30 things to do in Cape Town with your kids this holiday

Every year it’s the same old story: how do you keep the children busy during the school holidays? For parents, this doesn’t have to be especially daunting this lovely summer in Cape Town. Don’t sweat it, there is plenty to keep little ones busy and entertained. Here are some ideas for cool activities in Cape Town for the whole family during the school holidays (and beyond).

1. Capegate’s summer splash

The whole family can experience the fun tropical-themed water park at Capegate this summer holiday. Open from 6 December to 11 January, kids aged 5-13 can enjoy this huge outdoor water park, including water slides, a wave board, paddle boats, a mini beach  and a slip’n slide.
There will be shaded areas and a refreshment station for parents. Tickets cost R85 for 90 minutes and R125 for three hours. Non riders (accompanying adults) pay a fee of R40. Ticket prices include access to all activities and can be bought via Webtickets or at the event entrance.
Contact: 0718948849
Visit: capegatecentre.co.za

2. Go tobogganing in Durbanville

Kids, school holidays, Cape Town, Cool Runnings
Image by John Macgregor

If the weather clears up, why not make good use of the winter sun and take the kids tobogganing at Cool Runnings Toboggan Park in Durbanville? Tobogganing Cool-Runnings-style involves planting your bum on a bob-sled and speeding down the hillside on a 1.2-kilometre steel-pipe track. The speed of all the toboggans is brake-controlled and the rides are very safe for children. Little ones under the age of eight have to be accompanied by an adult. One ride costs R55 (up to age 14) and a ride for adults costs R65, with an unlimited day pass costing R395.
Contact: 0219494439 / [email protected]
Visit: coolrunnings.capetown

3. Cape Town Science Centre, Observatory

For indoor family fun, the Cape Town Science Centre in Observatory is a great place to indulge your kid’s inner nerd. The Centre’s exhibits are both mind-bogglingly cool and informative. Who says the holidays can’t be educational? During the holidays they have hands-on workshops, science shows, family bingo evenings and even cool stuff just for mums. The SciCafe has a basic menu of filling and healthy options. There’s also free Wi-Fi. Entry to the Science Centre costs from R75 per person.
Contact: 0213003200, [email protected]
Visit: ctsc.org.za

4. The Book Lounge, City Centre

Every Saturday at 11:00, The Book Lounge in Roeland Street has a free story telling session, perfect for 3-8-year-olds. They often have additional activities during the school holidays as well. While your little one is enthralled by magical tales, you can sit downstairs and enjoy a cuppa at their coffee shop or take some time to browse through the myriad of interesting and sometimes unusual books. It’s best to book, so give them a call or visit their website for more information.
Contact: 0214622425, [email protected]
Visit: booklounge.co.za

5. Bishopscourt Village Park

This was recommended by a mom and it sounds like an idyllic spot with a stream to splash in, rocks to clamber over and trees to climb. Not many folks seem to know about this hidden spot – it seems to be one of those ‘in-the-know’ places! To find this secret garden paradise, drive all the way to the end of Upper Noreen Avenue and park along the road (don’t block driveways). There are two entrances: one you’ll see on your left as you drive down the road, marked by a green information board. The other is located near the end of the road, across the lawn, under the trees. Take a picnic as there are tables and benches too.
Contact: [email protected]

6. Artjamming, Cape Town

Create a masterpiece (or mess) on a blank canvas, while listening to funky music. Artjammers are provided with a menu of 12 different size canvases, easels, a selection of non-toxic acrylic paints, brushes and tools to freely express themselves. Great idea for children’s parties! You’ll find Artjamming studios at the Cape Quarter, Cavendish Square, The Paddocks, V&A Waterfront and the Willowbridge Centre. From R185 a canvas, although combo deals are also available The Holiday programme runs on the 10th, 11th, 12th, 17th, 18th and 19th of December this year, booking essential.

Contact: Contact each individual branch for info, details on the website.
Visit: artjamming.co.za

7.Noordhoek Farm Village

Noordhoek Farm Village, is the ideal children’s destination to entertain the kids, with its free, fun activities, age-specific playgrounds and child-friendly restaurants. The playground has been designed to accommodate various age groups with suitable activities and safety features. Parents can enjoy laid-back breakfasts and lunches from Café Roux, while keeping an eye on the little ones – it borders the kids’ play area – Café Roux also offers a kiddies’ menu and hosts birthday parties.
Contact: [email protected]
Visit: noordhoekvillage.co.za

8. Glow-in-the-dark mini golf

Glowing rooms SA offers a 3D glow-in-the-dark experience for kids (and adults) in a fun game of mini-golf. UV lights light up the course, and with 3D glasses on, the result is really immersive, glow-in-the-dark fun! There are glow sticks to buy at the Glowing Rooms shop. The course has 18 holes and costs R130 per person playing, and R70 for non-players.
Contact: 021551224, [email protected]
Visit: www.glowingrooms.co.za

