This week marks the start of possibly the most dreaded 3 weeks of the year for parents…. The Winter School Holidays! Yes, all too quickly these 3 long weeks have arrived and it is now time to prepare a full and varied schedule of activities to keep your kids entertained and prevent them from causing serious damage to your home (or each other!)
I am *blessed* with a boy whose favourite question is “What are we doing today?” followed shortly by “And what are we doing after that?” Usually we haven’t even left the house for the FIRST outing for the day let alone planned a subsequent outing!! It drives me bonkers… but then again I’ve only myself to blame. I’m quite a planner myself and like to know I have my bases covered in terms of keeping the kids happy and saving my sanity by getting us all out of the house as often as possible!
Previously I have rounded up some ideas of where to go and what to do with kids during the wet and wintery weeks of July so I thought I would revisit these and add a few new ideas to the mix! Here are a few of my suggestions for..
How to Keep Kids Entertained in Cape Town during the Winter School Holidays
1. See a Show!
My first choice for these school holidays would be a family outing to watch the fabulous Disney on Ice! It is a world-class entertainment event which kids of all ages will enjoy! Running in Cape Town at the CTICC from 3 – 7 July don’t miss out on seeing Mickey & Minnie up close. Tickets start from R195 and can be booked through Computicket (or you can WIN 4 tickets to Disney on Ice here!) Read my review about our Disney on Ice experience. (Ed: This competition is now closed)
Other opportunities to take a trip to the theatre these school holidays include:
The Artscape theatre is putting on Make Way for Noddy. It’s Tessie Bear’s birthday so Noddy writes her a song, but everyone he meets feels it is not an impressive present. What should Noddy do? For children 2 – 8. Tickets cost R60 and can be booked at Computicket. The show is on from 22 June – 6 July at 10:30.
I have 4 tickets to give away to the Noddy show at the Artscape on Tuesday 26 June at 10:30. If you would like to be in line to win leave a comment at the end of this post telling me which tickets you want to WIN! (Ed: This competition is now closed)
Canal Walk is staging Peter Pan at the Canal Walk Theatre. Join Peter, Tinkerbell and the Lost Boys for a fun performance that is perfect holiday entertainment for the entire family. Showing 3 times daily (11:00, 12:30, 14:00) from Saturday, 22 June to Sunday, 14 July 2013. Tickets cost R70p/p and are available via Computicket or at the ticket booth at the entrance. Children must be accompanied by an adult or legal guardian and kids under the age of one get in for free, provided they are seated on an adult’s lap. Seats are unreserved, so arrive early for prime spots.
I have 4 tickets to give away for Peter Pan at Canal Walk. If you would like to be in line to win leave a comment at the end of this post telling me which tickets you want to WIN!
The Lilliput Players Children’s Theatre Company will be performing The Three Little Pigs at Cavendish Square from Monday 24th June until Saturday 6th July at 11:30. (12 performances only). They will also be performing their brand new show PINOCCHIO, at the Nassau Theatre at Groote Schuur High School from Monday 8th July until Saturday 13th July at 10:00 (6 performances only). Tickets for both shows will be sold via Computicket for R45.
The Rainbow Puppet Theatre performs a puppet show at the Constantia Waldorf School at 10.00 and 11.15 every Saturday and is currently showing Rumpelstiltskin (Tickets are R20 for adults and children and can be purchased at the door, recommended age is 4 plus)
Another idea is to visit the SA National Circus in Observatory or the Zip Zap Circus in the city center. Visit their websites or keep an eye on your local media for details of their next performances.
2. Create some Crafts
Kirstenbosch has a great holiday program planned for the school holidays which includes storytelling, puppet shows, adventure walks and craft workshops using things from the garden… From Monday 24 June (weekdays only) the Winter Wonders programme of creative workshops and walks aims to engage young people from six years to 17 years old as well as their families. Entry to the gardens is free for kids up to 17 years old but there is a R40 fee for the puppet shows). Entry to Kirstenbosch is R37 for adults. More details on the SANBI website.
Artjamming is the perfect place to get your kid’s (and your own) creative juices flowing! Choose a canvas size and go wild with the amazing array of bright coloured paints. There are branches in Cavendish, The Paddocks, Cape Quarter and Willowbridge as well as 3 in Gauteng. They have a fab holiday programme lined up from 24 June – 5 July and each day has a two-hour themed session from 10:00 – 12:00. On Mondays painters emulate Andy Warhol; Tuesdays is the art of comics courses; Wednesday’s workshops explore Jackson Pollock’s splatter technique; it’s graffiti on Thursdays; and finally, Fridays are mosaic art lessons. Classes cost R135p/p, and the price includes all art materials and canvases as well as a snack. During the school holiday programme get a free size upgrade on your canvas! For more info contact 021 462 1573 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit the website for more details.
Clay Cafe, located in Hout Bay, is another great spot for getting crafty! Choose a ceramic item to paint in a variety of colours and let your creative side run wild! Fun for all ages. Refreshments are available and there is a jungle gym and kids play area with jumping castles on weekends so the kids can burn off their physical energy in between painting. The holiday special is R95/ child for 2 items to paint including a juice and a muffin.
3. Get Active
Kids need to move but that’s not always possible when the weather is bad, except when you choose one of these options….
The Ice Station at Grand West Casino has four sessions open to the public everyday. The best time slots for kids are 10:00 – 12:30 and 14:00 – 16:30, Mon – Fri (For weekend times visit the website) There are also sessions at night. There is a mini rink (R15) and skates are available to hire. Entry and skate hire starts at R30 and it is R10 for spectators. Remember to dress warmly and wear thick socks!
Indoor Go-Karting in Kenilworth is a great place to let older kids loose. They can race each other around the 310-m mini-replica of the Killarney racetrack on 160cc go-karts that have hydraulic brakes and slick tyres to keep them safe. Open every day 10am – 11pm except Tuesdays. Price: Adults 10 laps: R80p/p, 15 laps: R100p/p, 20 laps: R120; Children (under 16): 10 laps R70p/p, 15 laps R85p/p, 20 laps: R100p/p. Tel: 021 683 2670 (Note the 1.6-m height restriction)
An indoor play place might be just the ticket for those very wet days when kids seem to draw on their energy supplies more than usual and need to run wild for a few hours… some time to play in a different venue might be just what you need to stay sane on these occasions… Prices usually range from R40 per hour up.
The Playshed in Pinelands,
Bizzy Bodies in Westlake,
Plinka Plonka (above Tinka Tonka Toys) in Gardens,
Planet Kids in Muizenberg,
Kidz Playzone in Durbanville,
Party Playhouse in Durbanville
Bugz in Kraaifontein.
Scallywags in Claremont,
For more details on the opening times and prices of these play venues please check out their websites where you may also find more details on their special school holiday programmes. (If you know of any others let me know and I can update my list)
If you have a gym membership at Virgin Active their play areas are usually great and often they run a holiday programme that might be worth signing up for – I love knowing my kids are actually doing some exercise while
I surf the net and enjoy a smoothie do the circuit
Another really fun option (although you can’t sit down and enjoy your coffee here) is The Magic Company located at Grand West. There are lots of activities and carnival rides for kids including carousel rides, mini rollercoasters and bumper cars. Next door there is also an arcade for the older kids filled with plenty of games to keep them happy. Be prepared for lots of noise, flashing lights and an endless request for more cash (unless you set a limit upfront!!)
5. Movie Magic!
A trip to the “big” movies is always a treat for my kids and now that the youngest is over 3 I feel a bit more confident that I will be able to see the end of the film myself! Over the next few weeks look out for the following family-friendly titles on your big screen:
Epic (out now)
Spud 2 (21 June)
Monsters University (21 June)
Man of Steel (PGV 10 – 12) (28 June)
Despicable Me 2 (5 July)
6. Museum Meanderings
The Iziko group of museums includes some great options including the following:
The South African National Museum* offers plenty to discover on rainy days. Our favourites include the mammals section, the dinosaurs and the whale sound booth. Entry to the museum is R20 for adults and kids under 18 are free.
