary such as Volcano Pizza and Badger & Dodo also offer freshly made pizzas and coffees during the peak summer season.
Fota Wildlife Park is unique due to the many free-roaming species such as Ring-tailed lemurs, wallabies and kangaroos that enjoy the open, naturalistic setting.
We are advantageously situated to complement any hotel stay in Cork and the surrounding counties. We are accessible from many national road routes and only a short 20-minute drive from Cork City. If your guests would rather take the sustainable and convenient travel option, there is a dedicated train stop at Fota; please see the Irish Rail website for the full timetable www.irishrail.ie
2. Fota House and Gardens
Enjoy fabulous scenery and great walks at the magnificent Regency period Fota House, featuring beautiful formal gardens and a world-renowned arboretum.
This trip is perfect for a short walk or a picnic and is enjoyed by many walkers, joggers and families as a stunning recreational area to stretch the legs, enjoy a coffee or a treat at the café or even book a tour of the house itself (see website for full details www.fotahouse.com).
The Smith Barry family built Fota House, and the famous Morrison architects transformed and extended it in the 1820s. The classical style of the house reflects exquisite Regency features and will transport the visitor back to an era of elegance and taste.
The adjacent rose garden and arboretum are great places to explore. A key feature of a recent restoration programme is the Victorian Frameyard Garden, now described as one of the finest in the country.
Fota House is run by a charitable organisation called the Irish Heritage Trust. The gardens and arboretum are cared for and managed by the OPW.
3. Cork Harbour Boat Hire
For your adventurous guests, what could be better than getting out into the fresh, sea air in an exhilarating boating adventure with Cork Harbour Boat Hire! These tours will allow your guests to explore the fascinating history and beautiful scenery of Cork Harbour Islands, including excellent views of Spike Island, St. Colman’s Cathedral and Cobh Promenade. They’ll also have the chance to spot some of the vast array of wildlife that lives around Cork’s coastline. Tours are led by a qualified safety boat guide, and their boats are easy to drive, allowing participants to independently navigate the harbour without any previous boating experience necessary.
4. Old Cork Waterworks Experience
For those looking to explore Cork with younger families, this attraction is well situated as it is within walking distance from Fitzgerald Park, Cork City Gaol, and University College Cork.
The old Cork City Waterworks, which includes the Lifetime Lab, provides a unique and entertaining educational experience that all ages will enjoy! Old buildings and machinery from the waterworks have been carefully restored to tell the story of how water has been supplied to Cork City over the past 300 years. As well as the interactive exhibitions, The Lifetime Lab also includes the Steam Centre classroom, which offers a range of engaging and hands-on workshops related to STEM subjects for primary school level children.
The site also includes a playground, picnic area and sensory garden overlooking the spectacular views of the River Lee.
5. Blackrock Castle Observatory
Blackrock Castle Observatory is a must-see for any cosmically curious children or adults visiting Cork! Blackrock Castle is the oldest surviving structure still in use in the city of Cork. The16th century castle on the banks of the River Lee was re-opened in 2007 as a space for science education. The award-winning “Cosmos at the Castle” interactive exhibition details recent scientific discoveries and their implications for life in outer space. The castle also hosts daily planetarium shows and guided tours.
6. West Cork Model Railway Village
If your guests feel like travelling a bit from Cork City, then a stop at the West Cork Model Railway Village should be added to the itinerary. Based in Clonakilty, the West Cork Model Railway Village is a fully scaled model of the historic West Cork Railway Line. The model has been carefully made by hand, with fully functioning miniature trains and the towns the railway served in the 1940s. The location also includes other activities for family fun, including remote control boats, mini diggers, playgrounds, and a café/craft shop.
Interested in becoming a hotel partner of Fota Wildlife Park?
Fota Wildlife Park has partnered with leading hotels in Cork and the surrounding areas to create popular holiday packages that their guests adore. Our new digital ticketing system makes it easier than ever for hotels and accommodation providers to manage their guests’ Fota Wildlife Park tickets. Get in touch with us today to find out more, including our T&Cs and special corporate rate on tickets. We look forward to hearing from you.