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Activities for children during the school holidays

Posted on June 24th, 2013 in Blog

IMG_0255_result1. Two Oceans Aquarium

Visiting the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town, especially on a rainy day when you can’t be outdoors, will keep your children busy for 2 – 3 hours. It will help your children to be in touch with nature, appreciative of life under the sea and be in awe of the interesting creatures in our 2 oceans.

The Two Oceans Aquarium opened in 1995 and is made up of exhibition galleries with large viewing windows showing the hands-on at the touch poolplants and animals found in the Indian and Atlantic Oceans of South Africa. The aquarium is located at the V&A Waterfront near the One and Only Hotel.

Things to do:

Visit the Touch Pool for a hands-on opportunity to feel anemones, star fish, kelp and more

Go to Zoom In at the microscopes to be introduced to what the eye can’t see such as delicate tentacles, tubular feet of star fish and octopus suckers.

Shoreline Cafe Play CentreHave a cup of coffee at Shoreline Cafe while your children play in the play centre.

One can also have personal encounters with the penguins and dive with the sharks at an extra cost.

Special Tours:

During the school holidays there are ‘Behind the scenes tours’ – learn what takes place at the aquarium every day.

Feeding times:

Penguins 11:30 Rockhoppers and 11:45 and 14:30 African penguin.predators exhibition

Predators tanks 15:00

Buy your tickets online:

R106 / adult

R83 / child 14 – 17 years

R52 / child 4 – 13 years

Free / child under 4 yearsSomething for all at the Two Oceans Aquarium

R83 / pensioner and SA student

Ticket office prices:

R118 / adult

R92 / child 14 – 17 years

R58 / child 4 – 13 years

Free / child under 4 years

R92 / pensioner and SA student

Opening hours: 09:30 – 18:00

Scratch for your favourite gemstone2. Scratch Patch – Mineral World

This is another must for rainy days and keeping children occupied whilst enjoying the treasures of nature.

Southern Africa is often considered the “gemstone capital of the world” as almost half of the world’s gemstones are found in this part of the world. For this reason, experiencing the amazing beauty and variety of gemstones is an absolute “must” for all.

Visit The Scratch Patch and Mineral World outlets at Simon’s Town(on the right just before the station) and the V&A Waterfront (opposite the aquarium).Scratch Patch / Mineral World

The Scratch Patch was originally started in Simon’s Town in 1970 were you could have fun ‘scratching around’ for your favourite gemstones.

The gift shop offers an amazing variety of jewellery, gemstone carvings, gem trees, gem gifts and souvenirs and  rough natural looking stones to polished gems.

Cost:  from R15 for a small plastic bag to R90 for a large container

 Opening times: 09:00 – 17:30 daily

 

3. Rondevlei Bird Sanctuary

Introduce your children to birding at a place where you are guaranteed to see birds. Purchase a simple booklet showing the birds found there and the treasure hunt is on to see who can spot the most birds. It’ll keep your children busy for hours. Afterwards there is a secluded picnic area to enjoy a packed picnic and some family time.

This is Rondevlei, a bird sanctuary on the Cape flats._result

mother coot and her chicksRondevlei was established in 1952. It is surrounded by coastal dunes and a large vlei which is an important wetland for birds and a few hippos. There are 6 bird hides and 2 look-out towers. From large pelicans, herons, egrets, spoonbills to ducks, geese, coots and moorhens to kingfishers, prinias, sunbirds and so much more.

The Leonard Gill Museum offers a huge selection of stuffed birds to examine in case there is a species you haven’t seen that day. There is also cages with snakes and an aquarium showing the indigenous fish found in the vlei.Rondevlei bird hide

What to bring:

A warm top/windproof jacket as the wind off the water can be cold, beanie and scarf, walking shoes, field guide bird book (optional), binoculars, packed picnic, pencils to mark off birds seen

 Location:

Rondevlei is in Zeekoeivlei. Head south along the M5, turn left at the Zeekoeivlei traffic lights and just before entering Zeekoeivlei turn right into Fisherman’s Walk. There are signs along the way.                 Spotted Prinia

 Costs:

R10 / adult and R5 / child

R5 for an educational bird booklet.

 Opening hours: 07:30 – 17:00

 

 

4. Boulders Beach

Boulders Beach, Simon's TownBoulders is ideal for children as immense granite boulders shelter it from wind, waves and strong currents. It is also home to the endangered African penguin. This colony is one of only 2 land-based colonies in South Africa and unique as it is the only place in the world where people and penguins swim alongside each other.

