As the Festive Season approaches, the parents of Cape Town start panicking about 6 long weeks of Summer School Holidays!!
The good news is that there is SO MUCH TO DO WITH KIDS IN CAPE TOWN. Seriously we are beyond blessed to live in this beautiful city and really can’t complain. The list of outings, museums, beaches, parks is endless!
I have updated my list of Things to do with Kids in Cape Town for the Summer School Holidays…
1. Take a trip to the Theatre
We love a theatre outing and these school holidays there are quite a few shows on around Cape Town:
Cinderella Ballet at The Artscape
This festive season, Cape Town City Ballet ends its 80th anniversary celebrations on a high note, with a magical production of the ballet, Cinderella. Filled with lots of fun and laughter for the whole family, Cinderella will be presented at Artscape in Cape Town from 19 December to 10 January. The matinee performance on 24 December will include the very popular annual Fairy Parade!
With splendid costume and set designs, the three-act ballet is a visual feast and tells the romantic story of Cinderella meeting the love of her life, Prince Charming. The fable unfolds through wonderfully over-the-top characters, including a benevolent Fairy Godmother and loads of fairies. However, the experience will of course not be complete without the show-stopping shenanigans of the two ugly sisters, Violet and Daffodil. Vividly told with heaps of humour and imagination, the ballet never fails to delight young and old. Cinderella is danced to the music of Sergei Prokofiev and was choreographed by the celebrated South African choreographer, Veronica Paeper, with costume and set designs by Peter Cazalet. Audiences can look forward to seeing Laura Bösenberg, Frieda Mennen and Elizabeth Nienaber in the role of Cinderella, while Prince Charming will be danced by Thomas Thorne, Daniel Szybkowski and Ivan Boonzaaier. All performances will be danced to recorded music.
Cape Town City Ballet’s Cinderella opens at Artscape Theatre on 19 December and runs until 10 January. Tickets at R120 and R150 are available from Computicket or Artscape Dial-a-Seat on 021 421 7695. Tickets for the annual Fairy Parade performance on 24 December cost R160 throughout.
The Frog Prince at The Artscape
Stagecraft Drama Studio production of The Frog Prince is also on at The Artscape and is a great introduction to theatre for young kids. The story is about a young Prince who is off to seek his fortune and stops at a well to have a drink of water. The frogs at the well advises him not to drink at the well as it belongs to a wacky witch who will turn him into a frog. He goes ahead anyway and zippity zap – he’s a frog! Only the love of a beautiful Princess can break the spell. She must allow him to eat at her table and sleep on her pillow. There will be a special performance on December 16 when we would like you to dress up as a Princess or Prince when you attend the show!
The Frog Prince opens on Saturday, December 6 at 10:30 at Artscape Theatre Foyer. Performances are daily Mondays to Saturdays at 10:30 until December 20. Tickets are R70 per person. Book at Computicket or Artscape Dial-a-Seat 021 421 7695.
Once upon a time.com at The Masque Theatre
If you’re looking for something fun and interactive to do with your kids, then locally written and produced pantomime, One upon a time.com will be a great bet. It features all your kids’ favourite Disney songs and radio hits, not to mention the modern content and local satirical jokes to keep you laughing along too 🙂 The show will also feature participation packs (ala Rocky Horror Show) for the kids to get involved in helping us solve the mystery of what exactly is wrong with storyland. The story is about a virus that has infected Story Land and the Webmaster has recruited special agent Dorothy “Dot” Com and W.W. Wolfe to save the stories and give the characters their proper ever after.
This show promises to be fun for the whole family and will be running from Wednesday 10 December 2014 to Sunday 21 December (excluding Monday 15 December). Book through Masque Theatre Bookings on 021 788 1898 (weekdays from 9:00-16:00 and Saturdays from 9:00-12:00) or email [email protected]. Tickets cost R50 for children and R80 for adults.
For other theatre productions keep your eyes open as Canal Walk, The Rainbow Puppet Theatre at the Constantia Waldorf School and the Lilliput Players Children’s Theatre Company often put on productions during the school holidays.
Another idea is to visit the SA National Circus in Observatory. Tickets cost R40 for Children and R60 for adults and can be purchased at the door. Please phone 021 6924287 or email [email protected] for more information.
We are still very keen for a trip to see the Zip Zap Circus in the city center but they only have special charity performances. It’s worth keeping an eye on their website or your local media for details of their performances.
2. Create some Crafts
Artjamming has a great holiday programme running at all of their stores and 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 brightly coloured paints. There are branches in V&A Waterfront, Claremont, The Paddocks, Cape Quarter and Willowbridge as well as 3 in Gauteng. Please phone 021 462 1573 or email: [email protected] for more information. Or visit their website.
Clay Cafe in Hout Bay, is a 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. Please phone 021 790 3318 for more information.
