We’ve created lists of family-friendly things to do with kids in both Cape Town and Joburg, and now it’s Durban’s turn. Whether you’re road tripping down to Durban for a seaside holiday or simply need to get out of the house, we’ve got a long list of fun things you and the kids can do this weekend.
We’ve divided it up into the following sections (to go straight to one of the sections, click on the name of the section below):
- Museums and galleries in Durban
- The best hikes and picnic spots in Durban
- Our favourite outdoor activities in Durban
- Indoor activities for kids in Durban
- Durban kids theatres
- Animal experiences in Durban
Free activities are listed first in each section, because we know having kids is expensive!
If we’ve left off your favourite fun things to do with kids in Durban, let us know in the comments and we’ll add it to our list.
1. KwaMuhle Museum
Situated in the old Native Administration Department on Bram Fischer Road is the KwaMuhle Museum, which gives visitors a window into apartheid from the perspective of Durban’s residents. The exhibits were developed to show how Durban has changed as a city and how the different cultures of the area interacted with one another. Entrance to the museum is free.
Find out more: durbanhistorymuseums.org.za; 031 311 2237
2. Cato Manor Heritage Centre
The exhibits at the Cato Manor Heritage Centre focus on the history of forced removals that took place in the area under apartheid. It’s a sobering display of our past and well worth the visit. Be sure to stop by the award-winning uMkhumbane Museum in Cato Manor. This new exhibition space is the first step in reviving the Cato Manor area and provides more space to display the area’s heritage. Entrance to the Cato Manor Heritage Centre is free.
Find out more: [email protected]; 031 261 3216
3. Durban Natural Science Museum
You might feel you’ve stepped into a scene from Night at the Museum when you visit this natural science museum. Stand beneath a life-size reconstruction of a Tyrannosaurus rex and come face-to-face with an Egyptian mummy. These are just some of the many exciting treasures and wonders tucked away in Durban’s City Hall.
Find out more: 031 311 2242
4. KwaZulu-Natal Society of Arts
For over 115 years, the KwaZulu-Natal Society of Arts has offered artists a space to exhibit their works. Today, it is one of the province’s most notable contemporary galleries and exhibits works from both local and international artists. Be sure to visit the society’s website for the latest updates on exhibits, educational programmes and seminars.
Find out more: kznsagallery.co.za; 031 277 1705
5. Port Natal Maritime Museum
Have you got a budding sea captain or intrepid explorer in your family? Then you have to take them to the Port Natal Maritime Museum. Climb aboard the different exhibits and experience what life at sea was like while on a tour of the tugboats JR More and Ulundi, the minesweeper SAS Durban and the NCS Challenger. Entrance to the museum is R5 for adults and R3 for children.
Find out more: [email protected]; 031 322 9598
6. Beachwood Mangroves Nature Reserve
Considered a national monument, this nature reserve is one of the largest collections of mangroves in Durban. Located at the mouth of the Umgeni River, this forest is a great place to take a wander along a marked trail and pick out the red, white and black mangroves while spotting some of the reserve’s residents. Keep your eyes peeled for mudskipper fish and fiddler crabs. Entrance to the reserve is free.
Find out more: 083 293 3611
7. Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve
At just under 2km, even inexperienced hikers will think this trail is a cake walk. The reserve is only 26 hectares, but is home to a wetland and over 200 species of birds. Wander through the reserve’s dune and coastal forest before arriving at the beach. While on your walk, be sure to keep an eye out for the 500-year-old stinkwood. If you’d like to go on a guided tour, chat to the front desk at the Breakers Hotel.
Find out more: 031 205 1271
8. Durban Botanic Gardens
Get back to nature while visiting one the oldest botanical garden on the continent. The gardens are home to over 80 heritage trees that have each surpassed their 100th birthday. You’ll also find one of the world’s rarest plants, Wood’s Cycad, as well as a collection of orchids and a palm grove. It’s also a popular venue for outside concerts, so be sure to keep an eye on the Durban Botanic Gardens website for their next event.
Find out more: durbanbotanicgardens.org.za; 031 322 4021
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9. Virginia Bush Nature Reserve
The Virginia Bush Nature Reserve offers up another short hiking trail for the families who love to be in the outdoors, but don’t need to hear ‘I’m tired’ every five minutes. The reserve has a 1,5km and 1km route. It’s also a popular birding spot, so bring along a pair of binoculars.
