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Five things to do with kids in Johannesburg over the holidays

  • 15 December 2016 | Sue Blaine

Sci-Bono uses interactive exhibits to teach kids about science. (Image: City Sightseeing) 

The summer holiday has begun and it’s fun, fun, fun all the way to January. Whether you are enjoying a staycation at home in Johannesburg or are here visiting family or friends, here are a few ideas on what to with your children over the Christmas holidays.

Acrobranch

This web of treetop obstacle courses in Melrose is highly rated on TripAdvisor and fun for the whole family. Test your strength, but not too much – this can be done by anyone who is reasonably fit and doesn’t suffer from vertigo.

Safety is paramount at Acrobranch – all courses are built to European standards and there are routes tailored for kids, and others for teens and parents. There are some pretty cool zip lines to finish off a morning’s fun.

Address: James & Ethel Grey Park, Melrose Street, Johannesburg

Contact: +27 (0)86 999 0369 for all branches

Website: acrobranch.co.za

Johannesburg Zoo

This 55-hectare zoo in the heart of Johannesburg has been a roaring success since it was opened in 1904. There are more than 320 species of animals and reptiles in this internationally acclaimed oasis in the city.

Wander among animals from near and far, find a shady spot and have a picnic, while the kids run around in the sun or catch a guided tour on one of the large open-air vehicles. You can even camp overnight, but you do have to book for a group of more than 25.

Address: Jan Smuts Drive and Upper Park Road, Parkview, Johannesburg (stop 3 on our Green Tour)

Contact: +27 (0)11 646 2000

Website: www.jhbzoo.org.za

See these beautiful lions at the zoo. (Image: Johannesburg Zoo)

Sci-Bono Discovery Centre

Indoor fireworks and a life-size robot feature in this December’s showcase of laser technology by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research at Johannesburg’s children’s science centre. There are also two science shows daily: Kaboom, exploring physics and chemistry, and the Science of Plastic, looking at how to make snow, elephant’s toothpaste and a witches’ brew.

When that’s over you can wander the halls, watching your kids learning science while having fun with all the interactive exhibits. There are almost 400 of them, all designed to teach through experience.

This is one place your children don’t need to keep their hands behind their backs; they are actively encouraged to touch, press, push and play, all in the name of science.

Address: Miriam Makeba and Helen Joseph St, Newtown, Johannesburg (stop 14 on our Red City Tour)

Contact: +27 (0)11 639 8400

Website: www.sci-bono.co.za

Gold Reef City Theme Park

Have a huge amount of fun while catching a bit of history at Johannesburg’s amusement park, just 8km from the old city centre. Located on a gold mine that closed in 1971, the park is themed around the 1886 gold rush that gave birth to the city. Catch water rides, roller coasters or the Tower of Terror.

There are lots of places to have lunch, and everyone can catch a spot of history at the museum. All of this is within walking distance of the world-famous Apartheid Museum, so those with older kids or teens could make a day of it and do them both.

Address: Northern Parkway & Data Crescent, Johannesburg (next to the Apartheid Museum, which is stop 13 on our Red City Tour)

Contact: +27 (0)861 44 77 44

Website: www.tsogosun.com/gold-reef-city-casino/theme-park

Montecasino Bird Gardens

There are more than 60 bird species, plus reptiles and small mammals to see, at this lovely complex in the north of Johannesburg. Stroll along the wooden walkways of the complex to catch a glimpse of the endangered Wattled Cranes, black-robed Southern Ground Hornbills, Scarlet Ibises or the small antelope that wander freely in the garden.

Settle down in an open-air amphitheatre to watch the Flight of Fantasy show, which run twice daily in the week and three times a day over the weekend. There are refreshments available at the Flamingo Cafe, or at one of the many restaurants in Montecasino itself.

Address: 1 Montecasino Boulevard, Fourways, Johannesburg

Contact: +27 (0)11 511 1864

Website: www.tsogosun.com/entertainment/bird-gardens