There’s some excellent things to do in Donegal for families.
From activities for those dreaded rainy days to walks, waterparks, animal farms and more, there’s endless fun things to do in Donegal with kids.
In the guide below, we’ve rounded up our favourites, with a little bit of something to tickle most fancies.
Our favourite things to do in Donegal for families
The first section of our guide is packed with some of the most popular family activities in Donegal.
Below, you’ll find everything from walks with alpacas and indoor adventure centres to one of the most unique attractions in Donegal.
1. Take them to the very unique Wild Ireland
Conservation and eco-sustainability are hot topics right now, so why not make education fun? Wild Ireland is a very special animal sanctuary tucked away on a small pocket of surviving Celtic Rainforest in Burnfoot.
Meet animals that have been exploited, injured or abandoned and plenty of wild birds and otters on the lakes. Learn about species that once roamed Ireland such as brown bears, wild boar, lynx and wolves.
This is one of the more unique things to do in Donegal for families and it’s guaranteed to interest young and old alike.
2. Or on a stroll with the brilliant Wild Alpaca Way
Join in the newest award-winning visitor attraction in Inishowen with a family-friendly Alpaca Family Walk at Wild Alpaca Way. That’s right! Two adults and up to 3 children can head off on a ramble accompanied by cute and curious alpacas!
You’ll also learn where alpacas come from, why their wool is highly priced and why Mum and baby alpacas hum. It’s an unforgettable encounter that everyone will enjoy.
3. Spend a morning exploring Tropical World
If you’re looking for things to do in Donegal for families when it’s raining, Tropical World in Letterkenny is worth considering. This is a zoo with a difference – it is almost totally undercover to keep the tropical residents cosy and warm.
Head to the free-flight Butterfly House, see brightly coloured lorikeets and other exotic birds in their aviaries and get up-close to raccoons, meerkats, miniature monkeys and more.
This mini zoo has a commitment to conservation, education and research. As well as the micro-sized Bug World, there’s Jurassic Land, providing a glimpse into our Jurassic past.
4. And an afternoon on one of the many mighty Donegal beaches
Donegal has some of the best beaches in Ireland, if not the world. Head to Narin/Portnoo, one the most popular beaches in Donegal, or spend a day at the glorious Ballymastocker Bay on the shores of Lough Swilly.
Fintra Bay is backed by rolling dunes while Malin Beg is one of the most beautiful in the county. These stunning beaches are perfect for family beach walks, flying kites, birdwatching, fishing around in rock pools or playing ball games.
5. Spend a day at the fantastic Oakfield Park
Oakfield Park in Raphoe, Donegal has won many awards for its restored gardens and buildings. The estate has acres of lakes, woodland and parkland along with a hedge maze, miles of walking trails and the chance to commune with nature.
Tired legs will welcome a ride around the Lower Gardens on the miniature steam railway. The 4.5km track takes you past Castle Folly, the Tree Circle with the “Orb” and the awesome “Long Sleeper” sculpture on the Spiral Mound.
Fans of Thomas the Tank Engine will be enthralled by the blue “Earl of Oakfield” diesel engine. All aboard!
6. Seek sanctuary from the rain at Arena 7 in Letterkenny
Head to Arena 7 in Letterkenny for some rainy day fun. Challenge the family to 10-pin bowling, battle it out on Laser Quest, play pool or let youngsters run off their energy in the Kids Adventure Centre.
Teens will love to get lost in the Arcade before meeting up for food in the Woodberry Bar and Grill. Open daily from 11am until 11pm (10am to midnight on Saturdays) it’s great place for all generations.
You’ll find Arena 7 Entertainment Complex on Ballyraine Industrial Estate. This is another good option for those of you looking for things to do in Donegal for families.
Other popular family activities in Donegal
Now that we have our favourite things to do in Donegal for families out of the way it’s time to see what else the county has to offer.
Below, you’ll find everything from waterparks and unique attractions to the brilliant Fintown Railway and more.
1. Spend a rainy afternoon at Waterworld Bundoran
Get set for a wet and wild day whatever the weather at Waterworld Bundoran. Chutes, flumes, water jets and wave pools are just some of the activities in store. Toddlers get their own pool with playmates including Wiggly Worm, Mr Elephant and water cups.
There’s a beach entry wave pool and a water-propelled slide for older kids. Try a relaxing and therapeutic Seaweed Bath in warm water containing hand-harvested seaweed fresh from the shore.
The oils from the seaweed are released to leave your skin wonderfully smooth and moisturised.
