This week sees the start of the Winter School Holidays… cue dread for every parent, every where as they try to rack their brains thinking of things to do with kids in Cape Town (even in bad weather)
Over the past few years I’ve published a list of ideas for places to go and things to do with kids during the wet, wintery weather and because I don’t want to disappoint you I have given the list a bit of an update for this year!
So, whether you’re lucky enough to live in Cape Town 365, or just visiting, I hope you’ll find this list of Things to Do with Kids in Cape Town helpful, whatever the weather!
Things to do with Kids in Cape Town
(during the Winter School Holidays 2017)
1. See a Show
We love a good show and these school holidays there are quite a few on around Cape Town:
Our family favourite is Disney on Ice and once again they are bringing their extravaganza to the Grand Arena at Grand West during the school holidays (19 – 23 July 2017). Tickets start from R150 and can be booked through Computicket (Click this link for more details in my previous post about Disney on Ice)
Canal Walk is staging Peter Pan at the Canal Walk Theatre. The show runs from 1 – 23 July 2017 with show times at 11am, 12.30pm and 2pm (no shows on Mondays). J.M Barrie’s much loved classic, Peter Pan, returns to Centre Court at CWSC in a spectacular original musical by award winning duo, Fred Abrahamse and Marcel Meyer. Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, and the Darling children will transport theatregoers to the magical Neverland to be amazed by all its wonders during the winter holidays this year. The young, and the young at heart, will be entranced by the mysterious mermaids from Mermaid Lagoon; the beautiful Indian Princess Tiger Lilly and her brave Panther; the fun loving Lost Boys and the oh-so-evil Captain Hook and his band of pirates aboard the Jolly Roger, who will lower the anchor for a sojourn at the Canal Walk Shopping Centre (CWSC) Expect a talented, star-studded cast, breath-taking sets, magnificent costumes and a gathering of beautiful puppets! Tickets cost R80 each and are available through Computicket.
The Lilliput Players Children’s Theatre Company will be performing Pinocchio, at the Baxter Theatre, from Monday 3 July until Saturday 8 July at 10:30am. (6 performances only). The play is based on the original Carlo Collodi classic of the little wooden puppet who has to prove himself to be honest and trustworthy before he can become a real live boy, with help and guidance from Jiminy Cricket and the Blue Fairy. Kids will follow Pinocchio and Gepetto on their adventures to Stromboli`s Puppet Theatre and inside a whale. Watch Pinocchio`s nose grow as he lies to Gepetto and see Jiminy Cricket magically turn into a life-size cricket. Pinocchio is one of the world`s best-loved fairy tales and is adapted and directed by Elton John Duffy, who has been producing children`s theatre and delighting audiences for the past 24 years. Tickets are R75 and bookings can be done via Computicket.
After a sold out run last year at the Baxter Theatre, the Lilliput Children`s Theatre Company will also be performing one of their most popular shows, The Three Little Pigs at the Nassau Theatre at Groote Schuur High School, Palmyra Road, Newlands during the July school holidays. The show will run from Thursday 13th July until Saturday 22nd July at 10:30am. The Three Little Pigs is a delightful children`s classic that takes place in the Karoo were the three little pigs leave their farm in the Karoo to build houses of their own. One wants to be a dancer, another wants to be a singer and the third wants to be a successful businessman. The big bad wolf pretends to be a travelling salesman in order to get into their homes but has to resort to blowing the houses down. When none of his disguises work, he tries to blow the houses up and ends up blowing himself up. The Three Little Pigs is adapted and directed by Elton John Duffy who has been producing Children`s Theatre and delighting audiences for the past 24 years. The Three Little Pigs show is filled with loads of audience participation and current popular songs from The Black Eyed Peas, Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, Eminem, Destiny`s Child and Shakira, giving this show a modern twist. The duration of the show is 40 minutes and the show is ideal for the entire family to enjoy. A fairytale classic with a modern twist and a happy ending, where everyone lives happily ever after. Tickets are R75 and can be booked online via Computicket.
The Playhouse in Somerset West will be showing Wishing for Christmas from 7 – 15 July. The story follows various characters all Wishing for Christmas because they love Christmas so much that they wished it could be Christmas every day! Kids will be able to join the characters on their adventure as they discover how magical Christmas really is! Tickets start from R50 and are available on Computicket.