The Boulders section of Table Mountain National Park consists of 3 pristine beaches, 1 penguin viewing area and 3 boardwalks. The boardwalks were built as a measure to allow for viewing of these fascinating birds, whilst keeping them , safe from poking fingers. Please warn your children not to touch orboard walks make penguin viewing safe for children feed the penguins – they may look cute and cuddly but their beaks are as sharp as razors and if they feel threatened they have no qualms about nipping the odd finger or nose.

The Boulders Penguin Colony was established in 1983 and their numbers increased to 3 900 birds in 2005. Since then there has been a decrease as a result of their habitat been destroyed, oil spills and other water pollution and global warming affecting the amount of fish in False Bay. The 2011 figures sit at around 2 100 birds at Boulders Penguin Colony. The African penguin was called Jackass penguin as they bray like donkeys

Facilities:

3 beaches, penguin viewing area and boardwalks, 2 sets of ablutions, souvenir shop, parking

Entrance costs:

Free if you have a Wild Card

Adults R45 Conservation Fee

Children R20 Conservation feeAfrica penguins enjoying the gentle waves at Boulder's Beach

Directions:

Head south along the Main Road to Simon’s Town. Go through Simon’s Town and look out for the brown information signs on the left.

Opening times:

Winter : 08:00 – 17:00

        Summer: 07:00 – 19:30

5. Cape Town City Sightseeing Bus

Cape Town's City Sightseeing bus

sightseeing topless busGet to know your city, the history, important buildings, landmarks and tourist destinations whilst travelling on a bright red topless double-decker bus. Each person is given a set of earphones so that you can listen to a commentary about the places you see as well as the history and the music of the different cultures that make up Cape Town.

This activity is suitable for foul and pleasant weather. There are 18 bus stops around the city in a circular route including Table Mountain. A non-stop tour takes about 2 hours, but if you hop off at some scenic sights, view the city from the Hop on Hop off busthe tour can last the whole day. You can hop off and hop on as many times as you want in the day. There are buses at each stop every 20 minutes. There are specials during school holidays and public holidays so that the whole family can afford the experience. At the moment for every 1 paying adult on the Red Tour, 2 children under 18 are free. Tickets can be bought online, or at the Two Oceans Aquarium or when you hop on the bus.

Tickets: Online / Offline

R120 or R150 / adultsee the city whilst on the tourist bus

R70 / child

Under 5 are free

 Holiday special:

3 for the price of 1 : for every 1 paying adult you get 2 children under 18 tickets free

 Address:

Outside Two Oceans Aquarium, Dock Road, Cape Town

 Operating hours:

09:00 – 18:30

6. Company Gardens

The avenue leading to the Company GardensThe Company Gardens at the top of Adderley Street in Cape Town offers a few hours of peace and tranquillity for the whole family. From having a picnic on the lawns, to feeding the squirrels and pigeons, to strolling along the numerous paved walkways, learning to tell the time with the sundial, having an ice cream or tea and scones at the Garden Tea Room to looking at the birds in the aviaries.

The Company Gardens was started by Jan van Riebeeck and his gardener, Hendrick Boom, in 1652. The original garden was much bigger than the present garden. Here grew mainly fruit and vegetables Company Gardens in Cape Townusing channelled water from streams off Table Mountain. The work in the gardens was done by the slaves at the Cape. The exotic trees were added gradually when they  were sent as gifts from all over the trade routes. The saffron pear tree in the garden today is probably the oldest cultivated tree in South Africa dating back to the days of Jan van Riebeeck.

Besides spending time with your children in the garden, visit some of the other buildings attached to the garden. There is the Iziko Museum with great displays of the indigenous people who lived at the Cape, and their rock art. Also visit the Whale Well, Fossils for Africa and Shark World. Attached to this museum is a Planetarium with a domed auditorium giving shows that display the night sky and the wonders of the solar system. The National Art Gallery near the Iziko Museum is also fascinating and the Slave Lodge at the bottom of the garden off Adderley Street, has a wonderful collection of old toys from the early days at the Cape.

Iziko South African MuseumAll in all the Company Garden and surrounds offers a host of activities to keep your children busy whilst learning and having fun.

Costs:

 

Free entrance to the Company Gardens

Museums : R30 / adults and R15  child

Planetarium: R40 / adult and R20 / childSlave Lodge

 

Opening times:

 

Gardens during the day

Museums daily from 10:00 – 17:00

Planetarium 10:00 – 17:00 but closed on Mondays

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