It’s school holiday time again, and while that puts a huge smile on the faces of children everywhere, it can be quite stressful to find ways to keep kids entertained. Never fear, we’ve put together a list of exciting outings that the whole family can enjoy…
Arts and craft
Kids of all ages will have a creative time at Pottery Junxion. They can paint a wide range of ceramic figurines, mugs or plates. And if your little one isn’t quite the Picasso type, why not get them to try mosaic a mirror… the options are endless.
- Where: Pottery Junxion, Glendower Shopping Centre, 99 Linksfield Road, Dowerglen, Edenvale
- Price: R20 per person studio time per hour (excluding all products)
- Contact: potteryjunxion.co.za
This is an oldie, but definitely a goodie when it comes to fun for the kids. The bonus? It can keep them busy for up to six hours on any of the four different fields, while you sit on the side-lines with your latest issue of Essentials.
- Where: SWAT Laser Tag Boot Camp SA, 127B Wroxham Rd, Rietfontein, Paulshof
- Price: R150 per person
- Contact: swatlasertag.co.za
Cradle of Humankind
For something a little bit more educational, head out of the city and into the Cradle of Humankind in Maropeng. The Learner Centre is interactive and informative, plus there’s a fab underwater boat ride that guides you through the history of earth’s creation, providing you with a great entertainment factor. If you’ve got any budding paleontologists or archeologists, take them on a tour through the Sterkfontein caves.
- Where: Maropeng Visitor Centre
- Price: R81 for children (ages 4 to 14) and R144 for adults. Admission to the Sterkfontein Caves is R87 for childre and R149 for adults.
- Contact: maropeng.co.za
Every child loves an outing to the zoo, but why not mix things up and give them a different perspective? When the sun sets on Joburg, the nocturnal animals start to wake, so you’ll get to see the nightlife of the big cats, caracal, honey badger, porcupine and Eurasian eagle owl and see what they get up to by the light of the moon.
- Where: Joburg Zoo, Upper Park Drive, Saxonwold Johannesburg
- Price: R95 per person (booking is essential). Price includes entrance, parking, tour, bon-fire, coffee, marshmallows and hot chocolate.
- Contact: jhbzoo.org.za or contact Lebo on 011 646 2216 or at [email protected]
If your kids are fascinated by the stars in the sky, the Johannesburg Planetarium should be at the top of your to-do list. They’ll have experts on site to answer any of your astronomy questions, allowing you a much-needed break from being the know-it-all mom.
- Where: Johannesburg Planetarium
- Price: Adults R40; kids R27; family ticket R150 (max two adults with their dependent children).
- Contact: planetarium.co.za
Whether they’re after an adrenaline rush or just the candy floss that’s on offer, Ratanga Junction is an absolute fail-safe when it comes to entertaining children. The theme park offers more than 30 different rides and attractions, suitable for all ages — yes, even you can join in the fun, Mom and Dad! Put a whole day aside for this excursion, and count on them having a great night’s sleep afterwards.
- Where: Ratanga Junction Century City, Cape Town
- Price: R172 per person if you’re over 1.3m and R90 per person for anyone shorter than 1.3m.
- Contact: ratanga.co.za
They’ve seen Dad out on the golf course and are keen on the sport, so why not make this an excursion for him to take them on? Squirrel Golf gives kids between the ages of three and 12 the opportunity to play a six-hole game of golf. Plus, they’ll receive a certificate at the end of the game… winning indeed! It happens once a month on a Sunday, so check in advance to see if it’s on.
- Where: Squirrel Golf at Devonvale Bottelary Road, Stellenbosch
- Price: R40 per person for a six-hole game
- Contact: [email protected] or 021 865 2080
For a true outdoor adventure, go and experience the beauty of butterflies from all over the world in a magical, tropical garden. There are also free-roaming ducks, chickens and goats for the little ones to admire and, for the very brave, enclosures with scorpions and spiders.
- Where: Butterfly World R44, Klapmuts, Cape Town
- Price: R65 for adults and R37 for children
- Contact: butterflyworld.co.za
Oranjezicht City Farm is an urban agriculture project located right in the heart of Cape Town. The farm is an incredible place to visit — it’s small, but beautiful, with neat rows of veggies offset by spectacular views of Table Mountain. On the first Wednesday of every month, the farm hosts a pick your own harvest evening — it’s loads of fun for kids and adults. Check their Facebook page for more info on times and dates.
- Where: Oranjezicht City Farm, Cape Town
- Price: Donation to the farm
- Contact: ozcf.co.za
Play in the park
Help them get rid of all that pent-up energy with a day in at People’s Park. Some of the fun features include a play area for under 12s, expansive lawns and a kilometre-long track. There’s also a huge space on marble-like paving for the older kids to skateboard, or they can ride bikes down the ramps of the stadium.
- Where: People’s Park at Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban
- Price: The park is free, with various paid-for activities also available
- Contact: mmstadium.com
Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that uShaka Marine World is a must, with entertainment for the entire family. Get mesmerised by the incredible sea creatures before heading out to enjoy the slides and pools at the Wet ‘n Wild area. There’s also uShaka Kids World with fun activities and adventures for the little ones.
- Where: uShaka Marine World, Durban
- Price: Sea World costs R149 per adult and R115 per child (ages 3 to 12). Combos (Wet ‘n Wild & Sea World) cost R199 per adult and R149 per child. Entrance for children under three is free.
- Contact: ushakamarineworld.co.za
Crocs and snakes
In the Valley of 1000 Hills, PheZulu Safari Park is an ideal place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Apart from the breathtaking beauty of the area, the park’s highlight is definitely its crocodiles and snakes. You can also see Ramesis, their 90-year-old Nile crocodile, and Cleo, their 42kg Burmese python.
- Where: PheZulu Safari Park, Botha’s Hill
- Price: R50 per adult, R40 per child under 12. Or purchase a combo package (Village Tour, Zulu Dancing Show, Crocodile and Snake Park Tour) for R150 per adult and R100 per child under 12.
- Contact: phezulusafaripark.co.za
On the last Sunday of every month you can take the family on a steam train journey from Kloof Station to Inchanga Station and back again. The excursion takes about half a day, and you’ll find a craft market, picnic area and pony rides to enjoy at Inchanga Station.
- Where: Kloof Station, Durban
- Price: R200 per adult and R140 per child (ages 2 to 12).
- Contact: email [email protected], umgenisteamrailway.co.za
Have a ball
Haven’t you always wanted to try zorbing? Well, now you can at GroovyBalls Adventure Park. The Park offers different courses, such as the “Kamikaze Run” — a 120-m downhill roll — and a shorter 60-m ride for kids. The park also offers go-karting, target shooting and paintball. Talk about a fun day out!
- Where: GroovyBalls Adventure Park in Cliffdale
- Price: Ball rides are from R100 an adult for the first ride and from R75 per ride thereafter. For children (5 to 13 years), ball rides start at R50 for a first ride and R40 for each ride thereafter.
- Contact: groovyballs.co.za (booking is essential)