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45 Family Friendly Fun activities in and around East London

There are so many activities for the whole family in and around East London! So, whether you have family and friends visiting and you want to show them the beauty of your city or you’re simply looking for something different to do at the weekend or during the holidays with your kids, take a look at our guide to what’s on and where…

When it comes to fun for the whole family, Gravity Indoor Trampoline Park must score an A+ on the fun and energetic scale.  This fantastic facility has something for every member of the family, from the little ones to the adults, who have no problem finding their inner child at this venue.  Open 7 days a week AND public holidays (check their times online), they are situated in The Beacon Bay Crossing. Book online directly from their website call them on:  043 748 2767.

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After a hot humid day on the beach, why not take the family to one of the iconic Friesland Milk Bars situated in the Quigney and in Hemingways Shopping Mall, for the best milk shake and ice-cream around!

The East London Aquarium is the oldest public aquarium in South Africa and is a wonderful place to take the kids with daily fish feeding at 10.30am, seal feeding at 11.30am and 3.30pm and penguin feeding directly after that. You can also take a stroll along the Whale Walk deck and see if you can spot some whales (best time of year is between August and November). Open daily from 9am to 5pm. R36 adults, R22 children (3-18) and pensioners and R14 school groups (per learner). Esplanade, Quigney. 043 705 2637.

PineCreek Restaurant and Farmstall, situated on the old Gonubie Road as you leave Beacon Bay, encompasses a large children’s playground, a wonderful diesel train for kiddie rides, farm stall, crystal shop and a beautiful restaurant and tea garden. A delightful treat for the entire family. Open Tuesday through till Sunday from 8am onwards. 043 732 1101.

Lindale Farm is an animal and bird edu-fun farm in Thornpark with approximately 300 birds on display. Baby bird feeding takes place between 1.30pm and 2pm each day and educational stations are placed outside each animal enclosure whereby children can press a button and learn about the different animals. Open Wednesday to Sunday, 9.30am – 4pm. Farm C43, Thornpark. 082 415 2791.

Children and adults alike will enjoy this miniature train ride, available on the first Sunday of every month at Gonubie Farmer’s Hall Showgrounds. There’s a lovely little station there with plenty of seating, looking just like a regular railway waiting room. Contact Clive on 082 355 5445 or 043 740 0038.

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Drifters Raceway Theme Park offers activities including volleyball, quad biking, go-karting and paintballing. Open Monday to Saturday, 8.30am onwards. 3 Mayfair Avenue, Cambridge. 043 727 5060.

Learn pottery with Steve Meise at his ceramics studio in Gonubie   All ages and levels are welcome. R70 per class (1 hour), R40 bag of clay. Idaho Farm, Gonubie. 082 548 5074. Mogg’s Pottery in Nahoon also offers classes for children and adults. 39 Smartt Road, Nahoon. 043 735 0909.

Enjoy the 28-hole Xtreme Golf at Beacon Bay Crossing. Open Monday to Sunday, 8am to 10pm. 043 706 6808.

Also situated at Beacon Bay Crossing is Alien Zone Lazer Tag where groups of family and friends get to take on aliens on 3 different obstacle courses . Open Monday to Friday 3pm – 9pm, Saturday 10am – 10pm and Sunday 10am – 8pm. 043 706 6808.

Pack a picnic basket and head down to one of East London’s many beaches where you can swim, build sand castles and enjoy the family, at no extra cost.

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East London’s worst kept secret is Floradale Nursery situated in Beacon Bay on the Old Gonubie Road.  Browse and shop in the Craft Shop, Nursery and art gallery, and when the adults and the children need a break from each other, head over to Country Bumpkin where the parents can sip coffee and have a meal while the kids can play a while.  A perfect destination for all.

Watch a ride film on the X Rider at Electric Avenue inside Hemingways Mall! A robot arm carries out wild and intense movements, complete with wind effects and onboard audio system and 9 rides are available including Snow Coaster, Tomb of the Pharaoh’s Queene, Haunted Forest, Legend of Dragon and Glacier Run. Corner of Western Avenue and Two Rivers Drive, Cambridge. 043 726 9727.

Action Karting, also at Electric Avenue offers a fast, exciting race circuit in a safe and controlled environment. Open Sunday to Thursday 9am to 11pm and Friday and Saturday 9am to midnight. 043 726 9727.

