We used to visit the kid friendly Mondeor Restaurant at the Cape Garden Centre in Somerset West (close to Monkey Town) quite a bit in the past. Unfortunately though, the restaurant changed ownership and honestly – the change did not go all that smoothly and resulted in a restaurant that is a lot different in tone from what it used to be.
Nevertheless, politics and people aside, the venue itself remains a great one for those of us with small kids, and so if you are looking for a bright and breezy spot complete with entertainment for small children, then Mondeor still nicely fits the bill.
As always, if you are going to visit and the weather is good, make sure to pack in your kids’ swimming costumes – they might not forgive you otherwise!
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Oh, and yes, as is tradition, the girls did their sand art.
Kids’ birthday party venues are always an exciting find when you are a parent who a) doesn’t have access to a big house, b) don’t want to spend an entire day cleaning up the mess created by hosting such a party in their own space, or c) don’t feel like the effort of setting one up in the first place!
Based in Rosendal (a suburb of Bellville), and operating since November 2016, BASH had been an exciting addition to the Northern Suburbs’ childrens party scene for a while now, so much so that business boomed and the need for a second venue quickly became a reality – and so in October of last year their new baby BASH Paarl was born.
Situated on the Dvine Events’ grounds and primarily a birthday party venue, BASH hosts all manner of kids birthday parties, with the focus being mainly on activity based parties. Thanks to their signature Master Mini Chef Cooking Kitchen there are the super popular Baking and Cooking party options available, and thanks to the Private Craft Room, Wooden Craft parties, Canvas Painting parties, Flower Arrangement parties, and even Beading Parties are also all on the cards. Oh, and then there are the actual Pamper party sessions – seriously, which little girl is not going to love any one of these ideas!
Plus, BASH has filled their 200m2 hall, with a host of wooden play structures and toys, from a giant jungle gym right through to a pretend party bus. This, combined with the massive lawn and outside play area means that they are just perfectly suited for more action packed activity play parties as well. (Thank goodness, something for the boys!)
In addition to all the birthday party stuff, BASH is also open to the general public (you pay to play), and thanks to their small deli and restaurant option, the adults stay fed and able to enjoy the gorgeous views of the Paarl mountains while the little ones run themselves ragged.
Basically, what’s not to love about that?
Now Chantelle had been following BASH via Facebook for quite some time, eagerly following their setup progress – meaning that by the time they finally launched in October last year, I simply had no other choice but to bundle everyone in the car and make the long drive through to Paarl. Not that I minded though – the girls had an absolute blast and I thought the location was stunning.
In other words, hard not to admit defeat and pat my wife on the back for discovering such a fun venue.
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NOTE: Of course, visiting a venue on their day of opening is almost also never a great idea because the chance to first get processes, procedures and numbers in place (and running smoothly) is obviously not yet there, so naturally our visit did come with a few of those very challenges attached (for example, the restaurant was to busy in order to serve us). That said, it has been a good few months since our visit and quite frankly, both Chantelle and the girls are rather itching for a return trip.
I guess we’re heading back to Paarl sooner than later then! ;)
The whole Sea Point, Mouille Point, Green Point stretch of Cape Town is always fantastic for family outings, with walks along the promenade, wave dodging through the railings, play on the various jungle gyms along the way, putt putt, a mini maze, the Blue Train Park, the Mouille Point Adventure Playground, and the Green Point Urban Park all on the cards for the little ones.
Talking about the Mouille Point Adventure Playground, I only just discovered how beautifully this kids playground has been upgraded during an outing with my girls to the Blue Train Park back in November last year. Open to all, it is the perfect mixing spot for all the kids of Cape Town to run around and play with one another.
So, while the Blue Train Park and its little blue train was definitely a hit, the fun ship themed jungle gym, inviting green sea monster and giant wooden jungle gym of the next door Mouille Point playground turned out to easily be the biggest highlight for my two munchkins on the day!
Seeing as we were in the area on a Saturday morning, we next dropped in by the bustling Oranjezicht City Farm Market, but given how busy they were (locals tell me the trick is to arrive super early), the girls and I instead shuffled off to a place of their choosing for lunch – and given that they are 7 and 4, naturally we ended up at Santa Ana Spur in the V&A Waterfront.
Sigh, at least the beer is nice and cold.
Not that I minded all that much I suppose – people watching at the Waterfront almost never gets old… (Also, we did end up visiting Lagoon Beach in Milnerton for ice cream afterwards. So I can’t really complain.)
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In summary, a lovely little playground that is perfect for rewarding the kids with some play time after first forcing them to walk along the promenade with you.
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! ;)
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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)
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.
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Definitely hard to argue against visiting there if you have small kids!
Related Link: Weltevreden Estate
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:
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So, a good option if you are in the area and completely stumped on how to entertain the kids.
Related Link: Eaglevlei Wine Farm
I love the fact that we have a proper duck pond as a municipal park here in Strand. The appropriately named Dam Park is situated right across from the Strand High School and offers a nice green space in the middle of Strand suburbia.
There is a playground to the side of the dam with an array of colourfully painted swings, a climbing frame, a roundabout, and a slide – you know, all the basics – as well as an old tractor and plinth mounted steam train. (Which stinks at the moment thanks to some homeless person deciding that it would be great to use as a bathroom. Disgusting!)
We used to in the past visit the dam fairly often in order to feed the ducks (like literally everyone else in the area) and watch the locals occasionally try their hand at catching a dam fish or two, but seeing feeding ducks is now seen as not quite the correct thing to be doing (population and invasive species control reasons mainly), we drop by there far less than what we used to in the beginning.
The water levels of the dam itself on the day that we visited was surprisingly high – much higher than what I had anticipated (considering the drought conditions we are currently experiencing), but quite probably because of the one or two surprise days of rain we had experienced earlier in January.
With Chantelle stuck at work, the girls and I spent some time playing around (they even got me to climb to the top of the climbing frame with them), before we eventually got bored and convinced Chantelle to join us for some lunch at play time at the Gordon’s Bay Spur during her break.
It was a good plan.
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Also, a map in case your kids bug you to go and look at some ducks.
Related Link: Facebook Page
We only discovered the beautifully restored, historic Weltevreden Estate last year. Packed with all manner of interesting art and sculptures, the classic Cape Dutch manor house and homestead is home to a brilliant little eatery that trades by the fun name of Lekke Neh, a wine tasting room, conference and wedding venue facilities, exquisite grounds, and most important of all – if you have little kids like we do – a separate, super kid friendly area known as the Kids Carnival – complete with a fantastic selection of playground equipment and of course kid friendly food choices!
As it turns out, we’re not the only ones fond of this place – my sister Claire also rather enjoys it, and so despite them living all the way out in Constantia, we were surprised to get an invite to join them for a family get together for their little boy’s recent birthday celebration.
Needless to say, our girls were rather excited by the prospect of heading out to The Carnival once more!
On such a beautiful summer’s day, the kids had an absolute blast playing on and with all the kids stuff, while we got to sit back as a family and tuck into some rather satisfying food.
(That said, if there is one constant disappointment when visiting The Carnival area at Weltevreden is that the service there is really, really poor. I think we’ve been there now four or five times in total, and each and every time we have come away complaining about how bad the service actually is! Pity.)
Nevertheless, the kids had an absolute ball, and that is what it really is all about, isn’t it?
Anyway, Chantelle and I are still overdue for a proper dining session at Lekke Neh (which really looks good), so yeah, I reckon we’ll be popping in there a couple of times more before they close up shop for the winter season…
Oh, and of course when I could grab a moment, I did wander around a bit in order to snap a few pictures of this beautiful estate (which incidentally has an official heritage status – it was declared a National Monument in 1975!).
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Bonus: In case you are keen on discovering this great little gem for yourself, here is a nice and nifty map:
Way back in October last year, on a beautiful and windless Thursday afternoon, Chantelle and I picked the girls up from their respective playschools and headed out towards the Stellenbosch winelands, making our way to the super popular Polkadraai Strawberry Farm for an enjoyable strawberry picking session. (Midweek, because that place is far too busy on a weekend come strawberry picking season!)
Anyway, following our romp in the strawberries (which the girls absolutely loved), we decided to round off the outing with some lunch, and so we did a u-turn and headed back down the road to the nearby Skilpadvlei Wine Estate, known for its local wine, accommodation options, its use as a beautiful wedding venue, and if you have small kids, it’s impressively large wooden jungle gym!
Whilst the inside of the restaurant is always a nice and quirky affair, we almost always sit outside to take in the tranquil vineyard views, and this day was certainly no different. With the place almost entirely to ourselves, we enjoyed a great lunch, with the girls wolfing down their food as fast as possible in order to maximize their play time in Skilpadvlei’s great kids play area.
Not that I was complaining mind you… ;)
Oh, and in case you are wondering about the rather unusual/charming name of this wine estate, i.e. Tortoise Marsh in English (admittedly, perhaps not the best translation), it stems from the large colony of tortoises who purportedly called the vlei home in the 1800’s.
The estate has notably been in the hands of the Joubert family since 1917, with the fully operational 78ha farm being primarily made up of 55ha of vineyards, 3ha of olive groves, and of course the rest seemingly being taken up by that jungle gym of theirs…
Also, I did my best to annoy Chantelle with my camera phone as much as I could on the day:
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So, in summary, a good family stop (as always) for us.
Bonus: a handy map so that your kids can bug you to head out that way as well: