Tag: things to do with kids in Joburg

Festive Guide To Gauteng 2019

Festive Guide To Gauteng 2019

Its that time of year !!! I cannot actually comprehend how quickly this year has passed, and it is literally one year to the day since I last wrote my festive guide. This time next week, my eldest will officially be on school holidays, which means, i’ll be left thinking of ways to entertain the family, trying to think of places to go. We have another “staycation” upon us this year, so I’m trying to get creative and explore new areas. If you have any suggestions, lay them all on me as we road trip around as a family of 5.

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.

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

The Lion King live in concert

I’m plugging this into “festive themed” because there is no better way to kick of the holiday season then by taking in this epic production. The advert literally gives me goosebumps! Accompanied by the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra, this will be a movie experience unlike any other you have had before. This is the perfect family-fun filled activity to get your holiday spirit going! It will be on at the Sun Arena – Times square from Tuesday, 10 December 2019 – Thursday, 12 December 2019. Tickets available through Computicket and start from R150.

Destination Christmas with Melrose Arch

The lights are officially up so I can declare festive open in Gauteng 🙂 Melrose Arch always has the prettiest light display. Go early to avoid the crowds and book a table somewhere after for dinner.

Garden of Lights – Emperors Palace

The return of the Garden of Lights – one of my favourite festive season events – and this year, it promises to offer even more fun for the whole family. Featuring a winter wonderland, light extravaganza and yuletide adventure, all rolled into one. The event will set Gauteng skies alight in the picturesque gardens the five-star Peermont D’oreale Grande hotel at Emperors Palace. It runs from 29 November 2019 to 05 January 2020 and opens from 19h00 – 22h00.

Joburg Zoo Festival Of Lights

1 December 2019 to 5 January 2020

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, lets face it, everyone loves fairy lights. They hold so much magic and beauty. The festival of lights at the Zoo is expected to be their biggest yet and features a collection of illuminated life-size animal characters with classical, harmonious performances, food and craft markets for visitors. Take a stroll through the zoo on a designated illuminated route away from the enclosures and under the captivating, lit up trees.Get there early in December to catch a classical performance of the Nutcracker by Joburg Ballet who will perform in the bandstand from 1 – 8 December. It opens from 7pm until 10pm each night and tickets are R60 for kids and R120 for adults.

The Nutcracker’s Winter Circus

11th of December 2019 – 5th of January 2020.

The Nutcracker’s Winter Circus returns exclusively to Sandton City and its bigger, better and back for another spectacular season. Without a doubt, this was one of my highlights last year and it was watched by nearly 22 000 people! This year’s adventure includes creative master puppetry, set to bring a host of fun and fantastical characters to life, with the Parade of the Animals, adding a captivating new dimension to the show.

There are four performances daily at 10h30, 12h30, 15h30 and 17h30, seven days a week, (excl. Christmas Day, Day of Goodwill and New Year’s Day). Tickets are available from www.ticketpros.co.za at a cost R20 online (with no charge for children under three years) or by visiting selected Edgars, CNA, Jet, POSTNET stores. Tickets are also available at the door for a R30 fee. This is a a fairy tale fit for the whole family.

Peter Pan on Ice

6 December 2019 – 11 January 2020

Oooohhhhh but my boys are excited for this one! They watched the original movie the other day at home and we drive past the billboards every morning. There is no getting away from watching it!

Take a journey to Neverland in this classic tale of magic and make-believe, spectacularly staged on real ice. The show included a whopping 23 former World, European and National Championship-level skaters. Collectively, the entire cast holds more than 250 competition medals and will bring their athletic and artistic talents to retell J M Barrie’s well-loved story of Peter Pan. It will be held in the Teatro, every Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday for the duration. Tickets range from R150-R475 pp and are available through Computicket.

Christmas Festival With The Lipizzaners

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.

