25 things to do this damp summer
With the summer bringing little else but downpours and flooding, John Mulgrew picks some rain-proof ideas to see and do with the kids over the holidays
1. Age of the Dinosaur at the Ulster Museum, Belfast. The dinosaurs have returned to Belfast with a raft of animatronic beasts to keep everyone entertained. It runs until September 16. For more information or to book tickets visit www.nmni.com
2. Florence Court, Co Fermanagh. Take the time out to stroll around one of the county's most beautiful and interesting 18th century properties — boasting stunning gardens and a dramatic backdrop. For opening times visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/florence-court/ or call 028 6634 8249.
3. Titanic Belfast. Visit the city’s latest iconic tourist attraction — the largest Titanic experience in the world. To book tickets visit www.titanicbelfast.com or call 028 9076 6399.
4. Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre, Co Antrim. Take in the history of the 60 million-year-old rock formation from the comfort of the newly opened visitor centre. For more information call 028 2073 1855.
5. The MAC, Belfast. The latest addition to the city’s arts and culture scene offers a range of family-friendly activities. For more information visit www.themaclive.com or call 028 9023 5053.
6. Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, Cultra. Visit one of Northern Ireland’s top hotspots for an insight into the country’s early history. For more information visit www.nmni.com
7. W5 at the Odyssey, Belfast. This is one of Northern Ireland’s most interesting and informative destinations — boasting over 250 interactive exhibits covering all aspects of science and technology. For prices and information visit www.w5online.co.uk
8. The Lyric Theatre, Belfast. Hosting everything from Oscar Wilde to Macbeth, families can also enjoy a performance of The Gruffalo. It runs from August 28 to September 2. For tickets visit www.lyrictheatre.co.uk or call 028 9038 1081.
9. Armagh Planetarium, Armagh. Families can take a virtual tour of the night sky and learn all about our solar system. For tickets visit www.armaghplanet.com or call 028 3752 3689.
10. Tower Museum, Londonderry. Learn about the story of this walled city as well as exploring an exhibition on the Spanish Armada. For more information visit www.derrycity.gov.uk or call 028 7137 2411.
11. Exploris, Portaferry. An opportunity to see some wonderful sea creatures at the long-running aquarium, including an Olympic-themed exhibition which runs until September 3. For details visit www.exploris.org.uk or call 028 4272 8062.
12. Waterworld, Portrush. One of Northern Ireland’s top indoor water-based attractions giving children of all ages the chance to enjoy themselves. Call 028 7082 2001 for information and opening times.
13. Armagh County Museum. Celebrating 50 years, the Armagh Art Club is currently exhibiting a range of its works for free until August 31. For more visit www.nmni.com
14. 4D Turbo Tours at the Dunluce Centre, Portrush. Families can avoid the wet weather and experience Ireland’s only 4D thrill ride alongside a range of other attractions. For tickets or information visit www.dunlucecentre.co.uk
15. Carrickfergus Castle, Carrickfergus. One of Northern Ireland’s most stunning buildings with over 800 years of history behind it. For information call 028 9335 1273.
16. Bushmills Distillery, Bushmills. Take a tour around the oldest licensed distillery in the world. For information about tour times visit www.bushmills.com
17. Saint Patrick's Trian Visitor Complex, Armagh. Find out about the history behind Ireland’s patron saint along with an exhibition based on Jonathan Swift’s book, Gulliver’s Travels. For information visit www.armagh.co.uk or call 028 3752 1801.
18. Feile an Phobail, Belfast. One of Ireland’s biggest community festivals offers both young and older generations something of interest including Mary Black at Clonard Monastery on August 3 and self-styled ‘country acid house’ group Alabama 3 on August 10 at Falls Park. For information visit www.feilebelfast.com
19. The Leonardo da Vinci exhibition at the Ulster Museum, Belfast. A collection of 10 sketches by the world-famous polymath with free entry. The show runs until August 27. For more information visit www.nmni.com
20. Barry’s, Portrush. One of the country’s longest running entertainment complexes is open until the end of the summer. For more information visit www.barrysamusements.com
21. Festival of Fools, Belfast. Bringing a bit of humour to an otherwise dreary Sunday afternoon with events running until August 26. For information visit www.foolsfestival.com
22. Tropical Butterfly House at Seaforde Gardens, Co Down. Get the chance to see hundreds of free-flying exotic butterflies, and a host of other creatures. For more information visit www.seafordegardens.com or call 028 4481 1225.
23. Ecos Centre, Ballymena. Entertain the children with a range of fun interactive zones. For information visit www.ballymena.gov.uk/ecos or call 028 2566 4400.
24. Summer Stars on the Prom, Portstewart. Children from ages four to 15 can take part in one of the north coast’s most popular talent shows at 2.30pm on July 18. For information on how to enter visit www.northcoastni.com
25. Sunflowerfest 2012, Hillsborough. This festival offers a wide range of music and acts over a long weekend, running from August 17 to 19. For prices and more information visit www.sunflowerfest.co.uk