2. And a fine one Llama walking at Campview Farm
Pull on your wellies and spend a day on the farm at Campview. There’s plenty of farm-themed activities at this family-run dairy farm which promotes agri-tourism. Take a relaxing Llama Trek along the shores of the Erne Estuary or join a fun farm tour.
Pet calves, hand-feed chickens, ride a farm wagon and dig potatoes in season. Then there’s the sheep to feed and the cow herd to check. Crazy games along the way include the Tyre Roll and and a wet ride through the Turlough. You’ll all sleep well after this!
3. Tackle one of the many family friendly walks in Donegal
Some of the best things to do in Donegal for families are the county’s endless natural attractions. Walking is one of the best ways to appreciate the sights and sounds of nature in Donegal, and the scenery is spectacular.
Ards Forest Park has 9 trails through woodland, sand dunes, shores and beaches. They range form 1km to 13km so something for all ages. The Coilte managed Bonny Glen wood near Glenties is perfect for picnics and walks.
Spot shamrocks, deer and butterflies on this 3km loop walk. If you like waterfalls, there’s a 2km walk (1km each way) to the stunning Glenevin Waterfall at Clonmany. Bring a picnic too!
4. Visit the brilliant Fintown Railway
Next up is another of the more unique things to do in Donegal for families! Donegal’s one and only narrow gauge railway, An Mhuc Dhubh, chuggs along the shores of Lough Finn on a 5km return trip from Fintown.
Restored in 1995, this heritage railway originally opened in 1895 and offers a nostalgic trip in a picturesque setting. It operates during the summer season and has a picnic area for enjoying your “sarnies” with views across Lough Finn.
The trip starts and ends at Fintown station in Meentymorgal, Co. Donegal. Train buffs might also want to visit the Donegal Railway Heritage Centre, 30 minutes away in Donegal Town.
5. Followed up by an evening escaping Lifford Courthouse
How about planning and taking part in a Jail Break working together as part of a team effort? This fun activity requires plenty of mental agility and problem-solving to help you in your quest.
Located at Lifford Old Courthouse, the challenge starts in a real jail cell. After a briefing you have up to 6-0 minutes to work out your escape using common sense and logic.
The guard will provide helpful clues if you get stuck. Recommended for children aged 12+, with a Junior Jailbreak for groups with kids aged 8+.
6. Or keep ’em occupied at the excellent Errigal View Pet Zoo
Located behind An Chuirt Hotel in Gweedore, Errigal View Petting Zoo is a new attraction for animal lovers. Stroll among the unusual array of animals and get the chance to feed them.
Residents include meerkats, emus, llamas and alpacas, pygmy goats, deer, ducks, marmoset monkeys, wallabies and guinea pigs to stroke and feed.
There’s an adventure playground, bouncy castle, indoor play, cafe and pitch and putt. Before you leave, stroll along the old railway track enjoying the peaceful surroundings.
7. Head for a wander at Inch Wildfowl Reserve Park
In summer, expect gulls, ducks, waders and a noisy colony of sandwich terns squabbling as they raise their young around the edges of the lake. In winter, the sight of over 3,000 Greylag Geese and hundreds of Whooper Swans is absolutely amazing.
Walk the former rail-trail and pop into Tooban and Tready Hides. Explore the wet habitat on a boardwalk through the reeds on a loop walk.
8. Or visit the wonderful Donegal Donkey Sanctuary
Rounding off our guide of things to do in Donegal with families, enjoy a visit to the Donegal Donkey Sanctuary at Castledooey, Raphoe. It’s open Wednesdays to Sundays from 11.30-4.30pm.
Visitors are always welcome, especially those with carrots and apple chunks in their pockets! Stroke and pet these friendly donkeys including cute foals. Most of the donkeys are enjoying a well-earned retirement after a hard working life.
What fun things to do in Donegal with kids have we missed?
I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally left out some brilliant family activities in Donegal from the guide above.
If you have a place that you’d like to recommend, let me know in the comments below and I’ll check it out!
FAQs about what to do in Donegal with kids
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘What are some good rainy day activities?’ to ‘Where’s good for a party?’.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
What are the best things to do in Donegal for families?
Wild Ireland, Wild Alpaca Way, Oakfield Park, Tropical World and the many family friendly walks are hard to beat.
What are some things to do with kids in Donegal when it rains?
Some good things to do in Donegal for families when it rains are Waterworld Bundoran, the jailbreak at Lifford Courthouse, Arena 7 in Letterkenny or Tropical World.
Gillian Birch is a travel writer and published author. She has travelled the world and uses her personal journals and memories to write about her many travel experiences, particularly those that involved adventures in Ireland.