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By Sholain Govender-Bateman, Pretoria based journalism lecturer who worked for The Star, Pretoria  News & other  publications. She is mum to two gorgeous girls, Isobel and Aishwari, and wife to Barry. Visit her on twitter @sholain.

Two years ago, I wrote an article for Jozikids about 5 kids places to visit in Pretoria that are free of charge that  I enjoyed taking Isobel to.  As a family of four now, Barry, Isobel(4), Aishwari(19 months) and I, still visit some of the places I listed previously but we’ve added more to our list. I know that parents and grandparents are always looking out for fun ideas of what to do and place to go especially with the holidays upon us so here are a few ideas from me:

  • Hazel Food Market – every Saturday morning this Menlo Park market attracts hundreds of food lovers and it makes for a great outing forfamilies. A number of yummy food stalls circles an eating and play area. Isobel loves the jungle gym and Aishwari the jumping castle, both of which are centrally situated so it’s easy to keep an eye on your kids at all times. It does get busy so you may need to take a picnic blanket if you want to sit close to your kids as they play and you eat. There’s no entrance fee but take along cash for food because you’ll definitely be tempted to try some of the goodies on offer, and for carguards.

 

  • Gautrain ride – Isobel loves trains so a recent birthday trip on the Gautrain made her day! We left from the Hatfield station and stopped at the Centurion station before returning to Hatfield on the train but you can tailor-make your trip depending on the age of your child and your budget. If the girls were older I would have also taken them on the Gautrain bus but I’ll save that for later this year. Aishwari was in her stroller so we didn’t have to get her a Gautrain Gold Card, but we did pay for Isobel and ourselves. Just a note, remember there is no eating or drinking on the train or at the stations.

 

This is our favourite park in Pretoria! It has a paddling pool which makes it perfect for summer days and a huge playground,quaint coffee shop and is well maintained. There’s a small entrance fee but if you take along your picnic blanket and basket you are all set for a lovely day out. You can also braai or even host a birthday party at the park. The girls love it and I find it’s very safe.

 

  • Go for a drive – You may not want to be outside playing on a very cold winter’s day but you don’t have to stay cooped up inside. Get into your car and go for a drive. I know petrol costs a lot these days but we’ve driven to the McD’s down the road for a quick outing and treat of an ice cream and the girls loved it. We’ve also taken drives across town to the Wonderboom Airport where we can look at the airplanes parked off.

 

  • The drive-in! Menlyn Park has a great drive-in and we’ve taken Isobel there once so far. Aishwari slept in her babyseat and I took a blanket for Isobel to sit on in front of the car. We didn’t stay for two movies but it’s a good family outing and if you take a picnic basket with your then you only pay per car.

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