Looking for a fun day out with the kids? There are lots of things to do in Pretoria that will provide hours of fun for the whole family. Here are nine of the top family-friendly things as recommended by Culture Trip.
Ice skating, Imax and water fountains
The Grove Mall is home to Pretoria’s only ice-skating rink and a popular destination for young and old, while the Imax cinema is right across the hall for those who like to see their blockbusters big. The little ones can come in their swimsuits and have hours of fun in the toddler water park, and you can visit the entertainment centre to have a go at 10-pin bowling, laser tag, bumper cars, a 4D simulator and classic arcade games.
The National Zoological Gardens of South Africa is the largest zoo in the country and home to more than 3,000 animals. It also features a reptile park and a marine aquarium and is a wonderful place to spend the day. The children will love seeing such animals as lions, tigers, elephants, giraffes and gorillas up close. There is also a farmyard enclosure where they can pet cows, sheep and pigs, a large walk-in aviary and the chance to ride a cable car up the mountain to the predator enclosures. Bring a picnic basket and have lunch next to the Apies River, or buy cash-only snacks at the restaurant and from food vendors inside the zoo.
Fancy a ride on a minitrain? Cedar Junction theme park has three replicas of life-size trains that will have your little ones hooting for joy as they travel around the 1.2km (0.75mi) tracks, going through tunnels and over bridges throughout the park. Other activities available include a swimming pool with a slide, pedal boats, jumping castles and trampolines, jungle gyms, a sandpit and a mini bike track. Get your kids away from their devices and spend the morning in a safe outdoor environment that is sure to bring a smile to their faces.
Can you see yourself swinging from branch to branch, ululating like Tarzan and pretending to be king of the jungle? If so, then you need to visit Acrobranch, a unique treetop experience dedicated to offering children and adults the adventure of a lifetime as they move from tree to tree in lush, green forests. There are different obstacle courses based on age and fitness, some aimed specifically at smaller kids, while others cater for teenagers and adults. Imagine yourself zip lining, crossing wooden walkways and traversing rope ladders high up in the trees. It’s a unique way to spend the day!
For adrenaline thrills, racing go-karts around an indoor track can’t be beaten. Compu-Kart, inside the Zambezi Mall in Pretoria North, allows drivers to push themselves to the limits with speeds of up to 65kph (40mph). Safety comes first and no racing is allowed without helmets, while experienced marshals are on the track at all times to ensure everyone plays by the rules. With races for all ages, this is the perfect opportunity to experience the exhilaration of Formula One racing in a safe environment.
Bounce at Menlyn Maine is a huge indoor park that is home to South Africa’s largest trampoline. They have a free-jump arena, trampoline slam dunk, big bag, dodgeball and wall tramps in the performance area, as well as a unique adventure challenge course, X-Park, which combines elements of climbing, jumping and free running before zipping on the aerial runway to the finish line. If you’re serious about trampoline jumping, you can also take classes, including courses designed specifically for kids to help with their social, physical and cognitive development.
While parents and older kids might enjoy a trail run through any of Pretoria’s top mountain bike trails, little ones who enjoy cycling can do so in the safety of the Hazeldean Valley Kiddies Bike Park. The park is fenced off, so you can get a bite to eat at the Cowhouse Market without worrying your children might wander off; there is seating inside if you prefer to keep a close eye on them. Inside the bike park there are two trails: a blue-dot trail for toddlers and a green-dot trail for older children. Entry is free.
A trip to AdrenalinX Adventure Park will thrill kids who love action-packed outdoor activities: there are laser games, airgun shooting, archery, rock climbing and abseiling and a water park featuring a monster slide. All activities are suitable for children, and instructors provide presentations before each activity to ensure they are safe and using the correct technique, while supervising them constantly to ensure their safety and enjoyment. The place is perfect for parties. Booking is essential.
Horse and pony rides
Horse riding is something the whole family can do at Esperanza Equestrian Center. There are pony rides for little children of all ages and sizes, and horses for older children. Come for the day or take long-term courses of lessons, or enrol your children in a holiday camp where they will learn to ride and take care of horses while at the same time learning self-confidence and responsibility.
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