Free and inexpensive stuff to do with kids in Cape Town during the school holidays

Posted on 10 July 2015

Free or affordable places to take the kids in Cape Town during the school holidays. All of these places have been tried and tested and come out tops with parents.

Also read: 36 things to do with your kids in Cape Town for the school holidays

I am at that age where many of my friends have children and while I don’t have any, the fact that they do impacts on me. Either we have to make a plan to find a child-friendly place if we want to meet for a catch-up, or they constantly ask me for ideas of where to take kids because “you should know, you are a travel writer”.

So I undertook to find out where parents can take their kids in Cape Town. All of these activities are free or reasonably priced (under R50) ,because times are tight for most of us. Happy holidays!

(Not in Cape Town? Check out our list of awesome things to do with your kids during the school holidays in Joburg, Durban, and the KZN Midlands.)

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Free things to do with kids during the holidays

1. 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: Tel 021 462 2425, email [email protected],


2. Company’s Garden, City Centre

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 meals and kids will love their weaver’s nest chairs. You’ll find The Company’s Garden in Queen Victoria Street, at the top end of Adderley Street.
Contact: Tel 021 400 2521.

The Company's Garden

3. 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 folk 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 [email protected]


4. Green Point Park

I personally 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: Tel 021 417 0101.


5. 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 as it borders the kids’ play area. Café Roux also offers a kiddies’ menu and hosts birthday parties.
Contact: Tel 021 789 1317, email [email protected],


Inexpensive (under R50) activities for children during the holidays


6. Cool-Runnings, 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 break-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 for children costs R35 (up to age 14) and one ride for adults costs R40.
Contact: Tel 021 949 4439, email [email protected]

Kids, school holidays, Cape Town, Cool Runnings


7. Rainbow Puppet Theatre, Constania Waldorf School

Situated at the Constantia Waldorf School, tucked away in the Kindergarten building is the only permanent Puppet Theatre in South Africa. The artistically painted theatre has a permanent team of five puppeteers complimented with full stage lighting, beautiful glove, rod and shadow puppets and even live music. The Rainbow Puppet Theatre presents a new fairytale each month which takes 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. No booking required, unless you’d like to book for a birthday party.
Contact: Phone Alison on 021 783 2063 or email [email protected] for more information.

Rainbow Puppet Theatre


8. V&A Waterfront

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 – 9:00 to 18:00, Cave Golf – 9:00 to 17:00.
Contact: Tel 021 419 9429.

9. Mini train, Mouille Point

I know of some adults who 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. R20 per person per ride.
Contact: Tel 021 434 4297. Email: [email protected]


10. Plinka Plonka Play, Gardens

This indoor play area in Buitenkant Street, Gardens has so many things on offer that your kids are guaranteed to be exhausted after an hour or two! There’s slides, a giant doll’s house, a climbing wall, shipwreck sandpit, dress-up castle, lego, books, balls and more! Sometimes there are shows for the kids too. Parents can sit and enjoy coffee and cake with a good view of the entire play area. Free for babies under a year, R40 per hour for toddlers and kids over a year.
Contact: Tel 021 465 0503.


11. Iziko Museums, Cape Town

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 18 years) and R30 for adults. Kids under 5 get in for free. A Family Ticket for two adults and two children costs R75. The same prices apply for the South African National Gallery.
Contact: Tel 021 481 3800, email [email protected],

Kids, school holidays, Cape Town, Iziko


12. 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 – R72, Kids – R41.
Contact: Tel 021 875 5628, email [email protected],


13. 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 foot paths, (or get one of the experienced field rangers to lead you). There are special kiddy programmes during the holidays too. Adults – R15, Kids (under the age of 12) and Pensioners – R9. Combo tickets also available, which include a boat ride.
Contact: Tel 021 552 6889,


14. 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 kids) 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. Afterwards we took the kids for a pony ride which was a highlight (and at R10 a ride, well worth it!) 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: Tel 021 801 0141/2, email [email protected],


15. 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 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 moms. The SciCafe has a basic menu of filling and healthy options. There’s also free Wi-Fi. Entry to the Science Centre costs R50 a person.
Contact: Tel 021 300 3200, email [email protected],


16. 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. They also host birthday parties. Adults R30 on weekdays and R45 on weekends, kids R50 on weekdays and R60 on weekends.
Contact: Tel 021 988 8836, email [email protected],

Bugz Family Playpark Worm Train

17. The Giraffe House, Stellenbosch

The Giraffe House in Stellenbosch provides easy access to certain species of wildlife and birds, including giraffe, eland, impala, zebra, springbok, monkeys, owls, storks, parrots, ducks, geese and more. They host animal-themed parties, educational programmes, snake encounters, a play area and bicycle track. There is no restaurant on the premises, but a refreshment kiosk supplies snacks and something to drink. Visitors are welcome to bring a picnic basket (please adhere to their no-alcohol policy). Open daily from 09:00 to 17:00. Read about my experience at The Giraffe House. From R30 a child, and from R50 an adult. Please bring cash as there are no card facilities.
Contact: Tel 021 884 4506, email [email protected],

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