The Artscape theatre always has a kiddies show on during the school holidays that is appropriate for kids aged 2 and up and this season Noddy makes another appearance this year from 1 – 15 July 2017. Join Noddy, Big Ears, Tessie Bear and all their friends in Toyland for a memorable morning. Tessie Bear is very concerned about Noah`s Ark. Repairs are needed to stop the animals from escaping. The animals also need to be fed and stores are running low. Tessie decides to collect donations of coins to save the Ark and its animals. Naughty Sly and Gobbo are up to their tricks again. Mr Plod has a really difficult time keeping track of these tricky Goblins. With the help of Bumpy Dog, the Skittle family and all their Toytown friends, Noddy, Tessie, Big Ears and Mr Plod are able to stop the Goblins from sneaking off with the tin of coins. Before the show there is face painting, colouring-in and black bikes to ride. Tickets cost R90 and can be booked via at Artscape Dial-a-Seat on 021 421 7695 at Computicket. Advanced booking is advised.
The Rainbow Puppet Theatre at the Constantia Waldorf School presents a new Fairy Tale each month which takes place on Saturdays at 10:00 and 11:15. Tickets are the same price for adults and children and can be purchased at the door. Recommended age is 4 plus. Email [email protected] for more information.
The Griffizi Brothers Circus is setting up camp in Fish Hoek these school holidays! With a stellar cast of gypsy creatives (and no animal acts!) this looks set to be a fantastical way to while away a winter’s day. Expect lots of entertainment, food a plenty, drinks, groovy vinyl and a whole lot of fun. The 80-minute show, directed by Mark Colli and Christine Chapman, features a cast of local and international acts and will go on, rain or shine, while the Winter Garden will be closed on days where the weather does not permit. Tickets cost R120 for a Show and Grounds pass (not including meals or drinks). Contact the Box Office on 071 400 2250 or [email protected].com for ticket bookings and show times.
The Zip Zap Circus has occasional charity performances which are well worth catching. They will be presenting a special “25 years – An Acrobatic Walk Down Memory Lane” on 1 July & 5 Aug to celebrate how the circus has changed lives and impacted communities in Cape Town. Students from the advanced programmes will show off their skills – trapeze, juggling, acrobatics, trampolining and much more. Visit zip-zap.co.za for more info.
2. Create some Crafts
Artjamming at the V&A Waterfront is the perfect place to get your kid’s (and your own) creative juices flowing! The holiday programme workshops take place from 3 – 21 July (Mondays – Fridays). See the poster below or email [email protected] for more information.
Clay Cafe in Hout Bay has recently moved to a brand new home in the heart of the valley. I have yet to pop into it’s new premises but it’s certainly on my holiday schedule! The large open patio means every table is close to the luscious garden and there is an amazing new innovative playground. There’s also a lovely veggie garden to explore. A day at the Clay Cafe makes an ideal day out for a ‘one of a kind’ creative experience and each child (and adult) is given the chance to indulge in painting their own personal ceramic masterpiece! Booking is essential, to avoid disappointment so remember to book in advance. Walk ins are admitted on a first come, first served basis. Open Wednesday – Monday: 9-5pm. Closed on Tuesdays. Email [email protected] for more information or call: 021 790 3318. Book online via this link.
Spice Route in Paarl is offering parents the chance to enjoy the venue while their kiddies get artsy. From winter holiday Fern Mode is offering art classes for kids aged seven years or older. It is offered from 2:30pm – 4pm every Monday to Thursday. Booking is essential as classes have limited numbers. Each session will cost R120 per child, and lasts an hour and a half. For bookings and more info, contact Fern at [email protected]
Kirstenbosch is running a holiday programme for kids aged 6 – 17 from Saturday 1 July. A A bonus is that all under 18’s receive free entry into the garden during the school holidays.
Gold Fields Environmental Education Centre will be hosting a Biodiversity Waste art workshop for children aged 10-12 years on Wednesday 19th July 2017 from 09:00 – 13:00. It will be a morning filled with fun activities, arts and craft, and an exploratory walk in our Garden. Children will create and decorate their own unique stationary holder from household waste. There will also be a Nature’s Treasure Box art workshop for children aged 6-9 years on Thursday 20th July 2017 from 09:00 – 13:00. It will be a morning filled with fun activities, storytelling, and an exploratory walk in our Garden. Children will create and decorate their special “Treasure Box” and will put their treasures from the Garden in their unique box to take home with them. Each workshop costs R60 per child (pre-booking and pre-payment are essential). Contact Nazeerah Van Niekerk or Jackie Loni on 021 799 8670 or email [email protected] or visit www.sanbi.org.za
The Book Lounge in Roeland Street holds storytime every Saturday at 11am. The recommended age guideline is 3-8 years old, but all are welcome and it’s always free of charge. There is no need to RSVP and hot beverages, juice, and sweet treats are on sale. A few stories in a specific theme are read to the little guests and then they do a craft based on the theme.
