Top 10 Things to do with kids in Joburg
In an attempt to appease some of my readers from the north I realized I need to try and include a few more posts about Johannesburg and one thing I have heard mentioned often by friends and readers alike who live there is that there isn’t alot of options of things to do with kids… I decided to do some research and collate a list of Top 10 places to go with kids in Joburg!
From what I have heard many restaurants in Joburg are really well equipped for families and have great play areas or activities for the kids to do while the parents eat in peace!
1.Eat in Peace – Visit a child-friendly restaurant
Pappachinos was the most mentioned place in my research and could definitely be described as Jozi parent’s favorite place! Located on Christiaan De Wet and close to Clearwater it has big outdoor play area with jungle gyms of varying sizes, there is also a track going round the outside of the jungle gym for kids to ride various modes of transport! There is also a smaller jungle gym area indoors and childminders are on hand at both play areas which makes it ideal for families. The restaurant allows kids to make pizzas of their own at a kiddies “pizza bar” too! Very popular and highly recommended!
Primi Piatti located at Lifestyle on Beyers Naude this restaurant has a fantastic outdoor jungle gym area with jungle gyms of all shapes and sizes to accommodate kids of all ages. They also have staff who specifically watch over the children. They have a kiddie’s indoor area, with TV and DVD, and a pizza bar for the kids. Also very popular!
Other child-friendly restaurants include:
Mugg and Bean, Broadacres
Bambanani Restaurant has a large play area with childminders and offers kids crafts on some afternoons
Da Vincis at Inanda Club has a relaxed atmosphere with lovely lawns where parents can have tea and there is a play area for kids.
2) Visit the Zoo
The zoo is always a popular destination for moms with kids of all ages. Johannesburg Zoo in Parkview has undergone some major changes in the past few years and is a really wonderful family outing. The zoo is open from 8.30am to 5.30pm, seven days a week and secure parking is available at the entrance on Upper Park Drive in Saxonwold. Pretoria Zoo is another option and they even have an aquarium!
3) Feed the Birds
Emmarentia Dam is a great spot to feed ducks. There are also some great bike trails for kids and parents to enjoy together. Other spots to feed the birds include Zoo Lake and Gillooly’s Farm. Bird Gardens at Montecasino is a lovely bird park that offers amazing bird shows.
4) Pack a Picnic and Park Off
Kids love a picnic and the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens are a great place to spread out and relax under the shade of a large tree while enjoying some delicious food. Some great parks can be found around the city – Delta Park in Victory Park has a large free play area for kids and is great place to walk.
5) Pet the Animals
Drake’s Party Farmyard is lots of fun where kiddies can pat cows, bunnies and sheep, and have rides on ponies while parents enjoy some tea. Open Mondays and Wednesdays when you’ll pay R25 per head and get free tea and coffee. (30 Beacon Avenue, entrance in Reid Road, Linbro Park). At the Animal and Reptile Park Zoo in Muldersdrift you won’t be able to touch the animals but you will see monkeys, lions, pumas, wolves, jackals, warthogs and many others. Open 7 days a week from 10 – 5. (Plot 70, Nooitgedacht Road, Muldersdrift)
6) Get your Green Fingers Out
Nurseries are BIG in Joburg. Many have tea gardens with outdoor play areas for kids and they are usually very busy with families over the weekend. Some good options to try include Lemon and Thyme on Beyers Naude who have a really cool tea garden and play area for the kiddies including a jungle gym and sand pit. Kids can make their own pizzas there too! Another one to try is Garden World on Muldersdrift, their farm animal petting zoo is especially popular with kids and there is also a tea garden and a craft market for the adults to enjoy.
7) Walk on the Wild Side
Celebrate living in the heart of Africa by taking a trip to visit the lions at the Lion Park. From the safety of your car you can enjoying seeing lions in the wild! You can also spend some time playing with baby lions if you’re feeling brave enough!
8) Head Indoors
One thing Joburg does have an advantage over Cape Town with is it’s amazing weather – but sometimes the weather doesn’t play along and you might find yourself needing to seek entertainment indoors to avoid the cold and wet! This is when Indoor Play Places come into their own! Smudge Art Centre is one such place that specializes in offering kids a varity of indoor activities (for a fee!) Choose from arts and crafts or dress up and imaginative play. Another option is Bambino’s (located on Beyers Naude). Colour Café in Hyde Square in Hyde Park is a great spot for creative sorts to get stuck in and paint a pretty ceramic item of their choice! Star-gazing at the Johannesburg Planetarium is another good option for indoor weather!
9) Have a Feast of Fun
Gold Reef City Amusment Park is the original theme park in South Africa – head here when you’re looking to entertain slightly older kids! There are 31 rides which include the anaconda, earthquake tunnel, miner’s revenge, the tower of terror and the river rapids. There’s also a funfair for under 10s with gentle rides on horses, shells, small wheel and Flintstones cars. Children over 6 can do an underground tour down a mine. (6km south of the city in Ormonde off the M1 South freeway, is open from 9.30am to 5pm every day. Kids under 1,2m get in free) Lifestyle Centre (mentioned above) has a little funfair park with fun rides for little kids. On 22 and 23 September 2012 Montecasino is hosting Magical Kidsland. The Outdoor Piazza will be transformed into a wonderland of fun and learning, combining much-loved favourites like Beautiful Creatures, Noogie Bear and puppet shows with exciting new fun-filled family-friendly attractions for children aged 2 – 12. There will be a bootcamp area for kids, carnival carousel rides, pony cycles, jumping castles, garden games such as Jenga and Pick-up Sticks, and a number of stimulating ball games! For the more creative kiddies there will be colouring-in competitions and play dough to keep their little fingers busy, while Ring Toss, Fishing, High Striker and a surfboard simulator are just some of the interactive activities waiting to be enjoyed by the bigger kids. Other highlights include surprise appearances by colourful characters, the opportunity to learn about all their furry and feathery friends housed at the Montecasino Bird Gardens, face-painters, buskers, magicians and more –all add to the fun, fantasy and excitement kiddies can expect to find at the Magical Kidsland at Montecasino. Plus the chance to win lots of exciting prizes! The cost is R30 per child. For more info visit the website here.
10) Get Active
Great options to getting your kids out and active include: Indoor go-karting at Sunninghill or the Randburg Raceway, Laser Quest at Brightwater Commons, Boogaloos skateboard parks at Montecasino and Brightwater Commons, Tenpin bowling at Galaxy World in Rosebank or at Montecasino, Ice skating at the Northgate Ice Arena in the Northgate Shopping Centre, Quad-biking at Daytona Adventure Park in Fourways and Paintball is another good options with plenty of venues in and around Johannesburg.
I hope this list has been helpful to you – whether you are from Jozi or just visiting!
Please do feel free to share some of your own tips and ideas in the comments below! I love to hear from Becoming you readers and I’m sure your input will be very valuable to other mamas in Joburg!
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