Staying home during the holidays, or looking for something to do as a family on the weekend? This list of family-friendly venues and activities in and around Johannesburg may be the spark your kids need to put down the XBox remote and explore the city. Here’s our list of the best activities for kids, as well as ideas for day trips and family outings in Johannesburg.
Acrobranch – Melrose or Huddle Park
This outdoor activity park has something on offer for kids aged three and up. From balance challenges to zip lines and swinging through the treetops like Tarzan, this is a thrilling experience, but parents can rest assured that safety is a main concern – belay systems and harnesses are mandatory.
Essential skills like midline crossing, decision making and proprioception are also key benefits, but your kids will only be focused on the fun they’re having. Adults have also been known to join in on the fun, and there are several courses that cater to different levels of ability and age groups, so why not make it a day out for the whole family?
Prices start at R150 per session. Visit acrobranch.co.za/kids/ for more information.
Sci-Bono – Newtown
If you want to continue to enrich your kids and encourage their love of maths, science and technology (yes, even during the holidays!), this science museum in Jo’burg’s culturally bustling Newtown is a wonderful opportunity.
With a variety of activities and changing exhibitions on offer, you’ll need to visit more than once to get the full experience of Southern Africa’s largest science centre. As just one of the 350 interactive maths, science and technology exhibits, Nat Geo Kids Weird but True! permanent exhibition is sure to fascinate and enchant young and old. Keep an eye on the website for news on current talks and exhibitions.
Entry starts from R40 for kids and R60 for adults. Visit http://www.sci-bono.co.za/ for more information.
Hyto Tyto – Centurion
This is an epic family adventure. And when we say there’s something for everyone, it’s no exaggeration. Enjoy a delicious meal at the restaurant, or join in on the fun with the kids – anything goes!
Some of the highlights include the 4-storey indoor maze that’s within sight of the restaurant, two giant jungle gyms to burn off energy, a fairy garden for the gentle souls among you, and sandpits and a mud kitchen for the littlest visitors.
Entry to the park on weekdays starts from R35 and weekends is R110 – adults and toddlers enter free. Bookings essential. Visit www.hytotyto.co.za for more information.
Aladdin & his Wonderful Lamp
This live production has all the makings of an intriguing tale: a hero, a princess and a villain are the central characters and their lives intertwine in a rags-to-riches storyline. This singing and dancing extravaganza brings the magic of a much-loved story to life on the stage.
Based on an original text by Producer Anjil Naidoo, Aladdin stars an international team of award-winning theatre artists and 20 of South Africa’s best young and talented actors and dancers. It’s a children’s classic that grown ups will love, too! Showing at the Theatre of Marcellus at Emperor’s Palace until 4 December 2022. Tickets from R270 via TicketPro.
Johannesburg Zoo – Forest Town
Founded in 1904, the Johannesburg Zoo spans 55ha and is home to over 2 000 animals. Best of all, the Zoo is open 365 days a year, so you’ll always have an option to keep the kids busy.
Whether you take your own picnic and set up for the day near the bird enclosure, or opt for a day or night tour, your kids will love the experience of being in the wide open spaces with majestic animals like lion and elephant, or holding court with the wise old owls.
Entry is R68 for children 3-12 years old and R115 for adults. Visit www.jhbcityparksandzoo.com for more information.
Bounce – Fourways Mall
This indoor trampoline park features a variety of jumping and climbing options from free bounce to dodge ball and obstacle courses – in fact, there are over 100 trampolines in total. You can rest assured your kids are safe thanks to marshals stationed at each jump station, and access is restricted to a certain amount of jumpers at a time. Most sessions are an hour long, which is just enough time to work up an appetite for one of the restaurants in the mall food court just outside. There’s also an arcade next door if you want to make a day of it.
Jump sessions start on the hour, so give yourself plenty of time to get from the parking lot to Bounce so you don’t lose any jump time.
Entry starts from R90 for one hour jump time. Visit www.bounceinc.co.za for more information.
Bryanston Organic Market – Bryanston
Open on Thursdays and Saturdays only, gather the whole family for an experience filled with delicious foods, handmade crafts and live music.
