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Posted on: Monday, 5 April 2010

5 top spots with kids in Cape Town

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Bugz kiddies play park

Bugz kiddies play park

Cape Town, with its focus on the great outdoors, is seldom short of places to which you can take your children – beaches, walks, picnic spots abound – but there are times when the more formal, child-designated spot comes in handy, and a few of these are worth taking note of.

The top five, in no particular order (having gone through no competitive process to reach these pages other than to have gained my approval), are the Barnyard in Tokai, Bugz in Kraaifontein, Deer Park (also known as Rocklands Park) in Oranjezicht, Imhoff Farm in Kommetjie, and Scarecrows in Hout Bay. Most of these are outdoor venues, to accommodate the gorgeous summer weather, and places where parents also get to unwind.

Bugz kiddies play park

An extravaganza of what it is to be child, Bugz includes a huge array of outdoor play and one of the biggest indoor play areas in Cape Town. Situated at the Cape Garden Centre in Kraaifontein, Bugz is a play park full of sandpits, pedal cars, jumping castles, rowing boats, jungle gyms, a train, a water slide, quad bikes, horse riding and paintball (used more frequently by dads than their progeny) it’s a barrage of colourful children’s delights, and a great party venue for children’s birthdays.

The combination of the play park and the garden centre, is, to say the least, a little overwhelming, but if you don’t mind the constant, baleful strains of muzac, the garish use of primary colours, a restaurant that offers food that consists mainly of hamburgers, soft drinks and chips, and a R25 entrance fee per person, then this is the place for you.

The upside
• children love it
• hours of entertainment
• downtime for parents
• pretty bathrooms
The downside
• elevator music
• food that seriously lacks imagination

Website: www.bugzplaypark.co.za
Address: 56 Tarentaal Street, Joostenbergvlakte
Telephone: 021 988 8836
Open Monday to Sunday from 9am – 5pm

Photographs: Bugz kiddies play park

Bugz kiddies play park

Deer Park

Whilst most Capetonians know this as the Deer Park, although there aren’t any deer, the name refers to the Deer Park Café and the road that runs the length of the park, rather than the park, which is known as Rocklands Park. The park is a great play area for children. There is ample amount of shade, great grassy patches on which to sit, the park is fenced in, and there are various jungle gyms and swings to keep little ones amused.

The reason the park is so lovely is that the local neighbourhood has a committee that holds various fundraising events to maintain the climbing structures and creative play equipment. The park is great for birthday parties, and parents can pop up to the restaurant for a takeaway coffee, or a sit-down breakfast.

The upside
• great play venue
• safe, shady and pretty
• plenty of space
The downside
• rarely place at a table at the Deer Park Café
• parking

Address: 2 Deer Park Avenue, Vredehoek
Telephone: Deer Park Café – 021 462 6311

Imhoff Farm

It might be a bit of a drive, but certainly for locals Imhoff Farm provides a wonderful, rural style venue for children, whilst adults have a series of shops and restaurants to choose from. There are two main play areas for children – a series of jungle gyms and swings in the sweeping gardens of Blue Water Café, with some of the most beautiful views over Long Beach, and another play area in the garden of the Free Range Restaurant that is associated with the Free Range Farm shop (full of great goodies).

Over and above these obviously parent-friendly spots, where parents and friends can easily swop stories whilst children play largely unhindered, there is also the Higgeldy Piggeldy animal farm. For a minor fee, children get to wander in amongst farm animals that include goats, pigs, sheep, ducks, geese, guinea pigs, a pony called Piccadilly, and a host of peacocks. Most of these have free range and respond particularly well to a goody bag or a carrot. Oh, and there are also camel rides.

The upside
• wonderful venue, loads to do
• good food at both venues
• enough activities, shops and events to make a morning or afternoon of it
The downside
• service at the Free Range restaurant

Photographs: Imhoff Farm

Imhoff Farm

Scarecrows

This is a great combination of play area, outdoor seating and a restaurant. The coffee shop and restaurant provide good food, it’s a great venue for parties and gatherings, and there are two play areas, one in front of the restaurant and one behind in a large open playground.

