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May 18, 2012

Take kids on a journey of discovery this winter

Peekaboo! Photo courtesy Axel Bührmann.

You’re itching to go out and do something with the kids but it’s overcast, damp, and just plain miserable outside.

Winter is not everyone’s favourite time of year and, while the season does have a few perks, braving the rain and wind with your kids may not be top of the list.

Tempting as it is to stay at home and enjoy the welcome, and occasionally exciting, blockbusters on your screen, you could also pull on your coat and scarf and venture outdoors.

To help your children deplete their abundance of energy we have come up with a few fun and educational outings for them to wrap their inquisitive minds around.

Jimmy Jungles

Watch your children lose themselves in colourful jungle gyms, ball ponds, toy boxes, tunnels and tactile play mats. Jimmy Jungles is an indoor playground for children six to nine years old, where they can let their inner adventurer run free in a safe, clean and supervised environment.

Parents can keep a watchful eye over the kids, while they learn to develop their imagination, creativity, and interaction with other children – important skills for their development.

Prices start at R25 an hour, and play centres can be found in Tygervalley and Claremont, Cape Town. For more information, contact Jimmy Jungles on +27 (0)82 456 9519 or visit www.jimmyjungles.co.za.

Kids will be astounded by the size of the displays at the Iziko South African Museum. Photo courtesy Iziko South African Museum.

Iziko South African Museum and Planetarium

If your children are more interested in depleting their mental energy, the Iziko South African Museum and Planetarium will keep them fascinated for hours.

Watch their astonishment at seeing a great white shark jaw, complete with teeth; let their curiosity run wild over the inordinate number of animals species on display, and listen to their excited shrieks as they listen to the sounds of whales.

And for an added treat, Davy the Dragon will take them on a planetary adventure, teaching them about the planets in the solar system.

Adults pay R20 for entry into the Iziko South African Museum, while children go free, and entrance into the Planetarium costs R25, while children pay R10. For more information, contact +27 (0)21 481 3800 or visit www.iziko.org.za.

Children will experience a different view of the ocean at the Two Oceans Aquarium. Photo courtesy HeatherBradleyPhotography.

Two Oceans Aquarium

If your family is curious about the diverse inhabitants of the ocean, make a dash for the Two Oceans Aquarium at the V&A Waterfront to discover more than 3 000 sea animals, including sharks, penguins, turtles and manta rays.

With a dedicated play area, Afrisam Children’s Play Centre, your kids will jump for joy into the ball pool and be delighted by puppet shows featuring penguin, turtle, eel, sunfish, shark and octopus hand puppets.

Later, kids can use recycled material to create their own artwork masterpieces, including fridge magnets, mobiles and glitter cards, and tuck into refreshments from the tuck shop.

At the door, entrance for adults costs R112 each, while children aged 4 to 13 years pay R55 each and those aged 14 to 17 pay R87. Discounted prices are available if you book online. For more information, contact +27 (0)21 418 3823, email aquarium@aquarium.co.za or visit www.aquarium.co.za.

Photo courtesy Danie van der Merwe

Cape Town Science Centre

Watch as your children morph into budding scientists at the Cape Town Science Centre, and moms and dads can feel like a child too as they challenge their mind with a number of interactive displays.

Kids can learn how to build a house, be puzzled by puzzles, play a stringless harp, spin on the human gyroscope and experience weightlessness similar to that in space, and tap into their creative geniuses for hours in the dedicated LEGO room.

When moms and dads have exhausted their energy, they can top up reserves at the quaint coffee shop offering light refreshments.

Prices and kids pay R38 each, however, the centre offers a family package for four people at R132. For more information, contact +27 (0)21 300 3200, email info@ctsc.org.za or visit www.mtnsciencentre.org.za.

The cold will not stop your kids from having fun on skates. Photo courtesy stevendepolo.

The Ice Station at Grand West Casino

Pull on your gloves, wrap your scarf around your neck, lace up your ice skates and put a confident step forward onto the ice at the Ice Station at Grand West Casino.

After you’ve laughed away the initial wobbly stage, you and your kids can hold hands and glide across the Olympic-sized rink, and even attempt a twirl or two.

Ice-skating is a great way to strengthen muscle mass, improve balance and build endurance.

Individual main arena prices start at R35 (including skate hire), depending on the session you choose, and mini arena prices start at R15 per session. For more information, contact +27 (0)21 535 2260, email chairman@icerink.co.za or visit www.icerink.co.za.

The book lounge offers children's books readings. Photo courtesy The Book Lounge

The Book Lounge

With the influx of chain bookstores, finding an independent bookshop to introduce your child to is always a pleasure.

The number of experienced and passionate staff members, array of titles, dedicated children’s section, as well as countless readings, book signings and launches make your time spent at The Book Lounge, in Cape Town’s city centre, a special experience.

Saturday mornings in The Book Lounge are story times, when little ones between the ages of three and eight can enjoy a book reading at 11am.

And while kids are transfixed by words, moms and dads can relax and choose from the selection of drinks and snacks on offer in the coffee shop. 

The Book Lounge is open Mondays to Sundays. For more information, contact +27 (0)21 462 2425, email booklounge@gmail.com or visit www.booklounge.co.za.

Place a paintbrush in your child's hand and they will have hours of fun. Photo courtesy s. jo

Clay Café

Hout Bay offers many excellent places in which to hide out during winter but Clay Café is one you and your children will enjoy for more than just a few hours.

You and your children can get your hands dirty by choosing from a wide selection of unfired bisque plates, mugs, bowls and ornamental figures, and then selecting your favourite paint colours, before spending the day creating a work of art.

When you’ve finished, the friendly staff take care of glazing and firing your ceramic and 10 days later you’ll be able to collect it.

Prices start at R20 for individual unfired bisque items, plus an additional R25 for studio time. For more information, contact +27 (0)21 7903318 or visit www.claycafe.co.za.

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