Tag Archives: play area

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

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

Play at Vredenhof Organic Estate in Somerset West (2016-09-03) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 25 SEP 2016

Having been tasked with entertaining ourselves for the day while Chantelle treated her mother with a birthday high tea at the Mount Nelson, the girls and I stumbled across a great little find in the Somerset West area – Vredenhof Organic Estate.

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Billing itself as an organic, eco friendly estate of the Cape Winelands, the estate is run by a Swiss family that immigrated to South Africa from Geneva, Switzerland, settling at Vredenhof in 2002.

Following their belief that processed foods are inherently nutrient poor and that poor food quality is a leading cause of many health problems, they established Vredenhof as an organic farm with a farm store in order to supply locals concerned with their health with good quality, fresh organic produce all year round.

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Vredenhof itself is a farm of 27 hectares situated on Bredell Road between Stellenbosch and Somerset West which has been certified organic (complying with European organic standards) every year without interruption since 2004, either by AFRISCO or SGS.

Around 50 different herbs, fruits and vegetables are grown, and you are guaranteed to almost always find something rather unusual being grown out in their fields. Organic seeds are both produced and bought, with sowing and harvesting happening all year around.

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Of course, absolutely nothing of the above are things that interest the girls or myself – what we were however interested in seeing was Vredenhof Organic Estate’s absolutely fabulous play area, which simply put, one of the better ones that I’ve seen in a long time. Covered in wall to wall Disney story murals, the play area features wooden castles, walkways, a pirate ship, and even a gypsy caravan.

(In other words, expect to lose your child to their play area for more than just a little while!)

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On arrival, the girls and I first explored the lower ends of the premises, playing with the giant chess set, examining the mini golf course, and of course interacting with the pigs, goats, and yes chickens that roam about in the pens.

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From there we had a stroll through the rose garden, wandered about the gazeebo, examined the giant stone harp and bucket well water features, looked at the seedlings in the nursery section, splashed in the fountain, admired the art in the art studio, studied the carrots and other vegetables in the farm shop – and then sat down for some coffee, milkshake – and delicious carrot cake.

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It was at this point that my kids ran off to play, leaving me to enjoy a peaceful morning of contemplation over a nice cup of coffee.

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Also, I took a LOT of photos on the morning – much to the annoyance of my kids of course!

Here’s a handy map if you want your kids to experience this brilliant playground for themselves:

Related Link: Vredenhof Organic Estate | Facebook

Coffee at Skilpadvlei (2015-09-26) Photo Gallery 10 OCT 2015

A couple of Saturdays ago, Emily finally managed to find her way out of this gigantic Disney princess-themed jumping castle and join the rest of us to finish celebrating little Hannah’s fourth birthday with one of Michelle Ollewagen’s always fabulously setup kiddies parties at their house in the Zevenwacht Estate.

IMG_20150926_115613 emily in the jumping castle

However, all good things come to an end and after finishing up with the party and tearing the girls away, we took a drive along the scenic M12 (Polkadraai Road) in Stellenbosch, heading towards the Skilpadvlei wine farm in order to meet up with Chantelle’s folks for a cup of coffee (and hand over pans which Chantelle in any event forgot to bring with in the first place!).

IMG_20150926_165231 chantelle lotter with girls at skilpadvlei wine farm in stellenbosch

Although we haven’t been to Skilpadvlei in years, we had recently seen on Facebook someone commenting on the awesome big kids jungly gym that they had installed, and were thus eager to go and check it out.

IMG_20150926_163631 emily on the see saw at skilpadvlei wine farm in stellenbosch

Pleasingly, social media wasn’t lying this time around. Skilpadvlei have gone and created a fantastic kids space which lets the kids run around and enjoy themselves (with a small ball pit pen for the tinier tykes), leaving us older bunch to sit around and indulge in some great coffee without too many distractions.

