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Family fun in Johannesburg




Family-friendly theatre and film

Classics are the order of the day for what’s on at the theatre this month. Award-winning playwright and South Africa’s “Queen of Pantomime” Janice Honeyman, presents another zany production – the story of the little puppet who wants to be a real boy. The rerun of the 2009 smash-hit Pinocchio pantomime stars much of the original cast with Tobie Cronje reprising his role as Geppetto Spoletto and Chi Mhende starring as Pussy Galore. Catch this raucous family fun show at Joburg Theatre until December 30.

Meanwhile everyone’s favourite green ogre comes to the People’s Theatre with Shrek the Musical Jr until December 24. Young fans of the original movie will love this theatre adaptation; the songs are catchy, all the same loveable characters are there and the tale of an unlikely knight conquering a power-crazed ruler, never gets old.

The Russian Imperial Ice Stars bring Cinderella to the ice at Montecasino until January 6. Conceived and choreographed by award-winning ice dance director Tony Mercer, the show promises incredible stunts, stunning costumes and lots of special effects.

For an alternative to the traditional movie night, check out The Bioscope’s screening of 1990 cult classic Home Alone, until December 15. The screenings include special discount tickets and you can book a ticket with a drink and popcorn for R60.

Montecasino Theatres, tel. +27 11 510 7365/6,

Joburg Theatre, tel. 0861 670 670,

The Bioscope, 286 Fox St, Maboneng, tel. +27 11 039 7306,


The Rosebank Sunday Market closes the year with the Rosebank Night Market on December 21, featuring live music and a super selection of gifts, crafts and delicious foods.

Every Tuesday until December 19, head to the Bryanston Organic Market for their Moonlight Market, offering festive food, handcrafted gifts and plenty of kids’ crafting activities.

Rosebank Sunday Market Rosebank Mall (Level 4), Open Sunday 09:00 – 16:00.

Bryanston Organic Market 40 Culross Rd, Bryanston, Open Thu, Sat and public holidays 09:00 – 15:00. Moonlight Market every Tue from 17:00.

Action and adventure

Burn off the extra energy at Acrobranch’s aerial playgrounds, with courses in Huddle Park and Melrose, that are suitable for kids as young as three years old, as well as more adventurous obstacles that are perfect for teens. Zipline from tree to tree, explore the monkey bridges and Tarzan jumps and for the adult adrenalin junkie, the Acrobungy catapults you 14 metres into the air in less than five seconds.

Alternatively take the kids to Bounce in Fourways for some crazy trampoline fun. Bounce off the walls, practise your flips and generally unleash your inner Spiderman on more than 100 interconnected trampolines in the giant Bounce warehouse. There are also bouncy dodgeball courts, a slam dunk arena, special areas for younger kids and an expert trampoline area. The bouncing fun is surprisingly exhausting, so be careful not to do yourself an injury by overdoing it.

Gauteng’s leading theme park, Gold Reef City, is open throughout the holidays and you’d be hard-pressed to find a better place to keep surly teenagers amused. Extreme rides like the Anaconda, Jozi Express and Tower of Terror, are for the brave, and for toddlers there’s the option of a gentle train ride around the park, with a soft-serve ice cream in hand.

Acrobranch tel. +27 86 999 0369,

Bounce tel. +27 11 517 2500,

Gold Reef City tel. +27 11 248 6800,

Ride the City Sightseeing Bus

The summer holidays are the perfect time to explore Johannesburg and Soweto with the open-top hop-on hop-off City Sightseeing Bus. Take advantage of the Sunday Sizzler discount; kids under five ride for free; kids under 18 pay R100 and adults also get a discount. There are two routes which travel through the city. The Green Route from Rosebank stops at Johannesburg Zoo, a great stop for budding wildlife conservationists, the Ditsong Military History Museum with its tanks, planes and other exciting military vehicles, and links to the Red Route at Constitution Hill. The Red Route makes 11 stops in the city centre and south Johannesburg, including the James Hall Museum of Transport, Gold Reef City, Sci-Bono Discovery Centre and the excellent Origins Centre museum in Braamfontein.

City Sightseeing Bus tel. +27 86 173 3287,

Art and history

Pay a visit to one of Johannesburg’s most important heritage landmarks, Constitution Hill and join one of the free guided tours of the complex that is included in the entry price. A visit is best suited to teenagers, as some of the museum exhibitions (particularly in the old Number 4 prison) can be disturbing.

Don’t miss out on a visit to the inspirational Constitutional Court building, home to an outstanding collection of contemporary South African artworks by artists likes William Kentridge, Dumile Feni, Judith Mason, Willie Bester and Cecil Skotnes.

Another great place to introduce your kids to art is the Johannesburg Art Gallery’s Spellbinders: Myths, Mysteries and Hidden Tales, exhibition. This new exhibition presents some of the biggest highlights of the gallery’s archival art collection which started in 1910. The exhibition has been themed around myths and folk narratives and includes everything from Ming Dynasty roof tiles to a room dedicated to Hidden Tales of the Johannesburg Art Gallery collection including a forgotten Irma Stern work found on the back of one of the gallery’s paintings.

Constitution Hill tel. +27 11 381 3100,

Johannesburg Art Gallery King George St, Joubert Park, City Centre, tel. +27 11 725 3130,

The great outdoors

The warmer days make picnicking a must; pack a basket and head to parks like the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens in Emmarentia, Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens, or the Hyundai Mushroom Farm Park in Sandton.

Alternatively, spend the day exploring the Unesco-protected Cradle of Humankind. The Maropeng visitor’s centre is one of the most child-friendly museums in the provinces with lots of hands-on interactive exhibits. Their new “Almost Human” exhibition which outlines the recent incredible Homo Naledi discovery made in the area, is a must see. Kids with extra energy to burn off will also enjoy the tour of the nearby Sterkfontein Caves where many of the most important fossil discoveries in Africa have been made.

Maropeng Visitor’s Centre and Sterkfontein Caves tel. +27 14 577 9000,

This information is all from Johannesburg In Your Pocket City Guide, see

All things Jewish


Chabad will be holding a candle-lighting every night of Chanukah at KosherWorld in Glenhazel and outside Sandton City (on Rivonia Road). Events featuring jumping castles, parades and other exciting activities for the kids will be held at these locations on December 17 (Sandton) and 19 (KosherWorld). Chabad will also be lighting candles at check-in desks for all El Al flights throughout Chanukah.

Gan Yisrael

Running from December 11 – 22, Gan Yisrael Camp caters for children aged 3 to 12 years old, with a separate overnight camp for high school pupils. The children are kept busy all day long, enjoying activities such arts and crafts, sports, Taekwondo, outdoor and creative play.

A trip is held once a week for the older children, and, during the course of each day, children are offered a full lunch and two snacks. 

* For more info about Gan Yisrael visit


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