Irish National Stud & Gardens with a toddler

We’ve been visiting the Irish National Stud for years. It’s always been a favourite of mine. Never too crowded and there is something peaceful about it.

If you have visited my blog before, you will know, I like to form my reviews from the point of view of a mom. A mom with a toddler. Does this attraction suit my toddler? Would I recommend this attraction to other families with young children? If you are interested, I have some more reviews for you to view here.

Where is it?

The Irish National Stud is based in Tully, Co.Kildare. It’s nestled near Kildare Town and the Curragh. It’s also near a favourite of ours, Kildare Farm Foods.

How much does it cost?

The cost of admission to the Irish National Stud for an adult is €12.50, a child’s ticket (under 16) is €7.00. Children under 5 are free once accompanied by a paying adult. A family ticket (2ad + 4ch) costs €29.50.

What is there to do?

There is a range of sites to see and visit, including a Horse Museum, Japanese Garden, St. Fiachra’s Garden, the Stud and a Kids Zone. They also run family events throughout the season. On our most recent visit, they had some Easter activities for children to enjoy.

What are the best bits?

We really enjoy the gardens. The Japanese Gardens are an adventure, especially for a 3-year-old. There are darkened tunnels, stepping stones over water, beautiful trees to admire and mini mountains to climb and conquer.

If you go between March and May, you will get to see and witness some beautiful foals. On our last visit in April, we saw 3 foals that had been born within the past 48 hours. Over 250 foals are born at the stud every year.

Ava really enjoys feeding the horses some grass. If you are lucky enough to entice a horse over, they will eat some grass from your hand. This is the perfect opportunity to carefully pet the horse, which Ava gets a thrill from.

The playground. They’ve upgraded and extended the play zone this year and it’s even better than before. If your child is not already tired from walking, they’ll definitely burn off their remaining energy here.

Any bad bits?

Rain can put a dampener on your visit. This attraction is outdoors so you need to plan for rain, even if it’s a sunny day.

For us, doing the Oak Walk/Stallion Paddocks is pretty boring, I’d skip this.

Is the food any good?

The Japanese Garden Restaurant has plenty on offer. If the weather is good, we like to sit outside on the decking. There are plenty of options from Baked Potatoes, Soup of the Day, hot sandwiches, salads and plenty more. There is a small selection on the kid’s menu too.

On our last visit, Robert ordered a Chicken Chorizo Melt and I ordered a toasted ham and cheese sandwich from the kid’s menu. Overall it was ok. The food was hot although if I’m honest I would like some more filling in the sandwich.

What are the toilets/baby change like?

The toilet facilities from my experience are in great condition. I did notice that the baby changing is in the main entrance building. There is no more baby changing advertised along the way.

Special insider tips

I recommend you book online in advance for some small savings. Adults tickets are €11.50, a child’s ticket is €6.50 and a family ticket is €28.00.

Although the playground is one of our best bits, I recommend you keep this until last. Especially if your child is like mine and cries every time we have to leave a playground. To combat this, we walk to the left towards the foaling unit or horse museum. Ava hardly notices the playground on the right which saves a tantrum.

There are plenty of grass areas, benches and even picnic benches so bring along a packed lunch to save on food costs. The restaurant has cold water and ice available over near the cutlery. A good source for topping up water bottles.

Included in the entry cost is a guided tour. Unfortunately, Ava is not the type of child to endure this, but it looks rather informative from the parts I’ve overheard as we pass.

The bottom line

A fun family-friendly, informative escape in Co.Kildare. I, 100% recommend and we are probably going to buy a season ticket so we can visit at every occasion.

Until next time,

Karen x

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