Best things to do with kids
Two Oceans Aquarium
A trip to the Two Oceans Aquarium is a magical journey for both young and old. With more than 3,000 enchanting sea animals, including sharks, turtles, octopi and birds, this underwater kingdom can keep everyone enthralled for hours. Tickets cost R149 p/p for adults, R108 p/p for children aged 14 – 17 years, R72 p/p for those 4 – 13 years old and are free for those under 4. The aquarium is open every day of the year from 9:30am to 6pm.
Dock Road, V&A Waterfront
Cape Town Science Centre
Who says learning has to be a drag? When you’ve got the Cape Town Science Centre within reach, it’s easy to keep young minds engaged with a mass of interesting experiments and exhibitions; plus, the interactive discovery land offers daily workshops during the school holidays and winter science camps. The Cape Town Science Centre is open from 9am to 4:30pm on Mondays to Saturdays, and from 10am to 4:30pm on Sundays and public holidays. It costs just R55p/p for a day of awesomeness, R200 for a family package (4 people) and groups of 10 or more that book in advance pay R50p/p.
370B Main Road, Observatory
The Scratch Patch
Prepare to lose your offspring amongst the piles of shimmery, shiny gemstones at the Scratch Patch in Simon’s Town, where kids can sit amongst the Tiger’s Eyes, amethysts, agates and crystals and pick some of these treasures to take home. Lucky for parents, the treasure hunt is surprisingly affordable: it’s R17 for kids to fill up a small bag and R95 for tykes to overload a big bag. The scratch patch is open from Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 4:45pm and on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 9am to 5:30pm.
Dido Valley Road, Simon’s Town, +27 021 786 2020
And V&A Waterfront, Dock Road, + 27 021 419 9429
Spier Farm Experience for Families
The scenic Spier wine farm in Stellenbosch may have its roots in yesteryear, but it’s bang on trend when it comes to offering a day out that the whole clan can enjoy. Thanks to the property’s ‘Spier Farm Experience Voucher’, families can pay one price for a jam-packed afternoon of kid- and adult-friendly activities. The voucher, which costs R295p/p for adults and R200p/p for little ones, includes a wine or grape juice tasting, two bottles of either wine or grape juice, lunch to the value of R125p/voucher at the cutting-edge Eight Restaurant or Eight To Go Deli and a visit to the on-site Eagle Encounters bird sanctuary and rehabilitation centre. Plus, as Spier’s a natural playground of sort, kid’s can look forward to running around on the sprawling greens, lazing alongside the meandering river or expending all that energy on the jungle gyms. And if the troops are too tired to pile into the car after a day at the farm, why not just stay the night – check out the Spier Hotel’s family accommodation special). Kids’ Clubhouse is open during weekends and school holidays from 8 am to 5 pm. The Clubhouse can also be opened on request.
Experience flutters of paradise in the Western Cape Winelands at Butterfly World’s tropical garden, which houses butterflies from as far as Costa Rica and the Philippines, as well as free-roaming ducks, chickens and goats and enclosures with scorpions and spiders. Butterfly World is open all year round from 9am to 5pm, and entry costs R88p/p for adults and R49p/p for children. A family package (2 adults + 2 children) costs R225. Children under 3 years enter free of charge.
Route 44, Stellenbosch
Noordhoek Farm Village
Noordhoek Farm Village, with its free, fun activities, age-specific playgrounds, child-friendly restaurants and shops that hold everything a young’un would desire, is the ideal children’s Saturday destination. Parents can enjoy laidback breakfasts and lunches from Café Roux – it borders the kids’ play area – while keeping a careful eye on little ones frolicking on the lawns and jungle gyms. Anthony from Happy Slabs hosts creative tile making every Sunday, and the village shops are open from 8:30am to 5:30pm in summer and from 9am to 5pm in winter. The weekly Village Market on Wednesdays 4pm to 8pm is a great one for the whole family to enjoy.
Corner of Village Lane & Noordhoek Main Road
Creative kids will have an absolute blast at the Clay Café in Hout Bay, which lets the young and old paint masterpieces on unfired bisques and take home personal and unique crockery. After design time, those a half pint and a penny high can run around in the garden and playground or snack on delicious cakes, cookies and sandwiches from the arts and craft centre’s restaurant. It costs R35p/p for three colours of paint, firing and glazing, and the individual bisques to be painted range in price from R20 to R300 per item. The Clay Café is open every day from 9am to 5pm.
Clay Cafe, 4080 Main Road, Hout Bay
The Company’s Garden
The Company’s Garden is the perfect place for summer picnics and grassy games. The city centre oasis boasts beautiful, limitless space for kids to explore as well as countless trees, water features and historical monuments. Not to mention, the park has a reputation for being a top-notch spot to feed the squirrels (keep a lookout for the legendary albino squirrel). Entry into the gardens is free, and the grounds are open daily from 7:30am to 8:30pm in summer (December to February) and from 7am to 6pm in winter.
