Chances are your kids have broken up from school today or already have and you’re one week in. Maddie’s school closes today for an entire month! Oh boy! This should be interesting, I mean fun! 🙂
In honour of school holidays and the festive season I have put together a list of our favourite kid friendly spots and a few of our favourite adventures to date that are all in and around Durban. In hopes of inspiring a couple of things to do with your kids these holidays. I hope you have found at least one or two fun adventures you can do with your kids over the next month…
@Tap coffee corner
Area: Durban North
Located at the Durban North Baptist Church on Mackeurtan Avenue. It is a well-known hidden gem in my opinion. Every Durban North mom knows this spot very well and has spent a couple of afternoons letting their little ones run around, climb and ride around the gardens and playground at @Tap with the piece of mind knowing that their kids were safe and securely contained in one area, without the fear of them ‘escaping’. The coffee shop serves good coffee and boasts a simple menu of light eats and a children’s menu that appeals to toddlers from mini hotdogs to the classic toasted cheese. The playground includes slides, swings, monkey bars, a track for bikes and scooters as well as a cute little concrete colourful house which has Noah’s arch painted on it – every kid loves sticking his or her head out the windows!
Cost: Free to play
Details: 20 Mackeurtan Avenue, Durban North | @attap_coffee_corner on Instagram| The Coffee Corner on Facebook
Flag Animal Farm
Area: Salt Rock
This is one of Maddie’s absolute favourite hangouts. The Flag Animal Farm in Salt Rock is a must visit for moms with toddlers. They home over 1000 rescued animals including birds, wolves and reptiles. We first took Maddie when she was nine-months-old and she loved it! Brett carried her around in a baby carrier and she laughed away as we fed the animals. Today, as a toddler she loves chasing the animals around (the goats and chickens roam free and easily interact with the kids) and loves to feed them carrots and feed. The farm has various daily activities including wolf interaction at 11am and 3.45pm, a Barney, Dora and Marshall Show at 11:30, a milking show at 12:30, a Mickey and Minnie meet-and-greet at 1:15, a reptile show at 2pm and an Elsa, Sofia and Chase show at 3pm. They also have fun rides for the kids including a pony, tractor or train. A must visit for toddlers who love animals!
Cost: R39 per person (both adults and kids)
Area: Durban central
This is something I wish we started doing sooner and something I wish we could do more often! We live in such a beautiful city and what better way to spend a Summer’s day out than hiring bicycles to ride along the iconic Durban Beach front. We hire our bicycles from Xpressions on the Beach as they are on the Entertainer app and we buy one, get one free. They are situated near the Ushaka side of the beach front opposite the Addington Hospital. They have bicycles which have the children’s seat. Maddie loves riding on the back of Mom’s bike and stopping off at Afros for lunch is always a hit too! A fun activity for under R100 for an hours entertainment and a good amount of sunshine and fresh air!
Cost: R60 bike rental.
Umgeni Bird Park
Area: Durban North
The lush tropical landscape of the Umgeni Bird Park has been one of Maddie’s favourite visits. The park houses a collection of more than 800 birds from 200 species, some of which are the only representatives of their kind in Africa whilst others are commonly kept as pets. From beautiful colourful caged toucan birds to roaming peacocks, the Umgeni Bird Park is an awesome outing to introduce toddlers to birds. There is even a feeding cage when birds sit on your hands or shoulders and feed nectar. There is also a free bird show which is super interesting for the parents while entertaining for the toddlers who get to see the birds fly around their heads.
Cost: R55 per adult and R36 for children 3 to 12-years-old
The newly transformed Burnedale Farm is a stunning venue to take the kids to roam around and explore while you enjoy a delicious meal at super affordable prices! They have a R30 breakfast on the menu and R23 odd french toast for the kids! They have a fun farm yard with a couple of cute animals as well as fun and enticing jungle gyms including a cute concrete car which is always a hit with Maddie. There are also a selection of beautiful shops to shop at including my favourite – One of a Kind which stocks a couple of my favourite local brands including Tiny Tribe and Annapatat Kids to name a few.
Cost: Free to play, a bag of feed is under R20 to feed the donkeys and various other animals on the farm
Butterflies for Africa
Butterflies for Africa is a tropical walk-through butterfly house housing both exotic and indigenous butterflies. As you walk through the house you are able to experience them flying around your head and several feeding stations allow you to hold slices of apple and orange to encourage the various butterflies to sit on your hand and eat. It is such a fun experience for toddlers who love animals. There is also a butterfly themed shop for take home keepsakes including teddies and balloons, there is also an art gallery as well as a coffee shop to enjoy a light meal or milkshakes with the kids. Well worth the visit if you’re passing through Pietermaritzburg this festive season!
