Soon will see the arrival of the most hated three weeks of the year (well, by parents anyway) The Winter School Holidays! But never fear parents of Cape Town, I hear your cry of “How can I keep kids entertained for three weeks of wet, wintery weather?”
Here are a few ideas of….
What to do with kids in Cape Town during the 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:
Once again Noddy is visiting the Artscape theatre. There is usually lots of audience participation and there are lots of activities such as face painting, colouring in, puzzles, play tents and black bikes to ride before the show. Plus you can meet the characters afterwards. The show is aimed at younger kids aged 2 and up and the show runs at 10:30 from 28 June – 12 July 2014 (excl Sundays). Tickets cost R70 and can be booked at Computicket.
Canal Walk is staging Alice in Wonderland at the Canal Walk Theatre. The shows will run from Tuesday to Sunday at 11am, 12.30pm and 2pm. Tickets cost R70p/p and are available via Computicket or at the ticket booth at the entrance. Children must be accompanied by an adult or legal guardian and kids under the age of one get in for free, provided they are seated on an adult’s lap. Seats are unreserved, so arrive early for prime spots. Canal Walk will donate R5.00 from each ticket sold, as well as the proceeds of programme sales to Stop Hunger Now.
The Lilliput Players Children’s Theatre Company will be performing their brand new production, Aladdin, at the Nassau Theatre at Groote Schuur High School from Monday 30th June until Saturday 12th July at 10:00am. (12 performances only). Bookings at Computicket Tickets for both shows will be sold via Computicket for R50 each. Please phone Elton on 083 364 8284 or email email@example.com for more information.
The Rainbow Puppet Theatre at the Constantia Waldorf School presents a new Fairy Tale each month and for June it is Mother Holle. Shows take place on Saturdays at 10:00 and 11:15. Tickets are R20 for adults and children and can be purchased at the door. Recommended age is 4 plus. Please phone Alison on 021 7832063 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Afrikaans speaking families will be pleased to know that there is also a show in your mother tongue! Tyger Valley Centre presents an entertaining, fun offering for kids: Kidz Skouspeel! Lollos and Lettie, Tjiff & Tjaff, Liewe Heksie and the Tyger Valley mascots, Tom and Tina will all come together on one stage in real time. Shows take place from Friday 11 July – Sunday 13 July and tickets cost R75 via Computicket
Another idea is to visit the SA National Circus in Observatory or at their roadshow in Gordon’s Bay (3 – 13 July opposite the Woolworths). The next shows will take place on Friday 18th of July 2014 @ 19:00, Saturday 19th of July 2014 @ 15:00 and 19:00 and Sunday 20th of July 2014 @ 15:00. Tickets cost R40 for Children and R60 for adults and can be purchased at the door. Please phone 021 6924287 or email email@example.com 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. There is one happening on 21 June at 12 noon and tickets cost R60. Please phone 083641 8150 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s worth keeping an eye on their website or your local media for details of their performances.
My kids love Disney on Ice but this year it is arriving at Grand Arena at Grand West in Cape Town just after the school holidays which is a bit frustrating. Anyway you might want to use it as a bribe to get yourself through the three weeks with good behaviour! Tickets start from R150 and family packages are available too. These can be booked through Computicket
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. From 30 June – 18 July there is a two-hour themed session from 10:00 – 12:00. On Mondays painters emulate Andy Warhol; Tuesdays is the art of comics courses; Wednesday’s workshops explore Jackson Pollock’s splatter technique; it’s graffiti on Thursdays; and finally, Fridays are mosaic art lessons. Classes cost R150 per session or R700 for the whole week, the price includes all art materials and canvases as well as a snack. Please phone 021 462 1573 or email: email@example.com for more information. Or visit their website.
Alternatively you might like to take advantage of the Artjamming special offer at the Waterfront these holidays. The Centre Court in Victoria Wharf will be transformed into an art studio where kids can let their imaginations run wild. Taking place every hour from 11:00 – 18:00 from 1 July to 13 July children will be able to paint 1 x canvas for R60. Booking is essential as only 15 slots are available for each session.
On 17 July Kirstenbosch is running a Winter Wonders programme for kids aged 6 – 17 from 28 June – 20 July. They are also hosting a Nature’s Treasure Box Holiday Art workshop for kids aged 6 – 9 years old from 9:00 – 13:00. Tickets cost R60 and entry to Kirstenbosch is R45 for adults and R10 for children aged 6 – 17. Please phone 021 799 8783 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the SANBI 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. The holiday special is R95/ child for 2 items to paint including a juice and a muffin. The studio fee is R30. 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. The reading and activity on Wednesday 2 July at 2:30 is about all kinds of families.
3. Get Active
No need to trek out to Ceres to see the snow… all you need do is head out to Cape Gate these holidays to experience the magic of real snow. Enjoy a thrilling 40m long toboggan slide, mini ice slide and build snowman. Sessions take place every 45 minutes starting from 10:00 every morning from 28 June until 19 July (with the last session at 19:00 Monday to Saturday and Sunday at 16:45). Non rider and mini rider tickets are R25 and rider tickets cost R50. 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! Snowman building competitions take place every Wednesday during school holidays and cost R5 per person to enter if you have not already paid to skate the session!
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@example.com for more information.
Elemental Kids is offering a program to help kids explore the elements of Air and Fire through the arts outdoor activities and play. Fire will run from 30 June – 4 July and includes Festive Frontier Feasting in Newlands and Burning Rubber (skateboards and scooters) in Obs. Air will run from 14 – 18 July in Constantia and the theme is Wonderful Windy Ways. Each programme runs for a week from 09:00 – 16:00 and costs R980 for the whole week or R280 per day. Please phone 0848734711 for more information or visit their website.
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.
Scallywags in Claremont,
For more details on the opening times and prices of these play venues please check out their websites where you may also find more details on their special school holiday programmes. (If you know of any others let me know and I can update my list)
If you have a gym membership at Virgin Active their play areas are usually great and often they run a holiday programme that might be worth signing up for!
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 this is a very affordable option as kids watch movies before 7pm for FREE! Look out for the following family-friendly titles on your big screen:
How to Train your Dragon 2 (20 June)
House of Magic (4 June)
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)
Chocolate Soccer Holiday Workshop – Woodstock (021 461 2301)
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
I’ve been asked about another trip to the Cape Town Science Center far too often recently so this is another spot we will have to be making a trip to. 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.
10. Wander to the Waterfront
There is so much to see and do at The V&A Waterfront. A wide variety of activities are offered some of which I have already mentioned in other parts of this list but what is new is the Adventure Card – each time a child takes part in any of the selected 7 activities (listed below), they will receive a Kids Ahoy sticker at the front desk of the participating tenant, once payment has been made. Once they have collected 4 stickers, they will receive two complimentary tickets for the Cape Wheel. Plus kids will also go into the draw to win the ultimate V&A Kids’ Adventure Day when completing all mandatory fields on the Adventure Card (to be completed by the parent). Adventure Club Cards are available at the Info Kiosk near Nespresso in Victoria Wharf. Promotion ends 12 October.
Tommy the Tugboat
Jolly Roger Pirate Boat
Scratch Patch and Cave Golf
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.
1. Take in the View
Table Mountain is once again running their Kidz Season Special which is that two kids under 18 years can ride the cable car for free when purchasing one adult return ticket for R215 over weekends, public holidays until 30 September 2014. Kids will receive a treasure hunt map too and other special treats (including a free sweet treat when they hand in their Shop voucher at the Shop at the Top and a delicious Dassie Biscuit when they hand in their Café voucher at the Table Mountain Café). Valid on return fares only. Please 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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@example.com 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