15 Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town
Drakenstein Lion Park
Your little cubs will love the site of the king of the jungle at this 50-acre cat rehabilitation centre, which features rare white lions and has grown to include a chimp haven for rescued primates. Drakenstein Lion Park features lion feedings as well and is open daily from 9:30 to 5pm; entry costs R40p/p for kids and R70p/p for adults for just the lion sanctuary, or you can get combo admission for the lion sanctuary and chimp haven for R60p/p for children and R100p/p for adults. Lions Feeding Times are on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 4pm.
Old Paarl Road, R101, Paarl
Intaka Island, smack in the middle of the bustling Century City development, boasts 16 ha of wetlands, rare and abundant birds and majestic flora. You and your little one can take a ferry ride, a leisurely self-guided stroll along the 2 km of foot paths, or you can choose to allow one of the experienced field rangers to lead you along the route. Plus, the island has special programs during the holidays. Entry into Intaka Island costs just R20p/p for adults and R12 for children under the age of 12. The reserve is open from 7:30am to 5:30pm during winter (May to September) and from 7:30am to 7pm during summer. It is also possible to add a boat ride, these costs are for adults R60p/p and children R50p/p.
Park Lane, Century City
Deer Park Café
This sweet spot is ideal for parents who want to relax with a nice coffee and cake while the kiddies frolic around the playground equipped with mini jungle gyms, slides and swings, or sip on their own special children’s beverage. Deer Park Café is open from 8am to 8pm every day except Sunday, when it closes at 6pm.
2 Deer Park Avenue, Vredehoek
Warrior Toy Museum
Both young and old enthusiasts can marvel at the wonderful array of vintage toys, like model cars, teddy bears, miniature doll houses and two fully functioning railroads, on display at the Warrior Toy Museum in Simon’s Town. The museum is open every day except Friday from 10am to 4pm, and admission costs R5p/p.
+27 021 786 1395
St George’s Street, Simon’s Town
Jolly Roger Pirate Boat
Adventures on the high seas await the mateys on the Jolly Roger Pirate Boat, which sets sail every day in the late morning, at lunchtime and at sunset and includes a live pirate show that will have everyone thrilled and aarrhg-ing. The boat shoves off from Quay 5 in the V&A Waterfront; a morning or afternoon ride costs R85p/p for kids and R170p/p for adults, and a sunset cruise costs R140p/p for kids and R280p/p for adults. The duration of the boat tour is one hour. The scallywags do children’s parties as well.
Quay 5, V&A Waterfront
Whether you’re looking for indoor or outdoor play time, let the little tykes expend their energy on Planet Kids’s fufi slide, jumping castles, ramps with a space slide, intergalactic ball walls and more. It’s suitable for children of all ages and abilities (it’s also wheelchair friendly), and the extraterrestrial fun centre is open from Thursday to Sunday and during school and public holidays from 10am to 5pm. Entry for children aged between 2 and 13 costs R35p/p for the first hour or R60p/p for two hours, and it costs R25 per hour for children under 2 years (between 10 and 23 months of age). Parents are have a free entry.
3 Wherry Road, Muizenberg
This hidden Boland gem is an all-in-one fun house for super active children – there’s waterslides, jungle gyms, swimming pools and indoor activities, like the ball pond and wiggly worm; plus, they have farm animals roaming around for up-close encounters. The farm is open from Tuesday to Friday from 9:30am to 4:30pm and on Saturdays from 9am to 4pm. Entry costs R75p/p for children and either R100p/p or R50p/p for adults, depending on whether you want to participate or not.
Klein Dennegeur Farm, Lustigan Road, Southern Paarl
The Giraffe House
This wildlife awareness centre is just 39 km from the centre of Cape Town, and is not only home to the tallest animal in the world (the giraffe), but also the smallest and biggest antelope and many other buck, birds and reptiles as well. Bring a picnic any day of the week (except Christmas Day), and arrive for one of the exciting animal encounters (they’re at 11am, 1pm and 3pm daily). The Giraffe House is open from 9am to 5pm seven days a week, and it costs just R50p/p for adults and R30p/p for children aged between 2 and 15.
R304 (towards Stellenbosch) and R101 (towards Paarl)
World of Birds
Burgeoning bird enthusiasts/nature photographers will go wild for World of Birds. As the largest bird park in Africa, it has over 3000 birds and small animals, 400 different bird species and 100 walk-through aviaries; plus, there’s a playground and picnic area right next to the flamingos! The World of Birds is open all year from 9am to 5pm (keep an eye out for feeding times), and it costs R120p/p for adults and R45p/p for children.
