Easter Trails, Exotic Animals and Boat Trips: Fun Family Adventures to Enjoy in Waterford While the Kids Are Off School

Bring the kids to a mini zoo, explore Waterford’s ancient history, traverse a beautiful stretch of the Blackwater river, take in the spectacular gardens at Mount Congreve or cycle the Greenway and stop for lunch on route. There are plenty of ways to entertain the kids while they’re on their Easter holidays. Here are five family-friendly activities to partake in the county.

See Animals up Close and Personal at the Ardmore Open Farm and Mini Zoo

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Located two miles from Ardmore village, visitors to the farm and mini zoo can get up close and personal with a wide range of exotic and farm animals. There are dedicated petting times throughout the day where kids and adults get to hold reptiles, furry favourites, birds and much more.

There are play areas for children as well as the 15-acre farm and mini zoo to explore with over 200 animals and an indoor bird aviary. Make a day of it and enjoy the onsite café or bring a picnic.

Some of the farm animals you’ll meet include ponies, goats, donkeys, deer, pigs, sheep and cows. At the mini zoo you’ll see coatimundi, chinchilla, bearded dragons, meercats, prairie dogs, alpaca, llamas, wallabies, swans, owls and more.

Aim to go on Saturday (April 8) as there is an Easter Egg Hunt. For more info, see: https://ardmoreopenfarm.ie.

Tour the Blackwater River by Boat or Kayak

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The magnificent Blackwater river flows through the scenic village of Villierstown in Co. Waterford and Blackwater Eco Tours offers visitors the opportunity to experience it in a variety of wonderful ways.

If you just want to chill and watch the world go by, take a guided river boat tour. Or, you can hire a self-drive boat and tour it yourself. For a little more physical exertion, you can hire a canoe or kayak.

When we did it a few years ago, we stayed two nights at the Blackwater Eco pods in Villierstown and hired kayaks on the first day and a guided tour the following day. Eugene, our boat guide, was entertaining and knowledgeable about the history of the section of river we toured, regaling fascinating stories about the grand houses and castles on this stretch and the families who lived there over the centuries. For more information about the water activities and the pods, see: https://www.blackwaterecotours.ie.

Head to Mount Congreve’s Easter Trail

Place Mount Congreve Gardens

Open from 9 am to 5 pm daily, Mount Congreve’s beautiful gardens are worth exploring at any time of year. In spring, the Magnolias in full bloom are a sight to behold.  More exciting for the kids though, is the Easter Trail on the grounds this Saturday, Sunday and Monday (April 8-10).

The Easter Trail is running in partnership with the children’s foundation Juniors for Juniors. So, as well as this being a great day out, it’s for a good cause. On arrival, each child will receive an activity sheet and from there you can start your Easter adventure. Take a walk through the magical gardens, as you work together to complete the activity sheet.

The trail will take you to the Chinese Pagoda and the Rock Waterfall. Once complete, your child will receive an Easter treat – either an Easter egg or a small plant. You’ll then be entered into a raffle to win a 12-month Family Membership to Mount Congreve Gardens, worth €100, and a JellyCat bunny, from the Secret Gardens Gift Shop. €1 from every ticket sold with be donated to Juniors for Juniors.

Pre-booking is essential as there are limited tickets available. The activity sheet is suitable for children aged 4 to 11 years.

Walk or Cycle the Greenway

Railway Cottage Greenway

Starting at the Quay and going all the way to Dungarvan (46 km) the Waterford Greenway is a fantastic facility that we’re lucky to have. Wherever you choose to start on the route, it’s a lovely stroll and even better for cycling. It’s also safe for kids who are new to biking with no cars for you or them to worry about. You’ll be rewarded with the lush countryside scenery and the dramatic Comeragh Mountains backdrop.

Make a day of it during the Easter holidays with a walk or cycle along the Greenway and a stop off for lunch in the Coach House in Kilmacthomas or The Railway Cottage, which is adjacent to the Clonea Road access.

Explore the Viking Triangle

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Waterford Treasures offers a “One Pass, Five Experiences” package. The discounted Freedom of Waterford ticket allows you to enjoy a walking tour of the Viking Triangle with an expert guide. Plus complete access to The Irish Museum of Time, The Medieval Museum, Bishop’s Palace and The Irish Silver Museum.

Visitors can also choose to purchase tickets for the King of the Vikings Virtual Reality, Reginald’s Tower or Mount Congreve Gardens which are not included in the Freedom Pass. This is an ideal opportunity for your kids to discover more about Waterford’s thousand years of history. The guided tour takes you through the streets and buildings of Ireland’s oldest city and is a great way to get an overview of the historic and archaeological treasures as you make your way through the Viking Triangle. To book a “One Pass, Five Experiences” package, see Open Museum | Waterford Treasures.

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