Walter Sisulu Wonderland of Lights

1 December 2019- 4 January 2020

There was a bit of a hiccup earlier in the year with their winter light set up, but lessons learnt and this promises to be one for the whole family to enjoy. There are a number of Carol nights lined up, so keep an eye on their facebook page for more detail.



I actually don’t know where to start, there are some incredible shows on. If your in the mood for something a little more cultural, why not take in one of Joburg’s holiday shows?

I’ve already mentioned Peter Pan on Ice that will be showing at Monte Casino until 11 January – that’s top of our list, but here are a few more, locally produced shows that you should try to check out.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Jr.

2 November 2019 to 22 December 2019

The People’s theatre brings this childhood favourite to life. Based on the beloved film version of Ian Fleming’s children’s book, with a score by the Sherman Brothers (Mary Poppins), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Junior. is a family-friendly blockbuster filled with stage spectacles and Academy Award-nominated songs. Fun for the whole family. Tickets from R149.

Jack and the Beanstalk

It wouldn’t be Christmas without something from Janice Honeyman. It is a tale about a poor country boy, Jack, the family cow, magic beans, an unfriendly giant, an enchanted goose and an enormous beanstalk. It is showing at Joburg Theatre and tickets start at R115.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Runs until 22 December

My boys adore the Johnny Depp movie (as well as the book), so its a no brainer we are going to try and watch this classic. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a theatre adaption by Richard George based on the original classic by Roald Dahl. The entire production is smoothly tied together by an energetic and personable Narrator. It’s on at the National Children’s Theatre in Parktown and tickets start at R70.

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.

I’ve already mentioned Sandton City, with their Nutcracker circus, but they aren’t the only ones with a great December line up.

Mall of Africa – Dino Adventure Park

7 December – 5 January 2020.

Mall of Africa is always on the forefront of great kiddies entertainment. This year they have chosen to go with a Dinosaur theme! Waterfall Park will be transformed into an adventure dinosaur playground to be enjoyed by the whole family

Cresta Shopping Centre

Cresta has been going all out with entertainment for the family over the past few years, and this year proves no different. There is a huge selection of things to do and activities to keep the little ones busy, including:

FESTIVE CRAFT STATION 14-24 December 2019 – Situated at the Castle Play Area in the Banking Court. There will be a variety of festive crafts for kids to choose from including making their own decorations such as Christmas baubles. Entrance is absolutely free with the option to pay for some of the more bespoke crafts if desired. Don’t forget to take a pic with Santa at R30 a photo.

They also have several workshops being hosted through the Jata Holiday Club and Young Engineers throughout the December holidays. Visit Cresta’s website for more information and individual pricing options.

Silverstar Casino – Beach festival

5 December 2019 to 11 January 2012.

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

Cradlestone Mall

5 December – 5 January 2020

The kids had an absolute blast at the activation at Cradlestone last year, and I’m sure this year will be no different. If you are out that side of town on a day trip (there is a bunch of stuff to do in the area), it’s worth stopping by to let the kids play. The theme this year is “Santa’s World Of Wonder”.

Family days out

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

Click here for a full blog post on all the things to do in Haarties. It’s WELL worth a day trip!

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 interactions

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.

Crazy Kids Farmyard

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.

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.

Lori Park Zoo

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 City

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?

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.

Rhino and Lion Park

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.

Have I given you enough ideas? I dont want to hear anyone is “bored” over the holidays in Gauteng :).

There are a whole lot more places featured in my keeping kids entertained article such as Roll Egoli, Adventure Golf, Acrobranch and Bounce, so be sure to check that too.

Happy Holidays!

Things To Do With The Kids In Gauteng – For Free!

Things To Do With The Kids In Gauteng – For Free!

Il’l be honest, when we moved back to Joburg one of my biggest fears was that doing stuff with the kids was going to cost a fortune. In the Western Cape there are so many things to explore in nature that you didn’t have to spend any money to have a great day out. In a “big city lifestyle” however, chances are you’ll have to pay an entrance fee wherever you go.