The SA Maritime Museum* in the V&A Waterfront. (Entrances is R10 for adults and under 18’s are free)
Castle of Good Hope opposite the Parade in the City Centre. (R28 for adults, R12 for students)
The Slave Lodge* at the top of Adderley Street. (Adults R20, Students R10)
*Please note the Iziko group of museums offer free entry on certain museums on various commemorative days
Other options include:
Gold of Africa located in Strand Street, City Bowl (Entrance is R35 for adults and R25 for kids)
The Heart of Cape Town Museum at Groote Schuur Hospital which tells the story of the first heart transplant that took place here. (R88 for SA citizens, R44 for students, booking online essential)
The Jewish Museum located in Gardens which tells of the original Jewish community in Cape Town as well as remembers the Holocaust.
Josephine Mill in Newlands is a fully operational mill with a massive waterwheel. (Entry is R10 self-guided, R20 for tour)
The District 6 Museum is worth a visit to learn more about South Africa’s recent history
Robben Island Museum is another historical site but might be better on fair weather days. (Tickets are R220 for adults and R110 for under 18’s)
7. Stare at the Stars
The Planetarium is also an Iziko museum and is located within The South African Museum. During the school holidays they will be screening Morris and the MeerKAT About a mouse who goes to visit his cousin in the far away Karoo. Once there, he meets a most unusual MeerKAT who tells Morris all about himself and the SKA. What is so special about this MeerKAT and what on earth could the SKA be? The show runs daily from 22 June – 14 July. For show times visit their website. Tickets cost R25 for adults and R10 for kids.
Kids aged 8 – 12 can also participate in a holiday workshop happening on 26 June, 3 July, 10 July from 09:00 – 10:30. For R20 they will learn how to make their own Star Wheel and learn how to use it to identify stars and constellations. Tickets are available at the Iziko SA Museum’s Main Entrance from 1 June (open daily 10:00 – 17:00).
8. Dive into the Deep
Which holiday doesn’t go by without a visit to the The Two Oceans Aquarium at the V&A Waterfront? We are due to renew our annual family membership which is always worthwhile as there is so much on offer we can never get to it all in just one visit. From puppet shows, the sandpit, arts and crafts, feeding of the penguins, the touch tank, frog show and all the interesting displays we don’t get bored! Feeding of the predators and sharks is at 15:00, and the African penguins at 11:45 and 14:30 daily. Puppet Shows happen at 10:00 and 13:00. The play area adjacent to the cafe is supervised which is a real win after a busy morning of chasing kids!
An alternative to the aquarium is the Shark Centre located in Kalk Bay which is run by the Save our Seas organization and considering my son’s current intense fear of sharks I might pay this spot a visit soon to help him learn a bit more about these creatures and work through his anxiety… And it’s free!
9. Educate your Einstein
Kids of all ages will love an outing to the Cape Town Science Center (see my more detailed review here) It is a great educational outing but still lots of fun. The science center is also hosting a Educational Winter Camp for kids age 6 – 10 on 1 – 4 & 8 – 11 July. The two four-day programmes are jam-packed with workshops and activities that cover a range of creative scientific projects, from candle making and learning how to wire a plug to digital photography and LEGO robotics! Dedicated Science Buddies provide constant support and guidance, and kids get certificates on completion of the camp. Each day kicks off at 09:30 until 13:00. Tickets for the four-day programme cost R632p/p for non-members and R480p/p for members. Booking is essential as spots for the programme are limited to only 20 children per camp. While materials for the activities are included in the price, parents must provide packed lunches. Located at 370B Main Road, Observatory or phone 021 300 3200 for directions and more details. Open Monday – Sunday from 9am – 4:30pm. Fees: R38 excl Pensioners who pay R15. Families of 4 people can pay a total fee of R132.