Cost: R47 an adult and R32 for children 3 to 16-years-old
Details: 37 Willowton Road, Pietermaritzburg |www.butterflies.co.za/
Strawberry picking at Cappeny Estates
I have fond memories of strawberry picking when I was little and it has been one of my favourite outings with Maddie to date. She is obsessed with fruit and one of her favourites are strawberries! I highly recommend a morning at the Cappeny Estates strawberry farm. It is a great outdoor activity for the whole family. The strawberry fields are filled with delicious strawberries which you can pick to fill your punnet which works out to be around 500 to 700gs of strawberries, there is live entertainment, a delicious variety of food all made from strawberries, tractor rides and a jumping castle. Definitely a family fun outing filled with the sweet smell of strawberries in the air!
Cost: R10 per person entrance fee (you’re able to get a water or ice cream with this ticket) and R75 per person to pick strawberries. Kids five and under are R50
Area: Gateway, Ballito or Durban North
Our favourite coffee and cake hangout for sure! We have been HUGE Chateau Gateaux fans since their opening of their patisseries. They have a huge variety of cakes and pastries and serve amazing coffee! Best part – they serve babyccinos which Maddie loves and she’s also very fond of their giant chocolate chip cookies!
The Chocolate Garden
Area: Canelands – 15 mins inland from Gateway
I fell in love with this venue the moment I stepped into the venue at their media launch. It isn’t often you find a child friendly venue that also serves amazing food! The Chocolate Garden have an amazing breakfast and lunch menu, their kids menu is also well thought out! They have a colourful jungle gym, a colouring station, a wooden house with an activity board as well as a cute little farm housing tortoises and geese which Maddie loves! They have a mothering room with a comfortable couch for moms to feed their babies/toddlers, a microwave and beautiful changing station. The area is also fully enclosed so no little people can escape!
If you are driving passed the South Coast over the festive season, a visit to Crocworld is a must! It is a fun educational experience for the little ones allowing them to get up close and personal with these massive creatures. The indigenous landscaped gardens is the perfect place to let the little ones roam free while exploring the different areas of the conservation. There are a variety of birds, reptiles and a cute animal farm where you are able to feed the goats and pigs.
Cost: R75 per person, R45 per child between the ages of 4 and 12, children under four are free
Location: Ballito or Umhlanga.
A firm favourite amongst North Coast moms, I think this one doesn’t need much of an introduction. The Ballito branch is our favourite. It is large and airy and Maddie loves their play areas. It is totally worth the drive up to Ballito to spend a couple of hours while enjoying a cup of coffee and lunch while the friendly and attentive child minders watch over your kids while they indulge in lots of fun soft play!
Cost: R75 per child for unlimited play during the week. I am unsure of the pricing this festive season
Location: Somerset Park, Umhlanga
This is just a great stop when you need a break and have your kids play. Hello Cafe is situated at Harvest Church and the homely cafe serves great coffee. Their small but tasty menu offers breakfast and lunch options including toasted sarmies, salads and burgers. The quaint jungle gum is a hit with the kids as they climb and slide down and the little bike track is also super fun for the little ones.
Area: North Beach, Durban.
Who doesn’t remember visiting Mini Town when they were kids? Oh my goodness! The little park hasn’t changed much over the last 20 to 30 odd years but it is definitely a sight to see for through the eyes of our little ones! It is still one of Durban’s iconic beach front tourist attractions and the little replicas leave their little minds in awe!
Cost: R25 for adults and R20 for children
Details: 031 337 7892
Area: Gateway, Umhlanga.
Mr Funtubbles is just a fun-filled environment for the whole family! Maddie loves visiting Mr Funtubbles and riding the various rides! The funfair works on a card system which you need to purchase for R10 and load on your credits at each visit or you can let your credits carry over. For the moms who have the Entertainer – they are on the app which allows you to purchase R100 credits and get R100 free. The centre also sell popcorn, slush puppies and candy floss giving it that real carnival feel!
Cost: Rides range from R6 to R10.
