10 of the best days out in Northern Ireland

With natural wonders, fascinating museums, beautiful castles and enchanting gardens there’s lots to do in Northern Ireland

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Check out the cute Meerkats at Belfast Zoo

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Get close to nature in the Butterfly House at Seaforde Gardens

Giants Causeway, Moyle
This amazing natural attraction was formed 60 million years ago by volcanic activity which led to the formation of the 38,000 basalt columns that make up the Giant’s Causeway. Hexagonal in shape, the stones stretch far out to sea and some stand as tall as 36ft (12m). The site site is beautiful geologically, but myths have their own story. Children will love the idea that the causeway was the work of one giant named Finn MacCool.
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The Titanic Exerience, Belfast
New for 2012, The Titanic Experience opens March 21st. Here you can learn about the construction of RMS Titanic and the wider story of Northern Irelands ship building heritage. Titanic Belfast’s nine interpretative and interactive galleries explore the sights, sounds, smells and stories of Titanic and the sinking, as well as the city and people which made her.
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Marble Arch Caves, Fermanagh
The Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark lets visitors explore a fascinating, natural underworld of rivers, waterfalls, winding passages and lofty chambers. Electrically powered boats glide through huge caverns carrying visitors along a subterranean river whilst guides conduct a tour of the caves. The tour lasts approximately 75 minutes and walkways allow easy access while powerful lighting reveals the stunning beauty of the caves.
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Belfast Zoo, Befast
Belfast Zoo is home to more than 1,200 animals and 140 species. Some of the animals you can see include Barbary lions , red kangaroos, spider monkeys, Moloch gibbons, Rothchild’s giraffes, Asian elephants, meerkats, porcupines and Malayan sun bears. There is also a Bird park and Rainforest House, which is home to fruit bats and birds.
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Botanic Gardens and Palm House, Belfast
These beautiful gardens have been enjoyed as a public park by the people of Belfast since 1895. There is a rose garden, herbaceous borders and ancient oak trees. The Palm House is one of the earliest examples of a curvilinear cast iron glasshouse, and was built by Richard Turner of Dublin, who later built the Great Palm House at Kew Gardens. It has all year round displays of colour and scent using plants such as geranium, fuchsia, and begonia. There is also a children’s playground, beautiful walks around the grounds and a bowling green. 
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Seaforde Gardens and Butterfly House, County Down
The gardens and tropical butterfly house have everything you need for a perfect day out for all the family. In the Butterfly house you can see the beautiful array of free-flying tropical butterflies. There’s lots for Children to enjoy. They’ll love trying to work out how to escape from Ireland’s oldest maze and the Children’s Playground. You can make the day as busy as you, like or simply relax and enjoy the fine collection of trees and plants in the gardens.
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Mount Stewart House, Garden and Temple of the Winds, County Down
This is a fantastic destination for a great family day out. The gardens are huge and there are lots of areas for kids to explore. There is a guided tour of the house, where you can see an array of amazing paintings as well as the history behind them. You’ll love the tranquility of the lake and detail of the lavish formal terraces.
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W5 whowhatwherewhenwhy, Belfast
With over 250 amazing interactive exhibits in four exhibition areas, W5 discovery centre is fantastic fun for visitors of all ages.  Areas are aimed at children according to age group in five action packed exhibition areas – WOW, START, GO, SEE & DO. Attractions including a lie detector, laser harp, building bridges, a giant racetrack, robot building plus lots more. They have a daily programme of live science demonstrations and shows throughout the day.
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Castle Ward, County Down
Castle Ward is a beautiful 18th century house set in 820 acre walled land overlooking Strangford Lough. You will find a sunken gardens and paths that wind their way through woodland and suddenly open onto the quiet shores of the Lough. 
Your children can dress up and play with period toys in the Victorian Past Times centre, and see how a Victorian laundry, cornmill and sawmill
would have worked. There’s plenty more for them to do including visiting the horses, pigs and hens in the farmyard or have fun sliding down the Mega Slide in the adventure play area.
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Exploris, County Down
This award winning aquarium is a fantastic day out for all. You’ll find lots of amazing and unusual sealife creatures to look at. There are exciting daily ‘touch tank’ sessions, which children will love, mean that you can get really close the underwater inhabitations in one of the largest open sea tanks in the UK. Not to be missed is the purpose built Seal Sanctuary that looks after sick or abandoned seals.
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