As I am based in Cape Town I’ve always been sure to update my comprehensive list of things to do in Cape Town with kids… but I’ve neglected my readers from the north and so recently I realized I needed to try and include a few more posts about Johannesburg. One thing I have heard mentioned often by friends and readers alike who live there is that there isn’t a lot of options of things to do in Johannesburg with kids…
So I did some research and collated a list of….
The Best Things to Do in Johannesburg with Kids
1. Get Active
There are some great outdoor activities for kids in Johannesburg…
Acrobranch gives you and your kids the chance to unleash your inner ape and go swinging through the treetops. The Acrobranch park in Melrose consists of four courses and is equipped with zip lines, swing bridges and Tarzan swings. The courses are family-friendly and safe for children as young as three years of age, and there’s a lot of variety: “Sprinting Cheetah” for speedsters, “Stalking Leopard” for testing balance. Prices are charged based on which course you’re doing. Tel: 086 999 0369
Escape the urban jungle and hit the Segwati quad trails on the slopes of the Witwatersberg mountain range overlooking the Cradle of Humankind. Combine your quad-biking trip with a picnic, a braai or maybe even some game-viewing or bird-watching. There’s also a paintball range. Kids have to be over 13 years old to go quad-biking. You can do this by foot as well, as they have lovely hiking and walking trails. Segwati also has cottages and a bush camp if you plan on turning your quad-biking trip into a weekend away. Please call Segwati for latest prices. Tel: 082 4129 823 or email [email protected]
Try out the Bush Paintball Range, conveniently situated 10 minutes from the Fourways Shopping Mall. They’re open 7 days a week, and offer a number of different playing fields. Prices include gear. Tel: 079 387 4217 or email: [email protected]
Honeydew Mazes’ Bee Maize Maze is their 12th maize maze, designed in the shape of a honeycomb it has a whopping 3.5km of pathways and includes an eight-station general knowledge quiz which can be enjoyed by the whole family. They’re open on weekends from 10am-5pm (no bookings required). Bookings are however required for any special events such as kids parties, via email. If you wish to host a large group, or a birthday party, please refer to their website for more information. Prices are charged per adult and per child but there’s also a family ticket for two adults and two children that’s a good deal. Tel: 073 795 2174 or email [email protected]
Other outdoor options 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.
2. Visit the Zoo
The zoo is always a popular destination for moms with kids of all ages. Johannesburg Zoo in Parkview is a really wonderful family outing as it’s got all sorts of exciting things happening, especially during the school holidays. Secure parking is available at the entrance on Upper Park Drive in Saxonwold. Open Monday to Sunday (including public holidays) from 8:30am to 5pm. Phone for latest entry prices. Tel: 011 646 2000.
Pretoria Zoo is another option and they even have an aquarium!
3. Expand your Education – Visit a Museum
You don’t have to have a car-crazy kid to be able to enjoy a visit to Johannesburg’s James Hall Museum of Transport as a family. This is the largest transport museum in South Africa and it includes exhibitions of animal-drawn vehicles from the late 18th century, trams, bicycles dating back to 1786 and a steam vehicle collection. Tel: 011 435 9718,
Get out of the city and head to the Cradle of Humankind in Maropeng for a family trip that promises to be as fun as it will be educational. We loved our brief visit to this informative centre and only wish we had brought our kids with us! The Learner Centre is interactive and informative and will be a hit with both young and old. The main attraction, however, is the underwater boat ride that guides you through the history of earth’s creation in a visceral and awe-inspiring way. If the fossil display piques your interest, take a tour through the Sterkfontein caves – the home of the historic “Mrs Ples.” (Please note, the caves are sometimes closed to the public so it’s always best to phone before making the drive). Click these links to check the latest prices for admission to the Maropeng Visitor Centre and admission to the Sterkfontein Caves. Combination tickets for both are also available. Children under 4 are free. Tel: 014 577 9000 or email [email protected].
Explore the night skies at the Planetarium… if stars and constellations and comets are your kid’s thing, then the Johannesburg Planetarium should be at the top of your to-do list. They also should have experts on site to answer any of your astronomy questions. Family tickets are available (max two adults with their dependent children – scholars or full-time students – and grandparents) Tel: 011 717 1390 or email [email protected]
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.
Emmarentia Dam is a great spot to feed ducks. There are also some great bike trails for kids and parents to enjoy together or take along a canoe for a paddle. Don’t forget to pack something to throw on one of the braais. Zoo Lake is a favourite weekend destination among locals where kids will love to feed the ducks. There is also a paved path that offers a safe meander for trainer bikes and plenty of picnic spots too. Bird Gardens at Montecasino is a lovely bird park that offers amazing bird shows. Gillooly’s Farm is another option.
