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Free and Cheap Things to Do with Kids in Cape Town
Fun family-friendly activities for mahala or less than R60
Raising children can be expensive. There are nappies, teeny garments, sticky sweets, mini furniture, toys and school fees to think about, so when it comes to entertainment, parents most likely want to keep costs as low as possible. Of course, this doesn’t mean simply sitting at home – no one wants little tykes climbing up curtains or hanging from walls – but rather finding fun family-friendly activities that don’t burn a hole in the pocket.
And fortunately, such things do actually exist in Cape Town. From gratis options like storytelling sessions at bookshops to very affordable to-dos like crocodile viewing, rose picking and grape juice tasting at wine farms, there are plenty of ways to keep your tiny tots busy while pinching the pennies. If you’re wondering where to find such alternatives, simply take a look below – we’ve carefully compiled an overview of things to do with kids for free or for less than R60 to help you get through the child-rearing phase with your bank balance still more or less intact.
THINGS TO DO WITH KIDS FOR FREE OR LESS THAN R60
TREAT THEM TO GOOD FOOD AND MUSIC AT THE V&A FOOD MARKET
Let’s face it, the V&A Waterfront is the perfect place for a family outing, but it’s not always cheap to eat and play. Or so we thought until we came across the V&A Food Market – a beautiful indoor market that offers 42 vendors serving quality artisanal street food at budget prices, seven days a week. From pizza and burgers to sushi, steak and Indian tapas, the market offers every style and cuisine you can imagine, with prices ranging between R30 and R100 per item. It also offers free live music sessions on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from 1pm-4pm, upstairs. There is also plenty of seating inside and out and even a play gym for the kids outside when the weather is good. The market is conveniently located in the Old Power Station building, next to the Watershed and Aquarium, on the walkway that snakes through all the main outside action on its way to the shopping mall.
Dock Road | V&A Waterfront | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 418 1605
Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome
This world-class digital exhibition combines art and science and is sure to give kids a great learning experience while being thoroughly entertained. This newly upgraded facility showcases productions not only focusing on astronomy but includes exhibitions on anatomy, marine life and more. With the shows’ picture quality having a high resolution of projection (67.1 megapixels), it would feel as if you’re being transported into another dimension.
Prices: Adults (19 years and older): R60; children, students and pensioners: R30
Opening Times: Open everyday: 10am - 5pm; closed on Mondays, Workers’ Day and Christmas Day.
25 Queen Victoria Street | Cape Town City Centre | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 481 3800
Maze World at Imhoff Farm
The new 3D interactive Maze World combines fun and education in one space. Both kids and parents can get lost and revel in the maze while learning about wildlife conservation. The maze is filled with riddles, so just as it is a physically engaging activity, it does well to exercise the brain too!
Opening Hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 10am - 4pm. They are open on public holidays too.
Kommetjie Road | Kommetjie | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 783 4545
If there’s one thing many kids love, it’s getting messy with art supplies. The Clay Cafe is situated in a picturesque setting in Hout Bay where kids can paint a range of ceramics such as bowls, mugs and plates, have it fired, glazed and take home. The venue has wide open lawns and trampolines for a break from all the active creativity. Although a great way to keep the kids occupied, the activity of painting pottery can be quite therapeutic for adults too.
Price: R35pp for the studio fee. The ceramics prices vary, starting from R20 depending on size and shape.
Opening Hours: Open everyday: 9am - 5pm
4080 Main Road | Hout Bay | Cape Town | 076 810 5120
Stellenbosch Toy and Miniature Museum
There’s enough to enchant inquisitive kids for a solid hour or two at this captivating Cape Winelands museum. The affordable, family-friendly venue is home to an assortment of vintage playthings and a wonderland of tiny replicas. While fascinating for children, this gem is also a delight for parents, who can reminisce about their toys from the past and reconnect with a time before technology took over.
Price: R5 for children; R15 for adults.
Opening Hours: Monday– Friday: 9am – 4.30pm; Saturday: 9am – 2pm
Market Street (behind the Information Bureau) | Stellenbosch | +27 (0)79 981 7067 | +27 (0)21 882 8861
Le Bonheur Crocodile Farm
Located just outside Paarl, this family-run farm gives little ones the rare chance to view hundreds of live Nile crocodiles for next to nothing. Le Bonheur runs regular guided tours to view over 1500 of these fascinating, toothy reptiles. Verdant lawns, an outdoor jungle gym and an indoor playpen are also on site for kids to spend the rest of the day in. In essence, it’s the sort of spot you can spend hours at while still keeping all your pennies in your pocket.
Price: R58 for adults; R32 for persons under 18 years old.
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday: 9am – 5pm
Babylonstoren Road | R45 | Simondium | Western Cape | +27 (0)21 863 1142
Gardens Skate Park
This rad kid-friendly skate park offers little ones of all ages hours of mahala entertainment. Though it is also used by more serious professionals training for big competitions, the rink is open to inexperienced little ones too. As it’s well lit and completely fenced in, the arena is safe for younger kids, and there’s also space for adults to stand and watch. Be advised that the park is located right next to a busy intersection.
Price: Entrance to the skate park is free.
Opening Hours: Opening times are flexible, but the park is open to skaters daily from 8am-9pm
Under the Mill Street Bridge (Jutland Avenue Bridge) | Gardens | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 487 2025
Story Time at The Book Lounge
The Book Lounge in Cape Town’s East City offers a delightful event that not only keeps kids entertained, but it also keeps parents’ wallets bulging because it’s entirely free. Taking place every Saturday morning at 11am storytime at The Book Lounge is most appropriate for children older than three but younger than eight, and parental supervision is essential.
