Staying in Johannesburg over the festive season has its own set of perks. The roads are quieter, shops are less busy, and there’s a hub of activities to keep the kids entertained without as many queues involved. The select venues below will not only keep your children highly entertained and using any pent-up energy in a positive manner, but they’re also great for you as a parent to have a little time out.
THE HERB FARM
The Herb Farm and Herb Farm Play Yard boasts 1 hectare of beautifully laid out herb gardens, a bistro, play yard with educational gardens as well as a creative studio and retail centre. With the December holidays coming up, The Herb Farm has a Kids Holiday Programme available for toddlers and tweens alike. For the baker and craft-lover there is a paper tree decoration making activity, a shortbread tree décor making activity and a class for making coconut ice balls. For the little botanists and nature lovers there are activities such as Make and Plant a Herbal Pot Man and Make a Bee House as well as an educational and entertaining talk on the Life of Bees. Other activities include puppet shows, Clay-Making Classes and Make a Fridge Calendar. Whilst your children explore to their heart’s content, why not have a relaxing drink at the bistro on-site, or take a walk through the garden itself?
Where: 264 Summit Road, Blue Hills, Midrand
When: 3 to 6 December | 10.30am to 2.30pm
Cost: R50 to R130 per class
Tel: 010 447 3517 | Email: email@example.com
PLAYSCAPES AT RIVERSANDS
This is the ultimate venue for a full day family outing. Situated on the scenic Riversands farm, this kids’ play area is a dream come true. The area has water slides, trampolines, swings and jungle gyms, all meticulously put together to keep your child entertained for hours on end. There is also a small farmyard with goats, potbelly pigs, chickens, geese and rabbits, all of which can be fed under the guidance of a parent with pellets purchased from the farm. Whilst the kids explore to their heart’s content there is a rustic bar/restaurant on site where parents and friends can unwind, as well as art and craft shops situated around the play and eat area. Four-legged friends are welcome. With so much activity to choose from, Riversands Farm and Playscapes is a fantastic spot to explore with your family over and over again.
Where: Riversands Commercial Park, Rose Road, Knopjeslaagte, Midrand
When: Fridays 1pm to Sunset | Saturdays and Public Holidays 10am to Sunset | Sundays 9am to Sunset
Cost: R50 per child (all day)
Tel: 083 781 9778
JOBURG BALLET’S SUMMER SCHOOL
Joburg Ballet’s annual Summer School once again returns this December to inspire young dance enthusiasts and expert dancers with a fun-filled introduction to the beauty of ballet. For four days, the resident team of dancers and choreographers will cover ballet and contemporary dance lessons, as well as essential skills such as stretching, pointe work, Pilates, repertoire. The workshop finishes with a special production featuring all the participants on Saturday, the final day of the program. This kids ballet bootcamp is perfect for complete beginners to learn something new, and to fine-tune the performance of the more experienced dancers. The schedule is divided into age-friendly activities for Junior (ages 6-9) and Senior (ages 12-18) groups. Advance booking is essential.
Where: Joburg Theatre, 163 Civic Boulevard, Braamfontein
When: 11 to 14 December | Daily from 1.30pm
Cost: R1 700pp for Juniors (ages 6-8, and 9-11), and R2 700pp for Seniors (ages 12-14, and 15-18)
Tel: 011 877 6898 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
REST UR ASS DONKEY SANCTUARY
The Rest Ur Ass Donkey Sanctuary is a haven to 30 loving donkeys, most of which have been rescued from illegal skin trade and slaughter. The sanctuary will also become home to another 14 donkeys from the SPCA from December 2019. Visitors to the sanctuary are able to interact with these gentle, often underestimated creatures. You can spend time with the donkeys and pet, brush or even feed them healthy donkey treats available for purchase from the sanctuary. There is a tuckshop on site with snacks and drinks for sale. For anyone who loves animals and being one with nature, this is a tranquil, relaxed space to enjoy, love and be loved.
Where: 9 Peter Road, Trés Jolie
When (over the festive season): Tuesdays and Thursdays from 26 Nov to 12 Dec 10am to 2pm
Cost: Entrance R50
Tel: 084 611 0089 | Email: email@example.com
PlayTown’s main focus is pretend play. There are 10 themed playrooms, surrounded by a track decorated with traffic signs for kids to ride their bikes all around the town. There’s an “outdoor area” (still indoors) geared with a tent, rock climbing and boys only/girls only treehouses as well as dress-up clothes. The huge pirate-ship shaped jungle gym, equipped with slides, air cannons, obstacle courses and a ball pit will have your hearties shivering their timbers in delight. A further energy releaser is the 250m2 trampolines, categorized for different ages to give everyone a chance for jumping fun. And for the tiny tots, there is a separate, contained jumping castle and play area, filled with soft toys, ball pits and swings.
Whilst the kids have a blast there is a restaurant on-site for parents to relax. This is a safe, fun, educational facility that is a must-do for parents and children alike.
Where: 95 Park Avenue North, Highway Business Park, Rooihuiskraal, Centurion
When: Wednesday to Friday 9am to 5pm | Saturday 8.30am to 6pm | Sunday & Public Holidays 8.30am to 3pm
Cost: Wednesday to Friday R75 per child | Weekends and public holidays R90 per child
Tel: 010 023 0093 & 071 423 1746 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook: @PlayTownza | Instagram: @play_town_za
Rush is an Extreme Sports Park where an hour jump session will have you smiling from ear to ear as you see your kids utilising their pent up energy in a practical, constructive manner. With a massive open jump area of wall-to-wall connected trampolines, a dodgeball court, big foam pits and a performance trampoline and wall, there is space for kids to roam, bounce and rush wherever they feel. To occupy parents there is free WiFi on-site and a café area to keep you relaxed and your children refreshed during their jump session. Rush is the perfect place to disguise exercise with fun. Parents can grab some well-deserved time-out these holidays whilst the kids have heart-pumping fun in a safe, secure environment.
Where: Inside Greenstone Shopping Centre, Cnr van Riebeeck and Modderfontein Road, Greenstone Hill
When (school holiday times): Monday to Thursday 9am to 9pm | Friday & Saturday 9am to 10pm | Sunday 9am to 7pm
Cost: R130 per student/scholar/child for an hour jump session | R150 per adult
Tel: 087 230 0290 & 071 116 7538 | Email: email@example.com
Facebook: @rushgreenstone | Instagram: @rush_greenstone