While adults will enjoy the food and treats on offer, kids with love the stone crafting lead by a professional stone crafter. It costs R220 and your little one can take home an ornament or pedant of their own.
Following the Rudolph Steiner school philosophy (the market shares grounds with school), the kiddies areas encourage imaginative play and autonomy with a mud kitchen and sandpit situated under the shade of a tree. They’re also sure to love the handcrafted wooden toys on offer.
Entry is free. Visit www.bryanstonmarket.co.za for more information.
Rush – Greenstone Hill
This is a trampoline park to remember. Catering for everyone from toddlers to teens and adults, rest assured there is fun to be had in a safe and engaging environment.
The toddler area is separate from the main jumping area and there is also a closed-off dodgeball setup for the brave at heart. Diving boards into a foam pit and music to keep rhythm to are just some of the elements that keep kids going back again and again. Rush also offers kids’ gymnastics lessons.
Prices start at R150 per jumper. Visit www.rushsa.co.za for more information.
Gioia Trattoria – Parkwood
One of Joburg’s best-kept secrets, this restaurant situated next to the Zoo Lake Sports Club offers an expansive children’s play area including a jungle gym, trampoline and a dedicated play area for even the littlest littles, where they will be safe from the boisterous adventures of the older kids. Best of all, childminders are there to keep order while you enjoy a meal of Italian comforts, and maybe even a glass of wine.
The kids’ meals are delicious and the tortellini is a must-try! While you linger a little longer, the kids will enjoy choosing their own toppings at the soft-serve kiosk.
The restaurant usually has space available, but book to avoid disappointment. Visit www.gioia.joburg for more information.
Cycle Lab Cycle Park – Bryanston
If your kids are confident on two wheels, hitch up your bike rack and head to the Cycle Lab Cycle Park. There are also bikes and safety gear for hire, so everyone is welcome.
From complex rides to easier trails for little kids, this is the perfect place to hone those skills, train, learn and just have a great day out. There are also jungle gyms and jumping castles as well as an on-site restaurant.
If you’re hesitant to venture to the cycle park because one or more of your kids can’t ride a bike, consider booking a beginner’s lesson, or let your older child hone their skills with a more advanced class.
Entry starts from R60 for riders under 15 and R80 for adults. Visit www.bikepark.co.za for more information.
Jozi X Adventure Centre – Bryanston
Here’s a family-friendly outing that’s suitable for everyone aged 4 to 75 year olds. This is the perfect place to bring your kids to try all the extreme sports and activities they’ve always dreamed about. From NERF wars to Zorbing, Bubble Soccer, archery and Parkour – they’ll get to try it all.
If Mountain Boarding (similar to snow boarding, but without the snow) is more your thing, you’re in luck – and you’ll also be able to make your way through the obstacle course at the inflatable park, go down the Slip & Slide or try out a Splatter Painting Session.
Prices start from R100, depending on that activity you choose. Visit www.jozix.co.za for more information.
Life Day Kids Spa – Fourways
If it’s a particularly hot day or your kids just need a little bit of pampering, a spa day might be in order.
From manis, pedis, massages and even a jacuzzi, your child will feel energised after a session at the spa. Check out the treatment menu because there are packages specially tailored for moms and daughters, siblings or best friends to help you get the most from your time there.
And, of course, all products are child friendly and free from parabens!
Packages can be tailor made to your requirements and budget. Visit www.lifedayspakids.co.za for more information.
National Children’s Theatre – Parktown
Take a break from the TV and enjoy some live entertainment as a family at the National Children’s Theatre. There are both indoor and outdoor theatres as well as a puppet theatre.
Keep an eye on the website for the various shows on offer, but most are suitable from two or three years old and up, so this is a great way for siblings to make memories together.
If your little one is a budding performer, the Theatre also offers workshops such as Storytelling for parents and their kids up to the age of four years to bond over imaginative play, music and dance. Junior workshops are also available during school terms.
Tickets start at R12 per person. Visit www.nctheatresa.org for more information.
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