Schools Out

With many schools closed this week parents are left wondering how to keep their little ones occupied so it helps to have a few ideas to hand. Here are 5 activities on offer throughout the country writes Geraldine Herbert


See the new tiger cubs at Dublin Zoo

The team at Dublin Zoo are celebrating the birth of two Amur tiger cubs. The cubs were born on October 14, weighing 1.5kg each, and can be seen by visitors to the Zoo daily from 9:30 am until 4 pm daily! With as few as 500 Amur Tigers left in the wild, the birth of these adorable cubs is an incredible success story for this rare species. Dublin Zoo hopes that the two young females, named Alena’ which means ‘ray of sunlight’ in Russian and ‘Zarina’ which means ‘born empress’ will later become part of an international breeding programme for the species and contribute to the low population numbers. Formerly known as Siberian tigers, the name was changed to reflect where these tigers used to have a wider distribution and are now only found in the Amur Valley in Russia. For more information check out the Dublin Zoo website.


We are Going on a Bear Hunt

One shiny wet nose… Two big furry ears… Two big googly eyes … Spend a day exploring one of the 260 recreation sites around Ireland managed by Coillte. From remote, off-the-beaten-track treasures like Ards Forest Park in Donegal, to action-packed adventure spots like Lough Key Forest Park in Roscommon you might just stumble upon a Ferocious beast. Most of the facilities are open to the public free of charge. There is a car-parking fee, which is used to fund the maintaince of the picnic areas, trails and playgrounds, at some forest parks. For more info check out the Coillte website.


Can you escape?
Originally developed in Japan, an escape room is a real-life physical puzzle game and are they are popping up all over the place these days The idea is simple, you have to figure out a way to either get out of the room or to solve a puzzle within a certain time frame by detecting and interpreting clues and puzzles. They can range in difficulty level and are suitable for all ages though in most centres under 12s need adult supervision and guidance.


Follow in the Monks footsteps
At any time of the year, Glendalough is worth a visit as it offers so much for a family day out in the most gorgeous scenery. Home to one of the most important monastic sites in Ireland the ruins include a round tower, seven churches, two high crosses and a graveyard. From there visit the two lakes either by bike or on foot. With its easy-to-follow path, it is a good choice for walkers young and old. For the more adventurous there are also hiking trails and a visitors centre and plenty of scenic picnic spots to soak up nature and wildlife.
For more information visit the Glendalough website.


Who, What, Why, Where and When
With over 250 amazing interactive exhibits in four incredible exhibition areas, Belfast’s W5 provides a unique experience as well as fantastic fun for visitors of all ages. With three floors to explore and a host of activities including Spacebase, a multi-sensory activity zone for 3-11 year olds, the new MED-Lab where you take an interactive journey through the body and learn how drugs are developed and Climbit an unusual mixture of physical fun, exploration and art kids will never think science is boring again. There are also seasonal exhibits and more than enough throughout to engage all age groups.
Opens Mon-Fri from 10am-5pm, Sat 10am to 6pm, Sun 12pm-6pm. w5online.co.uk; a family of four costs around €35.


Geraldine Herbert

18th February 2019

Author: Geraldine Herbert

Contributing Editor and Motoring Columnist for the Sunday Independent and editor of wheelsforwomen. Geraldine is also a regular contributor to Good Housekeeping (UK) and to RTÉ Radio One, Newstalk, TodayFM and BBC Radio. You can follow Geraldine on Twitter at @GerHerbert1

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