Book a Saturday-night movie on a wine farm, settle on the lush lawns + unpack your picnic
Two Oceans Aquarium is perfect for holiday edu-tainment
One lucky visitor a day stands to win an annual membership for 2021
“My daughter’s favourite place in Cape Town is definitely the Two Oceans Aquarium,” says Lindall Atkins (AKA @nwabisas_little_things), a mother and creative whose Instagram posts are often focused on things she can do with her toddler and family. And like most locals and parents she always returns to the aquarium at the Waterfront, which is open daily. “I can't tell you how many times we've been there. It's too many to count, but each time has been special. Every visit has been filled with wonder and magic.”
COME NOW BEFORE THE RUSH (+OPENING HOURS EXTENDED)
Insiders at the aquarium tell us that there are optimal times to visit – like before the holidays begin, just before the visitors arrive, especially now when the aquarium has strict capacity management in place. The aquarium is the ideal, Covid-safe edu-tainment option for the holidays that fires up the imagination for children aged one to 100.
Another tip is that you can come a little later because the museum is extending its opening hours from 26 December 2020, until 10 January 2021: it will be open daily from 9am-7pm, including on New Year’s Eve.
ONE LUCKY VISITOR PER DAY WINS MEMBERSHIP
From 15-24 December, the aquarium will give away one annual membership daily to a visitor. If you’re not selected, it’s still worth investing in the membership programme.
Costs start at R460 per year, which means that after only two-and-a-half visits, the rest will be free – and you can come as often as you like. Membership is very popular with locals, and besides unlimited visits it also offers bespoke benefits and events exclusive to members.
SHARKS, LUMINOUS JELLIES AND A FAMOUS OCTOPUS
There’s so much to see, so we asked for some pointers. The Save Our Seas Foundation Shark Exhibit – where the planet’s most misunderstood creatures and also endangered glide hypnotically through the water with toothy grins – is a must-see.
The Kelp Forest Exhibit is only one of a few in the world, and showcases our iconic Cape coastal ecosystem with endangered and endemic fish. It’s a swaying, dreamy wonderland through which fish peek.
See jellyfish, amazing invertebrates without a brain or heart. Another invertebrate is the incredible octopus, and one was filmed here for the popular documentary by Craig Foster, My Octopus Teacher.
SEE MORE THAN 8 000 WEIRD AND WONDERFUL SEA CREATURES
Penguins – no-one can ever get enough of these seabirds in tuxedos – are just one of the species visitors can see. There are endangered African and rockhopper penguins. Then there’s the full cast of Finding Nemo (great for selfies) and the delicate, exquisite and endangered Knysna seahorse.
Then there are the creatures from horror movies, the giant spider crab that’s as big as a medium-sized dog, and the hagfish, which has no mouth, eyes or spine – but rows of sharp teeth with which it latches onto sea carrion. And these are just a few of the fascinating species.
NOTE: FULL COVID PRECAUTIONS ARE IN PLACE
In accordance with Covid-19 regulations, visitor capacity of the aquarium is closely managed at all times to ensure ample space for physical distancing at 2m between visitors. Visitors entering and exiting are counted and visitor numbers are restricted to 50% of the aquarium’s public capacity. Mask-wearing is compulsory and hand sanitiser is freely available throughout the building.
The I&J Children’s Play Centre is temporarily closed and there are no education events at present, but the Puppet Stories show takes place at the auditorium, where there is sufficient space for social distancing. Here’s a video of how we are keeping our visitors safe during the pandemic.
Discover more of what Cape Town has to offer
Get up close to the marine life when you learn to dive at The Two Oceans Aquarium.
Seaside views, a sushi bar + more at Barstaurant.
There are lots more reasons to visit the 2 Oceans Aquarium.
We also have bucket loads of things to do with kids.
From secret hideaways and birthday freebies, there’s a treasure trove of free things to do.
And more specifically free and cheap things to do with kids.