Valley Road, Hout Bay
Give you little cubs the chance to encounter one of South Africa’s most majestic wild cats at this conservation and outreach centre that is also home to small predators, like servals and foxes, and Antolian Shepherd dogs. Entry costs just R10p/p during weekdays and R5 on weekends; though, the rehabilitation centre does have separate prices for personal encounters with adult cheetahs and cubs and for public runs. Cheetah Outreach is open all week from 9:30am to 5pm.
R44, Somerset West
Older kids with a bit of a thrill-seeking streak will be tamed by all the amazing activities that Downhill Adventures has to offer. The extreme sports hub’s highly trained staff champion sandboarding, surfing, mountain biking excursions and much more. Book half, full or multi-day adventures and two activity combos; prices start at R595p/p.
Shop 1 Overbeek Building, Corner Orange Street & Kloof Street
Imhoff Snake Park
This reptile sanctuary and rehabilitation centre makes for a great day trip, and is home to fascinating snakes, like a 3.5-metre yellow anaconda, Mozambique spitting cobra and the African Rock Python, as well as a few other reptiles and birds. Entry to the snake park costs R70p/p for adults and R50 p/p for learners, and the animal hotspot is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9am to 5pm.
Kommetjie Road, KomKmetjie
Sleepy Hollow Horse Riding
Even if you’re just visiting for a day you can still get a horse riding lesson at Sleepy Hollow Horse Riding for R540p/p for half an hour; otherwise, you can get weekly lessons for the young cowboy/gal for R2 310 per school term. There are also beach and bush rides for those over 12 at R580p/p and R284p/p respectively that can be booked in advance.
Sleepy Hollow Lane, Noordhoek
Sea Point Pavilion Swimming Pool
Perfect for summertime water frolicking, the Sea Point public swimming pool is considered by
many to be the most beautiful public swimming pool in the world. With two splash pools for children, a diving pool, plus the main Olympic-sized swimming hole, the Atlantic Seaboard oasis provides both affordable respite from the African heat and a great training venue for determined athletes. It costs R12p/p for children and R23p/p for adults to enter, and the pool is open from 7am to 7pm in summer and 9am to 5pm in winter.
+27 (0)21 434 3341
Lower Beach Road, Sea Point
Gary’s Surf School
Surfing is a great year-round activity, and the excellent coaches at Gary’s Surf School, which is the oldest surf school in the country, will have your little tykes standing from their first lesson and loving every second of it. The minimum age for lessons is 4 years old and the lesson options are: 1 hour all inclusive (instructor, surfboard & wetsuit) R400, 1 hour private (lesson with your own instructor) R650, 2 hour all inclusive (instructor for 1 hour) R500, 2 hour private (lesson with your own instructor) R850.
34 Balmoral Building, Beach Road, Muizenberg
Blue Train at Mouille Point
Access to the park complete with a climbing rock, jungle gyms and a tricycle track costs 25/p which includes 1 free train ride. This sweet miniature train ride shows views of the sea, passing ships and Robben Island. The train runs every day – weather permitting – from 9.30am to 6pm.
Mouille Point Beach Front, Mouille Point
The Pinelands-based Playshed is a one-stop shop for parents keen to give their kids some quality playing time. It not only has the most awesome jungle gym, ball pond and slides, but also features different play stations for the little ones and tasty treats for light lunches and early breakfasts too. The rates for The Playshed are: free for babies 0-6 months; R40p/p per first hour for babies 7 – 12 months; R45p/p per first hour for toddlers 1-2 years and R50p/p per first hour for kids 3-12 years. The centre is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9am to 5pm, and during the school holidays it’s open every day of the week from 9am to 5pm.
G1 Oude Molen Village, Alexandra Road, Pinelands
Spend a day picking plump, juicy fruits with the kids at one of the several Winelands-based farms that open up their berry fields to the public during season, from October to December each year. Most notable is the much-loved Mooiberge Farm which rests between Stellenbosch and Somerset West and is open for strawberry picking daily during the December school holidays (price is per kilogram picked). Strawberry picking at Mooiberge Farm takes places from 9:30am to 4:30pm.
Strand Road, R44, Stellenbosch
Panthera Africa Big Cat and Lion Sanctuary
Located two hours outside of Cape Town is an incredible experience for the old and young alike, Panthara Africa! If you’ve ever wanted to get up-close and personal with tigers, leopards, jackals and more, then this will be the perfect experience for you and your family. Children will simply love seeing these majestic beasts in this safe enclosure. Costs are R240p/p for adults and R150p/p for children under the age of 13. Opening days and hours are Wednesday to Monday 10am-12pm; 12pm-2pm; 2pm-4pm.
Squirrel Golf at Devonvale
Give your little ones a head start at golfing every Sunday at the Devonvale estate’s Squirrel Golf. The weekly to-do treats kids between 2 and 13 years old to the experience of being on a green and rewards them with a certificate at the end of the game. It costs just R40p/p for a six-hole game, and the pint-sized tournaments operate from 4pm to 6pm during the summer months.
Bottelary Road, Stellenbosch