The V&A Waterfront is Cape Town’s top tourist destination, known as the place where the “city meets the sea”, with loads of exciting activities to enjoy.
Capetonians, as well as visitors to the Mother City, have a wide choice of child-friendly options to choose from as a family, for school group visits, or for birthday parties. Read on for our list of top attractions for kids at the V&A Waterfront:
Meet the aquatic creatures of the Two Oceans Aquarium
From finding many colourful Nemos (a.k.a. clownfish) and watching African penguins enjoy their lunch, to marvelling at sleek sharks weaving their way among other fascinating marine creatures, the Two Oceans Aquarium has something for everyone and is a must-visit destination for families.
Centrally located in Cape Town’s popular Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, the Aquarium is home to more than 8 000 ocean creatures, with loads of amazing deals and cool attractions to keep the kids occupied for hours – 365 days a year.
The Aquarium is a safe and family-friendly environment staffed by employees and volunteers who not only keep the wheels turning, but also promote research, conservation and environmental education programmes.
Special packages and passes
Become a member!
The Two Oceans Aquarium has an amazing annual membership programme, allowing you and the kids to visit any time, for as long as you like. You’ll have access to exclusive member events, 25% off the scuba diving package, Penguin and Ocean Experiences, priority entrance without having to queue, and 10% off purchases at the gift shop and selected food outlets.
Membership rates range from only R210 for children aged four to 13 to R425 for new adult members, with great options for teenagers, students, pensioners, and au pairs and nannies. Membership is free for under-fours. There’s no better deal in the Mother City!
Bring your kids under four – they enter free
Children under the age of four enter the Aquarium for free, which means more family fun at a lower cost. With an exciting Touch Pool, four fabulous daily feeding shows, three daily puppet shows and much more, we’ve got the tiny tots covered.
FREE birthday entry - the perfect gift
Your Two Oceans Aquarium visit is completely free on your birthday or six days thereafter! Simply stop by, show a valid ID that reflects your date of birth, and your day of underwater exploration and wonder at the Aquarium is on us. Every child deserves a wonderful underwater birthday experience! This special offer is available to South Africans only.
Like what you sea!
Kids who have more fun are happier! Stay all day, or come in and out several times during the day with a Two Oceans Aquarium general day ticket. Avoid potential queues by purchasing your tickets online. Rates vary from R85 (kids between four and 13) to R175 (adults). There are also special rates for teens, students, and pensioners.
Did you know you can upgrade your day ticket to an annual membership? Read more about our memberships here.
Enjoy interactive activities galore
A visit to the Aquarium is all about participation – there are fun interactive experiences for kids of all ages. Enquiring minds are welcome, there is lots to learn and discover while having fun.
Check out these interactions on offer:
- I&J Children’s Play Centre: This dedicated space for three- to nine-year-olds is packed with fun activities, marine-themed arts and crafts, puzzles and books – plus entertaining, educational puppet shows three times a day. As an added bonus, the little ones can watch the northern rockhopper penguins swimming by!
- Penguin Experience: Adults and kids who are eight years and older have the opportunity to engage in an informative and exhilarating face-to-face encounter with the Aquarium's northern rockhopper penguins (no more than two people at a time with an experienced bird keeper). The Penguin Experience takes place on Tuesdays to Sundays at 11h45. Feeding times are at 11h30 and 14h30pm daily.
Predator Exhibit: This exhibit allows kids and adults to come face to face with ragged-tooth sharks, yellowbelly rockcod, giant kob and more. The sharks are fed every Sunday at 15h00 at the Predator Exhibit.
- Smart Living Challenge Zone: Don’t miss the Smart Living Challenge Zone with four digital interactive installations, designed to improve how we interact with the natural environment. The kids will have fun learning about efficient ways to manage waste; conserve energy; save our precious and scarce resource, water; and seeing how our actions, both good and bad, affect ecosystems and biodiversity.