9. Acrobranch, Constantia

Kids, school holidays, Cape Town, acrobranching

Acrobranching gives you and the kids the chance to unleash your inner-ape and go swinging through the tree tops. This is another fantastic holiday activity for the entire family if the weather decides to play along. The Acrobranch park in Constantia consists of three courses, each one equipped with zip lines, sing bridges and Tarzan swings. The courses are family-friendly and safe for children as young as three years of age. The ‘Yellow Course’ is for children ages three and up while the “Green Course” is for children seven years and older. The “Blue Course” includes the other two courses and is for older acrobranchers. If this seems like your kind of fun be sure to check it out. R140 to R220 depending on the course.
Contact: 0869990369
Visit: acrobranch.co.za

10. Bugz Family Playpark, Kraaifontein

Bugz Family Playpark is an activity-filled park with a huge outdoor playground and an impressive indoor play area suited for children from 2 to 10 years old. There are pedal cars, jumping castles, rowing boats, swing horses, mini tractor rides, a choo choo train as well as free play areas, horse rides and magic shows. When tummies need filling, there’s The Bugz Tent Kitchen and Bugz Too Restaurant. Open from 09:00 to 17:00 every day (except Christmas Day). They also host birthday parties. Adults R40 on weekdays and R60 on weekends, kids R60 on weekdays and R70 on weekends (excluding rides).
Contact: 0219888836, [email protected]
Visit: bugzplaypark.co.za

11. Clay Café, Hout Bay

Clay Cafe in Hout Bay

The Clay Cafe in Hout Bay makes for a day of creativity and recreation for children and parents alike. Choose from a vast array of unfired bisque and a wide selection of colourful paints to create crockery that is both personal and unique. Spend a leisurely day painting in a relaxed environment with friendly staff at hand to assist you with any painting techniques that you might wish to make use of. There is a garden and playground outside so once children are finished painting there is still plenty to explore. Also a great idea for children’s parties! R40 studio fee, plus the price of whichever item you decide to paint, ranging from R20 to R300.
Contact: 0768105120, [email protected]
Visit: claycafe.co.za

12. Scootours, Cape Town

Take the whole family on a downhill adventure with Scootours. These non-motorised scooters have fat wheels for off-roading, and just require a bit of balance and an understanding of how bicycle brakes work. Kids older than 10 can ride their own scooters, while kids age 4-9 can go as passengers. Meet the Scootours bus at the Kloofnek parking area, and from there they take you up Signal hill to freewheel down into Bo Kaap. From there the bus picks you up again and takes you up Table Mountain, where you begin your second downhill adventure. R650 per person riding, R290 per passenger.
Contact: 0827760557, [email protected]
Visit: scootours.co.za

13. World of Birds, Hout Bay

World Of Birds, Hout Bay

The World of Birds in Hout Bay is billed as the largest bird park in Africa, but most kids prefer the naughty squirrel monkeys who sit on your head and rifle through your pockets, while the meerkats, mongooses, porcupines and guinea pigs also have their devoted fans. The Robin’s Nest offers drinks and snacks as well as light meals. You are also welcome to take your own picnic basket and enjoy a picnic at the Flamingo Terrace (right next to the flamingoes). Adults R135, kids R50.
Contact: 0217902730, [email protected]
Visit: worldofbirds.org.za

14. Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens

A sunny day will find many Capetonians lazing on the immaculate lawns of Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, the finest gardens in South Africa. Everyone has their favourite nook – I love the giant trees over the Skeleton Stream, which provide lots of exciting climbing for young adventurers. A raised walkway, named The Boomslang, has been recently built through the Arboretum, between the Protea Garden, Cycad Amphitheatre, the Dell, Mathews Rockery and the Concert Lawn. The boardwalk raises visitors to over 12m above ground, and winds like a snake, dipping through the trees. Adults – R75, kids (aged 6-17) – R20, kids under 6 years of age – free. Students (with card) – R40.
Contact: 0217998899, [email protected]
Visit: www.sanbi.org

15. City Sightseeing Bus, Cape Town

City Sightseeing Bus

Nearly everyone has seen the big red City Sightseeing Bus, but actually going on it is so much fun (be a tourist in your own city). You can sit and watch the world go by and hop on and off at various places of interest. If you actually listen to the commentary, you will learn a lot about the city we live in and there’s a kid-friendly version too (that’s actually very clever, informative and amusing). Don’t let rain put you off, it’s dry in there! All children get a free activity pack with a colouring-in book and crayons which helps keep them occupied. One day pass: Adults – R245, Kids (aged 5-15) – R130 (when you buy online). Kids under 5 – free.
Contact: 0215116000, [email protected]
Visit: citysightseeing.co.za