Session time: Every Saturday at 11am
71 Roeland Street | East City | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 462 2425
Rose Picking at Chart Farm
Picking your own roses at Wynberg’s charming Chart Farm is a fun activity for children and between November and June every year, the property’s gardens are in full bloom and guests come in large numbers to pick roses of their choice.The farm is also home to a quaint café that looks out over the rolling hills and vineyards of the Constantia Valley and serves delicious treats.
Price: R5.50 per rose picked /R3.50 each on Sundays; there’s no charge for the activity of picking.
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday: 9am – 4:30pm (November to June)
Klaassens Road | Wynberg | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 761 0434
Watch the firing of Signal Hill’s Noon Gun
The daily 12pm blast of the Noon Gun is a sound many Capetonians are accustomed to, and while this is an interesting activity for adults, it’s also very exciting for young kids who’ve likely read stories about thrilling battles featuring such old-school artillery. View the noon firing, a few meters away from the detonation, for free and be treated to a brief talk beforehand that explains the history of one of the Mother City’s oldest traditions.
Firing Time: Monday – Saturday: 12pm (arrive at 11:30am for the talk and build-up)
Lion Battery | Military Road (follow signs from corner of Bloem and Buitengracht streets) | Bo-Kaap | Cape Town
An affordable day trip option is Intaka Island, a 16-hectare wetland and nature reserve a short drive from Cape Town’s CBD. You can either do a guided stroll along the 2km walkway that snakes around the isle or got at it yourself and, stop at various stations to read up about the plants, marine creatures and extensive assortment of birds. There is also a ferry that takes you on a brief ride down the Grand Canal, but keep in mind that booking is essential.
Price: Entrance and ferry ride: R45 for children under 12; R45 for pensioners and R55 for adults.
Opening Hours: (October to April) Monday – Sunday: 7:30am – 7pm; (May to September) Monday – Sunday: 7:30am – 5:30pm (boat rides operate from 9:30am until 4pm daily)
2 Park Lane | Grand Central Precinct | Century City | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 552 6889
Swim at the Sea Point Pool or the Long Street Baths
For next to nothing, moms and pops can take their small fries to the spectacular outdoor Sea Point Pavilion, or the indoor Long Street Baths. While the Atlantic Seaboard option has a baby pool and a child-friendly fun pool, the CBD complex boasts a shallower option for shorter members of the family, but does not offer a baby pool. Both venues are watched over by lifeguards during the summer season.
Price: Sea Point Swimming Pool and Long Street Baths: R12 for kids and R23 for adults
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday: 7am – 7pm (both pools)
Note: Due to water restrictions, the Long Street pools will only be open for the school holidays between 1-8 October 2017. The Sea Point swimming pools will open from 1 November 2017 for the rest of the summer season.
Lower Beach Road | Sea Point | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 434 3341
Top of Long Street | City Centre | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 422 0100
A Show at The Rainbow Puppet Theatre
This Constantia-based theatre is an absolute must-visit, particularly if you’re tight on cash. The performance space puts on two shows every Saturday morning at 10am and 11.15am. The team of puppeteers use the little figures to tell fairy tales inspired by the Grimm brothers’ works, including Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood and The Frog Prince.
Price: Only R25p/p for both kids and adults.
Show Times: Every Saturday at 10am and 11:15am
Kindergarten Building | Constantia Waldorf School | Spaanschemat River Road | Constantia | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 783 2063
Fly a kite at a local park
Cape Town is peppered with an assortment of public parks and considering entrance to all of them is free, visiting one for the day is an affordable entertainment option. It may not seem like such a thrilling activity for adults, but kite-flying is the stuff happy childhoods are made off. There are many large greenways to choose from, and we have listed a few below – all are open every day during daylight hours.
- The Company’s Garden in the city centre (take along some nuts to feed the squirrels)
Opening Hours: 7am - 5pm
15 Queen Victoria Street | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 423 2919
Green Point Urban Park (look out for the eco-friendly playground)
Opening Hours: 7am-7pm
Fritz Sonnenberg | Green Point | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 417 0111
De Waal Park in Gardens (let the dogs come along too)
Opening Hours: 6am - 7pm
Molteno Road | CBD | Cape Town | +27 (0)84 888 8033
- Die Oog Conservation Area in Bergvliet(see how many birds, terrapins and tortoises you can spot – this sanctuary teems with flora and fauna)
Opening Hours: 6:30am - 6:30pm
6 Midwood Avenue | Bergvliet | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 712 3510
Family time at Play Parks
When in doubt, pack the little ones into the car and head for a local play park – entrance fees are usually very reasonable and children almost always have a tip-top time. Below you’ll find a couple of prime play park options to choose from:
- Planet Kids
Price: R35 for one hour and R60 for two hours for kids aged 2 to 13; R25 for kids under 2 years; free for adults)
Opening Hours: 10am - 5pm; closed on Mondays and Tuesdays
3 Wherry Road | Muizenberg | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 788 3070
- The Playshed
Price: Between R25 and R35 for first hour for kids; free for babies under six months; free for parents)
Opening Hours: 9am - 5pm
Oude Molen Eco Village | Pinelands | +27 (0)21 801 0141
- Fun House
Price: R40 day entrance for kids under 16; free for grown-ups
Opening Hours: Fridays: 10am -3pm; Saturday and Sunday: 9am - 4pm
Donald’s Drive | Durbanville | +27 (0)82 770 3286
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