Well maybe not….. Here are a few places I like to take the boys for free in Joburg (Ok ok, so maybe under R50)

Museums/ Educational

Ditshong – National Museum of Natural History

Since going the first time we have literally been back twice! There is so much to see and because the boys were little still attention spans weren’t too long. The National Museum of Natural History also has a section made for littlies, where they can explore with their senses. At R20 for kids and R35 for adults, it comes in under our R50 mark! Such a fun, educational day out and the dinosaur skeletons in the garden will have you coming back time and again!

James Hall Museum of Transport

Another hidden gem in the heart of Jozi that more people should really visit. Especially if you have transport obsessed kiddos like me! You’ll spot everything from animal drawn cars, to bicycles from the 17th century! They even have a collection of steam vehicles. Entrance to the Museum is absolutely FREE!! Donations are welcome.

If you do have budget to spend, why not make a day of it and get there by jumping on the Johannesburg “Hop on Hop Off” red bus trips. One of the stops is the museum and it will add to your transport theme!

Immerse yourself in culture at the Nan Hua Buddhist Temple

For a truly educational, architectural feast, visit the Nan Hua Buddhist Temple in Bronkhorstspruit. The red glazed roof, vibrant murals and beautifully kept gardens make for a wonderful day out. The temple is open to visitors from Tuesday to Sunday, 09h00 to 16h00, free of charge. On the weekends they host vegetarian lunches that cost a little as R30.

South African National Museum of Military History

If you follow me on Instagram, you will clearly see just how much we love this place. The boys have honestly asked to go there no less than 10 times. We make a day of it and get dressed up in our “finest” military gear. They love learning about the aeroplanes, tanks and weapons and afterwards our treat is to go and get an ice cream from the guys who stand by the zoo wall and sit on the steps of the beautiful commemoration arch. It’s also a fabulous party venue, for kids and adults alike. At R30 for kids and R40 for adults it also meets our R50 budget 🙂

The Johannesburg Planetarium

The Planetarium is an age old favourite in Joburg, for both kids and adults alike! Its fun, educational and what kid doesn’t like to learn about planets and space? There is a show catered for younger kids called “space travel” which follows Thomas the astronomer in his “giant rocket”. Entry is from R40. Call 011 717 1390 for more info.

The Johannesburg Art Gallery

Ever considered taking the kids to an art gallery? The Johannesburg Art Gallery often referred to as JAG, is located in the centre of Joubert Park in downtown Johannesburg. The building is architecturally beautiful, and it houses one of the biggest art collections in the country. It offers heaps of art and history and entrance is completely free. It’s a little neglected, but as with all places in Gauteng, the more we support these historical gems, the more we can contribute to their longevity. They are child friendly and offer art classes on a Saturday. We have ubered there in the past, which I would recommend as its downtown city centre.


Pushing this one into it, JUST. Children are R40 over 3 years of age, so that just makes the mark, but adults are R60. If you haven’t heard of the Sci-Bono centre you may have been living under a rock 🙂 It’s the perfect outing for rainy days or an educational morning. It’s a state-of-the-art interactive science and technology centre where kids — big and small — will learn to love science. They run various programs, with a specific focus on holidays too so phone in beforehand to see what they have on offer! Call 011 639 8400 for more info.

Wits Art Museum

The Wits Art Museum has won a number of awards and is situated in Braamfontein. It houses the biggest collection of African Art from all across the continent. I have found them to be hugely child friendly and the exhibitions kept the boys interest. Admission is free and they are open from Tuesdays to Saturdays.

Visit to the fire station

With a little bit of pre-planning this is one activity your kids will remember for a long long time. Our favourites include Sandton and Lonehill fire stations, Lonehill even has a fab play area and the firemen and women are always very accommodating. Sadly, Lonehill hasn’t had an operational truck for quite sometime though, but hopefully that should be restored soon and if you go in a large enough group they can somtimes “borrow” one from a neighbouring station.