16. Company’s Garden, City Centre

The Company's Garden

The Company’s Garden is a great free spot for families. You can picnic on the grass, play ball games and feed the squirrels and (inevitably) the pigeons. Be aware though that squirrels have sharp little claws! I have seen a few children burst into tears when one of the cute little critters decides to scramble up their bare leg in search of peanuts. The Company’s Garden Restaurant in the park also serves good food, and the outside section is full of interesting things to keep kids busy. You’ll find The Company’s Garden in Queen Victoria Street, at the top end of Adderley Street.
Contact: 0214232919
Visit: thecompanysgarden.com

17. Green Point Park

I love this park (read about how I discovered Green Point Park) and kids love it too. Entrance is free, so pack a picnic and take the kids out for the day. There are play areas for littlies and for bigger kids, so everyone has a good time. Adults can give the outdoor gym equipment a go, or just sit on the lawn or at a table and relax. Leashed dogs and bicycles (or tricycles) are welcome too.
Contact: 0214444258, [email protected]

18. Imhoff Farm, Kommetjie

Kids, school holidays, Cape Town, camel rides

Here’s another fun activity for the odd sunny day this winter holiday. Head to Imhoff Farm in Kommetjie and take a ride along Noordhoek Beach on one of the farm’s five camels. This is one of those activities that’s bound to be a hit with both you and the children. Once you’re done with your camel ride you can also pay a visit to the Higgeldy Piggeldy Animal Farm – where the little ones can play with the farm animals – or have a bite to eat at one of the farmstead’s three restaurants. Imhoff Farm is open Tuesdays to Sundays.
Contact: 0217834545, [email protected],
Visit: imhofffarm.co.za

19. The Playshed at the Oude Molen Eco Village, Pinelands

I met one of my mommy friends here recently and was quite impressed with The Playshed. The kids (make that screaming kid) were having a ball on the jungle gym and zipping down slides, while we enjoyed a cup of coffee and a toasted sandwich. There are magazines on the tables so moms can take some time out and the food is very reasonably priced. Children will love this place – apart from pony or horse rides and The Playshed, there are chickens and dogs too. It’s like a little farm in the middle of the city. If you don’t fancy eating in the Playshed, there’s also a separate restaurant.
Contact: 0218010141, [email protected]
Visit: theplayshed.co.za

20. CityROCK, Observatory

 

Kids, school holidays, Cape Town, CityRock

Image by UltraRob.

If you and the kids feel up to something more challenging, why not try some indoor rock climbing at CityROCK in Observatory. All the climbing gear you need can be rented or bought on site. First-timer to rock climbing? No sweat. You can get a day pass for R160 per adult and R120 per kid (excluding gear). Extra R100 for shoes and harness. There are also special programmes for children of different ages and skill levels, including a three-day holiday programme.
Contact: 0214471326, [email protected]
Visit: cityrock.co.za

21. Blue train Park

Some adults enjoy this train too! Catch a ride on this cute little miniature train and enjoy views of passing ships and Robben Island. Then hop off and let the kids enjoy the park with a tricycle track, jungle gyms and rock climbing. R65 for entrance and unlimited rides.
Contact: 0843149200, [email protected]
Visit: thebluetrainpark.co.za

22. Kenilworth Karting, Kenilworth

Kids, school holidays, Cape Town, Go-Kart

Feel like upping the ante and getting the adrenaline pumping? Kenilworth Karting is a great way to add a bit of oomph to your family day out (they also have a track in Canal Walk). This indoor go-kart racing course features a challenging 310m race track and a number of 160cc karts with hydraulic brakes and slick tyres and 140cc GP Junior karts for the little ones. All racers are provided with helmets. Take your pick from the different racing options like the Grand Prix and Endurance options. A five-minute Junior Race (Height Requirement of 1.5m and up) will cost R160 per person for kids and adults.  It’s best to book ahead of time, as there are height restrictions on the ‘Arrive and Drive’ options.
Contact: 0216836950, [email protected]
Visit: karting.co.za

23. Butterfly World, Klapmuts

Take a drive out of Cape Town on the N1 to Butterfly World, where you will find a fluttery paradise with butterflies from all over the world. When the kids get bored of the beautiful flying insects, there are meerkats, ducks, goats and chickens to look at. Along with iguanas, scorpions and spiders. Adults – R88, kids – R49, family (two adults and two children) R225.
Contact: 0218755628, [email protected]
Visit: butterflyworld.co.za

24. Paintball, Atlantis

Kids, school holidays, Cape Town, paintball

U-TAC – or urban tactical – Paintball outside Atlantis is one of the best paintball joints in South Africa and is the perfect place for you and the kids if you’re feeling trigger-happy. What makes U-TAC so special is that it allows you to enact a wide range of military scenarios such as battling it out in a village, in trenches or in the bush. You can also arrange for 48-hour wars or helicopter insertion. The premises also have a tuck shop and braai facilities if you feel like relaxing after an epic family feud.
Contact: 0837789111, [email protected].