3. Get Active
The Ice Station ice-skating rink (also at Grand West Casino) has four ice-skating 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 for litle ones and skate is available for all foot sizes! Remember to dress warmly and wear thick socks! Snowman building competitions take place every Wednesday during school holidays and costs R5 per person to enter if you have not already paid to skate the session!
Ten Pin Bowling at Let’s Go Bowling at Stadium on Main in Claremont is good for a fun outing and a bit of friendly competition for kids aged five and up, plus, the folks at Let’s Go Bowling offer a safety rail for those colourful heavy balls to save a few bruised egos! You can also head out to Grand West’s The Magic Company to go bowling!
City Rock in Observatory is a great indoor activity for enthusiastic climbers and Spiderman-wannabes! The world class facilities include a large bouldering area (250m²) and 9 m high walls for lead and top roped climbing (650 m² ). There is also a relaxed coffee shop area with free Wi-Fi so moms can have a coffee, chat, or even work for a while.
Fit Kids in Fish Hoek is hosting a variety of fun filled outdoor activities in the South Peninsula during the 1st and 3rd week of the holidays. Send your kids (aged 5 – 12) off for 3 hours of outdoor fun where they will learn a new skill, a little bit about the environment, and make new friends! Activities include Kalk Bay Fishing Adventures, Hiking Adventures to Peers Cave and Adventure Racing & Orienteering. A maximum of 20 children per session (12 for Kalk Bay fishing) so booking in advance is essential. Obviously these adventures are weather dependent, but a indoor venue is available as back-up plans for an alternative activity if it’s too cold and wet. All activities are priced at R80 per child. Click this link to view the Fit Kids Holiday Adventures program and book online.
Jump Around is an indoor trampoline park located in Paarden Eiland, Cape Town. The arena is filled with 1000 square meters of trampoline fun so you can literally come and bounce off the walls… Step through the doors and defy gravity as you bounce from wall to wall across 50 interconnected trampolines in our “Free Jump” zone. Jump across to one of the “Dodgeball courts” or practice your aerial skills and flip your way into the “Foam Pit”. Enjoy the freedom of flight landing into a pit of 7000 foam cubes.
RUSH Trampoline Park is located in Stadium on Main, Claremont and has 7 stations including Dodgeball, basketball, open trampolines and foam pits. Open for 1 hourly jump sessions from Monday to Sunday from 11:00am.
be.Up indoor play park in Pinelands offers trampolines, climbing walls, mazes and lots of indoor fun for kids of all ages. Book online in advance as sessions sell out. Open Mon – Sun from 09:00 – 22:00.
You could also opt to slow things down by signing your kids up for a Kiddies Yoga Class with Blissful Kids. There children will be given the freedom to enjoy their activities without the pressure that comes from activities done at school. The usual constraints of daily life are forgotten and kids have a fun filled time combining Creative Yoga and Art, exploring their imagination through crafts, art and creative movement. Holiday Workshops this July are being held in Constantia and Oranjezight. Contact [email protected]lkids.co.za for more information or see the poster below.
4. Pop in for a Play
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 are usually charged per hour.
- The Play Station in Tokai
- The Kids Shack in Wynberg,
- The Playshed in Pinelands,
- Planet Kids in Muizenberg,
- Kidz Playzone in Durbanville,
- Funky Frogs, Tygervalley
- Bugz Play Park in Kraaifontein.
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)
Capegate Shopping Centre will be hosting an interactive play zone called “Into the Jungle” where kids will be able to embrace their wild side with a 60 square meter inflatable play area, VR movies, online jungle games, jungle dress up outfits, 3D drawing and much more! Tickets cost R60 per child from Computicket (parents enter for free) and there is no time limit.!!!
From 30 June 2017 to 23 July 2017, GrandWest’s multipurpose events venue, Sun Park will be transformed into Fun Park – a vibrant playground with over 12 thrilling rides and activities to enjoy. Amongst the rides to try during the holidays are the Spiral Jet, Ferris Wheel, Swings, Horse and Aeroplane Rides, Dizzy Barrels, the Aeroplane Carousel, Barrel Swings, Toy Ride, Bungee Trampolines, Space Gyro, Pedal Go Karts and a Parachute Simulator. Fun Park will be open daily from 11:00 to 18:00 (weather permitting). Entrance to Fun Park is free and the cost per ride is R20.