Find out more: durban.gov.za; 031 563 6777
10. Burman Bush Nature Reserve
Head to the suburb of Morningside and find a thick collection of coastal bush plum. Meander through the different pathways and soak-up the peaceful surrounds of the reserve. There are loads of birding opportunities and you might just be able to spot a blue duiker or two. There are three trails to choose from, but if you’d like to keep the walking to a minimum with kids in tow, try the Hadeda Trail which is less than a kilometre long.
Find out more: [email protected]; 031 312 4466
11. Galleria Ice Rink
Feeling a little hot and bothered? Cool off at the Galleria Ice Rink. You can either spend the whole day skating from 10am until 5pm or join the evening session from 7:30pm until 10:30pm. Head to the website to get all the latest pricing information for entrance and skate hire.
Find out more: theicerink.co.za; 031 904-1156
12. Kings Park Pool
If it’s raining outside, and you and the kids are still keen for a swim, then head to the Kings Park Pool. Directly opposite the Moses Mabhida Stadium, the pool complex offers swimmers the chance to splash about in an Olympic-sized, heated, indoor pool.
Find out more: 031 312 0404
13. KZN Science Centre
The KZN Science Centre is a perfect trip for the budding inventor, scientist or innovator. Visit the centre and watch as the kids interact with exhibits and experiments designed to teach and amaze them.
Find out more: kznsc.org; 031 408 1012
14. Bay of Plenty
As a beach with Blue Flag status, the Bay of Plenty is a great place to spend a sunny afternoon. It’s a popular surf, swimming and volleyball spot for beach bums. It’s also packed full of fish for the taking, but fishing times are restricted to certain parts of the day.
Find out more: 031 332 8302
15. Moses Mabhida Stadium
There’s no need to wait for the next big sporting event so you can visit the Moses Mabhida Stadium. There are loads of activities to do that aren’t soccer related. Take a ride in the SkyCar and travel to the very top of the stadium’s arch and enjoy panoramic views of Durban. Thrill seekers will enjoy the rush of swinging the length of the pitch on the Big Rush Big Swing. If heights are not your thing, then take a tour of the stadium and get an all-access pass to one of Durban’s most iconic structures. The People’s Park surrounds the stadium and is open to the public for picnics and walks. Entrance to the stadium and the People’s Park is free, but for all other activities check the website for the latest prices.
Find out more: mmstadium.com; 031 582 8242
16. WavePark Gateway
If the summer holidays and heat are getting to you, then cool off at WavePark. The kids can slip and slide down the park’s Supertube Slides, hit the Pumptrax on a bike, learn how to surf on the Flowrider, or spend an afternoon at the Splashpad. After a packed day at the WavePark, we guarantee they’ll sleep soundly come bedtime. Enjoy a full day of Supertube Slides, Inflatable Park, Bungee, Pumptrax and Splash pad area for R120 pp. If you’re not willing to get your feet wet, it’s just R20 pp.
Find out more: wavepark.co.za; 031 584 9400
17. Mini Town Durban
See the whole of Durban in a day without having to hop into a car and drive around. You and the kids can simply wander through a miniature version of the city with all its iconic landmarks like the harbour and town hall. Entrance is R30 for adults and R20 for kids.
Find out more: 031 337 7892
18. Durban Funworld
Spin around in a teacup or take in the sights of the Marine Walk from atop the cable car at Durban Funworld. This beachside amusement park is great for the young as well as old thrill seekers. Take a ride on an old-fashioned carousel or jump on board the swing boat.
Find out more: [email protected]; 031 332 9776
19. Giba Gorge
There’s no doubt that a day at Giba Gorge will tire the kids out. There are five biking trails and three running trails to choose from that will take you all over the gorge. The park is also popular for its BMX and supercross track. If biking and running is not your thing, then hop on a horse and see this green countryside cowboy style. For those who want to hit the track on a bike, the entrance fee is R60. Those who’d prefer to sit on the sidelines pay R10, while runners, children and pensioners pay R30.
Find out more: gibagorge.co.za; 031 769 1419
20. Groovy Balls Adventure Park
Who wouldn’t want to pretend they’re a hamster and roll around in a giant plastic ball? Located just off Capital Hill Drive is the Groovy Balls Adventure Park where you can go zorbing. Place your self in a large transparent ball and roll yourself down a hill. The kids will love it!
Find out more: 031 783 7162; [email protected]
21. The Bike & Bean
Why walk when you can cycle? Head to The Bike & Bean at Country Club Beach to hire a bicycle and take a tour of the Durban beachfront. Moms and dads, sample the cafe’s superb coffee before you head out on a ride with the kids. Bike hire starts at R50 per hour. The Bike & Bean also has other items for hire like bodyboards for beach bums.