The Book Lounge in Roeland Street has ‘holiday crafternoons’ for children. Similar to their regular Saturday morning sessions where there is reading around a theme and then an activity.
3. Get Active
No need to trek out to Switzerland to see the snow… all you need do is head out to Canal Walk these holidays to experience the longest snow slide in Africa and a few smaller slides for the younger kids Ticket can be booked via Computicket
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 for R20. Entry and skate hire starts at R35 and it costs R10 for spectators. Remember to dress warmly and wear thick socks!
Pedal Go Karts has recently opened a new indoor track in Fairbridge Mall, Brackenfell – the first in Cape Town! Please phone 082 899 2221 or email [email protected] for more information.
City Rock in Observatory is a great indoor activity for enthusiastic climbers and Spiderman-wannabes!
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 start from R40 per hour up.
The Kids Shack in Wynberg,
The Playshed in Pinelands,
Bizzy Bodies in Westlake,
Plinka Plonka (above Tinka Tonka Toys) in Gardens,
Planet Kids in Muizenberg,
Kidz Playzone in Durbanville,
Funky Frogs, Tygervalley
Bugz 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)
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!
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 and if you’re on Discovery and have completed the Kids Health Assessment a visit to Ster Kinekor cinemas is a very affordable option as kids watch movies before 7pm for FREE! Book at the box office to claim your discount.
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 R30 for adults and R15 for kids aged 5 – 18 & pensioners. Under 5 are free. A Family Ticket for 2 adults & 2 children is R75.
The Planetarium is also an Iziko museum and is located within The South African Museum. Tickets cost R40 for Adults and R20 for children (up to 18), students and SA Pensioners.
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
The Heart of Cape Town Museum at Groote Schuur Hospital which tells the story of the first heart transplant that took place here.
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.
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.
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 min chefs up for! Here are a few options:
Nice Touch Cooking Club – Camps Bay (082 319 9215)
Julie’s Cake Studio holiday classes – Newlands (021 686 2372)
JellyBean Winter Workshop – Rondebosch (083 392 9593)
Cooking Holiday Programme – Constantia (082 569 8666)
Tots n Pots – Plumstead (076 816 3892)
The Kids Cooking Club @ Stodels – Constantia (083 309 8024)
Tots n Pots – Durbanville (082 666 6362)
Gingerbread workshops @ Bugz Play Park – Kraaifontein (021 988 8836)
Kiddycooks holiday programme – Durbanville (083 384 6449)
For more information on prices, times and location please phone them numbers above or click the links above.
8. Dive into the Deep
A perennial favourite, The Two Oceans Aquarium at the V&A Waterfront is always a hit. We have just renewed our annual family membership so will definitely be paying the Aquarium a visit. With puppet shows, the sandpit, arts and crafts, feeding of the penguins, the touch tank, frog show and all the interesting displays it’s a full day outing! 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! The Aquarium is open 365 days a year from 09:30 until 18:00. Buy your tickets in advance online via their website for slightly reduced prices – R112 for Adults, R87 for kids aged 13 – 17 and R55 for kids aged 4 – 13. Kids under 4 are free. During winter you can get 15% off your annual membership!
9. Educate your Einstein
The Cape Town Science Center has load of interesting activites for kids to explore and the daily science show at 13:00 is always a hit and there is an amazing holiday programme lined up and many of the extra activities are in fact included in the cost of your ticket! Located at 370B Main Road, Observatory and open Monday – Sunday from 9:00 – 16:30 it is a great educational outing and always lots of fun. Please phone 021 300 3200 for directions and more information. Tickets are R40 for Adults and Kids excl Students and Pensioners who pay R20. Families of 4 people can pay a total fee of R140.
There is so much to see and do at The V&A Waterfront.
These summer school holidays sees the amazing Art of the Brick LEGO® exhibition taking place at the NEW Watershed Exhibition Centre. LEGO® fans, kids, adults and art-lovers can look forward to up to seventy art sculptures on display created from more than a million LEGO® bricks by US artist, Nathan Sawaya. Artworks will include his most famous work to date, Yellow, as well as other sculptures such as the T-Rex skeleton constructed from over 80,000 LEGO® bricks and measuring over six metres in length. In addition to this, visitors will see some of the world’s most famous artworks recreated with LEGO® such as Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Van Gogh’s Starry Night and the Venus de Milo. Proclaimed as one of the world’s 10 must-see exhibitions by CNN, The Art of The Brick aims to inspire artwork through unique art forms and has attracted millions of visitors worldwide in exhibitions in the US, Australia and Asia. Tickets to the exhibition are available from www.computicket.co.za at R140 for adults and R95 for kids. Entry for children under two is free.
