The winter school holidays are drawing near, which means that, pretty soon, parents all over Cape Town are going to have kids kicking about the house. Rather than rotting their brains with technology, this is a fantastic opportunity to reboot their imaginations and reconnect the family unit by exploring the Cape’s treasure trove of family friendly and fun activities…
Go ice-skating at GrandWest
The enormous, Olympic sized ice rink at GrandWest Casino and Entertainment World is a perennially popular daytime activity for people of all ages but particularly kids and teenagers. These school holidays, the Ice Station (as it’s called) will be hosting several additional public skating sessions. Kids can also sign up for lessons on how to skate, as well as join one of four figure-skating clubs, depending on their skill level. After a skating session, kids won’t have any shortage of things to do, from watching a movie at the cinema to spending an hour or two at the game arcade.
Rush Indoor Trampoline Park, Claremont
Test the bounds of gravity without fear in this 30,000 square foot facility that features wall-to-wall, interconnected trampolines, a battle beam, a huge foam pit, three basketball slam dunk lanes, and, for the older kids, two dodge ball courts. Rush Indoor Trampoline Park at Stadium on Main (Claremont) is extreme fun and an incredible workout for the entire family. To keep toddlers safe, the park dedicates 10:00 to 11:00 (Monday to Thursday) and 9:00 to 10:00 (Fridays to Sundays) to the little ones and their siblings.
Spend an afternoon at Noordhoek Farm Village
A large open space for children to run free, a great variety of restaurants, pubs, and art shops, and a thrilling kiddies’ playground… the leafy and atmospheric Noordhoek Farm Village is the perfect weekend destination for families (although it’s best enjoyed on sunny days so check the weather forecast ahead of time). Here, you can easily while away most of a day perusing the interesting stores and eating a leisurely meal, while the kids get a little outdoor time.
Where: Village Lane & Noordhoek Main road, Goedehoop Estate
The whales are here
From June to November, the Southern right whales visit the Cape, hanging out along the peninsula and in our bays, having babies and showing off their fins. And if you thought the ocean was beautiful on a sunny day, try whale watching from the coast when the sea is choppy, slate grey, and undulating with enormous swells. It’s beautifully dramatic. The best places to see the whales are anywhere along the southwestern Cape coastline, really, but it has to be said that Hermanus, Gansbaai, and De Kelders have the greatest reputation for whale watching opportunities. Plus, they boast a plethora of lovely ocean-facing accommodations and family friendly restaurants.
Unleash your inner Picasso, Rembrandt, or even Warhol with Art Jamming; a fun, engaging, and wholly unique activity that’s guaranteed to put your artistic talent to the test. They supply the tools (canvases of varying sizes, a spectrum of paint colours, and brushes) and you just let loose creativity. Art Jamming allows each and every participant to create his or her masterpiece in an interactive environment and have enormous fun in the process. Click here to view their holiday program for kids. View pricing information here
Where: There are two studios in Cape Town: G26 Willowbridge, Carl Cronje Ave, Tygervalley, Bellville | Above Toy Kingdom at the V&A Waterfront.
The need for speed is an affliction that hits hard during childhood and while it might fade with age, it only takes one lap in a go-kart at the Kenilworth racetrack to bring it screaming back to life. A ticket gets racers 10 laps around the 310-meter course and a lifetime of adoration from your kids (and husband). There are lightweight 140cc vehicles and a junior track specifically for younger racers so you can rest assured that they will be safe.
For more information on Kenilworth Go-Karting (10 Myhoff Road, Claremont) go to www.karting.co.za, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +27 (0) 21 683 2670. Click on the links for: Arrive and Drive pricing and Pre- and Group booking pricing.
The Clay Café, Hout Bay
Who doesn’t love using their hands to make things? The Clay Café in Hout Bay is all about crafting something unique, which is then fired and painted so that you can take your creation home with you to use and admire. Whether you want to make a vase, a mug, a plate, or even just something decorative, the Clay Café provides students with the guidance they need to create something meaningful. They even have a decent (and licensed) on-site restaurant so your family can conclude its session with a well-earned meal. View pricing information here.