Another really fun option at Grand West is The Magic Company. 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!!)
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!
5. Movie Magic!
A trip to the “big” movies is always a treat and if you’re on Discovery and have completed the Kids Health Assessment this is a very affordable option as kids watch movies before 7pm for FREE!
Look out for the following family-friendly titles coming to the big screen soon:
- Cars 3 (out now)
- The Boss Baby (out now)
- Despicable Me 3 (out 30 June
- Valerian and the city of a Thousand Planets (out 21 July)
- Captain Underpants (out 21 July)
- Transformers: The Last Knight (out now)
- Wonder Woman (out now)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (out now)
- Beauty and the Beast (out now)
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Long Haul (out now)
- Everything, Everything (out now)
- The Outcasts (out 30 June)
- Spiderman: Homecoming (out 7 July)
P.S. Fans of the outrageous blockbuster franchise Despicable Me can head to Grand West for a chance to meet Gru and one of his Minions, Mel from 19:00 to 20:30 on 8 July 2017 and from 18:00 to 20:00 on 11 July 2017.
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.
The Planetarium is also an Iziko museum and is located within The South African Museum.
The SA Maritime Museum in the V&A Waterfront.
The Slave Lodge at the top of Adderley Street.
The Castle of Good Hope opposite the Parade in the City Centre was built between 1666 and 1679 by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) as a maritime replenishment station and is the oldest surviving colonial building in South Africa. Today the Castle is the seat of the military in the Cape, and houses the Castle Military Museum and Iziko Museums of Cape Town (William Fehr Collection).
Other options include:
Gold of Africa located in Strand Street, City Bowl
The Heart of Cape Town Museum at Groote Schuur Hospital which tells the story of the first heart transplant that took place here.
The South African Jewish Museum located in Gardens 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.
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.
The South African Airforce Museum at Ysterplaat is open on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 07:00 – 15:00 and on Saturdays from 08:30 – 12:00. Entrance is free but you need to take your ID books or passports as it is an operational military base.
The South African Naval Museum in Simonstown is housed in, and around, the original Dockyard Magazine/Storehouse. The collection, which is continuously being expanded, includes: Ship and Submarine models; a life-size Ship’s Bridge; a life-size Submarine’s Operations and Control Room; Naval Guns; Torpedoes; an Anti-Submarine Mortar; Sea Mines; Mine-sweeping & Diving equipment.
The Springbok Experience Rugby Museum is based at the Waterfront and is a modern rugby museum that is fun for the whole family. Aside from a whole floor of audio-visual exhibits that chart the development of the sport over time in a fascinating way, there’s also a Springbok Trials zone where kiddies can while away their time with Wii-like kicking, passing, fitness and reaction challenges that are led by a virtual coach on large screens. Upstairs a digital display is peppered with fun activities for children, like a rugby-themed Top Trumps game and an interactive installation that requires little tykes to complete sentences. So, while grown-ups immerse themselves in the proudly South African story, kids can find ample distraction.
7. Cook up a Storm
Cooking classes for kids seem to be super popular these days and there are classes located around the peninsula that you can sign your mini chefs up for!
Here are a few options in your area:
Nice Touch Cooking Club – Camps Bay
Kiddycooks holiday programme – Durbanville
For more information on prices, times and location please contact the various classes via their details listed above. (And feel free to update me if you know of any other options in your area)
Lindt Chocolate Studio is also offering 2 speciality kids chocolate cooking classes over the holidays at their new concept store located in the Silo precinct of the Waterfront…
The first one is the Kids Lindt Truffles class happening on 16 July. Kids (older than 6) will get a chance to dress up like a Master Chocolatier and have the opportunity to shape their own chocolate truffles, dip them in the finest Lindt Chocolate and finish them off with different coatings. The class lasts 45 mins and costs R 245.00. Kiddies will walk away with 6 Lindt Truffles.
The second Lindt Kids Class is on 23 July and in this one kids will be making Lindt Lollies! Dressed like a Master Chocolatier, the kids (aged 6 and up) will coat their own Chocolate Lollies in melted chocolate before decorating them with a variety of toppings. While the creations cool down, the Lindt Master Chocolatiers educate the kids about chocolate makingbeore leaving with their creations… 6 hand decorated Lindt Lollies. The class is 45 mins and costs R245. Bookings are made via the website (linked above)
8. Waterfront Wandering
The Two Oceans Aquarium is a perennial favourite for the families of Cape Town. Discover the beautiful underwater world of our oceans including jelly fish, sharks, seahorses, penguins, turtles etc. The usual puppet shows, sandpit, arts and crafts, feeding of the penguins make this a full day outing! Feeding of the African penguins is 11:30 and 14:30 daily. Puppet Shows happen at 10:00 and 13:00. Buy your tickets in advance online via their website for slightly reduced prices or sign up for year round savings with the annual membership.