10. Wander to the Waterfront
There is so much to see and do at The V&A Waterfront. The V&A Waterfront Kids Ahoy team along with Elemental Kids presents various workshops and projects for kids aged 6 – 11 from 29 June – 6 July. The Market on the Wharf offers classes on how to make potato prints, grow grass heads and mix your own play-dough from scratch. Kids can also create beautiful handcrafted items like mobiles and lanterns at the Blue Shed. Tickets for the workshops are available via Webtickets.co.za and cost R100p/p which includes a Kids Ahoy peak cap. Only eight spots are available per workshop of which there are two or three per day, so book soon to avoid disappointment. Contact 021 408 7633 or email: email@example.com for more info.
I have 2 x sets of 2 tickets to give away for the kids workshops at the Waterfront If you would like to be in line to win leave a comment at the end of this post telling me which tickets you want to WIN! (click through to the full programme here for more details)
The Scratch Patch is another great indoor option based at the Waterfront. Kids seem to love collecting things and what’s better than a treasure of semi-precious stones? (Bags start from R15)
Older kids might like to try their hand at putting around the Cave Golf course located just across from the Scratch Patch. Games are R15 per person and it is open from 09:00 – 17:00 daily.
1. Take in the View
Table Mountain is once again running their Kidz Season Special which is that two kids under 18 years can ride the cable car for free when purchasing one adult return ticket at R195 over weekends, public holidays and the June and September school holidays. Kids will receive a treasure hunt map too and other special treats (including a free Whistle Lollipop when they hand in their Shop voucher at the Shop at the Top and a delicious Dassie Biscuit when they hand in their Café voucher at the Table Mountain Café). Valid on return fares only. Contact them on 021 424 8181 to check the weather forecast! Can you believe I’ve lived in Cape Town since I was 12 and still haven’t been in the cable car – that is not right! I need to change this soon… let’s hope I can conquer my fear of heights in the process!
Another amazing view you need to take in is the one from the tip of Africa… at Cape Point! The drive down the peninsula is stunning. Once you get there you can enjoy a scenic walk to the the “edge of the world” or take the Flying Dutchman funicular! Opening hours for the national park are 06:00 – 18:00 and for the Flying Dutchman Funicular and Two Oceans Restaurant 09:00 – 17:30. Entrance fees are R40 for kids (2 – 11) and R90 for adults. and the trip on the funicular is R21 for kids (6 – 16) and R49 for adults.
Did you know about the Cape Town Green Card?
Visitors to Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) either pay a conservation fee to enter the Park at pay points or they may enter for free with their valid SANParks; All Parks; International All Parks Cluster Wild Cards; or the TMNP My Green Card. My Green Card is available exclusively to residents of Cape Town and provides the holder with 12 free entries into any of the TMNP’s pay points: Cape of Good Hope (Cape Point), Boulders Penguin Colony, Oudekraal and Silvermine, as well as to the braai and picnic areas at Tokai, Newlands and Perdekloof. Find out how to apply here.
2. Do the Double Decker
Every time my kids spot the City Sightseeing Bus around town they get super excited about the “double-decker bus” but I have yet to take them for a trip so I think this holiday might be the perfect time to be a tourist in our home town, especially as they are currently running an extended holiday period special (from May to October 2013) of buy one adult ticket and get two kids tickets free. Places of interest that the bus passes include the Castle of Good Hope, the District Six and Jewish Museum as well as Table Mountain and many more. Tickets can be purchased online (price is discounted) or at kiosks along the route. Tel: 0861 733 287 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
I have 4 tickets to give away for the City Sightseeing Double Decker Bus If you would like to be in line to win leave a comment at the end of this post telling me which tickets you want to WIN!
3. Set Sail
Kids of all ages love boat trips so you’re sure to have some happy faces if you choose this option. Choices include the Jolly Roger Pirate Ship (1 hour = R120 for adults & R60 for kids), Tommy the Tugboat (R50 for adults, R25 for kids) and the ferry to Robben Island (R230 for adults and R120 for kids). All leave from the Waterfront. A new offering from the City Sightseeing tour operator mentioned above is the opportunity to cruise the canals of the waterfront. This fab new way to see the city is free with the bus day ticket and a single ticket costs R30. A trip we have done which was good fun was with one of the boats that leave from Hout Bay harbour to Seal Island. Another option is the Mellow Yellow water taxi (Adult Return: R150-00; One Way: R100-00; Kids: R50-00 per single voyage) that travels between Kalk Bay and Simonstown.
Getting out into nature is always one of the best ways to get kids active and there are so many amazing spots to do this around Cape Town. Places in Cape town where we enjoy taking a walk in the wild include Kirstenbosch, Constantia Nek, Rhodes Memorial, Silvermine, the boardwalk at Kommetjie, Rondebosch Common, The Alphen Greenbelt in Constantia, along most beaches such as Blouberg, Sunrise or Long Beach, the promenade in Sea Point and the catwalks at Fish Hoek and from Muizenberg to St James.
5. Fun in the Forest
An extension of a walk in the wild: there are some amazing forests in and around Cape Town that are worth exploring. The lower forest at Tokai has an amazing ring walk that winds between the trees and among the fynbos with plenty of natural fun to be had including a river and jungle gym – the perfect place for bike rides and dog walks. The Tokai Arboreteum is another amazing space to discover some of the oldest trees in the city. Find more fab forests at Newlands, Constantia Nek and Cecilia on Rhodes Drive.
6. Picnic in the Park
There are some great parks in Cape Town. You just need to know where they are! Here is a list of a few we like…
Deer Park in Vredehoek (a restaurant overlooks the park and it is fully enclosed),
Parish Road Park, Constantia (on the corner of Southern Cross Drive and Parish Road)
Liesbeeck River Park, Newlands,
Keurboom Park in Rondebosch/ Claremont,
Palmboom Park in Newlands,
Arderne Gardens in Claremont,
Maynardville Park in Wynberg,
Brocker Way Park in Tokai,
Seabreeze Park and greenbelt in Kirstenhof,
Kalk Bay Park,
Green Point Park is always a win…. this public space is fantastic!
Die Oog Bird Sanctuary in Bergvliet is a small well kept area situated in the suburbs there isn’t any children’s play equipment but rather a pond with plenty of water birds – remember to not only pack some sandwiches for yourself but bread for the ducks too.
Which is YOUR favourite park? Please leave a comment or send me an email so I can update this list!
7. Adrenalin-inducing Adventure
So many amazing activities to get the adrenalin pumping… Try one of these options!
Cool Runnings Tobogganing Park – This tobogganing may not be down a slippery winter slope, but that doesn’t mean it lacks any of the thrill. The 1.2-km steel tracks allow for speeds of up to 40km per hour! Adults (over 14 years) pay R35p/p for one ride and R240p/p for unlimited rides; Children (under 14 years) pay R30p/p for one ride and R220p/p for unlimited rides. Open: Tuesday – Friday: 11:00 – 18:00, Saturday—Sunday: 09:00 – 18:00. Located off Carl Cronje Drive opposite the Bellville Velodrome. Tel: 021 949 4439.
Ratanga Junction – offering over 30 attractions for the whole family this amusement park is one I’m dying to take my kids to! Ratanga will be open for 10 days during the Winter School Holidays from 5 – 14 July. Little ones will enjoy the carousels and boat rides while older children and teens brave the legendary Cobra and other bigger rides such as Crocodile Gorge and Monkey Falls. Pricing is worked out according to height. Adults and children over 1.3m pay R162p/p while children under 1.3m pay R80. Entry with no rides costs R55p/p. Open: Monday – Sunday: 10am – 5pm from 5 July to 14 July. For more info tel: (021) 550 8504 or email: email@example.com.
Bugz Play Park – is a great alternative to Ratanga for younger kids. Plenty of rides both indoors and outdoors perfect for kids aged 2 to 10. Entertainment includes indoor slides, sandpits, roundabouts, tree swings, outdoor trains, swing horses, rowing boats and jumping castles. Kids prices are R35p/p on weekends and R25p/p on weekdays; Adult prices are R25p/p; Tokens cost R5 each, and rides cost between one and four tokens. Located at the Cape Garden Centre Nursery on Tarentaal Road between Kraaifontein and Paarl, Bugz is open 09:00 to 17:00 everyday. Tel: 021 988 8836.
The Little Blue Train – Located near the Mouille Point Lighthouse this miniature locomotive is another great option for kiddies younger than 5 and has been a firm family favourite in Cape Town for decades! The cost is R10p/p and it is open from 09:00 until sunset everyday. Tel: 021 434 4297.
Acrobranch is fairly new to Cape Town and is a spot we are yet to visit but it looks like it is a lot of fun. It is an obstacle course that involves zip lines, tarzan swings, nets and bridges all set up in the trees. There are several courses to meet different levels of ability and age groups and is suitable for kids and adults. On the easiest courses kids from as young as 3 years old can take par. From there the courses get steadily higher and harder. Each course has its own set of age and courses restrictions to make sure no-one goes in for more than they can handle! Acrobranch is the natural place for adventure and looks like it would make a fun family outing! The Cape Town “branch” is located at Constantia Nek in the same parking area as the restaurant. Prices range from R80 – R140 depending on the courses you decide to tackle. They are currently running a winter special which means when you can buy 5 weekday entries to Acrobranch Constantia for the price of 3. Offer valid until 1 August 2013. To book contact 021 794 5132.
Paintball is another adrenaline pumping option for older kids (no under 11’s) and Action Pursuit offers this at their new premesis in Imhoff, Kommetjie. The cost is R130 per player per session, which includes the use of:
a paintball marker (gun), face mask, throat protector, bush jacket and the first 100 paintballs. Additional paintballs are R35 per 100 paintballs. There are two sessions daily from Monday to Sunday. Morning: 09:30 to 13:00; Afternoon: 13:30 to 17:00. A similar option for kids aged 6 & up is Lasertag (R95 per player) – this is a safe and fun game to play without the pain or paint splatters associated with paintball. For more info contact 021 790 7603 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Signing your kids up for a sports programme might be another way to expend some of their energy. Sporting Chance offers many sports clinics. There will be a free tennis workshop for kids aged 6 – 8 at Camps Bay High School on Saturday 22 June from 9:00 – 11:00. Contact Grant for more info on 083 3093833 or email email@example.com
8. Dig for Diamonds?
OK so you are unlikely to discover a diamond but your kids might value their finds at the Scratch Patch just as highly! This old faithful was a highlight of my own school holiday visits to the Cape as a child and I treasured those semi-precious stones for years… Let your kids loose while you enjoy a cup of tea, or start hunting out that elusive bright pink, purple or turquoise stone for your own collection! Bags start from R15. Tel: 021 786 2020 (Simonstown) or 021 419 9429 (Waterfront). Open 09:00 to 17:30.
9. Practice your Putting
Putt Putt courses are situated at Muizenberg and Mouille Point and this fun activity can be enjoyed by the whole family although it’s probably best to prepare all members of the family (aka dads) that it’s not always about winning but how much you enjoyed the game… Approx price is R15 per game.
10. Bask on the Beach!
Yes, I said bask! In Cape Town we complain about our winter’s as being cold and wet but in between the rain we actually enjoy the most glorious winter weather that rivals many Northern Hemisphere summers! Keeping that in mind means you don’t have to forgo a trip to the beach in the winter school holidays – you might prefer to avoid the sea but there are so many other fab activities to enjoy at the seaside – rock-pooling, ice creams and sand-castle building. A trip to Boulders Beach to see the penguins can take place year round too. Some other favourites include: Fish Hoek which has a great playground, small waves and lovely catwalk, St James for the rockpools and pool, Muizenberg for body boarding, Blouberg for the view, Bakoven and Beta Beach on the Atlantic Ocean side for private places to paddle between the boulders, Noordhoek for long walks. Spoilt for choice! Which is your family’s fave?
A wide variety of other holiday programmes are offered around Cape Town by various libraries, churches, schools, swim schools and sports academies but there are too many to mention here! Have a look in your local newspapers, school noticeboards as well as Cape Town’s Child magazine for more information on the locations of these.
So, now all you need to do is get your calendars out and plan a few outings to take place over the next few weeks! Have a happy (stress-free) holiday!!
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Images: Kathryn Rossiter