Category Archives: Kid Activities

Puzzles and Play at the Cape Town Science Centre in Observatory (2017-11-04) Kid Activities | Photo Gallery 30 APR 2018

If you are looking to entertain your kids (and maybe yourself) on a day out when perhaps the weather is not all that wonderful in the Mother City, then a trip to the Cape Town Science Centre in Observatory comes highly, highly, recommended.

Back in 1998, mobile phone giant MTN provided start-up funding for a science centre in Cape Town. This lead to the creation of the Interactive Science Foundation being established, who then oversaw the opening of the hugely popular and successful MTN Sciencentre in the Canal Walk shopping mall, where it operated from 2000 to 2010.

(Excluding its outreach programmes, the MTN Sciencentre received more than a million visitors through its doors over that period!)

As the agreements and leases all came to an end in 2010, the innovative science centre closed up shop, rebranded as the Cape Town Science Centre, leased the old Lamson-Paragon Building in Observatory (from the Western Cape Provincial Department of Transport and Public Works), and opened the doors to its newly refurbished premises in December 2011.

And it hasn’t looked back since.

The reason for this is of course that this is simply a fantastic space to learn while playing. There are seemingly hundreds of colourful, cleverly constructed interactive puzzle/science exhibits spread across the expansive floor, all of which teach fundamental aspects of science, technology, mathematics and engineering through some seriously fun interactions.

Both kids and adults can spend hours working their way through everything offer, and I can quite confidently state that even you WILL emerge having learnt something new on the day. (Unless of course you actually are a physics teacher or something like that…)

The cleverness of the installations, the thought provoking discussions that playing with the exhibits leads to is just wonderful, and honestly, both girls (and let’s be honest, and their dad)  absolutely loved the experience.

The Science Centre runs a number of interesting programmes, holiday activities, and even hosts birthday parties – perfect for those little ones who are always interested in taking things apart to see how they work!

It’s a seriously enjoyable outing that should entertain both young and old, and is also good enough to kill more than just a couple of hours in your day! So basically impossible not to recommend as a kid-friendly outing option in Cape Town then…

Bonus: Oh, and they even have Mark Shuttleworth’s spacesuit on display, which is pretty cool in itself.

(For those of you who need a slight jog of the memory, back in 2002 Mark became the second self-funded space tourist and the first-ever South African in space, blasting into orbit aboard a Russian Soyuz TM-34 before docking with the International Space Station. All in all a pretty proud moment for South Africa.)

Man, I really enjoyed this outing.

Related Link: Cape Town Science Centre | Observatory | Cape Town

Mini Golf at FantaSea at the Point in Mossel Bay (2017-12-29) Kid Activities | Photo Gallery 17 APR 2018

Now that she is more or less old enough to play, I suspect that this might now become a thing whenever I find myself down in Mossel Bay with the eldest munchkin in tow – putt putt at Fanta Sea at The Point.

This particular round of mini golf happened as part of our lovely December holiday getaway, though funnily enough, Jessica and I had actually already played at Fanta Sea back in March. Thing is – all of a sudden the joint was sporting a burst of color and a whole lot of upgrades since we last were there, plus this time around we had both Chantelle and Emily to watch us in action!

(Also, it was believe it or not, quieter than what it had been in March – that Buffalo Biker Rally of the Nomads Motorcycle Club sure knows how to pile the people in here at Mossel Bay! I suspect though that we were somewhat lucky, perhaps most of the Christmas holiday crowd had already packed up and headed off before we finally made the time to come down for a game.)

Anyway, as I mentioned last time, the downside to playing at Fanta Sea with smaller kids is that they only have the adult length putters available, making it pretty difficult for Jessica to play 100% properly – and near impossible for Emily who is still way too small. (Not that that stopped her grabbing a putter and trying of course!)

The weather was good, the putt putt rather nice, and pretty much everyone put in one or two quite excellent shots. I can’t remember exactly, but I’m pretty sure that my mom managed to sink the most hole-in-ones on the day.

I can’t remember having a particularly good day at the office…

Fanta Sea at The Point is actually a great spot for families with young kids. Putt Putt, skateboarding, a jungle gym play area, light meals, splash pool, car rides, ice cream – there is more than enough here to keep the young ones happy for a fair bit!

Related Link: Fanta Sea @ The Point | Mossel Bay

Kids Indoor Play Area at Happy Valley Kids Play Centre in George (2018-01-03) Kid Activities | Photo Gallery 29 MAR 2018

So now having had to tack on a trip to George thanks to our car trouble, we left Gouritz nice and early, made the stressful drive down to George (every uphill had me nervously chewing my nails), and arrived with some time to kill before we could check in at the guest house which was to be home for the next couple of evenings.

Given that bit of time to kill, I sought out some entertainment for the girls, and thanks to my Google-Fu, found the perfect spot – Happy Valley Kids Play Centre.

Situated right opposite the excellent Robertson Brewing Company, Happy Valley is home to a fantastic kids play area, centered around a massively fun jungle gym area and supplemented by all kinds of extras like a trampoline, climbing wall, as well as a dedicated play area for the smaller toddlers.

Chaos central in other words. That said, the whole setting is bright and breezy, and pleasingly, Happy Valley also has a lovely little kitchen that is perfect for coffee and a light meal while you sit and watch your kid go wild – I mean play to their adorable little hearts’ content.

Also, they host birthday parties, useful to know in case you aren’t particularly keen on having 20 or so kids running around your home the next time your child’s birth anniversary roles around! ;)

All in all I think Jessica and Emily were rather happy with my ‘on the fly’ discovery.