Don’t miss the Incredible Illusions exhibition at the Waterfront which is on until 23 July 2017 in the Jubilee Hall of the Watershed. Created by Kurt Wenner, the internationally acclaimed 3D artist and inventor of this fun and spectacular type of artwork as seen on pavements around the world. The pieces on exhibition are completely interactive and educational – a concept very different from the general idea that is given at conventional museum of no touching, no photographing and visitors are encouraged take pictures of their experience. Kurt Wenner produced his first commissioned mural at the age of sixteen and within a year he was earning his living as a graphic artist. He attended both Rhode Island School of Design and Art Center College of Design, before working for NASA. While at NASA Wenner worked as an advanced scientific illustrator, creating conceptual paintings of future space projects and extraterrestrial landscapes! The exhibition includes an educational zone that shares the history of Pavement Art and how geometry plays a pivotal role 3D painting, immersive and interactive art pieces. To conclude your experience there is a “Art Jamming” zone where visitors can learn the basics of 3D painting and express themselves. The paint used is nontoxic but beware it is near impossible to remove from clothing! Adult tickets cost R135pp on weekdays and R180pp on weekend. Kids aged 6 – 17 cost R100pp and R120pp and under 5’s are free. Book online at www.webtickets.co.za
9. Educate your Einstein (or Mozart)
The Cape Town Science Centre run daily hands-on workshops, bingo evenings, science games, maker workshops, daily science shows and camera obscura tours. Open Monday – Sunday from 9:00 – 16:30, this is a great educational outing and always lots of fun. This school holiday they’ll have a jam-packed schedule of fun activities to appeal to everyone. Click here to download the full CTSC Winter Holiday Programme. Purchase your tickets at the door or jump the queue and buy them in advance via Webtickets.
Winter Science Camp at the CTSC is all about the many things in our daily lives that we use and don’t even realise that science principles were used to make them a reality… wheel, the nail, the compass, the printing press, the telephone, the computer, the light bulb, penicillin, the internet just to mention a few. At this camp kids will explore how the inventors came to these solutions and put the principles they used to the test through daily workshops & activities. The Winter Science Camp runs daily from 18 – 21 July (9:00 – 13:00 and is aimed at kids aged 8 – 12 years. The cost is R750 for Non Members and R550 for members of the CTSC. Contact [email protected] or 021 300 3200 to book your spot.
The CTSC is also hosting a Robotics Holiday Workshop for 3 days from 5 – 7 July. Aimed at kids in Grades 1 – 4 or 5 – 9, this 3 hour daily workshop will cost R640. Book via [email protected] or via 021 448 8516
The College of Magic will host it’s all new & exciting 2017 Children’s Magic Festival at the College of Magic in Claremont, taking place from Wednesday to Saturday, 5 – 8 July. Escape the bad weather and step into an enthralling winter wonderland with your little ones at the College’s mysterious Victorian manor. Expect dazzling magic shows featuring well-known guest performers, exhilarating treasure hunts and hands-on, interactive workshops where your aspiring wizards will learn to perform their own tricks. There will be 90 minutes of non-stop fun – ideal for ages 3 to 10 – as more than 50 jugglers, clowns, mimes, escapologists & stilt walkers take kids (and the young at heart) on an unbelievable adventure. Dress up to this year’s “World of Fantasy” theme. Tickets start from R80 and can be booked online via Quicket.
There is also a Winter Holiday Nature Network taking place at the Green Point Environment Centre from 11 – 13 July. Kids will participate in a number of nature-themed activities. The programme costs R200 per day or R600 for the 3 days. Book on 082 535 0838.
10. Hang out at a Holiday Club
Various churches and gyms are running holiday clubs these holidays…
- Connect Church in Meadowridge
- Common Ground Church in Rondebosch
- JoshGen Church in Sunningdale
- Medway Church in Plumstead
- St Peters Church in Fish Hoek
- St Martins Church in Bergvliet
- St James Church in Kenilworth
- Tokai Community Church in Tokai
- The People’s Church in Constantia and Sun Valley
(If you know of any others that should be on this list please drop me an email or leave a comment below with the details. Thanks!)
