Ramp-friendly venues for kids – The Parks, Johannesburg

Children’s outings with a difference: June/July and August 2017

It’s holiday time again and I have a little person in my life who is going to have an operation on both his feet.  He will be in casts and will not be allowed any weight-bearing for 6 weeks. That’s a long time for parents and child. So this blog is all about things to do and places to go with young children who are not able to be physically active either post-operatively or longer term. I will become an expert on ramp-accessible activities in The Parks area of Joburg. 

Children’s Theatre  

National Children’s Theatre

Mr Toad at the National Children’s Theatre

As always there are several plays on during June/July and August.   Mr Toad, directed by Francois Theron is a fun version of  Kenneth Grahame’s ever-popular Wind in the Willows.  It’s on from 20th  June to 23rd July at  the National Children’s Theatre 3 Junction Ave Parktown. Shows at 10.30 and 2.30. To access directly without stairs, go to the back entrance which leads directly into the theatre.  Also on at  3  Junction Ave but at the smaller Wynnstay Theatre for one performance only on  1 July at 2 pm is Professor know it all by Swannie Swanevelder. Tickets R70.     

Look who is coming for tea Wynnstay Theatre

From 18th July to 20th August at the Wynnstay Theatre is David Wood’s adaptation of  Look who is coming to tea (based on the book by Judith Kerr).   Shows are daily at 10:00 and 14:00 Ticket Prices: R90.00 seats & R80.00 cushions.   Note though, the Wynnstay theatre is up a flight of narrow steep internal stairs. But there will always be a staff member who will help with getting some-one up the stairs.  For bookings call the theatre on 011 484 1584/5 or bookings@nctt.org.za

People’s Theatre at Joburg Theatre

From 10th June until 23rd July at the People’s Theatre at the Joburg Theatre  is the firm favourite Disney Cinderella, directed by Jill Girard & Keith Smith. Shows at 10:30 & 14:30.  Tickets are a hefty R142 if booked through Webtickets.  But if booked directly through the theatre (011 403 2340) the tickets are R130. And even better if the child is a People’s Theatre Kids Club member the ticket is R90 and the accompanying person pays R115.   Kids Club Membership costs R120 per year so with at least 4 productions a year, it’s a saving.  

Kinderspiel Theatre Emmarentia

And at the Kinderspiel Theatre in Emmarentia  there are several puppet shows , story telling sessions and action theatre (R60 per ticket).

  • Friday 16th at 10am  Khanyisa tells the Story of Vuyo & Mvolfo, two boys always in trouble until one day something happened ….  
  • Sat, 17th June at 10am – The Three Billy Goats Gruff the traditional story of the Three Billy Goats, where the bully gets his just deserves!
  • Tues, 20th June at 3.30pm – Veronica’s Monster Who is scared of monsters? In the cupboard, under the bed – no way, Veronica chases them away. A lively physical and shadow theatre performance, written and directed by Avril Cummins
  • Sat 24th June at 10am – The Musicians of Bremen a classic tale about early mass action, if you are unhappy – change it, go and look for your luck somewhere else. Told with puppets by Margaret Auerbach
  • Tues 27th of June at 3.30pm – African Folk Tale Khamba & the tree with no Name Adapted for puppets, this is a delightful African folk tale, about Khamba the tortoise, the mysterious Tree with no Name and African animals who trek through the bushveld to consult with the wise Elephant. A funny and heart-warming story about how kindness and consideration win the day, performed by Margaret Auerbach.

To book Email: Kinderspiel@telkomsa.net or phone 011 646 0780

Storytelling in Libraries

Source: Jozikids.co.za

There’s more story telling at various libraries in the Parks Region:  

  • Mondays at 3.30 at Parkhurst (cnr 5th Ave and 13th Sts 011 788 4510) and Parkview (cnr Tyrone and Athlone Ave 011 646 3375)
  • Wednesdays 3.30 at Linden (32 6th St 011 888 5685) and Emmarentia Cnr Barry Hertzog and Greenhill Rd  011 646 5821  
  • Saturday mornings at 10 at the Sandton Library in Mandela Square

And libraries are the most wonderful places to hang out and browse books. Become a member and encourage little ones to take out books.

