Jozi has much on offer to add to kids’ holiday excitement – wonderful activities, fun places to visit and great shows to see. The playground at Delta Park is always a firm favourite with active youngsters, and there’s plenty of space to take a picnic and relax in the winter sun. Other special places for picnics are the Walter Sisulu Gardens (where you can walk to the waterfall and see the black eagles) and Emmarentia Dam. The Zoo Lake is always a win if you can keep the gaggle of geese from taking bread out of toddlers’ hands!
There are 2 excellent family-friendly places to eat near Liz at Lancaster: Delta Café borders on Delta Park and A J’s in the Park at the tennis club offers ‘Great affordable food, friendly service & is the perfect place for kids’. They’ve got a jumping castle, jungle gym, trampoline & childminders to keep an eye on children whilst they play. Kids are also able to make their own pizzas. Now how perfect does all that sound? And like DeltaCafé, AJ’s is only a few blocks from Liz at Lancaster at 33 Abercorn Ave. Serendipity is a play centre at 48 Keyes Ave Rosebank, which has nice staff but is getting a little tired around the edges.
There’s an arts and crafts studio, a dress up area an outside activity area with trampolines, houses, sandpit, climbing equipment, scooters, etc. And best of all there are fabulous people who help manage the overseeing of children, so it’s even possible to have a relaxed cup of coffee and a toasted sandwich (There’s also a very good kids’ menu). Closed Mondays R45 per child.
Crazy Farmkids at 9 Daniel St Randburg is an unpretentious property with chickens, ducks, rabbits, a pony and an emu (who is quite an arbitrary companion!). There’s a huge sandpit and playground equipment. And best of all it’s ony R20 entrance. You can take your own picnic too – lots of tables. Very pleasant low-key outing.
I have just heard about the Kinder Theatre at 39a Greenhill Rd in Emmarentia which seems to have amazing resources including wonderful puppet shows during the school holidays. So am definitely going to give it a try with my grandsons
June Saturday performances at 10; Tuesdays at 3.30
Tues 7th The Princess, the Knight and the Unicorn; Sat 11th Goldilocks and the 3 bears ; Tues 14th Greenosaurus and Fairy Wings; Thurs 16th 10 Darin the Magician and at 11 Big Dreams; Sat 18th Kallie the Clown; Tues 21st Dream Big A story about believing in yourself; Fri 24th Book reading: Nombulelo and the Moth by Susie Dinneen, read by the author; Sat 25th Dream Big; Tues 28th Professor Bronkenhorst and his amazing Robot ZED, Machteld van Nieuwkerk makes children laugh with her beautiful marionettes. For ages from 3 years R55 pp Contact Ruth or Rita Tel: 011 646 0870
Another favourite for +3 year olds is the monthly concerts run by Little Maestros at the Foxwood Theatre in Hougton . Set in a beautiful garden with ponds and paths, swans and ducks, there’s a small theatre where the Little Maestro programme introduces children to different musical instruments. Coming up on 21st June at 3 pm is Hello Cello. My grandchildren love being able to see the instruments up close and of course have a turn at playing them. Marimbas, piano, flute and violin have been a great success so far. Venue address: 13, 5th St, Houghton. You can get tickets at the door (R100 for adult and R20 for Children) or through email@example.com
There is lots of children’s theatre too: Roald Dahl’s George’s Marvelous Medicine shows at the National Children’s Theatre in Parktown (3 Junction Ave) from 7th June to 17th July. Tickets R90 for cushions, R110 for chairs, children 1-3 sitting on lap R50.
From 6 June to 31st July you can see Disney’s Peter Pan at the People’s Theatre in Braamfontein (attached to the Joburg Theatre Cnr Loveday/Hoofd St). There are shows are at 10.30 and 2 pm and tickets vary from R85-R125.
You can make a trip to Gold Reef City and apart from the funfair you can also see Shrek the Musical at the Lyric Theatre from 24/06 – 17/07 There are matinees at 2.30 Wednesdays to Sundays and shows at 19.30 on Friday and Saturday. Tickets are R150 – R290. But no children under 4.
Emperor’s Palace is not a venue of my choice but Dora’s Pirate Adventure is showing for 5 days (5th to 12th July) at the Theatre of the Marcellus. This outing will set you back a whack with tickets from R250 per person. But enquire about family discounts. There are 3 shows a day at 10 am, 2 and 6 pm.
Also not cheap but a real treat for slightly older kids is Disney on Ice at the Pro-Dome: 24/06 – 03/07 with tickets from R175-R475. Last year we had several families from around the country stay at Liz at Lancaster when they came to see the show. There was lots of frenzied girlish excitement at breakfast with little pink tutus, wands and princess crowns!
And of course the wonderful ‘old faithful’ Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour is back for another rerun at Monte Casino Pieter Toerien Theatre. I still love the music – cheesy and dated as it might be – and anything Johnathan Roxmouth is in is bound to be superb. So although I saw the play several times as a youngster, I might just persuade somebody to come with me to see it again! Tickets are R100 to R350.
Also at Monte Casino at the Teatro, is Slava’s SnowShow from 26th July to 14th August. Sounds like good escapist stuff which we perhaps need at the moment -described by London’s Daily Telegraph as touching ‘the heart as well as the funny bone. Full of laughter and joy’. There are matinees on Saturdays at 3 and Sundays at 2 and evening shows Tuesday to Sunday at 8. Tickets range from R175 to R350 (slightly more for the matinees) with family packages available. It’s recommended that children should be 8 and over.
Despite being very Americanized (well it is after all a Disney production), the 3D special effects of The Jungle Book are apparently amazing. But children have to be 10 or over for entrance.
For older kids there are some wonderful exhibitions: Gateway to Space at the Sandton Convention Centre 1st June – 31st July with tickets from R 120-180; Body Worlds at Sci-Bono Discovery Centre Newtown until 30th June, tickets are R140 for adults, R110 for seniors and students, R90 for youngsters between 6 and 17 and R400 for a family booking. Wildlife Photography of The Year (from London’s Natural History Museum) runs until 31st July at Fox Junction 1 Main St. in Ferreirastown. Entrance R50 with children free.
And finally there are lots of activities which are open all year round: canopy swinging in Melrose www.acrobranch.co.za; skiing and snowboarding at www.avalanche.co.za in Cedar Square, Fourways, putt-putt Fourways Mall and Brightwater Commons at www.adventuregolf.co.za; iceskating at Northgate Ice Arena; mosaicking workshops at www.seedpodstudio.co.za to name but a few things to do.
And if this isn’t enough you can always check out http://www.jozikids.co.za Great website !
Enjoy the holidays!