Where: 4080 Main Road, Hout Bay
Learn to rock climb (in a very safe environment)
Get your kids away from the TV and get them moving! CityROCK Cape Town is running two-hour introductory courses on three consecutive days on selected dates for kids to learn how to rock climb. This totally safe, indoor activity not only improves their physical strength and dexterity, but also hones their mental strength and resilience. After all, is there any better metaphor for overcoming life’s obstacles than rock climbing? During the lessons, kids will be taught basic safety procedures and techniques of climbing.
For more information on CityROCK Cape Town’s courses for kids, click on the link or email email@example.com or call +27 (0) 21 447 1326. Address: 9 Milner Street, Unit 5, Table Bay Industrial Park, Paarden Eiland.
Indoor market retail therapy
There’s something about shopping at a farmers’ market that makes one feel a whole lot less guilty about spending money. Better still, most of them are kid-friendly and offer plenty of diversions and live entertainment while you get your retail therapy on. And with Cape Town having so many sheltered or indoor options, your indulgence in locally sourced, grown, and crafted produce, meals, tipple, furniture, clothing, and more doesn’t need to go into hibernation.
The Hout Bay Harbour Market, Mojo Market in Sea Point, Market at the Barn (Durbanville), Elgin Railway Market, and Watershed Market at the V&A Waterfront are just a few indoor markets that are guaranteed to keep the family entertained, well-fed, and happy on winter’s wetter days.
Visit the World of Birds Wildlife Sanctuary & Monkey Park
The World of Birds (+27 (0) 21 790 2730, firstname.lastname@example.org) is a long-standing bird, wildlife, and monkey sanctuary in the charming valley suburb of Hout Bay. Families can quite easily whittle away a whole day perusing the extensive series of walk-through aviaries and enclosures that house an incredible variety of local and exotic bird species, including sleepy owls, magnificent raptors, quirky ostriches, raucous parrots, and a colourful flock of flamingos. There are also a collection of small mammals and monkeys. The World of Birds is dedicated to the rehabilitation of injured and sick birds, as well as conservation outside of the park so your entry fee (R120 for adults, R45 for children, and R75 for students and pensioners) goes towards a good cause!
Where: 4914 Valley Road, Hout Bay
Iziko Planetarium: “Ooh” and “aah” at the heavens
The newly revamped and updated Planetarium at the Iziko Museum is a wonderful activity for families and something that will stoke your kids’ imaginations outside of school. Sit all the way back in your recliner seat and watch as a fascinating digital show unfurls on the darkened dome above you. When you’re done, why not spend an hour or two wandering around the natural history museum? Kids will love the dinosaur dioramas and extensive collection of taxidermy animals and birds.
Where: 25 Queen Victoria St, Gardens, Cape Town
Cape Town Science Centre
Expose your children to the fascinating realm of science from an early age and open their minds to its fathomless fields of wonder. You might even learn something in the process too! The Cape Town Science Centre (+27 (0) 21 300 3200, email@example.com) is a not-for-profit attraction that offers up a smorgasbord of exhibitions, awesome experiments, and interactive discoveries to keep the whole family delighted and engaged. They also run workshops and science camps over the school holidays and during winter.
Where: 370B Main Road, Observatory, Cape Town
Learn to rock out at the School of Rock, Cape Town
If there were one skill virtually no one would turn down, it would be the ability to make music. Now, with the School of Rock in Cape Town (+27 (0) 21 671 9580), the entire family can sign up for a totally rockin’ adventure that will put an instrument in their hands and a stage under their feet to experience a thrill that very few ever get to. There are a variety of performance-based courses, programmes, and camps to choose from (depending on age and experience) but the goal is the same: “to inspire the world to rock on stage and in life.” View course schedule and pricing here.
Where: Suite 202, 2nd Floor Standard Bank Galleria, 120 Main Road, Claremont
A day at the museum
In spite of its rather chequered past, Cape Town and South Africa in general is bursting at the seams with vibrant culture and tradition. This winter, expose your kids to the story of our country’s people and past by visiting Cape Town’s museums, such as the South African Natural History Museum (Iziko), the Iziko Slave Lodge, South African Jewish Museum, and District 6 Museum. These odes to history serve as a reminder of how far we have come, teaching the new generation to better appreciate and protect their heritage.