(I’ll be honest with you though, had I known about Robertson Brewing Company across the road first, that’s most definitely where we would have killed the time! :D)

Related Link: Happy Valley Kids Play Centre | George

Winter Wonderland Fun Rides in Gordon’s Bay (2017-07-23) Kid Activities | Photo Gallery 08 FEB 2018

The Gordon’s Bay Winter Wonderland Festival of Lights has been on the go for a couple of years now, with each year definitely getting bigger and better. Featuring a parade, dance, fun run, arts and crafts, loads of food stalls, music performances, kids entertainment, and of course a whole lot of fairy lights.

However the star of the show as far as what my girls are concerned is without a doubt the fun park, which is filled with all manner of fun rides (mostly things that spin really fast while lifting up and down) for both young and the not particularly so old crowd.

For the really little ones there are trains, bugs, clowns, puppies and octopuses, all of which Emily made very sure to have a go at.

Jessica on the other hand wanted things a little higher and a little faster, and I suspect in a year or two when she’s a bit bigger, she’ll be twisting my arm for the REALLY expensive rides!

(Sure, the tickets are only R10 a piece, but for the bigger, newer machines you are looking at five or six tickets, i.e. R50-R60, per ride! Emily on the other hand should still be a nice cheap date though…)

We don’t have access to fun rides very often here in Gordon’s Bay, so what was nice last year was the fun park hanging around for a fair bit after the Winter Wonderland festival had passed, giving the girls more than a few opportunities to get some kicks in! (Which is why if you look at the photos, you’ll see the girls wearing different clothes and in different light conditions.)

Right, so I imagine then that we’ll find ourselves back in the queue come July again! :)

Related Link: Winter Wonderland Festival | Gordon’s Bay

Kids at Play at The Carnival on Weltevreden Estate in Stellenbosch (2017-09-16) Kid Activities | Photo Gallery 04 NOV 2017

I’ve showcased the fantastic kid friendly The Carnival (at Weltevreden Estate) more than once on my blog before, but seeing as the girls and I visited there recently on one of our weekly weekend adventures again, I thought it worth the while to post this as a reminder:

Lekke Neh and The Carnival are great (especially if you have small kids).

The well manicured grounds, Cape Dutch architecture and dining options available at Lekke Neh means that there is plenty for the adult eye, while on the flip side, the colourful jungle gym, pizza oven and welcoming atmosphere of the Carnival are more than enough to keep the little ones happy.

With the customary stalking of the resident peacock out of the way, the girls and I made our way past Lekke Neh, immediately turned around and marched back to the car in order to fetch their jackets, before heading back in and ambling along through to The Carnival space.

A big glass of beer or two was on my agenda of relaxation for this stop on our day of adventure,  while the girls on the other hand were more than happy with the suggested alternative in the form of juice and the chance to make their own pizzas.

Truthfully, the pizza was okay, the beer pretty good, but most important of all, the running around and getting rid of all that extra energy was best.

Definitely hard to argue against visiting there if you have small kids!

Related Link: Weltevreden Estate

Kids at Play at Eaglevlei in Stellenbosch (2017-10-07) Kid Activities | Photo Gallery 02 NOV 2017

I’ve mentioned Eaglevlei before, but it is worth iterating again – if you have small kids with a lot of energy and the weather isn’t all that fantastic outside (or you just want to treat them for a bit), then a play session in this Stellenbosch wine farm’s massive, tented kids play area will definitely go down well!

Definitely one of the biggest kids play areas here in the Cape, the equipment is well suited for the smaller kids. Also quite nice, they have a separated play area for the toddlers, which comes in quite handy if you feel that the older kids are playing a bit rough at the moment.

The actual play area takes up about a third of the massive tent, with the other two thirds left open for people to sit and celebrate a kids party (as you might imagine, they host a LOT of these), or maybe watch a kiddy movie on the big screen, or just to sit and drink a cup of coffee while your kids run amok on the jungle gyms.

The only downside of the way Eaglevlei is currently set up is that you can’t really enjoy/make use of the great restaurant setting if your kids are too small to play in the play park without supervision, seeing as the two are very separated from one another (basically, you can’t even see the tent from the restaurant!).

(Translation: Chantelle and I sat down and twiddled our thumbs in the tent while the girls had some fun. Still, it was only fair – we had just made them sit with us while we tucked into some delicious pies at the more or less nearby Potbelly coffee shop).

It’s worth noting that entrance is of course not free – it is about R50 for toddlers aged 0-3 and R80 for kids aged 4-12, and unfortunately, other than an open grass lawn outside of the tent, there are no outside play activities like jungle gyms or something else along those line.

A bit of a shame, but makes sense if you consider that they are trying to run a business here.

On this particular day that we visited, I kind of forgot to take a lot of photos – and the photos that I did grab weren’t all that great. Nevertheless, this post couldn’t exactly be listed in the Photo Gallery category if I didn’t list them here:

So, a good option if you are in the area and completely stumped on how to entertain the kids.

Related Link: Eaglevlei Wine Farm

Things to See in South Africa: Glowing Rooms 3D Mini-Golf in Cape Town Kid Activities 29 JUL 2017

So how do you make putt putt even more of a crowd puller if you find yourself trading out of a small boring little shopping center (The Gallery) in Milnerton, Cape Town?

Why you slather everything in neon, glow-in-the-dark paint, airbrush some fantastic wall murals to strengthen the effect, light it all up under UV bulbs, and then make the experience that much more trippy by throwing in some special 3D glasses to give a rather unique view of the world of course.

Welcome to the Glowing Rooms 18-hole glow-in-the-dark 3D mini golf experience.

As part of their Things to Do in Cape Town series, the guys behind Travelvids (a very cool Cape Town based travel video training and production outfit) put together this awesome video of the experience:

Well worth putting on your “what to do on a rainy day in Cape Town” list!

Related Link: Glowing Rooms SA | Facebook | Travelvids.tv