Parks and Outdoors

Relax at Zoo Lake

Zoo Lake will always be a firm favourite for lazing under the shady trees, with kids kicking a ball around you and the smell of braai’s filling the air. Feed the ducks (careful, they bombard you), or ride your bikes on the paved paths. For a small fee you can even rent a canoe and have fun splashing about on the water.

Take advantage of the awesome play area at Delta Park

The first Joburg park we fell in love with after coming back from Cape Town. Delta Park has the best (in my opinion), kiddies play area and several walking trails to explore. Its HUGE and it even has an awesome environmental center which is open from Monday to Friday where kids from Grade R through to Grade 11 can learn about the environment.

Feed the ducks at Emmarentia Dam

One of our favourite places for a Sunday stroll. Visit the botanical gardens, take along a canoe for a paddle or bring along some bread to feed the ducks. There is always something happening at the park and you would probably catch a music show for free as well.

Go for a Hike in a Nature Reserve

Put on your walking shoes and head to Kloofendal or Klipriviersberg nature reserves in Johannesburg. You may want to go in a slightly larger crowd, but we have done Klipriviersberg a few times and always felt perfectly safe. You will be amazed at the amount of wildlife you can spot along the way! Hennops

Wonderboom Nature Reserve
Have you ever seen a 1000-year old tree? This gem is between Pretoria and Magaliesburg and is open from 7am up until 4pm daily. The Wonderboom fig tree spans over 50 meters wide and is truly a sight not to be missed! R37 gets adults in and between R13 and R21 for kids age dependent. Take a hike to try and find the waterfall or see how many Zebra and Impala you can spot along the way.

Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens

Get back to nature by visiting this glorious garden in the west of Johannesburg. Home to a “insta-famour” waterfall, a pair of breeding Verreaux’s eagles, hiking trails and picnic spots there’s no shortage of stuff to keep the kids busy. Kids get in for R15 (if you’re under 6 it’s free) and adults are charged R40. They often have family events on so hop onto the facebook page to keen an eye on up coming events.

Junior Traffic Center – Fontainebleau

The amount of fun we have had here is priceless and I have held two birthday parties there personally, and have attended many more. The centre can be visited by anyone, we tend to get a group of people together and go and take picnic blankets while the kids ride their bikes around. It has small roads, stop signs, circles and sharp corners where children can ride bicycles and tricycles to learn the laws of the road. Its best to pop by beforehand to get a visit booked. The best part is its absolutely free, even birthday parties!

Rand Society of Model Engineers

Open the first and third Sundays of each month, this requires a little pre planning but absolutely worth it. Entrance is free and train rides are from R10 each. Take a picnic blanket and enjoy a day out with the family with the kids marvelling at how trains work. If you’re in Pretoria, Centurion has one as well, and is open every Sunday from 10am. The scenery is beautiful!

Animal Interactions

Bunny Hop Bunny Haven

Recently re-opened, its a sanctuary for small farm animals and houses over 200 animals, mainly bunnies, rescued from across Johannesburg. R40 per adult and R30 per child.

Irene Dairy Farm

Entrance and strolling around the farm are free. If may decide to have a delicious scone at the restaurant or purchase fresh produce from the Deli, but for a beautiful scenic walk and a chance to see cows being milked or feed the swans, its free! You aren’t allowed to take in a picnic blanket or any food/drink but it’s a beautiful family morning out and great to get back into nature.

Public swimming pools

Believe it or not, Joburg still has a few public swimming pools that are relatively well maintained and good to swim at. The entrance fee is minimal, literally like R12 per person. Our favourites are Linden (which is heated and indoor, can you say winter swimming?), and Zoo Lake (You can pack a picnic and sit on the grass), but I believe Parkhurst and Roosevelt Park are also well maintained. They are perfect for larger playdates!