Let your kids delight in the experience of cooking at Mandy’s Kitchen Kids in Gonubie. 083 653 1428.

Young and old can enjoy this ten lane ten pin bowling alley plus a wide variety of arcade games at Electric Avenue inside Hemingways Mall. Corner of Western Avenue and Two Rivers Drive, Cambridge. 043 726 9727.

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Formula Dodgems at Electric Avenue, Hemingways Mall, is an adrenalin rush for all ages with imported cars offering a real bumping experience in a safe, supervised and fun environment. Corner of Western Avenue and Two Rivers Drive, Cambridge. 043 726 9727.

Venom Pit Snake Park, situated at Python Park, is home to Africa’s deadliest snakes as well as the world’s rarest,  and is a great day out for the whole family. 4km after the Lion Park on the N6, East London. Open Wednesday to Sunday 9am to 4pm. 083 285 0534/082 410 1852.

Lavender Blue Cycle Track has a 5km distance featuring three bridge crossings, forest and open sections and can be used for cycling and trail running. R10 per ride/walk (with own bikes). Old Gonubie Road, Beacon Bay. 043 732 1172.

A wonderful outing for kids and adults alike is strawberry picking at Lavender Blue (in summer months only). Old Gonubie Road, Beacon Bay. 043 732 1172.

A visit to the East London Lion Park is a great day out for the family and an opportunity to see Africa’s predators at close range, no more than 5 minutes drive from East London. Predators include lions, rare white lions, leopards, cheetahs, crocodiles and exotic tigers. Other animals that can be seen (and some fed and petted) include giraffe and small antelope species. There are braai facilities, a small coffee shop, children’s playground and touch farm. Open Tuesday to Sunday 8am – 5pm (Monday to Sunday during school holidays). Feeding times 12.30pm on Sundays. N6 towards Stutterheim. 043 730 7161.

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There are plenty of fun activities for families at Areena including river cruises , zing zipline toursquad bike game drivesobstacle coursesabseilingcanoe trailssea kayakspedal boat hire , paintballarcherypellet gun shootingbow hunting4 x 4 trainingdeep sea fishing and microlight flying (prices on request). And last but most definitely not least, you can meet Abby, the resident giraffe! Bookings essential. East Coast Resorts Road, Kwelera. 043 734 3055.

The Joan Harrison Swimming Pool is an outdoor public pool park which also hosts galas, water polo events etc and has lovely gardens and trees, great for a family picnic. The main heated pool is 50 metres in length, has ten lanes and offers activities such as lap swimming, water exercise, open swim (recreational swimming) and private swim lessons. There is a diving pool, 2 water polo pools and a paddling pool for the little ones.  A fantastic all day destination at a very reasonable cost.  An absolute must in the swimming season.  Frere Road, Berea. 043 726 7066/043 705 9111.

Experience horseriding on the beach with the ocean on one side of you and magnificient dunes on the other. Trails vary and include half and full day outings, both led by professional guides. Tainton Road, Chintsa East. 043 738 5141.

Considered to be one of the most interesting natural and cultural history museums in South Africa, the East London Museum features a number of fine exhibits , including the type specimen of the coelacanth. Open Monday to Thursday 9.30am – 4.30pm, Fridays 9.30am – 4pm. 319 Oxford Street (entrance from Dawson Road). 043 743 0686.

Take the family along for some big screen entertainment and enjoy all the latest movies at Hemingways Cinema. Corner of Western Avenue and Two Rivers Drive, Cambridge. 043 726 1505/17.

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Offering harbour and river cruises, Southern Cross Cruises is the ideal place to turn when you’re looking for an adventure off dry land. The only SAMA Approved Dolphin & Whale watching tour operator in East London, Southern Cross Cruises offers river cruises, ocean cruises as well as sailing.  Departing from Latimers Landing on the Buffalo River, this is highly recommended for all families either living or visiting East London. Visit their website for more information.

Offering hiking, bird watching, bass fishing, mountain biking, a golf-driving range, rock climbing, abseiling and horse riding, Pecan Valley Farm has it all! Brakfontein, East London. 083 457 6710 (Aubrey), 083 460 5963 (Candice).

