I have fantastic memories of Funderland as a kid. My uncle – who was child-free at the time – used to take myself and my three brothers and sisters as our Christmas present every year for hours of spinning and screaming followed by post-match analysis at McDonalds. Fair play to him, the brave man!
We were a few years older than my small boy now at four, so it never crossed my mind to take him at this age because I thought it might be a waste. How wrong I was!
When an invitation to this year’s Funderland opening night in the RDS arrived in my inbox, I almost snapped it out of the hands of the generous PR lady. We were delighted to head along and check it out – for the benefit of you, dear reader, of course.
If you have smallies between the ages of 3-6, the good news is Funderland has an abundance of little rides and attractions to entertain them without scaring the living daylights out of them. We managed to have a go on at least 8 rides without having to go back for a second round, and there were still a few more that we didn’t have an opportunity to try including a couple of carousels, a Spongebob Squarepants bouncing castle, a more “advanced” chair-o-planes than the one we tried out, and a number of ride alongs. Here’s a quick video of a few of the rides:
The ride at the very end is a water coaster called Jungle River. I was apprehensive about the small boy going on it but the three of us went on together and his Dad had a good strong grip on him. I was shocked when we stepped off at the end and he was jumping up and down to go on it again…so we did. I was also shocked that I enjoyed it so much myself, given the huge scaredy pants I am! It really was fantastic and it’s a lovely family attraction to do together because you can have anywhere between 1 and 6 people in each car.
As well as the rides, the small boy also REALLY enjoyed the two fun houses that were there: a tamer two storey affair called the Fun Factory; and a slightly more manic three storey one with a heater skelter at the end. I mean manic in the sense that there’s a lot more people in the three storey one and for the smaller kids, you’d probably like an adult to accompany them so they don’t get knocked over or pushed around by the bigger kids.
We also had a go at hook-a-duck which is lovely because the kiddies can keep at it until they catch one and they win a little prize no matter what.
We had a VIP wristband which gave us free access to all the rides for four hours. To buy one of these at the venue will cost you €29.95 if you’re an adult or teen, or €22.50 for a child. There’s also a family of 4 option for €94.95. When you book online you get an extra hour for free, but the walk up option covers you for 3 hours. There’s also the traditional option of paying an entrance free of €2.50 and then paying individually for attractions. Even with the wristband though, just bear in mind that the stalls where you try to win prizes are an additional cost on a per play basis, and of course you’ll need to budget for refreshments. Trust me, all your takeaway sweet and savoury needs are catered for. Not only is your fairground staple candy floss there, but your nose will also lead you to crepes and churros.
I haven’t mentioned any of the bigger rides because we didn’t get to go on any of them but of course there are plenty of thrills including some outdoor rides that look utterly terrifying, if that’s your bag. Really, its a great family day out. Definitely not a cheap one but certainly a really enjoyable one. The three of us were like hyper bunnies when we left.
Funderland in the RDS is open from now until 10 January, 3pm to 9pm on Mondays to Fridays; and then 12noon to 10pm on Saturdays, Sundays and school holidays. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online at www.winterfunderland.ie
Disclosure: I received a free family pass for Funderland but wasn’t asked to review it and received no payment for this blog post. If we didn’t get the free pass I would have written this post anyway because I think a lot of people want to know if they can bring their small kids – so there you go!