By Elaine Whelan
If you’re dreaming of a holiday break this year, then Carlow is a great destination to consider. It really is a haven for those who enjoy the great outdoors with stunning, unspoilt landscapes, fresh air and wide open spaces!
Rancho Reilly is a family run Pet Farm and Children’s Activity Centre ideal for kids under 10 on over five acres of land at the foot of the scenic Killeshin Hills. Their play barn features a cool indoor soft play area and a separate much bigger multi-level play structure including slides, tunnels, bridges and loads of other physical play adventure features. Outdoor activities include swings and slides, trampoline and play forts, an obstacle course, basketball and football courts, a fun miniature crazy golf course, and a large sandpit with construction equipment plus an additional smaller sandpit in a boat for toddlers. There are also pedal tractors, tricycles, bikes and more to cycle and ride around. Get ready to pet chicks, rabbits and hamsters, ducks, pigs, goats and donkeys and more exotic specimens like lizards and snakes. It costs €3 per adult and €6 per child.
Oak Park Forest Park
Oak Park Forest Park is situated on the outskirts of Carlow Town. There are few locations that could rival the beauty and tranquillity of Oak Park Forest Park. There are colour-coded circular walkways of varying lengths so that little legs can explore without getting too tired. You can wander through the forest parkland and feed the ducks and swans in one of the many lakes before sitting down to feed yourself at the picnic area. The walks are all wheelchair and buggy accessible so there is no problem for all the family to enjoy the surroundings together. For a free family (and dog friendly) day out make sure to visit Oak Park Forest Park.
The Chocolate Garden of Ireland
Located in Tullow, the Chocolate Garden of Ireland is a fun experience for those with a sweet tooth. The chocolate workshops allow you to learn about the cocoa harvesting, chocolate tasting, a chocolate making demonstration and a hands on chocolate making session with your very own mould. Workshops cost €13.50 per person and a family of four costs €50.00. There is also an ice cream parlour, café and shop on site. As well as that there is a playground on the grounds which will come in handy to help tire the little ones out during a sugar rush.
Dome Entertainment Centre
The Dome Entertainment Centre is located in the Talbot Hotel Carlow. This is the stuff of dreams for kids. Congo Quest is 8,000 square feet of jungle gym experience. Kids can explore the play frame and play to their hearts content in ball pools, crawl tubes, slides, soccer court and soft play area. You can also play a game of bowling and avail of the dine and bowl package which runs in conjunction with Corries Bistro and Bar in the Talbot. Take a shot at the laser zone that is specially designed for the Dome.
Carlow County Musuem
Carlow County Museum is located on College Street in the Cultural Quarter of Carlow Town. This award winning museum is free to enter all year round. Spanning four galleries, the museum has a wide collection of items and artefacts from Carlow county. The museum has plenty of displays to peak your interest regarding the history of the area and beauties that you wouldn’t expect. You can’t go wrong with free admission to keep the family entertained on rainy days.