Keeping kids entertained during the holidays is a difficult job. Experienced parents know that when kids are kept inside too long they start to get a little crazy. If the only experience your little ones have with animals is Peppa Pig, then it’s time to broaden their horizons and let them get close and personal with Mother Nature’s majestic, weird, and hilarious critters. Here are our picks for the best animal encounters for kids in Cape Town.
Imhoff Farm in Kommetjie makes for a great day trip with the kids. This quaint farmstead has a number of animal activities to keep your little ones entertained. There are also two restaurants where parents can unwind with a cup of coffee while kids can play on the lawns.
First, there are the camels. These no-nonsense creatures are taking none of your kids’ attitude, but little ones love them for it. Your progeny can take a camel ride while you snap a few pics or browse the nearby craft stall.
Next, check out the Higgeldy Piggeldy Farmyard, where kids can feed rabbits, goats, and ponies. After that, there’s the Imhoff Snake Park, a reptile sanctuary that’s a hit with courageous kids.
Finally, you can take your older kids to visit Imhoff Equestrian Centre and let them take part in a beach ride.
Two Oceans Aquarium
Named for the fact that the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet at the Cape, The Two Oceans Aquarium is one of Cape Town’s best attractions for kids.
Featuring over 3000 marine animals, the Aquarium offers edutainment at its finest—giving kids the opportunity to learn about the rich biodiversity in our oceans while having an absolute blast.
Step into another world at Cape Town’s unique butterfly park. This tropical greenhouse and garden is a delight for children–and gives parents a great opportunity to practice their photography skills trying to get the perfect shot.
There are also spiders and scorpions (don’t worry, they’re in glass enclosures), and Jungle Leaf Café offers coffee and a bite to eat after a morning of fun.
Boulders Beach is one of Cape Town’s most famous beaches. Situated in the old naval town of Simonstown, it’s on the False Bay coast which means the water is warmer than the beaches on the Atlantic side.
But it’s the penguins that are the real stars of Boulders. The African Penguin colony at Boulders attracts thousands of visitors each year and is a real treat for kids.
Kids love these waddling, braying little guys, and you can combine this unique animal encounter experience with some swimming and sand-castle building on the beach.
The Duck Parade at Vergenoegd Wine Estate
Have your kids ever seen over 1000 ducks going for a morning jog? If they haven’t then get them to the Vergenoegd Wine Estate on any day of the week.
The Duck Parade happens at 10h30, 12h30 and 15h30, so go for a breakfast or lunch at the excellent restaurants and let your kids roam the rolling lawns.
Cape Town Ostrich Ranch
Ostriches are weird creatures, and your kids will love their cartoonish antics. Head out to the Cape Town Ostrich Ranch on the N7, and your kids will be able to ride an ostrich, watch the funky male ostrich dance to impress his lady and play in the extensive play area.
The ranch has white ostriches, dwarf ostriches, black-necked ostriches and emus–more than enough to keep your kids entertained for ages.
Want to take a guess what the main animal attraction at Giraffe House is? It’s Gerry, the hand-reared giraffe, of course. Despite the name, Giraffe House is not just about Gerry. They also have zebra, warthogs, monkeys, crocodiles and snakes.
Giraffe House is focused on educating kids about wildlife conservation and is the perfect spot if your kids are real animal-lovers.
Monkey Town Primate Centre
All kids love monkeys. There’s something about their cheeky, humanlike behaviour that resonates with the kiddie mind.
Monkey Town is the best place in Cape Town to view monkeys and apes. It’s a wildlife centre with over 700 animals, including chimpanzees that have learned basic sign language. It’s well worth the short trip along the N2 and makes a fun day out for both kids and adults.
The Alpaca Loom
The Alpaca Loom has got to be one of the most interesting animal encounters you can have in Cape Town. Created as a labour of love by Dietmar Keil and Kerstin Heisterkamp, this alpaca farm has a petting zoo and play area for the kids, and a coffee shop and gift shop for the adults.
You can also watch weavers at work in Alpaca Loom studio, weaving the unique alpaca fleece into scarves, beanies and jerseys.