Put on your walking shoes and head to Kloofendal Nature Reserve in Johannesburg.Visit Kloofendal Nature Reserve. Friends of Kloofendal is a conservation NGO that offers guided nature tours through the Kloofendal Nature Reserve in Roodepoort. These tours give you a chance to learn about and interact with the nature reserve’s plants, animals and insects. From bird ringing to panning for gold, there’s an interesting event happening almost every weekend! If you feel like doing your part for nature conservation, you and the family can join the Friends of Kloofendal team on one of the invasive alien “hack” sessions. Entry fees depend on the activity. See their website for details. Tel: 011 674 2980 or 079 693 5608
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, Drake’s is located at 30 Beacon Avenue, Linbro Park (entrance in Reid Road).
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 10am – 5pm. Located at Plot 70, Nooitgedacht Road, Muldersdrift
Another option for a free family outing is to head to the Bunny Park on Joburg’s East Rand. The rabbits, as well as donkeys, cows and goats, are tame and can be hand-fed, so take along a bunch of carrots or buy veggies at the kiosk. Tel: 011 422 3651.
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. See the Sites from the top of a Double Decker Bus on the Red Bus City Tour
The Red Bus City Tour is a hop-on, hop-off excursion which takes you to some of the most interesting spots in Joburg – from Gold Reef City to the James Hall Transport Museum – there is even a special audio commentary channel for kids. They often run specials over the school holiday period. One-day tickets as well as combo and multiple-day ticket options are available. Full details and latest prices here. Tel: 0861733287
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!
Yeesh! Fun for kids is an indoor play centre and activity hub centred around a giant two-storey soft play structure which encourages active, physical play for children up to 12 years. The play centre also boasts a Paint pot craft corner where children can express themselves creatively, and a Little Bakers corner where they can ice or decorate a biscuit or cup cake.
Their coffee bar supplies freshly baked cakes, delicious coffee and a scrumptious menu for both parents and children. There are excellent supervisors, allowing you to relax while the kids challenge their bodies and burn off that extra energy; they also have a ‘drop and shop’ service. For latest prices see their full activity and price list. Tel: 011 656 9669 or e-mail [email protected]
Smudge Art Centre is one such place that specializes in offering kids a variety 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 or you can visit the Pottery Junxion in Edenvale. This is a great place to get your hands dirty and have something to show for it at the end of the day. Check into their studio and paint and decorate your own personalised plates, bowls or tea sets. All tools, products and ceramics are available on site. ages seven and up can try one of their painting or mosaic workshops. Priced at a set rate for a three-hour session you also pay for the products and for the amount of paint you use in addition to the R20 per hour starting fee. Bookings are essential. Tel: 011 453 2721 or email [email protected].
Attend a cooking class at The Little Cooks Club If you and your kids are foodies or simply want to learn more about cooking, why not sign up for a family cooking class? There are franchises located throughout the city that offer morning classes for children during the school holidays (excluding Easter weekend and public holidays). Each franchise has a different schedule, so it’s best to phone and check what’s on offer at the franchise nearest to you. It’s not only a great way for kids to learn about nutrition and the joys of cooking but also a chance for you and the little ones to work together and bond. Added bonus: your dinners at home can only benefit from the cool cooking skills you’ll acquire and the easy, yummy recipes you’ll learn at these classes. Prices depend on the activity and age of your child. Tel: 083 556 3434 or email: [email protected]
9. Have a Feast of Fun
Gold Reef City Amusement 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. (6 km 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 has a little funfair park with fun rides for little kids.
10. Eat in Peace – Visit a child-friendly restaurant
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!
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 in Johannesburg 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.
I’d love to add to this list of kid-friendly restaurants in Joburg so please do let me know your suggestions!
Please note: the prices listed here are subject to change. It is always a good idea to check their website before arriving to confirm the latest information.
I hope this list of fun Things to do in Johannesburg with Kids has been helpful to you – whether you are from Jozi or just visiting! Please consider Pinning it to Pinterest to help others plan their own visit to Joburg with kids in tow using the graphic below…
Please do feel free to share some of your own tips and ideas for Things to do in Johannesburg with Kids 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!
If you enjoyed this post of Top 10 Things to do in Johannesburg with kids and are planning a family holiday somewhere else in South Africa, be sure to view all my other posts in my Top 10 Towns series below. They all feature fab family-friendly things to do that will keep the whole family happy. Be sure to let me know which town you’d like to see covered next and I’ll see what I can do!
The Most Comprehensive List of Things to do in Cape Town with kids will give you something to do every single day of the year!