With an amazing woosh the December holidays have landed on us once again. Time to look at keeping youngsters busy and adults sane this year-end.
Family and children’s theatre
Goggas at the National Children’s Theatre, Parktown
There’s a fair bit of theatre for youngsters. Who can resist Antony the ant who helps Lady Caroline the butterfly find her way home to England? During this journey they meet Lola the ladybird, Connie the Chameleon and stick insects Twiggy and Leafy and lots more besides. It’s a musical with a feel-good message about friendship and responsibility. And for adults there are pop deluxe renditions of the likes of Mango Groove’s Special Star and Johnny Clegg’s Scatterling of Africa !
Beauty and the Beast, People’s Theatre, Braamfontein
Although the story and characters are well known and don’t need much introduction, the new songs gives this a contemporary and local feel.
And for slightly older children there is Dickens’ Christmas Carol at Pieter Toerien Studio Theatre Monte Casino.
Monte Casino is not my stamping ground but I take my grandsons to the Little Maestros quarterly events. The next Little Maestros concert is on Saturday 8th December at 10 am. These outings always have a familiar routine of reading books in Skoobs, checking out the fountains and riding the escalators (Trevor Noah’s skit on the Zambian escalators always comes to mind!). Apart from these small pleasures at Monte Casino, there is often excellent children’s theatre – Peter and the Wolf was one example. And the family Christmas classic: Dickens’ Christmas Carol, is sure to be another. There are shows from Wednesday to Saturday at 7.30 and Saturday at 4 and Sunday at 3.
And of course there’s the annual Panto: Snow White at the Joburg Theatre
Janice Honeyman never fails to entertain adults and youngster alike. This year it’s Snow White (Janice’s first panto ever) with the cast of a kind, loveable heroine, a handsome, hunky prince, seven cute dwarfs, a magic mirror and of course the ultimate example of Evil – the wicked Queen Hildegonda.
Dinosaurs IT’S BEEN CANCELLED
All kids are fascinated with dinosaurs: There’s the The Dino Expo at the Rietfontein Nature Reserve in Sandton over the next 2 weekends: 1st and 2nd Dec and 8th and 9th December. However I’ve had VERY mixed feedback about the previous Dino Expos so ask around before you commit to this one. [Also just heard the Three shows a day at 10 am; 12pm and 2pm.
Activities included in the standard entrance ticket
1. Jurassic Tour 1 hour walk
2. Dino Fossil Digging
3. Jumping Castle
4. Dino Coloring
5. Wits University Fossil Display
There are several kids paid activites at R30 activity.
The standard ticket includes staying in the garden for a family picnic.Booking at Checkers, Shoprite and Online Computicket. Tickets sell at R120 per adult; R100 per child and R380 per family.activity.
Things to do for free
The Christmas lights at Melrose Arch are always a win although can one go to Melrose arch without indulging in a Sally Williams icecream!
Take a picnic to the Wilds – it gets better and better. The ponds are now full, there are more sculptures than ever – find the monkeys in the trees; and so many secret paths to follow for amazing adventures.
Indoor Play Area
In addition to the usual outdoor playgrounds, if it’s a rainy day and you are all going stir crazy you can take a turn to Yeesh
In a large warehouse in the Woodmead shopping centre (ample parking) is Yeesh! Fun for Kids. There’s a two level structure for 4 – 12 yr olds with slides, trampoline, jumping castle and soft play obstacles. Best of all each area is supervised by a trained child-minder. There’s a mini version of the large structure for the under 4 yr olds. Plus there’s an area where kids can explore creative activities like pottery or T-shirt painting, sand-art and play dough. All this comes at a price though: R35 per child under 1 per hour and 1-12 year olds R65 per child per hour.
At the Glitter Pot in the Free Range Lifestyle centre on Witkoppen Road, kids can choose an object to decorate (reasonable pricing with costs depending on the item chosen). The Glitter Pot (which also has mosaicing and paint activities) is open Monday to Friday 8.30 to 4.30 and Saturday and Sunday 9 to 5.
And for aspirant bakers, Crumb and Cream at Illovo Junction, cnr Oxford Road & Corlett Drive is a great activity. At only R50 per child for loads of fun and a box of decorated biscuits to take home this is a real win. Crumb and Cream is open daily 081 343 2761
Child friendly restaurants
Major adventure for teenagers: Joxi X Action Centre and PwC Bike Park
And for the really adventurous near- and young-teens there’s the major outdoor action centre JoziX on the Cnr Main & Sloane street. Roll downhill in a giant transparent ball – sounds as terrifying as bungee jumping off Soweto Towers; go off-road go-karting; play paintball with bows and arrows; swing on trapezes and walk tight ropes. And generally work off all excess energy!
Nearby is PwC’s bike park at 1A Libertas Street & off Sloane Street, Bryanston which comprises 20 hectares of land with 13km of trails. You can take your own bike or rent one; and there are qualified instructors on hand. Plus there is a kids’ trail for the littlies (as well as jungle gyms and jumping castles). And there’s a restaurant on-site which also sells braai packs. The cost per day are R80 for an adult rider; R60 for under 15; and R20 for a trail runner and spectator.
And in case this isn’t enough choice check our website as well JoziKids . And although previous blogs often include information on events that have passed, many list permanent places to visit and ongoing things to do to keep kids busy and active. See: