*Editors note Mari-Louise Candiotes has just won Best Travel Blog 2019 in the South African Parenting Blog Awards which were announced on Saturday 27th July.
We live in the beautiful city of Pretoria, South Africa. The capital! A city known for its warm people and purple Jacaranda streets. The only BIG city with a small town vibe. Perfect for families. We’ve spent most of our lives here and although traveling is our favourite thing to do, “Snor-city” will always be home. Today I’m listing our top places to visit with kids. Places we think you’d enjoy as a family too, especially during the school holidays.
BEST places to visit with Kids in Pretoria
If you’re an outdoor family…
Cape Riding Horses provide outrides at the Voortrekker Monument. (Experienced and inexperienced riders welcome.) This is the ideal place for kids to experience horse riding for the first time.
Open Tuesday to Sunday offering daily rides.
Children aged 7 years and older allowed on the outrides, weight limit is 110kg. Booking is essential for all rides.
Why not pack a picnic and spend the day relaxing, playing and exploring the lush greenery of the Pretoria Botanical Gardens? You’ll be surprised how much the kids enjoy just being outside. Keep an eye on their events page too for the next Park Run, Open Air Movie Night, Music Show and Banting Market.
Open Mon-Sun: 08h00-18h00 (No entry after 17h00)
Remember: No bicycles, braais, skateboards or animals allowed.
Looking for something a little smaller? Zita Park is a gem hidden in the heart of Garsfontein (Cnr Zita & Len Brown street). Think old-school playground with jungle gyms, slides, swings and more. During summer kids enjoy the waterslide and paddling pool. You’ll also find clean ablution facilities and a small tuck shop but I would advice packing your own picnic and don’t forget the blankets!
We love Zita Park and definitely think it’s Pretoria’s best public park for families.
Open Mon-Sun: 08h00-18h00.
Expect to pay a small visitors fee. Warning: Weekends tend to be crowded.
Want to get creative?
Clay Café at the Red Barn, Centurion is the perfect spot for a leisurely family painting day. Choose from a variety of unfired bisque pieces plus a wide selection of colourful paints to create the coolest (most unique) crockery for you to take home and treasure forever. All while enjoying a cup of coffee, delicious freshly baked piece of cake or treats from the cafe menu. They even make their own ice cream!
Closed Tuesdays, Monday and Wednesday to Friday: 09h00 – 17h00, Saturdays and Sundays: 08h00 – 17h00
Be entertained and inspired by one of the many plays on show for kids at the Atterbury Theatre, just be sure to book in advance.
A MUST for foodie-families!
Every Saturday morning the Greenlyn Village Centre, (Cnr Thomas Edison & Mackenzie street) transforms into a little food haven. Yummy smells of freshly baked breads and pastries invite you in. Dishes, produce and spices from local farmers and chefs are all on display and ready to be tasted! Buy top quality deli meats, organic veggies, coffees, teas and more all before lunch.
Something for Nature Lovers…
With an excess of 500 000 trees at any given time on the property, Willow Feather Farm is one of the largest growers of frost hardy indigenous trees in South Africa with the majority of the trees grown specifically for their Greening Program.
Let the kids run and play in their large established garden while interacting with a variety of farm animals too. Alpacas, sheep, potbelly pigs, goats, swans, ducks, geese, turkeys, guinea pigs, rabbits, chickens and more can be fed and admired. Giving city kids a glimpse into farm life.
Enjoy light meals in the quaint tea garden or order one of their lovely picnic baskets to enjoy in the scenic green gardens. (Picnic baskets need to be ordered in advance).
Open 08:00 – 17:00 every day including Weekends and Public Holidays
No visitors fee for kids under 2.
I’ll be honest, I never understood the value of a zoo. My heart breaks for any animal in captivity but we live in a time where we need to protect our animals. Pretoria Zoo has the most incredible conservation program aimed at education, research and ensuring the safety and wellbeing of animals in Africa. (And the world). They do however need help. Government funding simply isn’t enough.
So, going to the Zoo is always a good idea and much appreciated by an organisation in need of our support. The Pretoria Zoo is truly wonderful with so many wildlife for the littles to see and learn about. The animals are healthy and well kept. Explore the zoo by foot, by gholf cart or even cableway. With lots of secure parking too. Do pack your own lunch but remember to stop for ice cream at the Zoo Shop – I still remember sitting on those same steps as a child.
Tickets are sold from 8:30-16:30 and the zoo closes at 17:30.
Go for a game drive in the city… With 40km of roads within the reserve this makes for a pleasant outing with the family. Game is readily seen along the roads and includes Cheetah and Rhino. Many of the roads are tarred and in good condition. Birdhides, toilets, picnic spots and braai facilities are available along the roads too.
You’ll completely forget you’re even in the city.
Please note: Summer and Winter operating hours do vary so be sure to checkout the website below.
The Irene Dairy Farm is a MUST! We’ve been there so many times, we’ve lost count. Where else in the city can you view cows being milked, pat a baby calf in the barn and stroll along pathways next to open farm fields? Look for creepy crawly bugs, try to catch butterflies… Sail paper boats down the waterway, enjoy the tree swing, jungle gyms and old tractors.
Relax at either of the two restaurants whilst the kids safely entertain themselves. Fresh air, laughter, fun and excitement – all the things needed for a good night’s rest!
Viewing of the dairy cows being milked takes place every day from approximately 14h30 to 15h30.
The Deli is open from 08h00 to 18h00 every day for farm fresh milk and other delicious treats.
THE BARN RESTAURANT: Daily, 8am – 5pm.
Adrenaline Junkies how about…
Wolwespruit is a mountain bike and trail run park located in Erasmuskloof. Named after the river that runs through it, the park’s hand crafted single track trails provide a flowing and adrenaline filled adventure for beginner to advanced skilled riders, runners and hikers. Everyone is welcome, even the fur babies!
The park is fully fenced and provides a safe environment to enjoy the outdoors right in the heart of Pretoria east. At the moment the park has 23 km of MTB single track and 10 km of running trails which can also be used for walking.
Dogs are welcome to join riders, runners and walkers. Just remember the leashes and NO HELMET, NO RIDE.
Visit Pltfrm too. Their child and dog friendly open-plan restaurant.
Open daily 6:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Tarzan swing, dangle from branches, balance in the air like little monkeys and have the most incredible tree climbing experience ever! Every course at Acrobranch is designed with specific ages in mind to challenge and keep kids entertained but also safe. And in Pretoria we are lucky enough to have 3 Acrobranch locations:
- Acrobranch at Rosemary Hill.
- Acrobranch Pretoria North at Musaiek.
- The Big Red Barn Acrobranch near Irene.
Open Wednesday to Sunday, school holidays and public holidays 9am to 5pm. Walk-ins are welcome but booking is recommended.
Courses suitable for kids 3 years and older.
A great way to learn the basics of rock climbing in a controlled and fun environment with the help of a professional instructors to guide and keep you safe. Booking is essential.
Mon-Thurs : 4pm to 10pm, Fridays : 4pm to 9pm, Saturdays : 10am to 6pm, Sundays : 10am to 6pm, Public Holidays : 10am to 6pm
No kids under 7.
Menlyn Park’s new in-door go-kart track. Perfect for some fast-paced fun with your teens.
Operating Hours: Mon-Sat 10Am-10Pm and Sun 10Am-6Pm
Ages 12 and up.
Learn a new skill together as a family with skateboarding or rollerblading classes at Thrashers.
Saturdays from 09h30 to 10h30 with park access for the entire day! Booking essential.
For the sporty family…
Situated in Moreleta Park, Kimiad Golf course has a wonderful driving range perfect for hitting some golf balls as far as you can. Afterwards enjoy something to eat or drink at Rustica while the kids play on the beautiful lawns.
Open daily 6:00 AM – 8:00 PM
We all know BOUNCE right? If not, then this should be your 1st stop at Menlyn Maine. It really is one of the coolest places to visit with Kids in Pretoria!
It’s just the biggest indoor trampoline park in Pretoria and home to the Supertramp, South Africa’s biggest trampoline! This 5 x 5 metre monster is like jumping around on the moon.
Other cool areas you don’t want to “bounce past” are the Free-Jump Arena, trampoline Slam Dunk, Big Bag, Dodgeball and Wall tramps in the Performance area.
In addition to all of these epic areas, Menlyn Maine features a first of it’s kind, never before seen Adventure Challenge Course called X-Park. Here, BOUNCE Menlyn Maine combines elements of climbing, jumping & free-running before zipping on the aerial runway to the finish line!
Just go. Everyone go. Mom. Dad. The kids. You can thank us later.
Open: Mon – Thurs: 12pm – 7pm. Fri: 12pm – 9pm. Sat: 9am – 9pm. Sun: 9am – 6pm. Booking essential and be sure to mention or include the age of your children when making the booking.
Please note no kids under the age of 3. Also see important info regarding Junior Jumpers HERE.
I never knew but kids as young as 3 years old can hire skates (and a little penguin buddy) at the Ice Rink in The Grove shopping mall. We went last school holidays and the girls had a blast!
Just be sure to dress warm and take extra long, thick sock too.
Open daily: 9:00 am – 10 pm
A classic family outing! Make time for a round or two of put-put and loads of laughing on two large 19 hole courses with enough places to rest underneath the big trees and sunshine. Players as young as 1 years old are welcome – just remember to pack the sunscreen and hats.
Open Tuesday – Thursday 9h00 – 17h00. Friday, Saturday and Sunday 09h00 – 18h00.
Just for the kids!
Train Rides for young and old! Try one of the two miniature trains for a 1,2km trip around the lake. Afterwards play on the many jungle gyms, outdoor trampolines and large sandpit.
Take a spin on the Flying swings, Cup and saucer ride or Horse Carousel.
In summer the 4 swimming pools with 14 water slides are a HIT!
The small Tuck Shop on has a limited Take-Away Menu. Own food and cooler boxes are welcome.
Open Monday to Friday from 10h00 – 17h00 (during school time), Saturday to Sunday, Public Holidays and School Holidays open from 09hoo – 17h00.
This is an outdoor theme park providing little shelter from bad weather.
If ever a place existed that had it all… THIS IS IT! Think sensory gardens, train rides, mud play, bike trails, slides, jumping, running, playing, eating!!! It’s every kid’s dream and you need to go to understand what all the hype is about!
Closed Monday. Tuesday to Friday 9am – 7pm, Saturday 9am – 7pm and Sunday 9am – 4pm.
Warning: Weekends tend to be crowded.
Our number one indoor place space. The girls roam free while we take a moment to breathe, have a bite to eat and talk to one another. The playgrounds are big and colourful providing hours of FUN for kids ages 0 to 12, with a special area dedicated to babies 0 to 2 years.
The friendly staff are also never far away, lending a helping hand and extra set of watchful eyes.
Closed Monday. Tuesday to Thursday: 9:00 – 17:00. Friday & Saturday: 9:00 – 18:00. Sunday: 9:00 – 14:00
Remember to wear socks! Or just buy a pair at the door.
Did we forget your favourite places to visit with Kids in Pretoria? If so, simply include it in a comment below and we’ll be sure to check it out.
Just A Mamma is a space for Mammas by a Mamma. Intended to inspire, motivate and be helpful. No judgement or expert advice – just gorgeous photo shoots, fun celebrations, great finds for mamma and baby, inspirational moms I have come across, places to go and vacations to have, as well as my own journey of motherhood and family life.
Mari-Louise is the mother of 3 beautiful, bubbly girls filling thier home with joy, messiness, LOADS of chatter and love.
You can find Mari-Louise over on Just A Mamma