1. Take in the View
Beat cabin fever with a trip to the top of Table Mountain. They are once again running their Kidz Season Special which offers two kids under 18 years a free ride in the cable car when purchasing one adult return ticket for R240p/p over weekends, public holidays and during the school holidays until 30 Sep. Explore the natural beauty and grace of Table Mountain with your children and enjoy a day of fun, food and natural beauty, there’s even a kiddies’ treasure hunt and a few other treats for youngsters including something sweet when they hand in their voucher at both the Shop at the Top and the Café.
Please take note that the Cableway will be closed from 25 July to 7 August 2017 for annual maintenance.
Another amazing view you need to take in is the one from the tip of Africa… at Cape Point! This winter season kids Cape Point is running a Winter special that offers children a free ride on the Flying Dutchman Funicular when accompanied by a paying adult, and a free kids meal for every adult main course ordered in the Two Oceans Restaurant. Opening hours for the national park are 06:00 – 18:00 and from 09:00 – 17:30 for the Flying Dutchman Funicular and Two Oceans Restaurant.
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. It is great value! To apply you will need: R125 for the card; a South African ID document; 2 ID photographs and proof of residence. It can be purchased at Tokai Plantation Office, Tokai Road, Tokai on Mondays to Fridays from 08:00 – 16:00. Phone 021 712 7471 or visit www.sanparks.org for more information.
2. Do the Double Decker
Being a tourist in your own city is always a good idea, especially when you live in Cape Town! See the city from a different perspective via a trip atop the City Sightseeing Bus. Why not take your child around the city’s attractions that they have never been to, all in one day. 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. They are running a 3-for-1 Kids’ Special where two kids (under 18) can ride for free when you buy one adult one-day bus ticket or Harbour Cruise ticket. The special is only valid on weekends and South African public and school holidays and all of the tours that City Sightseeing offer are part of the special, namely the Red City Tour, the Blue Mini Peninsula Tour, the Yellow Downtown Tour, and the Purple Wine Tour. Tickets can be purchased at the City Sightseeing offices, on the bus or online on www.citysightseeing.co.za/cape-town.
3. Set Sail
Another angle from which to view the city is from the water! The Jolly Roger Pirate Ship is hugely popular as is the cute Tommy the Tugboat or catch a ferry across to explore the historical Robben Island. All leave from the Waterfront. Alternatively take a trip from Hout Bay harbour to Seal Island or alternatively the Mellow Yellow water taxi that travels between Kalk Bay and Simonstown (weather dependent!)
4. Walk in the Wild
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,
- Paradise Park, Newlands,
- Arderne Gardens in Claremont,
- Maynardville Park in Wynberg,
- Brocker Way Park in Tokai,
- Seabreeze Park and greenbelt in Kirstenhof,
- Kalk Bay Park,
- Rondebosch Common,
- 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.
- Ferndale Nursery in Constantia (not a park, but a pretty epic nursery with a lovely kids play area and ducks to feed etc)
Which is YOUR favourite park? Please leave a comment or send me an email so I can update this list!
If you prefer to be served coffee or a meal while your kids play you might prefer to head to a child-friendly coffee shop or restaurant that has a playground and possibly even child-minders if you’re lucky!
Some of my faves are:
- Cafe Roux, Noordhoek
- Blue Water Cafe, Imhoff Farm, Kommetjie
- Little Streams, Constantia
- Deer Park Cafe, Vredehoek
- Thorfyn’s at Monkey Valley in Noordhoek
- Oude Molen Eco Village in Pinelands
- Green Beans/ Col’cacchio/ Ocean Basket in Westlake
- Stodels Nursery in Constantia & Belville
- Open Door, Constantia
- Jonkershuis, Groot Constantia, Constantia (no playground but lawns)
- Coffee Bloc, Buitenverwachting, Constantia (no playground but lovely lawn for toddlers!)
- Strolla in Sea Point (indoor playroom)
- Starke Ayers Nursery, Rondebosch
- Rhodes Memorial, above UCT
- False Bay Rugby Club, Constantia
- The Clubhouse, Constantia
- The River Club, Obs (dad can hit a few balls, mom can enjoy a cup of coffee, kids can play in the River Rascals kids club!)
- Spur – the branches in Newlands, V&A, Hout Bay, Claremont, Hout Bay, Tokai, Blue Route or Bergvliet.
Which spots do you love going to with the kids while you have a bite to eat? Do you have any to add (esp in the Northern Suburbs as I hardly venture that side of the city at all) Please leave a comment and I’ll be sure to add it to this list!
