If it seems like we own shares at the Climbing Barn, we don’t! But when it comes to slow-burn hours needed for kids’ entertainment, it’s hard to beat their pricing and entertainment value. Kids 14 and older can grab an introductory climbing course for a mere R250, gear included. Their opening hours are also a particular relief for weekend parents. The activity provides a bit of zen focus for kids, and lots of feet-up time for mom.
Other great holiday activities around Pretoria include inter-generational favourites like:
The Ice Rink
Situated at the Grove Mall, this rink is rated as the premier eco-friendly ice rink in Africa. Grove Ice Rink employs a CO2 and ammonia system, as opposed to glycol, making for an eco-friendly ice surface for hours of fun. The CO2 system uses far less energy to induce the cooling the rink requires, and speed and figure skaters will find a home here too, along with ice hockey fanatics. Kids’ parties? Take a jacket and a hands-off approach, and it might just become your new favourite venue for entertaining excitable youths.
The Pretoria Zoo
Yes, Pretoria has a zoo. Although as often subject to local jokes as it is to cooing reviews, the fact remains that the zoo is both educational and hugely entertaining. In an age where zoos are collecting bad press for caging animals, Pretoria’s very own wildlife bazaar stands head and shoulders above the rest. A slow amble should make a day out of it, or you can just pop in and out for a half-day’s visual stimulation.
Okay, this is amptelik in Jozi, but wily parents can map out an entire day getting there and getting some thrills in. For those who have already visited, watching kids wide-eyed against the reed fences gawping at giant crocodiles, no further explanation is needed. For Pretoria parents who haven’t been yet, this can be a whole day’s adventure. It’s well worth it as a day of entertainment for the little ones. Watching the young at heart and terminally insane on the “flyover,” where people swing on a zip line above huge crocs, justifies every penny.
Pretoria Laser Tag
Wonderfully mobile and a source of hours of fun for kids, this crew will show up and keep youngsters entertained for the whole day. Yes, the game is based on spotting another human and blowing them away, but if it’s already too far gone in your household, you might want to just get over it and book a day or two. Few things enthrall kids as much as popping a cap in your homie, in the land of make-believe of course.
Irene Dairy Farm
The kids’ experience here hearkens back to school excursions of the 1970s. Enormously valuable as a snapshot of the farming world, Irene Dairy Farm is outdoor edutainment for kids at its best. Full of up-close thrills for younger children and yummy treats for everyone, this is a default Pretoria activity every parent should consider. With playgrounds for the kids and comfy seating for the chaperones, this is definitely a good school holiday venue.
For day visitors or more planned trips, this venue has the ability to make even teenagers smile. With both zoo and sanctuary status, Mystic Monkeys is full of surprises for the whole family. It’s best to plan a day around the trip as they’re close to Bela Bela, but always worth it. Here there are animal experiences, education and entertainment all rolled into one. They also host school tours – something that gives a good idea of the kiddie value encapsulated by this venue – and have a diverse array of animals to view.