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School holidays dragging on? Here are 5 easy outings for kids in Joburg

Get them off their devices and out of the house for some good family fun

09 July 2022 - 07:30 By Sanet Oberholzer and Elizabeth Sleith
Gold Reef City has extended operating hours for the school holidays.
Gold Reef City has extended operating hours for the school holidays.
Image: Paul Botes

GOLD REEF CITY THEME PARK

The largest theme park in SA, Gold Reef is closed from Mondays to Wednesdays, but has extended opening times for the school holidays: Tuesdays to Sundays from 9.30am to 5pm until July 17.   

Here you can wander the “streets” styled to evoke the gold-rush era, take the underground mine tour, hit the trampoline park or grab a bite at one of 12 dining options.

The big attraction for kids will be the 18 thrilling rides, including the gravity-defying Anaconda (with a “fear factor” rating of 9/10), bumper cars and the new Barrel Roll. Some rides are height-restricted, but there is an area with 13 rides for younger children.

Entrance is R250 per person and includes access to all rides. Kids under the age of 3 get in free. Tickets must be bought online

'Under the Baobab Tree' is on at the National Children's Theatre.
'Under the Baobab Tree' is on at the National Children's Theatre.
Image: Supplied

NATIONAL CHILDREN'S THEATRE

The National Children’s Theatre in Parktown is putting on Under the Baobab Tree in its open-air Imagination Theatre until July 24. 

Appropriate for children aged 3 and up, the one-hour production is a charming selection of traditional stories with vibrant songs, African drums and lively dance to educate and entertain.

While delighting young audiences, the show also offers lessons on the importance of values, friendship, creativity and self-sufficiency, with an appreciation for SA’s rich culture and heritage. 

The theatre has a small selection of snacks on sale, but you can take a picnic.

Tickets range from R135, with shows on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and the odd Tuesday. For more information and to book, visit their website.

PLAY AFRICA

In the Old Fort at Constitution Hill in Braamfontein, Play Africa is an interactive play and early educational museum that caters to children aged 10 and younger.

Marketed as an inclusive space, Play Africa offers exhibits and learning experiences that “promote creativity, innovation and connection to a divided society”, teaching children to think critically, use their imagination, solve problems, experiment and develop a growth mindset.

Using play areas and hands-on learning opportunities, children can engage on topics in the fields of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths), the arts and civil engagement.

It also offers a platform which provides parents with ideas to create a fun learning environment at home.

Space is limited and bookings are required. Visit Play Africa’s website for more information.

The Big Red Barn.
The Big Red Barn.
Image: Supplied

THE BIG RED BARN

On Sunlawns farm outside Irene in Pretoria, The Big Red Barn is a beautiful space with lots to do.

Outdoors, there’s fun to be had in the treetops with Acrobranch, and 40km of scenic mountain-bike, trail-running and hiking trails winding through the tranquil gum-tree forest.

Relax at the Barn Restaurant while the children explore the Pirate Ship kiddies’ play area, where there’s more fun to be had than just playing pretend. There are trampolines in the jump park, electric go-karts and inflatable bubble balls with Nino Adventures that gobble up excess energy.

And for artists — children and adults alike — there’s ceramic painting at the Clay Cafe. Settle in, order food, select your piece and get painting. When you’re done, leave your work of art to be glazed, then collect it after about two weeks.

The Barn Restaurant is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 8am to 5pm, the Clay Cafe from 9am to 5pm daily except Tuesdays, Acrobranch seven days a week from 9am to 5pm, Nino Adventures bumper balls and go-karts Tuesdays to Sundays from 8.30am to 5pm, and trails are open seven days a week from 7am to 5pm.

Visit their website for more information or to make bookings. 

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Image: lightfieldstudios

THE ICE RINK

Ice skating can be great fun for the whole family and there are several venues in Gauteng :

  • Festival Mall in Kempton Park
  • Forest Hill in Centurion
  • Grove in Equestria, Pretoria
  • Northgate Shopping Centre in Northriding 

Skating sessions last two hours, starting at 9.30am, noon and 2.30pm, with closures in between to let the ice recover. There are also 5pm slots at weekends and, for older kids, a 7.30pm to 10pm session.

Entrance is R90 and skate hire is R40. 

The smallest skates available for rent are a baby’s size 5, which will fit kids aged about two to three. Newbies who want a bit of support can rent a “Penny the Penguin”, a cute, kid-height, penguin-shaped aid they can lean on while building confidence (R100 refundable deposit, R50 an hour).

There are also special-event sessions such as pyjama parties and discount deals. Group discounts are also available. Visit the website for details.


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