7. Adrenalin-inducing Adventure
So many amazing activities to get the adrenalin pumping… Try one of these options!
Acrobranch is an obstacle course through the trees that involves zip lines, tarzan swings, nets and bridges. 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! The Cape Town “branch” is located at Constantia Nek in the same parking area as the restaurant.
Cool Runnings Tobogganing Park – This tobogganing may not be down a snowy 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! Open Tuesday – Friday from 11:00 – 18:00 and Saturday—Sunday from 09:00 – 18:00 this is fun for all ages!
Ratanga Junction has over 30 attractions for all ages and will be open for a few days during the Winter School Holidays from 14 – 23 July. Little ones will enjoy the fun kiddie rides which include carousels and a mini ferris wheel while older children and teens might like to brave the legendary Cobra and other bigger rides such as Monkey Falls. Billed as the wildest place in Africa, the Mother City’s ever-popular theme park caters to all ages. Rider tickets (over 1.3 metres) cost R181p/p, mini adventurer tickets (under 1.3 metres) cost R95p/p and non-rider tickets are only R70p/p (all prices exclude access to the slingshot, which carries a separate fee of R60p/p). For more information, contact +27 (0) 21 550 8504 or visit ratanga.co.za.
Bugz Play Park is a great alternative to Ratanga for younger kids and is hard to beat when it comes to sheer variety of kids entertainment options – both indoor and outdoor. Entertainment includes indoor slides, sandpits, roundabouts, tree swings, outdoor trains, swing horses, rowing boats and jumping castles. There is also a large treehouse, merry-go-rounds, a mud kitchen, paddle boats, a water slide, peddle carts and horse rides as well as a a really sweet animal petting area. Inside there’s a great indoor play area with soft play area, playhouses and jungle gyms as well as a kitchen fully kitted out with mini work stations where mini Masterchefs can embrace their cooking creativity!
The Little Blue Train, located near the Mouille Point Lighthouse, is a miniature locomotive great for kiddies younger than 5. A firm family favourite in Cape Town for decades, the cost is minimal and it is open from 09:30 – 18:00 everyday except Mondays. Phone 021 434 4297 for more information.
A super cool spot for skaters is the Mill Street Skate Park in the CBD. This fenced-in concrete rink comes complete with everything from air wedges, stairs and a pipe jam to steep and gentle slopes, curved ramps and various other obstacles for practising tricks and showcasing talents. Both young, green beginners and serious riders training for competitions are welcome, and other subcultures, like scooter enthusiasts and BMX buffs, will find hours of entertainment at the venue too.
Signing your kids up for a sports programme might be another way to expend some of their energy. Sporting Chance offers many sports clinics or look out for private options at various schools and sports clubs across the city.
The cycle track at The Chris Nixon Cycle Academy at Constantia Uitsig offers a series of bicycle ramps suitable for various levels of ability.
Graceland Venues is a little paradise located in Paarl in the Winelands. A family orientated indoor and outdoor venue, the fun activities on offer include waterslides, playparks, farm animal encounters, pony rides etc. Winter may not be the time to enjoy the 4 32 meter long waterslides but you’ll find the indoor playpark, jungle gym, swings, farm animal encounters, pony rides and ample space for the young ones to run around will keep you busy. An onsite restaurant offers refreshments and light meals and booking is essential! Open Tue – Sat: 09:00 – 16:00 and Sunday 10:00 – 16:00.
Berg Pedal Go Kartsat Delvera offer adults and children the chance to put-foot and burn some rubber around a custom-built track. Open Mon – Sat 09:00 – 17:00 and from 10:00 – 17:00 on Sundays and public holidays. For more info contact [email protected] or phone 082 952 0982
For adrenalin of a different kind why not head up Signal Hill for the daily firing of the Noon-day Gun… We did this outing in the last school holidays and my kids found it fascinating! A time signal has been fired in Cape Town by one of these guns since 1806. The SA Navy, who owns the Lion Battery, does a free presentation from 11:30 on the history of the firing of the Noon Gun and visitors are welcome to observe the daily firing of the gun from the Lion Battery.
8. Admire the Animals
If your kids are anything like mine they adore animals so why not make their hearts happy with a trip to one of these animal sanctuaries…
Intaka Island lies in the heart of the bustling Century City development but boasts 16ha of wetlands, rare and abundant birds and majestic flora. Take a ferry ride, a leisurely self-guided stroll along the 2km of foot paths or choose to allow one of the experienced field rangers to lead you along the route. Plus, the island has special programmes during the holidays.
