By Nani Kornelius, a Karoo girl living the Johannesburg city life with her wonderful husband and super cute 5-year old. Her blog, Under our own olive tree, is a lifestyle blog with a few ideas on places to visit in Joburg.
If you ask my little boy his favourite destination for an outing, the answer – 9 out of 10 times – is a trip to Wimpy! But since his mom can only eat so many hamburgers, here are a few of my favourite recommendations for kid-friendly outings in Johannesburg.
Interactive Science Museum
The Sci-Bono Discovery Centre is located in Newtown, in the Johannesburg City Centre. It is a giant warehouse filled with all kinds of scientific hands-on exhibits and games. Pressing buttons, pulling levers and flipping switches has never been this much fun. A highlight for my boy is always the Murray and Roberts construction site where they can operate conveyor belts, push wheelbarrows around, lift buckets with pulleys and build with foam ‘bricks’ and ‘mortar’ blocks. The centre does holiday programmes and even kids birthday parties. It is a world-class centre, and an incredible amount of fun to visit
Child Friendly Restaurant
Papachinos There are wonderful child friendly eateries all over the city, but the granddaddy of them all seems to be Papachino’s, a group of restaurants with branches in Silverlakes, Midrand, Pineslopes and Clearwater. With fully supervised kiddies play areas and “racing tracks”, the kids are in playground heaven whenever we visit. The best feature, to my mind, is their kiddies ‘make and bake’ pizza experience. Children can roll their own dough, and can then choose four toppings to put on their pizzas.
In Johannesburg we have fantastic parks. For a picnic under the trees, we love to go to the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens in Roodepoort. If you want to feed the ducks, Zoo Lake just of Jan Smuts avenue is a great place to give a child a few slices of bread and see how their faces light up when the ducks come closer . For a bit of bike riding, with or without those training wheels, The Johannesburg Botanical Gardens at the Emmarentia Dam is the place to be on a Sunday afternoon. And if you just want a quiet moment for yourself under the trees while you kids play on a super oversize jungle gym, head over to Delta Park in Victory Par.
The South African Lipizzaners A visit to the Lipizzaner centre in Kyalami is a treat for my little one. Together with the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, the Lipizzaners are the only riding academy in the world where the Renaissance tradition of classical horsemanship is preserved and cultivated to this day. Performances are every Sunday morning at their indoor arena. After the show, people are invited to the stables to meet the riders and, a highlight for the little ones, to feed the horses carrots. You can also buy lunch or order picnic hampers.