The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is without a doubt one of Cape Town’s most popular tourist destinations. It’s bustling with shops, activities, restaurants and more. It’s a top pick for families in search of entertainment!
The V&A as it’s affectionately known, is set against the magnificent and dramatic backdrop of Table Mountain in one direction and Table Bay in the other. It’s a match made in Instagram heaven!
I can still remember a time as a young child when this exciting destination didn’t exist. The area was just another uninspired part of the southern hemisphere’s oldest working harbour.
There are many kid’s activities at the V&A Waterfront to choose from but I’m going to tell you about 7 of the more unique, can’t really do elsewhere, type activities. The activities range from treat price to super affordable or better yet, free!
Two Oceans Aquarium
This is a firm family favourite. It’s a great outing to escape either a cold or baking hot day. It’s interactive and educational. My menagerie never bore of coming here.
You can easily spend half a day exploring the many sections including the Kelp Forest, Predator Exhibit, Touch & Feel Pool etc. Go online to see when the feedings of the penguins, sting rays, turtles and other fish take place. Don’t either miss the cute but educational puppet show and other activities in the play centre.
Buy tickets online to avoid queues and save 10%. Online adult tickets are R175, kids (4 to 13) R85 and kids (14 to 17) R130. Family cards are available if you plan to visit a few times a year.
Read more about a visit to the aquarium here.
Parents love energy drainers! Battery Park is just your solution. It’s the new urban green space forming a gateway to the V&A and it’s the perfect location to let the kids run wild. It’s adjacent to the canal and links the waterfront to the CBD via pedestrian walkways. There’s a family friendly area where you can picnic and kids can enjoy jungle gyms, rocking horses, swings plus a scooter path. Teens might like to use the skateboarding ramps. There are also food and beverage outlets and the space has its own parking area.
A massive tick for Battery Park is that it’s free to enjoy. Free is a sweet word! It’s the only place on this list we haven’t tried…yet.
The Cape Wheel
The Cape Wheel is Cape Town’s answer to the London Eye. Enjoy spectacular 360 degree views of the Mother City soaking in sights like Robben Island, Cape Town Stadium, Table Mountain, the city skyline and even Paarl Mountains on clear days.
You’ll rotate in your comfy, fully air-conditioned cabin up to a height of 40m and complete 4 rotations. This allows plenty of time to view everything and take beautiful photos.
Adult tickets cost R150 and kids (4 to 17) cost R75. Did you know you qualify for a free ticket on your birthday? Sign up online.
Hamley’s Express Train
We, or should I say specifically, my bleating and begging children discovered the Hamley’s Express Train when we went on our usual pre-Christmas evening walkabout at the waterfront in December. They’d already had a few treats that evening but we caved, Christmas you know, and agreed to do the ride.
I have to say it was a very cute and fun 15 minutes. Boarding takes place opposite the Cape Wheel. Tickets cost R25 per adult or child and we just managed to squeeze all 5 of us into 1 carriage. The kid will love it as the train stops traffic and pedestrians make way for you on your journey. Toot, toot!
It’s also worth popping into Hamyley’s the toy shop itself, inside the mall. This is assuming you can tolerate more bleating and begging and birthday wishlists that go on forever. You’ve been warned!
A visit to the Scratch Patch is a Cape Town childhood institution really. The original one is in Simon’s Town of course but the one located at the waterfront is probably more convenient for most of us.
Here your kids will be mesmerised as they fill their allocated containers a hundred times over with the shiny and colourful semi-precious stones that literally carpet the floor, before having to make final decisions as to which little treasures will make it home. The tiger’s eye and rose quartz has always been my favourite!
Prices for the bags vary from R22 to R120, depending on size.
City Sightseeing Boat Rides
City Sightseeing offers a Harbour Cruise and a Canal Cruise. The Harbour Cruise takes you around the bustling V&A Basin. You’ll take in sights such as frolicking Cape Fur seals and enjoy a different perspective of the waterfront and a working harbour.
The Canal Cruise ticket allows you to hop on and off. The boat wends its way through to the CTICC area of the Foreshore.
Both trips offer audio commentary (separate commentary for kids which is nice) and kids are required to wear lifejackets which suits the mommy paranoia. Again, if you book online you’ll save some cash and avoid wasted time in queues with whiny children.
Online adult tickets for each cruise cost R45 each and kids pay R30. There are further discounts if you book both cruises as a combo which is what we did as it was so affordable. The kids had a total blast. Look out for 3 for 2 price specials in the winter months.
Read more about our City Sightseeing boat adventures here. Other boat rides for kids at the waterfront include Tommy Tugboat and the Jolly Roger which we haven’t tried.
Ok so this is not an official attraction but rather a case where you bundle your kids into the car and get to the waterfront for fresh air and a jolly good wander around. We do this a couple of times a year but always go early one evening in the lead up to Christmas as there is always so much more to encounter The lights and decorations are spectacular. On any given weekend though you’ll find plenty of live busking to enjoy and the pavement mimes will elicit plenty of surprised amusement.
Walk along the East Pier towards the Table Bay Hotel and see which fancy cruises ships, yachts or boats are docked. Make your way along the Pierhead and keep a look out for seals and indulge in a game of outdoor chess en route on the huge board. The kids enjoy walking over the Swing Bridge. Buy an ice cream along the way or stop for some take away or a light meal. There are various mini jungle gyms scattered throughout with the main one located by the amphitheatre. Just keep a sharp eye on them when it’s busy.
This list of kid’s activities at the waterfront is by no means exhaustive as there are many other things to entertain the little humans with but I’ve chosen 6 of our favourites plus 1 we haven’t done yet which is Battery Park.
For more specific information on all these kid’s activities at the waterfront visit www.waterfront.co.za
Which kid’s activity at the waterfront excites your troop the most?
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