Easter! It’s nearly here! We’re looking forward to it because it’s a bit like a mini-December. Most people take a couple of days leave to take advantage of the public holidays over that period. Many tend up on nine or ten days leave as a result.
If you’re one of them, and you’re looking for things to do, especially as you’ll probably have the kids in tow, we have some suggestions.
Whether you’re staying at home or travelling, there are plenty of places fit for families. Even though it will be school holidays, we still think there are some fun opportunities for edutainment adventures. So, you can all bond as a family while picking up a thing or two about the world.
uShaka Marine World in Durban
If you’re travelling down to the eastern
seaboard or reside in Durbs, you might not have gone to uShaka Marine World
before. It’s the country’s best and biggest theme park at 40 acres. There is a
lot to see and do, including water rides, such as Africa’s longest water slide.
Daily shows involve dolphins and other marine mammals. And there is the
extremely educational sea world as well – the fifth largest aquarium in the
It has 32 tanks which total 17 500 cubic meters of water.
Perhaps what will be exciting for the kids is that the underground aquarium is built around five real shipwrecks. This includes an entrance through the “Phantom Ship”. Spooky!
(What five shipwrecks so close together tells us about Durban’s coastal conditions back in the 19th Century certainly isn’t very flattering.)
What the kids might thrill most at uShaka is the wide variety of imposing species of fish, such as ragged-tooth sharks, spinner sharks, the hilarious hammerhead sharks, as well as large rays and morays.
It’s also possible to do a snorkelling experience with some sea creatures. You’ll be able to swim with about 1500 fish in the lagoon.
It isn’t just purely aquatic animals either – there will probably be some excitement at the Dangerous Creatures exhibit, which features scorpions, black mambas, and two species of python, the rock python and Burmese.
The Lion & Safari Park
If you stay in Johannesburg or are visiting family, make a day to have a mini safari – like a miniature Kruger adventure! You may have heard of the Lion & Safari Park. Maybe even visited it a couple of years ago. But it had a revamp and now features even more amazing creatures.
It’s a bit of a drive from Jozi, but not too far. Close to Lanseria, the park houses not just lions, but a variety of other interesting animals too.
The severely endangered wild dog can be found here. But there are also hyena and spotted hyena, and the black-backed jackal.
You’ll enjoy driving around open areas where the lions reside. And there are feeding times where you’ll experience the sight of hungry lions consuming carrion. Aside from that, there is a theme park atmosphere about the place, and you can go to various exhibits. One the kids will definitely love is petting the lion cubs. A great Instagram moment!
There is also a large, friendly giraffe to feed.
If you thought that was all, you’d be in for a surprise. What is the one creature that can beat a car in a 100 metre race? None other than the cheetah, with its ability to launch itself into top speed in but barely a moment. Of course, you’d eventually catch up, but your dignity in a short distance race would be tattered.
In any case, no you can’t race a cheetah at the safari, but you can interact with one. They don’t ever hunt humans, unlike lions and leopards, so an adult tame cheetah is generally safe – though you’ll still need to abide by some safety regulations. It is capable at kicking tail, after all, and a wild animal is never fully predictable. But many people have enjoyed their controlled interactions with the cheetahs at the Lion & Safari Park, and it gives you a great opportunity for some good, close-up photos of the creature.
There are also plenty of guided tours – these will make excellent moments for learning about our ecology, and the creatures we share this country with.
Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome in Cape Town
Long to experience a voyage into the stars? Or simply look up at them from any position here on Earth, and glory at their wonder?
There are very few places to truly experience the magnificence of the night’s sky. In South Africa, you’d need to go all the way into the Karoo. Far away from all the atmospheric and light pollution.
But that is the beauty of a planetarium: you can help your children experience a full-on educational journey into the heavens without even leaving the city. And every child should undertake the planetarium trip at least once during their schooling years – while they still have that wide-eyed curiosity of the universe.
It will encourage them to continue learning about our place amongst celestial objects, the beauty of our galaxy, and the profoundness of existence itself.
Cape Town has long had a planetarium, but in 2017, this was given a much-needed digital upgrade. The Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome is Africa’s most advanced digital planetarium. It is a worldclass facility which allows you and the children to undergo a fully immerse and multi-sensory experience.
Who says education has to be boring? With this planetarium, the learning is both informative and fun. It is a 360-degree cinema and is not just used for entertainment purposes, but is also used for scientific research, growing South Africa’s body of knowledge.
So, if you fancy the kids marvelling at the wonders of our universe – perhaps inspiring one of them to become a scientist who contributes to our repository of information themselves – make a half day trip to our solar system… and beyond…