25. Iziko Museums, Cape Town

 

Kids, school holidays, Cape Town, Iziko

Image by Mike Coghlan.

One of the major perks of living in Cape Town is that both the South African Museum and the South African National Gallery are conveniently situated in the City Bowl, around the Company’s Gardens. The Museum and the Gallery – both falling under South Africa’s national heritage institution Iziko – are ideal for a more peaceful, contemplative family day-out. The Museum boasts everything from dinosaur fossils to rock art. The National Gallery houses an impressive range of contemporary artworks, traditional beadwork and textiles and is ideal for the culture vultures in your family. Entry to the South African Museum costs R15 for Kids (aged 6 to 17 years) and R30 for adults. R5 for kids under 5.  The same prices apply for the South African National Gallery.
Contact: 0214813800, [email protected]
Visit: www.iziko.org.za.

26. V&A Waterfront

 

Photo by Rachel Robinson.

The V&A Waterfront often has special programmes for children during the school holidays. There’s also a play area with all sorts of interesting things, like pirate ships and jungle gyms near the food court.

The Scratch Patch is an inexpensive and fun place for all ages. Kids (and adults) can sort through mountains of gemstones and pick out tiger’s eyes, amethysts, jaspers and more. Cave Golf is another option if you are on a tight budget. It sounds easy, but this version of putt-putt has some tricky ramps, sharp corners and deceptively difficult holes. Operating hours: The Scratch Patch and Cave golf open 8:30 to 16:45 on weekdays, 9:00- 17:30 on weekends.
Price: You can purchase a small plastic bag or container ranging in price from R25 for a small bag to R130 for a large container.
Contact: 0217862020
Visit: scratchpatch.co.za

27. The Two Oceans Aquarium

Kids, school holidays, Cape Town, Aquarium

Image by George M. Groutas

The Two Oceans Aquarium is hands-down one of the best places in Cape Town for indoor fun (great for rainy days). Apart from the dazzling glimpses it offers into the underwater world, the aquarium also has several activities that will delight young and old alike. Be sure to schedule your trip to the time of day when the penguins, sharks and other fish are being fed. Don’t miss the Touch Pool which allows you and the kids to interact with anemones, starfish and seaweed. For a little bit extra, you can buy tickets for the Penguin Encounter that allows you and your children to come face-to-beak with the super-cute rockhopper penguins. Adults – R180, Kids (aged 4-13 years) R140. Kids under 4 years old are free.
Contact: 0214183823, [email protected]
Visit: aquarium.co.za

28. Ten-pin bowling, Grand West

Ten-pin bowling is ‘good old-fashioned fun’ and kids from five and up will love the competition! Magic Bowling at Grand West Casino offers 12 lanes of fun bowling pleasure for all ages, accompanied by music and a cosmic bowling experience. So get a group together and go bowling, even if it’s raining.
Contact: 0215354582
Visit: suninternational.com

29. Intaka Island, Century City

Intaka Island covers 16 hectares of wetland, birds and flora in the middle of Century City and makes for a good day out if the sun is shining. Catch a ferry ride and take a stroll along the 2km of footpaths, (or get one of the experienced field rangers to lead you). There are special kiddie programmes during the holidays too. Adults – R65, Kids (under the age of 12) and Pensioners – R55 (boat ride included.)
Contact: 0215526889
Visit: www.intaka.co.za

30. Tots ’n Pots, Cape Town

Tots n Pots

Want your kids to cook but don’t want to clean up afterwards? Take them to Tots ’n Pots where they can fling flour and bash butter to their hearts’ content. These cooking classes are run by incredibly patient teachers and chefs around the peninsula – try the Constantia branch run by Deirdre Cargill who loves the hands-on element in cooking. There are many lessons your kids will learn without realising it, but the main aim is to have fun. And they do – whether it’s the actual mixing and stirring, eating their concoctions or decorating their takeaway box – all with mom or dad guiding along the way. Particularly good for smaller kids, you can sign up for a single lesson or a whole course. Some clubs run during the school holidays. They also do birthday parties. There are also branches in Tableview, the Northern Suburbs and the Southern Peninsula. Bookings are essential.
Contact: 0768163892, [email protected]
Visit: www.totsnpots.co.za

 

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