Bodyboard down the Oliphants, sleep in a bedouin tent, hike a pristine trail
Cape Town Science Centre in Observatory
“Never tell me the sky’s the limit when there are footprints on the moon”
The Cape Town Science Centre has a new home. Its previous locations have been a bit out of the way, but now it’s centrally located on Main Road in Observatory (close to all forms of public transport). While I was growing up the Science Centre was one of my favourite things to do (and it still is, I discovered after paying it a visit).
When they started the relocation to this new space they had no idea that it was designed by Max Policansky, who was hugely influential in bringing the Modernist style to the city. The Science Centre carefully fixed up the building in a way that left his design elements intact (in compliance with Heritage Western Cape), so now you can enjoy the centre and appreciate some historical architecture while you’re at it.
I paid the newly opened centre a visit and was very impressed. A corridor of brightly coloured walls (which one four-year-old declared to be his favourite thing about the centre) opens out into a massive room full of interactive exhibitions. First up is a train set complete with little people waiting patiently at the mini-station as the trains whizz round the tracks, then it’s on to the giant chess set or the big revolving wheel that people can ride.
Spaceships and Lego
There’s so much to see and do that I have spent a good couple of hours here. Highlights for me included the life-size replica of Mark Shuttleworth’s Soyuz space capsule (have a peek inside – you’ll be amazed that they could fit three people in there) and the room filled with Lego. There’s a mass of colourful pieces to choose from and tables supporting spaceships, houses and towers built by previous visitors.
Next to this is a room you can hire for parties, here adults can set up birthday snacks and cake while the kids run around on the floor – it’s a good option if you can’t quite bear the thought of 30 six-year-olds running around your house. The centre also runs activities during the holidays: think building robots, extracting DNA from onions and competitions to see who can build the tallest tower from spaghetti and marshmallows. Special events during term time will also be run twice a month and themed around events happening in Cape Town. School groups visiting the centre will be given a special rate and will be shown around by a staff member.
It’s not just for kids, the activities range in difficulty and adults will find plenty to interest them too. Evidence of this is the annual memberships, which include science enthusiasts from all age groups. I know I’ll be visiting it again soon.
370B Main Road | Observatory | Cape Town |+27 (0)21 300 3200
Opening times: Monday – Saturday: 9am – 4:30pm
Youth (3 - 18): R 45 pp
Adults: R 45 pp
Pensioners: R 25 pp
Groups (10 or more and must book in advance): R 40 pp
Family Package (4 people): R 160
Annual membership fees:
Unlimited entry to the Centre for a year
Text and photographs by Lindsay Callaghan
If your kids are more into outdoor activities then why not take them geocaching. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter and find us on Facebook and Twitter for more fun things to do in Cape Town.