Area: Salt Rock
Sage has always been one of our favourite places to take Maddie. Maddie has swimming lessons every Saturday morning a road away from Sage so we often visit the centre for breakfast on the weekend. Sage Cafe serves amazing food and they have always been so kid friendly. With their newly launched revamp, Sage Centre has just got that much more amazing! Their kids jungle gym and play area is out of this world! Plus you can sit and have breakfast or lunch just metres from the playground. Their bathrooms deserve a mention too! Clean, spacious and drop dead gorgeous! Their changing station is kitted with the whole range of Dove Baby products! Wet wipes, bum cream and lotion – you name it, it is there! There are also some really beautiful shops worth popping into as well when visiting the centre.
Cost: Free to patrons
Details: @sagecentre on Instagram | http://www.sagecentre.co.za
Area: Umhlanga or La Lucia
I have fond memories of visiting my local library growing up. I loved reading and choosing new and exciting books. We recently signed Maddie up for a library card and will start choosing a couple of books to take home every two weeks or so. Even if you don’t have a library card, it is a really lovely outing to spend an hour amongst the books and puzzles they have lying around on the kiddie tables.
Cost: Free to join or visit
Details: Umhlanga – Shop 23, Lighthouse Mall, Chartwell Drive, Umhlanga Rocks. La Lucia – William Campbell Drive, La Lucia
This is probably one of most frequent visits. It is free, around the corner from our house and has the most awesome play sets a kid could ask for! The park is also completely fenced one one gate which has a child lock so it is safe and secure. There is also a bike track that goes around the whole park and there are large grass laws for kids to run around or kick a ball around. The only problem is there aren’t any trees so it can be very hot and direct sun between 10 and 2 so rather visit the park before 10 or after 2. Our favourite time of the day is around 4pm. The park is however closed on a Monday to maintain the gardens.
Details: 19 Millennium Blvd, Umhlanga Ridge.
Ushaka Marine World
Area: South Beach, Durban
This is a special occasion kind of visit due to the cost of visiting the park. It is such a lovely day out if you are looking for a truly special place to take your little one. We took Maddie for the first time when she was just over a year old and she loved it! A ticket into the Sea World aquarium gets you entrance into the dolphin and seal shows, which is what Maddie loved the most!
Cost: R209 for a combo ticket for both Wet & Wild and Sea World.
Vovo Telo, Umhlanga
Another one of our favourite breakfast or brunch spots. Not only does Vovo Telo serve amazing food and great coffee but they have the sweetest baker named Mr Max who allows the kids to pull a chair up and play with bread dough at his counter top while he prepares the most incredible breads including crocodiles, hearts, snakes and all sorts of amazing creatures using the dough! He interacts with the kids and even bakes what the kids have created and serves them to the table for the kids and mom and dad to enjoy. All free of charge to seated patrons! Maddie loves playing at the counter top and we can sit and seat while she plays to her hearts content!
Details: Lighthouse Mall, 14 Chartwell Drive, Umlhanga Rocks.
Toddler Zone at the Wave Park
Area: Gateway, Umhlanga
Another great kids play area with lots of soft play and interesting little toys and odds to play with. The area is dedicated to under six’s and their massive wavy slide is my favourite feature at the Toddler Zone. Maddie loves climbing up the soft stairs and finding her way to the slides before sliding down into the ball pit. Other cute play features include their swinging balls which kids can hang onto and swing around (Maddie is still too small for that) and the bike that launches off a ramp. It’s clean, well-lit and their are friendly child minders on-site to watch and help the kids while you can sit and relax while enjoying a meal or coffee at the restaurant opposite the toddler zone.
Cost: R40 per toddler.
The Holiday Express
Area: Departs from Durban Station
If you missed my whole blog post about our experience onboard The Holiday Express you can read it here. A trip on the train is a whole day experience and is so much fun! Brett used to ride trains as a kid so he loved taking his daughter on a train ride. Maddie loved running up and down the isles and watching the out the windows as the train passed through the city. The Holiday Express have various train trips in and around Durban to choose from. It is safe, clean and so much fun! Highly recommended!
Cost: Tickets are R250 per adult, children (3 to 12) and pensioners are R200 per person and babies under two are free
I hope you enjoyed reading this post and have plenty ideas on how to keep your toddler / kids entertained over the next couple of weeks. I hope it is filled with lots and lots of fun adventures! Take lots of pics and please tag me in them so I can share in the joy of the moments!
Find me online:
To collaborate email: firstname.lastname@example.org