Museums for children

There are several museums which are of interest to young children, all of which are mostly accessible via ramps and lifts (James Hall Museum has a lift glitch!) 

At GBP 2.95, you can see this is a family heirloom!
Source: James Hall Museum of Transport









has all sorts of ‘cars and trucks and things that go’ (go to the library beforehand and take out Richard Scarry’s book by that name!)   Cnr Reynolds and Rosettenville Rd,  Pioneer Park, La Rochelle, Rosettenville. Closed Mondays. The lift to the second floor is apparently not working but I was assured that there would always be people to assist anybody who needed help up stairs.

Several other museums are probably suitable for youngsters from 5 years.

  • These include the Origins Centre at Wits  …. 
    Source: Jozikids.co.za

    where kids can explore and learn about archaeology and there’s even a section with dinosaurs. Cost: Adults R80 and children R40. There’s also a children’s menu at Café Fino. 
  • At R20 per adult and R10 per child the Sci-bono Discovery Centre in Newtown is excellent value. From LEGO pits and mini-construction sites to understanding the principles of electromagnetism, there are lots of interactive displays in this museum. Also fully ramped or lift accessible.  
  • Although I am not a fan of anything that glorifies war, perhaps one can look at the planes and tanks in the Military Museum in Saxonwold in terms of mechanics and history. Although for a little one in plaster casts not being able to climb on the various machines and vehicles might be a bit frustrating?


Monte Casino Bird Park Source: Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse
  • The bird gardens at Monte Casino (although expensive at R70 per adult and  R39 per child) are fully pathed
  • as is the Johannesburg Zoo (also expensive at R80 per adult and R50 per child)
  • and the Zoo Lake (free). Take some bread and feed the ducks … although sadly the ducks often don’t get a look in as it’s the geese who dominate and are very intimidating.  
  • there are also paths at the Emmarentia Botanical Gardens (and no aggressive geese!) as well as the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens 
  • And don’t forget AJ’s in Craighall Park. It’s certainly got lots of uneven ground but there are super friendly staff who will go the extra mile to make little people happy. And there’s a great expanse of flat lawn (will need help down stairs) for a picnic and wheel-chair or stroller races. Take the dogs and they can race too!! 

Arts, craft and music 

  • Color Cafe in Hyde Sqare
    Will it be a piggy bank or an animal mug ?
    Source: Color Cafe

    I’ve been to a baby shower here and it is great fun. You can choose a piece of raw ceramic to paint, or even do a mosaic. Color Cafe supplies the paint, stencils, mosaic tiles and there’s a qualified staff member on hand to help. They cater for all ages so this is a super-cool thing to do with youngsters. Phone on 011 341 0734. I already have my sights set on a colourful piggy bank! 
  • TamTam Kids in Waverley will do afternoon arts and craft classes (they run a play school in the morning.) Phone Tammy on 082 807 7100 to get a quote for your specific request.  
  • Lots of  young kids are fascinated by musical instruments, their sounds and how they work. So in addition to the Little Maestros on the first Saturday of the month there is also the option of going to a Johannesburg Youth Orchestra practice. They have practices on various days but only during school term-time:
    • Wed 4-6 Intermediate strings 
    • Thurs 4.30 -6.30  Intermediate wind  
    • Mon  6-8pm  Senior wind
    • Tues 6-8 pm Symphonic practice 

But phone Yvonne on 011 484 1257 to confirm whether there is a practice or not.  And the venue at the UJ, Bunting Rd Campus (opposite the old gasworks) is wheel-chair friendly. 


It looks as though Despicable Me is going to be opening on 30 June at movie houses.   

So lots to do as always in Joburg for kids and even if you need ramp access.  

For further children’s activities see blog post on Delta Cafe and surrounds 

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One thought on “Ramp-friendly venues for kids – The Parks, Johannesburg

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