IMG_20150926_163838 jessica on the jungle gym at skilpadvlei wine farm in stellenbosch

In other words, I suspect that the Lotters will be popping in there more than just a few times over the upcoming Summer weekends! :)

Related Link: Skilpadvlei

Helderberg Farm on a Public Holiday (2015-08-10) Photo Gallery 14 AUG 2015

Great weather, check. Public holiday, check. Desire to be out of the house, check. In other words, I had the girls up and dressed pretty early on, and we were out the door just after 09:00am, heading off first to Builders Warehouse to get some DIY shopping done (Chantelle’s shelving is once again coming down, which translates to there being quite a lot of holes in the wall which needs filling!), followed by a quick round of clothing shopping in Somerser Mall – a completely impossible job with a toddler and little girl tearing about mind you!

With those chores now done and dusted, it was time for the fun part of the morning: a trip via the R44 through to Helderberg Farm!

IMG_20150810_114612 jessica lotter on a tractor at the kids play area at helderberg farm on the R44

Surprisingly, for a change I wasn’t pestered to let the girls feed the bunny rabbits – instead they had a quick look and then immediately headed back to the play area for some serious play time fun.

Clambering, exploring and running around – basically I just needed to pull up a chair and put my feet up – the girls were taking care of the entertainment part all by themselves! :)

IMG_20150810_114720 emily lotter in a pipe at the kids play area at helderberg farm on the R44

We popped into the shop for some chips and was quite surprised to see the till gone and the lady writing everything down in a book. Sadly, it turns out that they were literally robbed the day before.

Late Sunday afternoon, a couple of men posing as customers came into the shop, just before closing time, and asked the ladies on duty how much it would cost them to go for a walk. This didn’t work, so the men calmly returned to their car, retrieved guns and pepper spray and came back for the goods. They pepper sprayed the ladies, and after being unable to open the till (the ladies couldn’t help because they had been pepper sprayed), they simply grabbed the whole thing, ripped out the phone, and left.

So definitely not great, and according to the lady we were speaking to, the first time in the twenty years that she’s been working there that they have ever been hit. Yet another definite sign that armed crime is starting to pick up here in our beautiful Helderberg basin! :(

IMG_20150810_124406 helderberg plaas sign at the entrance

Of course, this all went completely over the heads of Emily and Jessica anyway, meaning that they weren’t deterred in the least in terms of enjoying their day – the end result being two very happy chappies indeed! :)

IMG_20150810_124207 jessica on the bridge at the kids play area at helderberg farm on the R44

Of course, plenty of photos with my phone camera were taken on the day:

On the way home, we stopped off for lunch and play at Waterstone Village’s McDonalds branch, and then it was finally back home for a little rest break for two slightly exhausted monkeys…

(Shame, because Chantelle did feel a little left out – she had to work on the day – the girls and I joined her for some late afternoon play time at Mondeor restaurant. This seemed to cheer her up, so job done! :P)

IMG_20150810_160746 chantelle lotter at mondeor restaurant

Oh, and a particularly humorous sight: Easigrass is a Durban-based company specializing in artificial grass, and have just opened up shop in the new Cape Garden Centre next to Mondeor Restaurant. For branding purposes, they’ve decked out their small company cars in artficicial grass – completely covered from bonnet to boot!

Needless to say, the girls quite enjoyed this sight:

IMG_20150810_154230 easigrass artificial grass covered advert car

IMG_20150810_154221 easigrass artificial grass covered advert car

Can you just imagine having to wash and dry those? :)

Related Link: http://helderbergplaas.co.za/

Die Kloof Padstal in Montagu (2015-07-09) Photo Gallery 02 AUG 2015

If you are out and about in Montagu and are looking for a great kid-friendly place to take the kids while you sit and enjoy a cup of coffee, a slice of cake, or perhaps something more substantial, then look no further than the excellent Die Kloof Padstal.

IMG_20150708_153824 chantelle lotter with jess and emily at die kloof padstal farm stall in montagu

This farm stall is the first building on your left as you enter Montagu through Cogmanskloof and has been in the Zilverentant family for the past 10 years. There are three distinct parts to the business, namely a small little nursery, an interesting arts/curio gallery, and then of course, the restaurant. Outside is a large kids playground, with loads of tables and chairs dotted for those interested in getting fresh air or to keep a watchful eye on their children running about!

Needless to say, we ended up there more than just once on our recent Montagu holiday trip! :)

Related Link: Die Kloof Padstal