Belfast Telegraph

100 brilliant ideas to keep kids happy this summer - Co Down

Exploris
Exploris

Here's our pick of the most exciting things happening in Co Down:

1. Wetland Explorers

Castle Espie Wetland Centre, Comber

Until September 1

• Free with admission (adult £7.52, child, £4.17)

There are loads of exciting wetland challenges waiting for you including pond dipping, mini-beast hunts and den building. Pick up your free Wetland Explorer log book and trail map at Wetland HQ on arrival and set off into the wild to learn how to light a fire, track wild animals and become a wetland detective with our expert rangers. It’s a wild day out for the whole family!  Visit wwt.org.uk

2. Fair Weather Fridays

Conway Square, Newtownards

August 9, 16, 23 and 30

Sign In

• Free

Bring on that Friday feeling with dazzling acts and street theatre including acrobatics, fire-juggling, comedy and more! Fun for all the family! Find out more at  www.ardsarts.com

3. Hillsborough Castle and Gardens Food Festival

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Hillsborough Castle

July 5-7

• Adult £13.90, child £6.90, under 5s go free

Join us for the first ever food festival in the grounds of Hillsborough Castle and Gardens this summer. Enjoy a majestic day out exploring 100 acres of beautiful gardens and pick up some fabulous local food and drink produce. From live cookery demos from chefs and experts to entertainment on the bandstand, it’s set to be a fun weekend for all the family. Find out more at www.hrpfoodfestivals.com/hillsborough-castle

4. Exploris Aquarium’s 3rd Birthday Bash

Exploris Aquarium, Portaferry

August 15

• Adult £9.45, child £8.10

Head to Exploris Aquarium for a day of birthday fun as they celebrate turning three with you and over 200 underwater species and reptiles. There are lots of fun-filled activities for all the family and Exploris are offering free entry to anyone celebrating their own birthday on August 15 too! Visit www.explorisni.com/events/3rd-birthday-bash/

5. Summer Doggy Fun Day

Hugh McCann’s, Newcastle

July 7

• Adult £5, children & dogs go free

This is Little China Dog Rescue’s first annual doggy fun day, with all proceeds going to their rescues. With face-painting, a dog themed market, food for both you and your pups and an exciting dog show, this is sure to be a great day for the whole family, including your four-legged friends. Find out more at facebook.com/LittleChinaDogRescue

6. Children’s Arts Festival

Island Arts Centre, Lisburn

July 22-August 16

• Admission fee varies

Young people aged 4-13 years will join like-minded creatives to create, design and turn their ideas into action through group and solo projects. The choice of four exciting weeks will include visual arts, drama, dance and music. Find out more at Islandartscentre.com

7. Horrible Histories Live on Stage

Hillsborough Castle, Hillsborough

August 10-14

• Included with admission (adult £8, child £4)

We all want to meet people from history. The trouble is everyone is dead! Join in the Hanover Handover and meet all the King Georges. Help cure the Mad King and watch the Duke of Wellington try to give someone the boot. And explore the gruesome hospital conditions with Florence Nightingale. Learn the horrible history of Britain with the nasty bits left in! Visit www.hrp.org.uk/hillsborough-castle/whats-on

8. Tropical Butterfly House

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Seaforde
 

Seaforde

Open every day

• Admission £6.30 for adults, £4.20 for children

The Tropical Butterfly House is the atmospheric, jungle home to myriad species of free-flying butterflies from the Blue Morpho to the King Page Swallowtail. Visitors are encouraged to wander around the heated jungle and enjoy a close-up experience with these colourful and exotic butterflies. Find out more at seafordegardens.com

9. Aqua Park Inflatable Obstacle Course

Cable & Wake, Carryduff

Thursdays-Sundays

• Admission: £12

Test your skills at this inflatable obstacle course on water, ideal for adults and kids alike! All welcome from age 7 (110 cm tall) but you must be comfortable in the water and able to swim. Climb up the XXL Action Tower and jump off into the water or bounce around on the water trampoline.

New pieces to arrive just in time for the summer holidays! Find out more at www.cableandwake.com/aquapark

10. Beanstock Music and Arts Festival 2019

The Little Green

Allotments, Lisburn

July 20-21

• Tickets £27-50

Beanstock is back and better than ever for its 3rd year running to celebrate the best of NI musical and creative talent. The festival is not just for the big festival goers, but the little ones too – there’s a Mr Hullabaloo puppet show, Kidz Farm NI, Zaza Makes Arts & Crafts tee-pee, Fete Games & Wildlife Watch. Visit www.thelittlegreenallotment.co.uk/beanstock-2019

11. Rock Pool Picnic

Strangford Lough

July 26

• Admission: Children £3

Young wildlife enthusiasts will love this day out at the magical Kearney Village on the outer Ards Peninsula. Discover the amazing creatures lurking beneath the seaweed and slithering through the pools. This promises to be a great day out for all the family. Wellingtons are highly recommended.

12. Pickie Fun Park

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Pickie Fun Park
 

Marine Gardens, Bangor

Open every day

• Free admission, attraction prices vary

This is one of Northern Ireland’s favourite venues for people of all ages to enjoy traditional seaside fun and games and there’s more on offer than ever before, with new and exciting features including a splash pad, children’s electric cars and an 18-hole nautical themed mini golf course! Find out more at www.pickiefunpark.com

13. Let’s Go Hydro

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Lets Go Hydro
 

Knockbracken Reservoir, Carryduff

Open every weekend

• From £12 per person

Splash into summer with Let’s Go Hydro, Ireland’s largest water sport, activity and accommodation resort. It offers a range of aqua-based activities for all ages to enjoy.  Its popular, larger-than-life aqua park guarantees the ultimate day of inflatable fun on the water. For more information, visit letsgohydro.com

14. Folk Movie Club

Ulster Folk Museum

Every other Saturday, until September 28

• Included with admission (adult £9, child £5.50, under 5s go free)

Let your kids watch the films you watched as a child in the museum’s authentic 1850s Gilford Picture House as you dust off some nostalgic family movies. The first Folk Movie Club will be kick off with a showing of the original Jungle Book. See www.nmni.com/whats-on for more information.

15. Children’s Ceili at the Museum

Ulster Folk Museum

August 10

• Included with admission (adult £9, child £5.50, under 5’s go free)

Side-step and spin your way through a social ceili! A traditional ceili was a chance for everyone to get together for some socialising with raucous music and dance. Friendly guides will be on hand to teach your little ones a few jigs and reels. For big kids too!

Visit www.nmni.com/whats-on.

16. Donkey Weekend

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The Donkey Breed Society Championship Show takes place at the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum on August 4 and 5
 

Ulster Folk Museum

August 3-4

• Included with admission (adult £9, child £5.50, under 5s go free)

Fancy cheering on your favourite donkey as they take part in a fancy-dress competition? The annual Donkey Championship  will see a host of these adorable animals and their handlers taking part in competitions, alongside egg and spoon races, sack races, food sampling and music. Entry to this event is included in a general admission ticket to the Ulster Folk Museum. For more information, visit www.nmni.com/whats-on

17. Makers in the Museum

Ulster Folk Museum

August 18

• Included with admission (adult £9, child £5.50, under 5s go free)

Come along to this unique craft and food fair to pick up some traditionally-made items that you’d never find on the high street. See how passionate makers and bakers are keeping traditional know-how alive. Try your hand in a range of craft workshops and demonstrations running throughout the day.

18. East Coast Adventure Summer Day Camp

Drop off and collect in Warrenpoint

Every Monday-Friday in July and August

• £110 per child for the week

With a wide range of activities available utilising the best of the Mournes and Carlingford Lough, East Coast Adventure Centre caters for children aged 8-14. They offer a fantastic list of activities throughout the week, everything from zip line, archery, canoeing, banana boating, mountain adventures, sports for all and many more. Visit www.eastcoastadventure.com/summer-activity-camp/

19. Family Bike and BBQ

Mount Stewart

July 27

• £8.50 per person

Ever wanted to cycle the trails at Mount Stewart? Now you can. In conjunction with Cycling Ireland, the grounds of Mount Stewart will open for families to enjoy an evening of cycling, BBQ, free bike maintenance and bike marking. Visit nationaltrust.org for more information

20. Pirates’ Picnic

Castle Ward

July 12-13

• Included with admission (adult £9.50, child £4.75)

Ahoy me hearties!  Captain Ward is back from sailing the seven seas for a fun filled two days at Castle Ward. He’s looking for fresh swashbucklers to join him. Join or prepare to walk the plank! Come dressed in your pirate finest and discover some hidden treasure.

21. Kids' Nature Trail

North Down Museum, Bangor

August 14

• Child £3

Join this fascinating interactive nature trail led by Patrick Cregg from the Woodland Trust and bird expert Dot Blakely. They will teach you and your children all about the natural habitat of the birds and animals who live in the picturesque grounds of Castle Park, Bangor. Visit www.northdownmuseum.com/

22. Dundonald International Ice Bowl, Dundonald

Open every day

• Activities from £3.60

Get your skates on  and take to the ice rink for a literally cool day out, scamper through hidden tunnels and swing over daring rope bridges at Indianna Land or become king of the lanes in the bowling centre with spectacular glow in the dark sessions and interactive games. Visit theicebowl.com

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