Keep the kids happy with these fun red bus adventures

22 December 2015

School’s out – and if you’re wondering what to do with your kids during the summer holidays, look no further. We’ve put together a list of fun hop on, hop off stops to visit in Cape Town and Joburg.

Cape Town

Kids can stroke the starfish and feel the seaweed between their little fingers. Photo courtesy of flowcomm

Two Oceans Aquarium (V&A Waterfront, stop 1)

Kids can explore the exhibits and learn about marine life; enjoy a healthy lunch and have fun in the play area at the Shoreline Cafe; learn more about the adorable penguins in the Penguin Encounter and get to actually feel the starfish, sea anemones and seaweed at the Touch Pool. The AfriSam Children’s Play Centre is also a hive of excitement and energy that will keep your little ones entertained for hours.

The aquarium has extended its trading hours from 21 December 2015 to 8 January 2016, and will be open from 9am to 8pm (last ticket sold at 7.30pm). It will also host themed kids’ parties, movie nights, sleepovers (for members only), and an art and crafts workshop upon request.

Tip: City Sightseeing ticket-holders receive a discount at the Two Oceans Aquarium. Adults get R10 off, and children R5, on entry.

Green Point Urban Park. Photo courtesy of zoopenguinwatcher

Green Point Urban Park (stop 12)

There are a host of inexpensive activities available along Beach Road. Kids can find their way through “the world's third-largest maze”, enjoy a round of mini golf at the putt-putt course, dip their toes into the many rock pools below the beachside pathway, and enjoy the swings and slides on the vast grassy lawns.

Photo courtesy of Table Mountain Aerial Cableway

Table Mountain Cableway (stop 7)

The festive season is in full swing at the Cableway, with little ones being treated to activity books during the busy period. On 24 and 25 December 2015, Father Christmas and the Christmas Fairy make a special appearance at the mountain between 11am and noon – with an opportunity for children to have their photograph taken and get delicious sweet treats.And once you’ve made your way to the summit, there’s a special kids’ menu at the Table Mountain Cafe.

Tip: Buy your cableway ticket from a red bus tour office or bus driver, and skip the ticket queue on the mountain. Also, be sure to check the cableway’s website for its operational status and rates.

Kirstenbosch offers sunshine, mountains and abundant flora. Photo courtesy of flowcomm

Kirstenbosch (stop 20)

The Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is the perfect stop for little adventurers – with acres of greenery to explore and let their imaginations run wild. Picnic among the art in the garden, try the guided tours or roam freely among the indigenous plants. Don’t forget about the tree canopy walkway – it’s an absolute must with your kids.

There is ample parking available, and you can bring our own picnic basket or purchase one from Moyo Restaurant or the Kirstenbosch Tea Room.

Tip: City Sightseeing ticket-holders receive a 10% discount on their Moyo Restaurant meal for a spend of over R100.

Stunning and unusual birds will delight tots and teens alike. Photo courtesy of flowcomm

World of Birds (stop 22)

The World of Birds is the largest bird park in Africa with over 3 000 species of birds. A kaleidoscope of colourful birds such as parakeets, flamingos and waterfowl are uniquely presented in more than 100 spacious walk-through aviaries. The bird park also cares for an array of small animals, such as meerkats, squirrels, monkeys and even reptiles.

It is open from 9am to 5pm, 365 days of the year. Carers can tuck into a meal while their kids are adventuring in the playground. To make the best of the visit, plan your day around feeding times and the opening of the Monkey Jungle, when visitors are permitted direct contact with monkeys.

Tip: City Sightseeing ticket-holders receive a R5 discount on entry to the World of Birds.

Johannesburg

Transport mode of yesteryear. Photo courtesy of Danie VDM

James Hall Museum (stop 12)

The largest museum of its kind in South Africa, the James Hall Museum of Transport is an absolute delight for kids of all ages, with its old-world feel and cars, fire engines, penny-farthings, tandem bicycles, ox-drawn carts, steam trains and coaches – some of which date as far as back as  1786.

Entry is free since the museum is a not-for-profit organisation, but donations towards upkeep are welcomed. The museum is open Tuesday to Friday from 9am to 5pm, and from 9am to noon and 1pm to 5pm on weekends, but closed on certain weekends and holidays – consult its website for details.

Tip: Set aside an hour to see all that this museum has to offer.

Discovering the delights of science. Photo courtesy of the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre

Sci-Bono Discovery Centre (stop 14)

The Sci-Bono Discovery Centre is a cutting-edge science centre designed to foster children’s interest in maths, science and technology. Almost all of the 400 permanent exhibits at Sci-Bono are “touchy-feely” displays that encourage feeling, pressing and playing as part of an interactive discovery process.

Open seven days a week, from 9am to 5pm on weekdays and 9.30am to 4.30pm on weekends, including public holidays. Closed on Christmas Day and Good Friday.

Tip: Children aged three to 12 can host science-inspired birthday parties in a special space-themed venue at Sci-Bono.

Children of all ages will enjoy the rides to be had at the Gold Reef City theme park. Photo courtesy of The Puzzler

Gold Reef City Theme Park (next to stop 13)

Face your inner fears as your kids face theirs in a day of fun and thrills at Gold Reef City Theme Park. From the Tower of Terror that drops 40m and propels adult riders at 100km/h, to the kiddies’ Dragon Ride, Balloon Wheel and Carousel, there’s fun in the summer sun for everyone.

For a day’s entertainment, pay R200 per adult and R135 per child – and enjoy as many rides as you like. Open 9am to 5pm daily, except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Tip: Order a photo of your child enjoying their favourite ride and have it made into a key ring or fridge magnet as a memento.