The Scratch Patch is another great indoor option based at the Waterfront. OK so probably won’t discover any diamonds but it’s still hugely exciting for kids! Kids seem to love collecting things and what’s better than a treasure of semi-precious stones? Opening hours are 09:00 – 18:00 daily and bags start from R17. Please phone 021 419 9429 (Waterfront) or 021 786 2020 (Simonstown) for more information.
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.
Other fun family activities on offer at the Waterfront include…
Tommy the Tugboat
Jolly Roger Pirate Boat
1. Take in the View
Table Mountain is a must-visit for all local and tourists alike! You can’t live in Cape Town and NOT have gone to the top! Table Mountain Cableway has Christmas themed activities for the whole family to enjoy. Father Christmas and the Christmas Fairies will be visiting both the Lower and Top Station on 24 and 25 December, whilst fun characters will entertain visitors who await their ride at the Lower Station (between 26 December – 4 January). Fun activities include games, puppets and magic shows. At the Top Station face painting and glitter tattoos will also be available to purchase from 26 December – 4 January. Phone 021 424 8181 to check the weather forecast!
Another amazing view you need to take in is the one from the tip of Africa… at Cape Point! This winter season kids can get a free trip on the legendary Flying Dutchman Funicular as well as a free meal at the Two Oceans Restaurant if accompanied by a paying adult (R52). 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 R50 for kids (2 – 11) and R105 for adults. and the return trip on the funicular is R22 for kids (6 – 16) and R52 for adults. Please phone 021 780 9010/11 or visit www.capepoint.co.za for more information.
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. To apply you will need: R105 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.
Please phone 021 712 7471 or visit www.sanparks.org for more information.
2. Do the Double Decker
We loved our day as tourists in our own home town a few months ago and this was all down to our trip on the City Sightseeing Bus. 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. There is currently a special running on weekends, public and school holidays until 31 October 2014 where 2 kids under 18 are free for every 1 adult ticket purchased. 1 Day pass tickets cost R130 for adults and R80 for kids aged 5 – 15 (under 5’s are free) and can be purchased online (price is discounted) or at kiosks along the route. Please phone 0861 733 287 or email [email protected] for more information.
3. Set Sail
View the city from a different angle – from the water! The Jolly Roger Pirate Ship (1 hour = R130 for adults & R60 for kids) is hugely popular as is the cute Tommy the Tugboat (R50 for adults, R25 for kids). A ferry to Robben Island (R250 for adults and R130 for kids) is another option. All leave from the Waterfront.
Another option is the 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 (One spot I’m very keen to explore these holidays is the amazing new “Boomslang” or Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway), 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!
If you prefer to be served coffee 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
Earthworkx Nursery in Hout Bay
Thorfyn’s at MonkeyValley in Noordhoek
Oude Molen Eco Village in Pinelands
Green Beans/ Col’cacchio/ Ocean Basket in Westlake
Ferndale Nursery in Constantia
Stodels Nursery in Constantia & Belville
Which spots do you love going to with the kids while you have a bite to eat? 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 currently my son’s favourite spot. 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! 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. Please phone 021 794 5132 for more information.
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 R40p/p for one ride and R250p/p for unlimited rides; Children (under 14 years) pay R35p/p for one ride and R240p/p for unlimited rides. Open: Tuesday – Friday: 11:00 – 18:00, Saturday—Sunday: 09:00 – 18:00. Located off Carl Cronje Drive opposite the Belville Velodrome. Tel: 021 949 4439.
Ratanga Junction has over 30 attractions for all ages. Ratanga will be open for 10 days during the Winter School Holidays from 11 – 20 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. Pricing is worked out according to height. Adults and children over 1.3m pay R172p/p while children under 1.3m pay R85. A non-rider ticket costs R60p/p. Please phone 021 550 8504 or email: [email protected] for more information.
Bugz Play Park – is a great alternative to Ratanga for younger kids. Offering both indoor and outdoor entertainment it is the perfect place 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 R30p/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. Please phone 021 988 8836 for more information.
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 minimal (around R10p/p) and it is open from 09:00 until sunset everyday. Please phone 021 434 4297 for more information.
Paintball & Lasertag both at Imhoff Farm near Kommetjie are always hugely popular with boys, but you’ll need to arrange for a group of friends or a party. Please phone 021 790 7603 for more infomation.
Signing your kids up for a sports programme might be another way to expend some of their energy. Sporting Chance offers many sports clinics.
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…
Reptiles & Insects
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 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, Blouberg, 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. Find out more at Surf Emporium. (and moms if you’re brave enough you could join them too!)
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. Here is a useful link to the libraries programme for each library in Cape Town for the July holidays.
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!
Have a happy (stress-free) holiday!!
And If you’ve found this post to be helpful to you please feel free to share it with your friends.
Images: Kathryn Rossiter