Johannesburg in winter: think cold evenings snuggled up in front of the fireplace and warm, ambient days spent outdoors soaking up the soul-soothing winter sun. Although the surroundings can become dull and dreary, nothing beats the blue skies, warm sun and crisp air so typical of our hometown during this season.
If you are planning on spending the school holidays in Johannesburg, Gauteng, we have the ultimate bucket list of family-friendly events, activities and excursions for you.
For a holiday guide to Durban, click here, to Cape Town, click here, and to the Garden Route, click here.
Arts & Culture
1. Puss in Boots Pantomime
Offering great audience participation and fun musical numbers, this re-make of the family-favourite classic is a hilarious must-see for the entire family.
Where: The Lyric Theatre, Gold Reef City Casino, Ormonde
When: 30.06 – 23.07.17 | Wed. – Sat.: 14:30, 19:30 & Sun.: 11:00, 16:00
2. The Adventures of Mr Toad, a Musical
The National Children’s Theatre in Parktown specialises in making theatre child-friendly – from a relaxed show experience to entertaining holiday programmes, this theatre offers the perfect family outing. During these school holidays, expect another childhood classic and the kids will love being transported into this magical story.
Where: National Children’s Theatre, Parktown
When: 20.06. – 23.07.17 | 10:30 & 14:30
3. Disney on Ice: The Wonderful World of Disney
This year’s Disney on Ice spectacular revolves around Disney’s captivating history and its many much-loved characters. Be prepared for a nostalgic and mesmerising trip down memory lane with classic & modern characters such a Mickey Mouse, the Seven Dwarves, the cast from Frozen and much more.
Where: Ticketpro Dome, Northgate
When: 30.06. – 09.07.17 | 10:00 – 17:00
4. The Smurfs Live on Stage, The Musical
Join Papa Smurf, Clumsy Smurf, Brainy Smurf and Smurfette as they celebrate Spring (helping us to forget our winter blues) and expect a fun twist as Gargamel tries to ruin their plans.
Another remake of one our awe-inspiring childhood classics.
Where: Theatre of Marcellus, Emperors Palace, Kempton Park
When: 13 – 30.07.17 | 10:00, 14:00, 18:00
5. Johnny Clegg: The Final Journey
Having grown up with his music, Johnny Clegg has been a South African icon for as long as I can remember. Do not miss out on his last ever world tour.
Where: Teatro at Montecasino, Montecasino Boulevard, Fourways
When: 06.07.17 – 12.08.17 | Thurs. – Sat.: 20:00 & Sun.: 18:00
6. Good Food & Wine Show
This annual culinary event is showcasing a dedicated kids’ programmes, a kids’ corner and a kids’ exhibition area this year, so you can rest assured that the kids will be entertained while you go in search of celebrity chefs, such as Marco Pierre White, to tickle you taste buds.
Where: Ticketpro Dome, Northgate
When: 28 – 30.07.17
Outdoor Excursions & Activities
7. Lipizzaners Show
I remember watching this show when I was a child and I cannot wait to take my little guy to watch this captivating performance. Held every Sunday, the show lasts 60 min after which the kids can feed carrots to the horses.
Café Capriole is a child-friendly restaurant, featuring a fun jumping castle, on site
Where: 1 Dahlia Rd, Kyalami
When: Sundays | 10:30
8. Acrobranch Outdoor Activity Parks
We recently wrote an article on why gross motor skills development is so important in early childhood development (read it here). This holiday, make a point to get the kids outdoors, to play in nature and to just let them be kids. The best (and safest) place to do this is definitely an Acrobranch venue near you. Find out more about Acrobranch here.
When: Wednesday - Sunday: 09h00 - 17h00
Where: Johannesburg North: Melrose Park | Johannesburg East: Huddle Park, Linksfield |Centurion: Sunlaws Estate, Olifantsfontein | Pretoria North: Honingnestkrans | Pretoria East: Rosemary Hill
9. Gold Reef City Theme Park
For an indoor or outdoor family destination, visit Gold Reef City – they have a large amusement park offering thrill rides and tamer family rides, a 4D theatre, a cinema, a mining museum with an underground mine tour as well as the Lyric Theatre.
When: During School Holidays: Monday - Sunday: 09h30 - 17h00
Where: C/O Northern Parkway & Data Crescent, Ormonde
10. City Sightseeing Johannesburg
My son is obsessed with buses at the moment, so we will definitely be hopping onto the Hop-on Hop-off sightseeing bus to explore our hometown. Plus, we can take the Gautrain to Park Station (the first hop-on point), which means we get to ride on a high-speed train as well.
When: Monday - Sunday (incl. public holidays): 08h00 - 19h00
Where: Gautrain Park Station
11. Activities in Johannesburg for under R 100.00
In many households, this time of year is often characterised by saving as we prepare for the summer holidays and the festive season. That does not mean, however, that we cannot spend some much-needed down time with our families – we have recently, therefore, put together a post detailing some fun family activities and excursions which cost under R 100.00. Read it here.
12. Home Entertainment Activities
For those of you who are not taking leave but want to ensure that the kids are entertained at home while you are at work, we have put together some easy (and fun) at home entertainment ideas. Read more here.
Take a relaxed stroll through one of the family-friendly markets, while you soak up the sun, browse, shop and enjoy a bite to eat.
13. Fourways Farmers Market
When: Every Sunday: 09h00 - 16h00
Where: C/O William Nicol Drive and Montecasino Boulevard, Fourways
14. Bryanston Organic Market
When: Every Thursday & Saturday: 09h00 - 15h00
Where: 40 Culross Rd, Bryanston, Johannesburg
15. The Blubird Wholefood Market Birnam
When: Every Sunday: 09h00 - 14h00
Where: Blubird Shopping Centre, C/O Atholl-Oaklands Rd and Fort Str, Birnam
16. Rosebank Sunday Market
When: Every Sunday: 09h00 - 16h00
Where: Rosebank Mall, 50 Bath Avenue, Johannesburg
17. Picnic Spots & Braai Spots
It sounds counter-intuitive, but, Johannesburg is the absolute best place for a family picnic (and a braai) during winter. Spread out a comfortable blanket, pack in your favourite treats, a flask of hot chocolate or coffee and a ball for the kids and simply relax in the warm and soothing sun.
Click here to read our list of favourite Picnic spots in Johannesburg (including picnic spots in Pretoria) and click here for our favourite Braai spots.
We have put together a guide to 50+ restaurants in Johannesburg, conveniently sorted into the 4 major areas (North, East, South & West). Read it here.
Soak up the sun, breathe in as much fresh air as possible and cuddle up with your loved ones this winter. And remember, collect those priceless memories and share these with us on social media!