Public Libraries

Yup, we have done these to and you will be surprised by some of the activities planned for kids, especially during the holidays. Our favourites includes Olivedale and Randburg. Across these March/April holidays you can expect activities like an Easter egg hunt and craft at Parkview, Blackheath is hosting an Easter Story Time and across Johannesburg the Libraries will deliver 30-minute puppet shows. Our local Rivonia library hosts a story hour on a Thursday at 3pm. So, select your closest one and phone ahead to see if they have anything planned!

Shopping Malls

What? How on earth are shopping malls free? Well in terms of entertainment you’d be surprised. Across the holidays most of Gauteng’s major malls have some sort of entertainment available for kids. Mall of Africa, Sandton City and Cradlestone Mall often have holiday specific entertainment just do a quick google search. In Sandton we have seen Paw Patrol Live, Shimmer and Shine on stage and even the Nutcracker live. Cradlestone currently has a “Space Wonder” exhibition on where your little ones can see a “Space Chamber”, check out a couple of robots, or play on an inflatable UFO Space Ship. Last year we checked out their jungle wonderland as well as the Dinosaur Exhibition.

So there you have it. There is quite a lot to do in terms of activities that fall under R50 around Gauteng. Some just require a little more forward planning and thought but are well well worth the effort. Id love to hear your thoughts if you have gone to any of the places or if you know of anymore? Please leave a comment below xxx

Sliding Into Fun With Ster-Kinekor’s New Kiddies Cinema

Sliding Into Fun With Ster-Kinekor’s New Kiddies Cinema

Sandton City has launched its new family fun level and its made such a huge difference. My issue with Sandton was that it was never really “kid friendly”, Joburg still has a lot to learn in comparison to Cape Town with our Malls here. The shopping centre has launched a new area of the mall being dedicated to family fun, entertainment and food. With it comes a freshly revamped cinema complex, which boasts the second kids’ cinema in the country (the first being in East Rand Mall) additional luxurious Cine Prestige 3D cinemas with their own VIP Lounge area and exclusive catering offers.

We were invited to a movie at the newly revamped Ster-Kinekor Cinema in Sandton this past weekend. The new layout has an express counter as well as 15 self service terminals where you can not only book your ticket, but order your catering combo as well! This reduces queuing time hugely, perfect for parents not wanting to stand in long lines.

This was the boys very first movie and we were all excited to be a part of the experience. Aadam kept asking me today if we could “pulllleeeeease go to the movies again”. If you’re planning on watching a Kids Movie, there’s an entire “waiting area” to keep little ones busy, with tables filled with colouring pages,  PS4 gaming stations and its very own  snack kiosk section. We watched Sherlock Gnomes which releases in South African on May 11th – Sherlock Gnomes comes together with Garden gnomes, Gnomeo & Juliet, to investigate the mysterious disappearance of other garden ornaments across London.

While the movie  catered to mum and dads sense of humor a little more, the movie house itself is a kids playground, literally. With a slide going down one side of the mall ending with a ball pit, the kids got to slide down the length of the movie house before the show started. There were squeals of delight as they ran up the stairs and slid down the slide again and again, and again! I was a little shocked that they actually sat through the whole movie. The Cinema has Bean bag chairs up in the front for kids, and thankfully, normal comfy leather seats for mum and dad at the back.

We started off the day by sliding into Hamley’s World and then Slid into the movies as well. It was such fun! Almost makes up for the lack of play area that Sandton has always had. After the movies we headed to Hamley’s World (the first ever in Southern Africa), where the boys raced some remote bumper cars and took a trip in a Hot Wheels 3D experience.

The new “family friendly” level in Sandton comes complete with a Halaal Spur, finally one in Joburg with a decent sized play area for the kids. As much as I love Rosebank, the play area in the Spur is just far too small.

Thank you Ster Kinekor for a fun filled morning! I have a feeling this has started something and we will be back many many more times. The good news is, if your are on Discovery Vitality, your child can watch movies for free before 7pm at Ster-Kinekor Cinemas (under the age of 18). Find out more by visiting  www.sterkinekor.com or download the SK App on your smartphone.


Disclaimer – We received free movie tickets for this event, but all opinions are my own.