I keep getting people asking me for tips on where to go and what to do with their kids. I’ve been trying to sit down and write a list for a while now but as any multi-tasking, working mum would know every day seems to escape me and my to do list just keeps getting longer.
After our move back to Johannesburg from Cape Town I was at a loss of what to do with my boys in a big city and struggled to find a mums group like I had in Cape Town. In Johannesburg I find most mums have less flexibility with their working hours …. Until a friend suggested a download the adventure clubs app and our lives changed forever 🙂 It’s opened up my eyes to a whole new Johannesburg, discovering hidden gems and unique places to take my boys. So thank you thank you thank you!
That being said, here’s my list, together with some of the places we have discovered with Adventure Clubs, of fun things to do, with your kids in the big city:
Lion and Safari Park (Lanseria Side) – New and improved, the recently re-opened Lion and Safari park is bigger, better and has a lot more interaction for kids.
Crocodile City (Just before Lanseria) – We had such a good time at our outing to Croc City. They boys got an educational talk on crocs, on how thick their skin is and got to hold and observe their eggs. They also house a number of reptiles and much to my horror my boys lined up to hold the snakes.. After a tour of the croc park the kids ran around counting and feeding as many tortoises as they could. The play area of course provided hours of entertainment.
Old MacDonald’s Farm Yard (The Fat Olive Restaurant) (Lanseria Side) – This is a true hidden gem. Home to the Fat Olive restaurant and a Beach bar, Old MacDonald’s has free roaming Zebras, geese, duck and a whole mini farmyard for kids to feed/interact with. It doubles up as a party venue as well as a restaurant. Theres even canoes to take out on a paddle on the small lake.
Crazy Kids Farmyard (Randburg) – A diamond in the middle of a bustling city. Crazy Kids has also recently had a bit of a refresh with some new animals (including another pony and a friendly pig). It is literally smack bang in the middle of a residential area in Randburg. It has a huge variety of play equipment for kids, a ton of bikes to ride around and an epic sandpit. This is a winner, everyday of the week.
Bird Garden – Monte Casino (Fourways) – We have been going here since the boys were small. The only bird park of its kind in Africa and perfect for all ages! Take a stroll through the gardens and aviary and see a wide variety of bird life, reptiles, and other exotic animals. It also has a café and a cute kids play area.
Clay Café (Irene) – About twenty minutes out of Johannesburg Clay Café is opposite the iconic Red Barn in Irene. Kids can choose from a large variety of ceramics to paint with lots of accessories to add patterns/ shapes to their masterpieces.
The Irene Dairy Farm – Every child’s dream, right on our doorstep! A working dairy farm situated right in the heart of Gauteng. Kids can enjoy seeing the cows being milked, ride on one of the numerous tractors and enjoy an ice cream underneath the beautiful shady trees. We were lucky enough to go when the construction was still occurring, it was every little boys dream, with tractors, trucks and diggers to watch!
Pappachinos – No Johannesburg list would be complete without one – Broadacres seems like the biggest, Clearwater mall also has a bike track)
Lori Park Zoo (Midrand) – Holds a nice variety of crocodiles, predator birds and of course lions/ leopards – though I do feel for the bigger cats as their enclosures are very, very small.
The Johannesburg Zoo – A timeless classic and always good for a family day out.
Delta Park – Probably holds the best play area out of all Joburg parks. It also has glorious walking paths with gigantic trees shading them.
Lonehill Park – Between Lonehill Park and Angelo’s Restaurant you are guaranteed a good time with the kids. Lonehill Park has a beautiful enclosed play area for kids and Angelo’s Kitchen borders onto the park with additional jungle gyms, bike tracks and games for kids.
Mushroom Park – Our go to park for mid week fun. Mushroom park is a little piece of green forest in amongst Sandton’s high rise buildings. It has the perfect tracks for kids to ride their bikes on and has over 5 jungle gyms and a large sandpit area. Perfect for soaking up the winter sun, and when it is in operation, also holds the Hyundai Hot Air Balloon.
Raspberry Picking at Fieldberry Farm (When in Season) – A morning spent in the fields at Fieldberry farm is a morning well spent. A beautiful day out for the entire family, kids will have an amazing time selecting and picking the juiciest berries to pick. After all their hard work mum and dad can relax on hay bales around the play area while sipping on a handmade smoothie. My boys had sooo much fun. Raspberry season typically ends around April.
Alliepad Alpakkas – A bit of a drive out of Johannesburg, Alliepad Alpakkas is just before Magaliesburg and has the most adorable fluffy Alpacas to go crazy over. Make it a weekend drive or wait for one of their festival days when you can get a tour around the farm, learn more about how they get wool and feed the Alpacas.
Willow Feather Farm (Pretoria) – Originally started off as an Indigenous tree farm, Willow Feather now hosts a nursery, tea garden and awesome Farmyard for kids. They have a number of interactive activities for kids and the number of animals in the Farmyard is exceptional. Alpacas, pigs, bunnies, cows. Kids can get up close and personal to the animals and of course participate in feeding. There’s also a wonderful kiddies play area to keep little ones busy while mums can enjoy hot tea and scones.
Two Trees Bakery (Mulbarton) – Under the shade of blue gum trees, this gem is in the South of Joburg. It possibly has the biggest selection of climbing equipment, monkey swings and zip lines that I’ve seen in a restaurant. They specialise in pizza’s, burgers, and yummy baked goods. Super friendly staff and a mass to do with the kids, my boys cried when they left!
TreeTop Adventures (Riversands) – Situated in amongst an old pine forest, Treetops have constructed different obstacles at varying heights catering from about 2 years of age right through to an adult course! Kids can climb through the trees, complete an obstacle course, and if brave enough (my 4 year old was), zipline across the river!
Yeesh for Kids in Woodmead is a favourite of ours on down days or in colder weather. With a huge soft kids play area, Yeesh goes the extra mile by hosting cupcake/cookie decorating sessions, as well as an art corner where kids can paint a range of items ranging from t-shirts to canvas to ceramic ornaments.
Tres Jolie (Ruimsig) – Traditionally thought of as more of a wedding venue, Tres Jolie actually is a littler wonder world for kids. They offer a touch and feel farmyard, giant sand pit, pony and camel rides, and a big jungle gym. You can bring your own food to feed the animals or buy packets at the Kiosk.
These are just some of the places I’ve explored with my boys and I know there are probably hundreds of more hidden gems waiting to be discovered. The list is on going, and ever expanding. Where are some of your favourite places to go?