The Ultimate Festive List Of Entertainment Ideas For Family’s in Gauteng

You can see it on the horizon, the December holidays are right around the corner and you are dying for some quality time to spend as a family. By day 5 however, you are all ready to rip each other’s hair out and you desperately need some external stimulation for the kids. Sounds familiar right?

If you are looking for activities to do at home with the kids, have a look at my “Activities for Kids” tab on the website. I have endless activities and ideas to entertain your kids (these are focused on preschool years as that’s what I know).

For a full list of my favourite places to take kids (of all ages), have a look at my Keeping Kids Entertained in Joburg Article.

Now onto December specific events and places:

Festive themed events

Christmas Fairytale Festival 

Saturday 1st December

Into the forest venue is a firm favourite and they have various events running throughout December.

Come for a family day out and tip-toe through the magical Faerie Trail, twinkling with little Christmas lights. Fairies, elves, pixies and Tinkerbell & Peter Pan shall be there as well as a very special visit from Santa Claus !

Garden of Lights – Emperors Palace

30 November 2018 – 2 January 2019
Open daily from 19h00 – 22h00

Gautengs’ biggest Christmas festive celebration is back! Garden of Lights is an epic celebration of all things Christmas. It’s a winter wonderland, light extravaganza and yuletide adventure all rolled into one and its jam packed filled with adventure for kiddies! This is a must see!

Every weekend from the 9th December through to the 22nd.

Held at the Lipizzaner Centre in Kyalami, these beautiful “dancing” horses are historic in Joburg. A wonderful outing for the whole family, this is a magical morning.

Christmas Village at Montecasino

Wednesday the 12-17 December 2018

There’s a R10 Entry Fee (which is donated to 94.7’s Christmas Wish List), Kids under 12 free.

Montecasino’s 5th annual Christmas Village will once again transform our Outdoor Piazza into a magical European-style Christmas market. Kids can enjoy the twinkling lights and movies on a big screen whilst you browse through over 60 vendors!

Walter Sisulu Picnic & Market under the stars

Saturday December 15 at 5pm

Pack a picnic blanket and basket or just come support out local vendors that will be ready to quench your thirst and fill that stomach with delicious foods for every taste

Fourways Farmers Market

They have two Christmas Night markets set up from the 7-8th December and again on the 14th-15th.


If your in the mood for something a little more cultural, why not take in one of Joburg’s holiday shows?

Cinderella – The Ballet

Whats Christmas without a little ballet? The Joburg Ballet brings you this family favourite at Monte Casino from 14 December through to Sunday the 23rd December.

This is one that’s definitely on my wish list!

Billions of Bubbles Show –  Times Square South Africa

From December 20th To January 7, International sensation and bubble scientist, Fan Yang, brings his world-renowned bubble show to South Africa for the very first time and will literally blow you away!

My boys are so excited for this one . Bring the whole family to watch this breathtakingly beautiful bubble magic show!  The show involves spectacular displays of lights, lasers, smoke and bubbles thousands of tiny bubbles and enormous ones, bubbles within bubbles, as well as bouncing, floating and mega bubbles.

Janice Honeymans magical Pantomime

Running until December 23rd join Joburg Theatre and Bernard Jay as they present Janice Honeyman’s Snow White, The Fairest Panto in All The Land !

National Children’s Theatre presents Gogga’s

Running from 6 November – 23 December 2018.

A family musical that will delight both children and adults alike. Its a feel good story of friendship and responsibility. For bookings call the theatre on 011 484 1584 or

Mall Entertainment 

I know everyone always makes fun of Jo-burgers and their love of malls, but seriously, there are some epic line ups this festive season.

Silverstar Casino (yes I know, its not technically a mall) is hosting its annual beach festival.

Thursday, 13 December 2018 to Sunday, 6 January 2019.

Day time activities for kids include:

  • Sand castle building competitions
  • Tug of war competitions
  • Hoola hoop competitions
  • Ice-cream eating competitions
  • Inflatable waterslide
  • Face painting
  • Beach volleyball

Cradlestone Mall

Running from 12 December 2018 to 06 January 2019.

This December, Cradlestone Mall will be bringing youngsters plenty of wild, fun and thrilling themed holiday activities to keep the boredom at bay. Their holiday fun programme will be available throughout the mall along with a jungle playground.

Mall of Africa

From the 8th to the 23rd December

Mall of Africa is hosting their ever popular Beach activation again this year. My boys had a blast last year on the gigantic inflatable slides, sandpit, peddle push boats and so much more. Take your hats and sunscreen and enjoy a family day out!

They also have the EPIC Pop-up Kit Kat special edition store, a must visit for every chocolate lover. This runs until the 22nd of December.

Family days out

Gautrain and Pretoria Zoo have coupled together with a great promotion.

Ride the Gautrain to Pretoria Station between the 14th and 28 December, collect a wristband from a promoter available at the Pretoria Station and receive free entrance into the Zoo.

Over this period there are a number of activities available including a market in the picnic area, A gaming area at the Flamingo restaurants as well as Bakwena Day Spa treatments at the top of the cable car. Complimentary cable car rides granted to all Gautrain passengers.

National Military Museum

OK, it may not take a whole day out but when paired with the Joburg next door it can be! This is one of our favourite places to take the boys and it doesn’t cost a fortune. The history is incredible and the kids will love playing on the old plane and jeep in the play area.

Gold Reef City

Still one of Joburg’s top family attractions. 16 thrill rides, 14 dedicated rides for the kiddies, Jump City Trampoline Park, there’s fun for all ages here!

Hartbeespoort Dam

Opportunities are endless here. Whether it’s a trip up the cable way, sipping coffee in “Paris”, to feeding an elephant it really is a jam-packed day out.

This year I’m targeting the Strawberry farm, and picking season is officially open. A great option throughout December! The fields usually open at 8:00 a.m. and close at 4 p.m.

Sun City

Always a life saver when it comes to holidays and close enough to go for the day. Spend the day at the Valley of the waves or book in overnight. There are a whole range of kids activities from mini golf to a bird park and steam train rides.

Animal related

Lets face it, these are particularly popular with little kids and toddlers. They’ll be delighted to be given a chance to touch and feed the rabbits, goats, chickens, ducks and more. Be sure to take some animal feed with or you may purchase at the venue as well. For a full comprehensive list check out our favourite activities to do in Joburg.

Bird Garden – Monte Casino 

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.

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.

The Johannesburg Zoo

A timeless classic and always good for a family day out. They offer day and night tours, children’s farmyard, tractor rides, kids party venue, school tours and more

Old MacDonald’s Farm Yard (The Fat Olive Restaurant)
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. Hop on a Canoe and row around the lake with the kids.
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.
Crocodile & Reptile Park where the visitors interact with a variety of reptiles. The 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. When you are done why not zipline over the crocs?
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.
Joburgs’ nearest”far away” place. The Rhino and Lion Park is a fantastic family day out. Take a “safari” through the nature reserve (Its actually a proper reserve unlike some other lion parks in the area), try and spot their newest baby Rhino or visit the baby cubs at the breeding center. Enjoy a leisurely lunch at the Thatch Cafe while the kids ride up a storm on their incredible bike track. End your day with the ever popular feeding of giraffes for some special family memories.
Shew have I given you enough idea’s? I hope this list provides you with some inspiration. There are a whole lots more places featured in my keeping kids entertained article such as Roll Egoli, Acrobranch and Bounce, so be sure to check that too.
Happy Holidays!

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