Here is a list of cool things to keep the children entertained in and around Cape Town.
Acrobranch – Constantia
This challenging, outdoor “aerial tree adventure” is loads of fun and gives you and the kids the chance to unleash your inner-ape and go swinging through the tree tops! Acrobranch Adventure Park is situated on the grounds of Constantia Nek Restaurant and comprises a series of ropes, ladders, swings and nets that offer an aerial obstacle course in a small glade of tall Blue Gum trees, with platforms up to eight meters above the ground, and zip wires up to 60m long. Great fun for the whole family!
The Blue Train Park – Mouille Point
Take a little trip on Cape Town’s only miniature train with a view of the sea, passing ships and Robben Island. This fun activity is suitable for children from one year and up – and the adjoining park is filled with activities including a climbing rock, zip line, a jumping castle and a jungle gym as well a tricycle track. The train runs every day, weather permitting and the proceeds generate funds for the Rotary Club of Sea Point’s projects.
Butterfly World – R44 Klapmuts
Be transported to a magical garden where a vast assortment of pearlescent-winged butterflies flit languidly around you. The 1000m² greenhouse is also home to blue duikers, tropical parrots, parakeets, exotic spiders and chameleons, so there’s plenty to see! Don’t forget to visit the meerkats and the tortoises outside before heading home.
City Sightseeing Bus – V&A Waterfront
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 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.
Clay Café – Hout Bay
Arty kids will love Clay Café. 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.
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! 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.
Green Point Urban Park – Green Point
Perfect for a family outing with scooters, bikes and picnic baskets, the area around the Cape Town Stadium has been successfully transformed into a public park, inviting visitors to explore, be active and learn about biodiversity. The park has wide paved paths that allow for both pedestrians and children on bikes to navigate safely around each other, and there are little ‘islands’ with shady trees and a variety of play gyms and benches to rest on or have a picnic.
Imhoff Farm – Kommetjie
This charming farm has something for everyone. 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 young and old. 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.
Iziko Planetarium and SA Museum – City Bowl
Explore outer space and learn all about the stars in our southern hemisphere skies from the comfort of your chair beneath the domed ceiling of the planetarium. A host of regular astrology shows for little people (and their parents) is on offer all year round. Afterwards, explore history at the South African Museum next door.
Jolly Roger Pirate Boat – V&A Waterfront
A real pirate boat experience, The Jolly Roger is the only authentic Pirate Ship in South Africa and sets sails daily from Quay 5 in the V&A Waterfront. All charters include a live theatrical pirate show to keep young ones entertained and captivated. Choose from a scheduled 1-hour morning or afternoon cruise or opt for the 1.5-hour sunset cruise (weather dependent).
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens – Newlands
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.
Noordhoek Farm Village – Noordhoek
Soak up country charm under shady oaks at this family friendly destination. Child friendly with open space and a children’s playground, Noordhoek Farm Village offers child friendly restaurants, free kids activities every Saturday and shopping options with kids clothing and toys. Easily accessible off Chapman’s Peak Drive, Noordhoek Farm Village has 4 restaurants, including Café Roux, The Foodbarn Restaurant, The Foodbarn Deli and The Toad all with various offerings and kids menus.
Rocklands Park – Vredehoek
Rocklands Park has become one of the most popular family destinations in Cape Town and for very good reason! Not only because it is located strategically next to an excellent coffee shop and restaurant, Deer Park Café, but mainly because it has a dedicated committee which has managed to turn this into one of the best equipped playgrounds in town. Inviting wooden climbing structures and creative animals, mosaic decorated benches and a giant caterpillar for balancing and imaginative play await adventurous tots. Take your picnic blanket and prepare to stay for a long time!
Roxy Surf School – Muizenberg Beach
This all-girls club has taught more than 20 000 girls how to surf since opening in 2003. Sign up for lessons – whether you’re a beginner or an experienced water babe – then hit the beach with fully qualified instructors. All equipment is provided.
The Scratch Patch – V&A Waterfront
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.
Two Oceans Aquarium – V&A Waterfront
Hands-down, this is 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.
Or, why not venture behind the scenes of the aquarium and access the nooks and crannies that are usually only reserved for card-carrying staff members. On this exclusive behind-the-scenes tour, led by the curatorial team, visitors will learn more about how divers feed the fish, turtles and sharks; say ‘hi’ to rehabilitation sea turtles, Bob and Sandy, who love nothing more than poking their heads out of the top of the I&J Ocean Exhibit; and get a privileged peek at the inner workings of the aquarium. Additional supplement applies and no children under 5yrs.
World of Birds Wildlife Sanctuary & Monkey Park – Hout Bay
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. There are more than 3 000 birds and small animals in this tropical-landscaped wildlife sanctuary with its walk-through labyrinth of cages.