Life-sized scarecrows litter the entrance passage, there are swings, jungle gyms, coin-operated rides (not always my favourite, but there you go), teepees, and generally a great spot in which kids can amuse themselves whilst their parents and friends catch up for five minutes. In winter there’s a roaring fire and a resident cat, although be careful, as she tends to be rather stroppy. Word has it that if you bring your own dish along, they fill it with a ready meal for that evening…

The upside
• beautiful views, good food
• great play area for children
• great birthday venue
the downside
• can get really hot in the back play area, so come armed with hats and sunscreen

Address: 2958 Dorman Way, Hout Bay
Telephone: 021 790-0841

The Barnyard (Unfortunately this is now closed)

This is a constantly buzzing, effortlessly easy to use venue where your children can immediately enter into a range of activities that include playing in a huge, shady sandpit, swaying on swings and jungle gyms, or feeding any number of farm animals kept in pens on the periphery of the venue. That it lies in a particularly pretty setting, just beyond the Steenberg Golf Estate, vineyards sweeping up the hills behind it, definitely helps.

Parents can partake in typical farmhouse food and any number of drinks, smoothies and muffins whilst drinking in the views, so it at once fulfills the requirement of being out of doors and in touch with nature, without losing its kiddy appeal.

Other attractions include animal petting, pony rides, and a jumping castle (although this happens sporadically). The chickens get to wander in amongst visitors quite happily, but the rest of the birds, tortoises, rabbits, goats and geese are in pens, large enough not to offend. It’s also a popular venue for parties.

The upside
• great for southern suburbs’ moms
• beautiful venue, great views
• plenty of space and activities for children
• extra long opening hours between Wednesday and Saturday
The downside
• parking!
• the service isn’t always what it could be
• the food could benefit from a little more imagination

Address: 4 Steenberg Road, Tokai
Telephone: 021 712-6934
Open: Sun–Tues 8am-5pm, Wed-Sat 9am – 7.30pm

Photographs: The Barnyard, Tokai

The Barnyard

 


Other spots worth a mention:
• The Range, in Tokai
• Stodels Nurseries in Bellville and Milnerton
• Noordhoek Farm Village

“Kid Friendly” Links:
Family Entertainment in Cape Town
Cape Town Family Friendly Accommodation

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Wanda Coustas

About 

Wanda Coustas has written in one form or another for 10 years, seven of them as a copyblogger. She has travelled the Western Cape extensively and the rest of the country in protracted road trips that have given her both joy and an ongoing relish for experiencing what she writes about first-hand. She is a trained opera singer, poet, eurythmy dancer, philosopher, and bee whisperer. And has become, from necessity, something of a whizz at preparing food that incorporates ingredients from her husband's organic vegetable garden.

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What Others are Saying

5 comments about 5 top spots with kids in Cape Town
  1. February 2nd, 2010 at 14:47
    Brett Gage says:

    This makes me want to visit South Africa. My family and I love to travel and as I learn more about South Africa, I can see that it is a lovely place. I suppose this is the warmer part of the year, which may make for a nice winter vacation.

  2. May 19th, 2010 at 08:26
    Massimo says:

    just a note: from the end of May 2010 Massimo’s Pizza Club will NOT be anymore at Scarecrows. we will move to a new locatio to be announced soon. Remember, from June 2010 we will not be responsible for the food served in the evening at Scarecrows.

  3. September 15th, 2010 at 13:51
    Andy says:

    I thought I share with all the readers that there’s another exciting Indoor as well as Outdoor Play and Activity Centre in Cape Town, Southern Suburbs: Planet Kids
    Planet Kids is the first Inclusive Play and Activity Centre in South Africa: we cater and care for children with disabilities as well.
    For more info please check our homepage, email or call us on (021) 788 3070

  4. March 3rd, 2012 at 00:16
    Linda says:

    Wow! These look really great places for families to go. I like Andy’s comment about the play centre with something for children with disabilities too.

  5. October 15th, 2012 at 20:38
    Carl Morris says:

    Would love you to add Waterworld Strand on strand beach front to things to do for families and Children in the cape area. We have Waterslides, Adventure play park, Kiddies waterpark and play area, coffee shop and pizzas right next to the beach protected from the wind with solar heated pools.