Visit Butterfly World in the Cape Winelands
Butterfly World on the R44 (Klapmuts) is a lush and tranquil sanctuary for a kaleidoscopic legion of butterflies from all over the world. This Cape Winelands attraction also maintains a bird sanctuary, a hair-raising arachnid exhibit (spiders and scorpions), the rather gruesome yet interesting Road Kill Skeleton Park, and daily animal shows. Afterwards, visitors can sit down at the delightful tea garden or stock up on padkos at their farm stall: you are in the Cape Winelands after all. For more information, go to www.butterflyworld.co.za or call +27 (0) 21 875 5628.
Dive beneath the waves
No, not the waves of the ocean (unless you have a 5 mm thick wetsuit on). We’re talking about the Two Oceans Aquarium at the V&A Waterfront! There’s nothing quite as enchanting as diving beneath the ocean surface to examine the kalaeidescopic life that thrives beneath, and parents will love the experience just as much as their kids will. There are live exhibits to explore and even interactive experiences for the little ones.
Where: Dock Rd, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
Go diggin’ at the Scratch Patch, V&A Waterfront
The Scratch Patch (1 Dock Road) is a total gem (pun intended) tucked away across the road from the V&A Waterfront’s revamped warehouse district, although the original is in Simon’s Town. With shimmering glass cases full of glittering crystals, colourful rock specimens, and jewellery and a veritable treasure of polished semi-precious stones on the floor of the Scratch Patch den, any self-respecting adventurer could keep busy for hours! The entry to Mineral World is free, but it costs between R22 and R120 to fill a small to large bag up with pebbles from the Scratch Patch.
Play a little Cave Golf
Literally right next door to the Scratch Patch (same contact details and website) is the aptly named Cave Golf: an 18-hole indoor putt-putt course located in a moodily-lit room that’s been elaborately done up as a cave, complete with running streams and low-hanging rock ceilings (in places). It’s deceptively tricky at times, making it a decent challenge for the whole family. A round of golf only costs R25 per player (R20 for groups of 10 or more) with a refundable deposit of R20.
Hint Hunt, the thrilling, live escape game!
Founded in early 2012, HintHunt is an exciting yet challenging live escape game that has been perfectly designed for groups of three to five people. Players are locked in a themed room and must put together the hidden clues they find to overcome various puzzles they encounter in order to escape the room before the 60-minute timer hits 0! Since its conception, this social, mind-bending game has become a worldwide phenomenon with installations in multiple countries all over the world. Click here for cost information.
Where: The Old Biscuit Mill, Woodstock, and the V&A Waterfront
Volunteer at an Animal Shelter
Teaching kids to take pleasure in helping those less fortunate than ourselves is an incredibly important lesson and what better classroom could there be than an animal shelter? There are several – the DARG, F.A.L.L.E.N Angels, and Uitsig Animal Rescue – all over Cape Town and they readily accept help from volunteers to walk the dogs, help kittens become accustomed to loving contact, groom horses, clean cages, and more. Volunteers get the pleasure of interacting with the animals and knowing that their time and energy is helping them live more comfortable, love-filled lives.
Cape Gate Winter Ice Slides
From 14 June – 7 July, enter into a magical ice age-themed world at Capegate Shopping Centre and zoom down three different toboggan-style ice slides.
This year you and your family can try out a 28m long curved slide, a 24m long dipper as well as a 1.5m kiddie’s slide, which are all made from real ice.
Kids will also get to play will real ice at the Ice Play station.
Tickets cost just R80 for a full rider, R50 for a mini rider and just R30 for a non-rider. These tickets are all valid for a 45 minute sliding session and include the ice age animal expo, which are available at the event entrance as well as online via WebTickets.
For more information, please visit www.capegatecentre.co.za, contact 021 981 2331 or follow #CGIceSlide on social media.