Kids are easy to entertain and spend time with if you know what intrigues them – which allows them to explore and occupy themselves – or if you know they have the energy to let loose. Family-friendly venues like the Cape Town Science Centre fascinates pre-teens and Bugz Family Play Park keeps the little ones entertained for the whole afternoon. With that and more in mind, we’ve highlighted some spots where parents and kids of all ages enjoy days out.
Art Jamming offers an experience that, as Natasha Beddingfield might say, releases your inhibitions. Whether it’s the V&A Waterfront branch where you can paint on the grass embankment overlooking the sea with the mall at your back, or the Somerset West branch’s party themes where families come together to make flamingo cupcake icing, every experience is new for kids at Art Jamming.
Both venues cater for large group bookings from R285 per person, as well as walk-ins from R250 which is always important information for those busy parents shopping or running errands in and around the Waterfront precinct. Art Jamming offers the space and wide range of paint supplied for your little one to express themselves as only they know-how. Join them and laugh off those bits of paint that spray everywhere or watch from the sidelines and revel in their joy and laughter.
When: Somerset West 9am to 6pm, Monday to Saturday | V&A Waterfront, 9am to 6pm, Daily
Where: 1 Bright St, Somerset, Cape Town, V&A Waterfront
Cost: Printed stretch canvas walk-in paint R250 | Plain boxed canvas walk-in paint from R200 | Big picture party R285 per person | Paint & pizza party R400 per person
The Cape Town Science Centre is over 20 years old and is a permanent thread in the city’s layered tapestry. Starting in Canal Walk in 2000 as the MTN Science centre, the centre is now in Observatory.
It is an interactive space that appeals directly to young people and children, the science centre offers favourites like the human gyroscope, which simulates the weightlessness experienced during space travel, the inflatable planetarium and Mindball, a game where you control a ball with your brainwaves.
The Cape Town Science Centre delivers an immersive outing experience for families and kids during school term and spending time there during the holidays is just as enjoyable. If you’re looking for something more relaxing, the centre also offers Science Out Loud, talks where guest speakers bring science to citizens.
When: Open 9am – 4.30pm Monday – Saturday
Where: 370B Main Road, Observatory, Cape Town
Cost: Children under 3 free | 3+ R80 | Pensioners R40 | Family package (4 people) R280 | Group of 10 or more R70 per person
Going to the park is a hassle sometimes – no one polices the dogs-on-leash rule, there’s no booking for spaces or spots and there’s no being sure who’s going to be there. Forget these worries with an outdoor family-friendly experience at Bugz Family Play Park. This play park boasts all the amenities one looks for when trying to arrange a day out for the little ones.
The park experience includes a splash park, as well as a worm train (only for children) and choo-choo train (for everyone) which playfully meander around the premises. Children 3-5 have toddler tractors set aside for them and all children are welcome to try the pedal bikes and zippy slides. Children under 3 enter for free and the all-inclusive VIP pass for 3-12 year olds is an easy once-off payment that will let them have their fun.
When: Open 10am – 4pm Saturdays and Sundays and certain school and public holidays
Where: 56 Tarentaal Street, Joostenbergvlakte, Kraaifontein
Cost: Children 3 – 12 VIP pass R150 | Adults and teenagers 13+ (includes train, excludes rides) R50 | Pensioners (includes train, excludes rides) R40 | Children under 3 (includes train, excludes rides) free
The days when circuses had lion tamers and clowns are gone. Today, circuses are a blend of gymnastics and entertainment, a modern exhibition of physical prowess putting on a show.
The ZipZap circus puts on shows for Cape Town, South Africa and the world. ZipZap runs a number of free workshops for Cape Town youth, which your aspiring gymnast is welcome to apply to join, as well as workshops especially for at-risk youth.
Young gymnasts who show promise will be streamlined into the Zappers programme, an invitation-only group who show the skill and determination ready for stage performances, like the upcoming show, Slapstick. If your little one prefers to stick to cartwheels on the grass, order a picnic box and enjoy a performance of Slapstick at the ZipZap Dome, the circus’ performance home. Bring your own basket to the picnic style event, or opt for picnic baskets that start from R105.
When: 12pm and 4pm shows on 21 & 22 May, and 28 & 29 May
Where: 10 Jan Smuts Street, Cape Town City Centre
Cost: Adults (13+) R155 | Children (12 and under) R125 | Savoury picnic box R105 | Gluten free picnic box R130 | Vegan picnic box R105
There’s an indescribable awe that we feel when we see an animal. Especially for children and those Capetonians who rarely see animals, even seeing a cow or horse can have us marvelling at them.
Giraffe House multiplies that wonder tenfold because one part of Giraffe House’s name is hyperbole and let me tell you, it’s not the giraffe part. Giraffes are not the only attraction here however, as the team provides easy access to some of Africa’s wonderful wildlife and bird species less than an hour outside of Cape Town.
Let your kids’ drawings and picture books featuring zebras, meerkats, warthogs, ostriches, buck and parrots come to life with this experience. Get your hands dirty with Giraffe House’s interactive creepy crawling encounter as you get your hands on some interesting creatures. Don’t leave without visiting Gerry, a giraffe that the team hand-rears, and grab a picture with him. Be careful though, he sticks his tongue out during selfies!
When: Open 9am – 5pm daily
Where: Corner of R304 and R101, Muldersvldei, Cape Town
Cost: Children (2-15) R50 | Adults R55 | Pensioners R80
Clay Cafe is the Beyonce of ceramic painting businesses – an industry leader constantly pushing their own boundaries – and in 2022 they’re expanding far beyond the Hout Bay estate. If the Hout Bay setting is a toast to a spacious and picturesque location, then Clay Cafe in the City is a celebration of the small treats that our city centre offers.