Find out more: bikebeandurban.com
22. Umgeni Steam Railway
Once a month, the Inchanga Choo Choo departs from Kloof for Inchanga, taking passengers on a scenic journey through the Valley of a Thousand Hills. Once at Inchanga station, travellers can wander through the craft market, browse the food stalls, and visit the museum in the station master’s house before boarding the train to return to Kloof. Train tickets are R240 for adults, and R170 for children between the ages of two and 12 and pensioners.
Find out more: umgenisteamrailway.com
23. Hillcrest Paintball
Do your kids love acting out cops and robbers? Or just enjoy holding up toy guns and making ‘bang bang’ noises? Then you need to take them for a round of paintball. Whether it’s a game of capture the flag or seek and destroy, they’ll relish the chance to act out a gunfight from their favourite action movies.
Find out more: hillcrestpaintball.co.za
24. Mindgame Escape
Get locked in a room with the kids and spend an hour to an hour-and-a-half solving out the riddles and cracking the clues to break out of the room. Choose either the Sherlock Holmes Baker Street room or the Houdini Escape Room. Visit the website to find the latest prices and book your experience. The price per person decreases based on the number of people in your group.
Find out more: mindgame.co.za; 087 238 2524
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25. Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre
The Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre forms part of the University of KwaZulu-Natal and can be found on the Howard College Campus. The 400-seat theatre is known for putting on a great show, so head to the website to find the latest info on all upcoming performances.
Find out more: sneddontheatre.co.za; 031 260 2296
26. The Playhouse Company
The Playhouse Company prides itself on showcasing top-notch shows from local and international performers. Check the theatre’s website for all the latest information on upcoming events.
Find out more: playhousecompany.com; 031 369 9555
27. Rhumbelow Theatre
The community-run theatre has venues in Durban, Pietermaritzburg and Westville, and offers audiences enthralling entertainment at an affordable price. Be sure to keep an eye on the theatre’s events guide to find out what shows are on.
Find out more: events.durbantheatre.com; 082 499 8636
28. The Drum Shack
Tired of your little ones pulling out your pots and pans before launching into a drum solo on the kitchen floor? Then head to the Drum Shack for an afternoon of musical education with a drumming teacher. This is a great group activity for kids and adults alike, so definitely get the whole family involved.
Find out more: drumshack.org; 083 704 4879
28. uShaka Marine World
Get up close and personal with the creatures of the ocean at uShaka Marine World. Take in a dolphin show, wander through the aquarium or go on a shark dive at Sea World, or hop on one of the many slides at Wet ‘n Wild. Entrance fees to the park and its different exhibits change depending on the season, so keep an eye on uShaka’s website for the best deals.
Find out more: ushakamarineworld.co.za; 031 328 8000
29. Mitchell Park Zoo
The Mitchell Park Zoo is home to tortoises, meerkats, raccoons, crocodiles, flamingos and wallabies. The walk-through aviary is packed with all kinds of feathered friends waiting to be spotted, and the manicured lawns offer the perfect setting for a lunchtime picnic. Entrance for adults is just R10 and kids are R7.
Find out more: 031 303 2275
30. Umgeni River Bird Park
This bird park in Umgeni is home to 200 different species of birds. Take the kids on a walk around the former quarry and spot some amazing colourful wildlife. Be sure to stick around for the bird show as the park’s educational manager will introduce you to an array of feathery friends. Shows take place from Tuesday to Sunday, between 11am and 2pm. There are shows on Mondays but only during school holidays. The park’s fee includes entrance and the bird show. Expect to pay R55 for adults, R36 for kids between the ages of three and 12, and R30 for pensioners.
Find out more: urbp.co.za; 031 579 4600
31. PheZulu Safari Park
To get to this scenic park, you’ll need to spend just over 30 minutes in the car from Durban. Head on a guided tour and meet Ramesis, a 90-year-old Nile crocodile, as well as Cleo, a Burmese python. If you’re not a fan of reptiles, then take a tour of Zulu culture by visiting the traditional beehive huts of the Gasa clan and watch a Zulu dancing show. You can also book yourself and the family on a game drive to spot giraffe, wildebeest and impala. Visit the park’s website for the latest prices.
Find out more: phezulusafaripark.co.za; 031 777 1205
32. KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board Maritime Centre of Excellence
Get up close and personal with the Indian Ocean’s scariest inhabitants: sharks. The KZN Sharks Board provides great detailed presentations on why we need these toothy animals and how important they are to our ecosystem. If you and the kids aren’t squeamish, then stick around for a shark dissection.
Find out more: shark.co.za; 031 566 0400