Reptiles & Insects
Imhoff Farm in Kommetjie is the place to head if your kids are looking to spend some time with animals. They have a lovely petting zoo area called the Higgeldy Piggeldy Farm where a variety of small farm animals roam free and kids can get up close and personal with rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens, ducks, pigs, goats, peacocks, geese, emus, sheep and alpacas. Families of the South Peninsula can sign up for the Higgeldy Piggeldy Farmyard locals card to get a reduced entry fee at Peek-a-Boo in the courtyard at Imhoff Farm.
The Imhoff Snake Park is a reptile sanctuary and rehabilitation centre that 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. Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 09:00 to 17:00.
Camel rides at Imhoff Farm in Kommetjie are another “huge” animal attraction in this part of the world and this is the only place around Cape Town where you have the opportunity to ride a camel. This is quite a unique experience…. getting off the ground is interesting and then you’re two meters high making it very different to riding a horse! Rides can be booked at the hut by the entrance to the courtyard. Or put your name down when you arrive to take this trip on your way out.
Maze World is a new addition to Imhoff Farm where kids (and parents!) can break a sweat, have fun, and learn about the world of wildlife conservation at the same time. Built by former game ranger and conservation enthusiast Ian Pletzer, the double-storey installation features riddles that participants need to solve to complete the maze. Along the way mazers also get to learn about conservation efforts in Southern African countries like Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. The maze is concluded with a fun and educational quiz. Open Tuesday – Sunday from 09:30 – 16:30.
Imhoff Farm also has an awesome child-friendly restaurant, Blue Water Café, located in a historical Cape farmstead manor house that offers stunning views, a great kids play area and first-rate food making this a really fun family day out. Don’t forget to spend some time browsing the many little shops that stock organic produce and quirky gifts before you leave! The Farm is open seven days a week with plenty of safe parking available.
9. Practice your Putting
One of our favourite family outings during the school holidays is Cave Golf in the Waterfront.
It’s located indoors just next door to the Scratch Patch. Games are affordable and it is open from 09:00 – 17:00 daily. Putt Putt courses are also 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…
Speaking of the The Scratch Patch – this is another affordable family outing. OK so no one will be uncovering any diamonds but it is still hugely exciting for kids! Kids LOVE collecting things and what’s better than a treasure of semi-precious stones? Opening hours are 09:00 – 18:00 daily. Please phone 021 419 9429 (Waterfront) or 021 786 2020 (Simonstown) for more information.
10. Bask on the Beach!
Yes, Cape Town winter’s can be brutal but we also do often experience a glorious winter’s day when the sun shines and the wind is just a whisper so a trip to the beach in the winter school holidays might not be such a bad idea – you might want to give swimming a skip but you can still roam the rock-pools, eat an ice cream and build a sand-castle. Favourites include: Boulders Beach, Fish Hoek, St James, Muizenberg, Camps Bay, Bakoven, Beta Beach, Noordhoek and Kommetjie. Which is your family’s fave?
And if you kids aren’t afraid of the cold water (or sharks) they might like to sign up to learn to surf at Muizenberg Beach… Surf board and wetsuit hire are usually included in the cost of lessons. Junior Holiday Surf Camps are taking place from 09:00 – 11:00 on 4 – 6 July, 11 – 13 July and 18 – 20 July and are aimed at kids aged 5 – 10 years old. Find out more at Surf Emporium or contact [email protected] or 021 788 8687 to book.
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.
And if you’re STILL stuck you might like to sign up to Adventure Clubs – a lifestyle group that makes an adventurous life easy for families with small children. Offering adventures six days a week, Adventure Clubs plan awesome child-focused “adventures” designed for parents to experience WITH their young children (ages 6 months – 6 years). Adventures are experienced in community with other young families (usually a group of 8 – 12 families at a time), bringing more fun and friends to everyone! They have partnerships with places like Art Jamming, Cape City Ballet, Rush SA, Cape Town Stadium, Vovo Telo Bakery, Little Maestros and many many more! Find out more on their website or download their app.
I hope I’ve given you a few new ideas of what to do with kids in Cape Town – it really is a wonderful place to raise kids! For your convenience I’ve created a printable PDF of this post which you can download and keep or print (just please note it’s 19 pages!!)
Here’s wishing you a happy (stress-free) holiday!!
P.S. If you’ve found this post of Things to do with Kids in Cape Town helpful to you please feel free to share it with your friends on social media or via email.
Images: Kathryn Rossiter