If you’re searching for a bite to eat and a family-friendly activity to do while you’re out and about in the city, this is the place for you. Without the trampolines and expansive grass of other Clay Cafe venues, Clay Cafe in the City isn’t built for you to spend your whole day. Rather, plan your visit among other day-time activities, like before you head off to the beach, visit the nearby Greenpoint park or take the family out for a meal in the city centre.
When: Open daily, 10am – 5pm Monday and Tuesday | Open 10am – 10pm Wednesday – Friday | Open Saturday 9am – 10pm | Open Sunday 9am – 6pm
Where: 199 Bree Street, Gardens, Cape Town
Cost: R40 studio fee per person | Ceramic pieces to paint from R55
Cool Runnings caters to the blissful experience of coasting downhill with none of the effort of getting up there – leave that one to the cyclists. Cool Runnings is an outdoor tobogganing course with a toboggan sled that neatly fits in the tracks to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey.
Open daily until 6pm – and with two further trading hours on Saturdays and Sundays – you can book your tickets in advance, giving you an idea as to how much time you’ll spend there. Ticket options range from single rides from R70 for children aged 3-14 to R500 day passes that buy unlimited rides throughout the day.
Riders must be at least 8 years old or 1.3m tall and those under 8 or 1.3m will need to ride with someone aged 15+. As Sanka Coffie from the 1993 cult classic film, Cool Runnings, once said, “Feel the Rhythm! Feel the Rhyme! Get on up, it’s bobsled time! Cool Runnings!”
When: Open daily, 11am – 6pm Monday – Friday | Open 9am – 6pm Saturday and Sunday
Where: Off Carl Cronje Drive, Tygervalley, Cape Town
Cost: Day pass (unlimited rides) R500 | Children (3-14) single ride R70 | Adults (15+) single ride R80
The Two Oceans Aquarium is the crown jewel in South Africa’s recreational relationship with the ocean. Open since 1995, this aquarium offers more than thick glass and turtles. Walk through the exhibit in an immersive experience where you see penguins and stingrays and can snap a picture together with some clown fish.
Kids are great company as they’re discovering and the aquarium is the ideal place for them kids of all ages to discover. You can step away from the main tour and enjoy a scuba diving or penguin experience, as well as a behind-the-scenes tour to give you an insight into what it takes to run the Two Oceans Aquarium.
The dive school offers PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) Discover Scuba Diving course for an introduction to those with an interest in exploring the ocean. Jump in for an experience available to children aged 10 and up and costs R1850 per person. Those parents looking for something with their family’s feet more firmly on the ground can explore the penguin experience from R600 per child 8-17 and R750 per adult. Behind-the-scenes tours happen daily at 10am and 1pm, and last just over an hour as you’re shown through the aquarium like most guests never see – R470 per child 8-17 and R590 per adult.
When: Open daily 9.30am – 6pm
Where: Dock Road, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
Cost: Children under 4 free | Children (4-13) R100 | Children (14-17) R160 | Adults R210 | South African pensioners and students R160
Formerly known as Butterfly World, Exotic Animal World is the same wondrous space but with no butterflies due to import and export restrictions introduced during lockdown. However, the team at Exotic Animal World is hopeful that butterflies will return to the Stellenbosch venue.
The venue is home to a variety of bugs, birds and mammals that bring families from across the province. You and your little ones will see something bigger at Giraffe House, children can explore the environment and embark on walkabouts at Exotic Animal World that they can’t when they need to stay in the car with bigger animals trotting around.
Join in on one of the live talks and demonstrations that the trained keepers host, learning more about the animals you’re walking among. Watch on as your little ones wander and marvel through the enclosed tropical garden as they move among lemurs, iguanas and tropical birds.
When: Open daily 9am – 5pm
Where: R44 Stellenbosch
Cost: Children under 3 free | Children (4-14) R49 | Adults (15+) R88 | South African pensioners and students R79
Laser tag is on-on for the modern child. It’s the simple premise of “I got you!” but with the contemporary sensibilities of dressing up in movie or video game-inspired clothes and shooting someone with a laser.
The days of running around a dark room with luminescent paint and smoke machines are so 2000-and-late. Battlefield Live SA has an ideal compromise by keeping the premise of laser tag but moving it all outdoors – paintball meets laser tag with none of the hassle.
Regardless of where you are in the southern districts, there’s a nearby venue for your children, their friends and you to enjoy. The Battlefield team has years of experience safely and enjoyably hosting outdoor laser tag parties. If you’re jealously watching from the sidelines or under the gazebo, your time can come too, as Battlefield also caters for adult use, team building and bachelor parties.
When: Contact Renar for detailed availabilities
Where: Battlefield Live SA has five different venues across the province
-Middleplaas Farm: Malmesbury Road, Northern Paarl, Paarl
-Vergenoegd Löw Wine Estate: 1 Faure Village Road, Stellenbosch Farms, Cape Town
-Altydgedacht Estate: Tygerberg Valley Road, Cape Farms, Cape Town
-Wynberg Park: Corner of Klaassens and Trovato Link Road, Wynberg, Cape Town
-Walvenpas Family Farm: Bovlei Road, Wellington
Cost: Venue hire from R500 | Kids party special 17 children R2930 | Contact Battlefield Live SA for a detailed quote as per your booking needs