Jonginenge offers a wide variety of activities for the whole family including rock climbing and abseiling, group surf lessons, canoe trails, sand boarding, snorkelling, guided fishing tours, kayak expeditions and kloofing. Activities are carried out at various venues in and around East London and Jonginenge also offers schools and kids adventure programmes. Office is at EL Surf Lifesaving Club on Nahoon Beach. 083 305 2590 (Dean) or 083 565 0514 (Shoran).

Sugar Shack Backpackers offers surf lessons in front of the hostel or on the Nahoon Beach with qualified instructors.  043 722 8240/074 890 8405. Learn 2 Surf is another option for those who’d like to improve their surfing on more advanced waves. Contact them via their website for prices.

Located in the Queen’s Park Botanical Gardens near the city centre, the East London Zoo is home to over 300 animals of which there are 43 species of mammals, 14 of reptiles and 26 species of birds. There is a large jungle gym and play park for the little ones, situated close to the refreshment kiosk, and a fun train too. Open Monday to Sunday, 9am – 5pm. R33 adults, R20 children and pensioners, R13 scholars. Queens Park, East London. 043 722 1171.

Burnside Touch Farm is a clean, safe and friendly environment for the whole family to enjoy a fun and relaxed day. As well as featuring a wide range of animals for petting, Burnside also has playground areas, horse rides, 4 wheeler cart rides and catch and release fishing (bring your own rod!). Open Tuesday to Saturday 9am – 4pm, Sunday 8.30am – 2.30pm. Farm C26, Thorn Park. 082 478 2949.

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Bubble Jungle is a fun indoor play centre catering for the little ones. There’s a lovely little coffee shop for the parents while the kids tire themselves out with the numerous activities on offer. Open Monday to Saturday 9am – 4.30pm, Sunday 9am – 3pm. Beacon Bay Crossing, Beacon Bay. 043 706 6800.  Keep an eye out for their special school holiday events calendars.

At Mpongo Private Game Reserve Touch Farm you can also find a children’s playground and pony and tractor rides are available on request. Domestic animals include pot-bellied pigs, miniature horses, bunnies, Aldabra tortoises, ducks, geese, birds and more. Wild animals to see include lion cubs, baby giraffe, warthog, duiker and bushbuck. Macleantown District, N6. 043 739 1668.

Mel’s Fun Farm is a wonderful outdoor play venue that is open to the public for Market Day on the last Saturday of each month.  Contact Mel for further opening times as they vary throughout term time and holidays. For the young ones there is animal feeding, wheelbarrow rides, jungle gym, sandpit, bike track and for the mums and dads, a lovely tea garden. R15 for children, adults go free. Farm C54a, Dewpoint Road, Thornpark. 082 258 0440.

Up In A Swirl Art Studio offers toddler art classes at Messy Monkeys, child art classes at Art Smarties and for adults there’s The Art Club. 15 Tiddy Crescent, Baysville. 084 700 9743.

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The lush green forest of Tea in the Trees is a place the entire family will enjoy. After a delicious Sunday breakfast and lunch, you can take a stroll in the beautiful forest while the kids play in the jungle gym and sand pit. Their Forest Theatre also stages some wonderful shows for all ages. Keep an eye out for events happening there on our events and entertainment section. Chintsa West Road, Chintsa West. 072 611 2367.

The kids will just love feeding the animals at Amalinda Touch Farm with pony rides available too. A large playground will keep them occupied for hours while mum and dad relax a while and browse the large nursery. 17 Etheridge Road, Morningside. 043 741 1276.

Home to a fine collection of old carts, wagons and handcarts, the Calgary Transport Museum also features a Gypsy caravan, tack room and a wheelwright’s workshop and forge. A wonderful day out for the whole family. Open daily from 9am – 4pm. N6 Stutterheim Road, East London. 043 730 7244.

Take the family to the East London SPCA situated in Amalinda and spend the morning or afternoon cuddling the animals and helping the SPCA staff.  This is a great family outing, costs absolutely nothing (unless you loose your heart and bring a furry ball of joy home) and it is never too early to start teaching kids how to treat animals.  An especially good visit for those families that cannot keep pets of their own.

It has become tradition for visitors and residents of East London alike to book at Inkwenkwezi Private Game Reserve and become part of the legend to enjoy one of their famous gigantic hamburgers on a Wednesday night. Head on down and experience it for yourself! Schafli Road, Chintsa. 043 734 3234.


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