Touch Pool and Microscope Exhibit: Stop by the popular Touch Pool, where families get the chance to gently touch kelp, sea stars and other hardy rock pool residents, feel their textures and observe them from close up. The pool is staffed by knowledgeable part-time volunteers and full-time employees. Zoom in even closer at the Microscope Exhibit, where the little ones will be excited to see some of the Aquarium’s tiny aquatic creatures such as goose barnacles, cushion stars and sea cucumbers magnified.
- Ocean Experience: If you’re lucky, friendly rescued sea turtles Bob and Sandy may approach you (but note that this is not always the case). The kids will love having a look (with mask and snorkel) at the resident short-tail stingrays, black musselcracker, giant guitarfish and nearly 200 other fish swimming at the Two Oceans Aquarium. If swimming with fish, turtles and rays has been on your bucket list, then the Aquarium has you covered- eager scuba divers can take advantage of the exciting opportunity to dive in our exhibits. Parents and kids are welcome – as long as they are over 12 years old. If you’re not qualified, you can do a one-day PADI Discover Scuba Diving course at the Aquarium, entitling you to a dive on the same day.
The fun continues outside the Aquarium
Once the family has seen and experienced it all at the Two Oceans Aquarium, there are many other fun activities for the kids to enjoy during a day out at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. Here are some of our top favourites:
It’s play time!
This huge indoor play park, aimed at kids between four and 12, has a freestyle zone with obstacles course, zip line, three-dimensional maze and more. There are also dedicated areas for younger children, a mini maze, a highline rope course and loads more fun and creative stimulation.
Playdate Superpark is also a great birthday party venue – choose between a playdate-themed or customised celebration.
Nurture your child’s inner artist
If you love seeing your little Picasso creating art, look no further – Artjamming in the V&A Waterfront is a special place for creative young minds.
There are 12 canvas sizes to choose from, 45 paint colours, options for playing, painting, sponging or spraying and a special messy area for young kids. There are even qualified artists on site to provide guidance.
Boat trips with Tommy the tugboat and City Sightseeing
Don’t miss catching a ride with Tommy the Tugboat on your family visit to the V&A Waterfront. Tommy is a cartoon-themed harbour cruise boat that provides 30- to 60-minute guided tours in and around Table Bay harbour. The kids will love the fantastic crew members dressed up in Super Marios-inspired gowns.
Cruise the harbour with City Sightseeing
City Sightseeing offers a 20-minute Harbour Cruise in and around the V&A Waterfront. Passengers have access to onboard commentary in 15 languages, as well as a special kids’ channel. Expect to see the odd resident seal, witness harbour life and perhaps a visiting cruise ship, and enjoy fabulous views of the mountain and city.
Learn about the history of Cape Town and operations in Table Bay harbour while enjoying scenic views of Table Mountain. The outing is perfect for a family trip or school visits.
Have fun picking out your own gemstones at the V&A Waterfront’s Scratch Patch and Mineral World. Young ones will love exploring the scratch patch and discovering the large range and variety of stones unique to Southern Africa. Parents also have a pick of gemstone carvings and jewellery on offer.
Cycle your way around the V&A Waterfront
Up Cycles offers a convenient, fun and affordable way to enjoy an outdoor outing in and around the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. Choose from cruiser-style Dutch bicycles, special bikes for kids and bike seats for toddlers. Once kitted out with locks and helmets, take a ride along the Atlantic Seaboard in style.
There are stops at the V&A Waterfront, the Sea Point promenade and Breakaway Café in the city centre, where you can drop off your bikes without having to go back to the stop where you hired them from.
Panoramic views of the Mother City from the Cape Wheel
One of the landmarks of the vibrant Victoria & Alfred Waterfront is of the Mother City, with 30 fully enclosed, air-conditioned cabins (two are wheelchair friendly), which reach up to 40m above the ground with spectacular views of Table Mountain, the Cape Town Stadium, Robben Island, the city skyline and even as far as the mountains of the Boland.
How about a party high in the sky? Treat your birthday boy or girl – or yourself! – by signing up for a free ride on their birthday. Or book a picnic in the sky with a basket of your favourite treats.
Shop until you drop
The V&A Waterfront houses hundreds of stores selling anything from home accessories and clothing to local craft, and the kids will want to seek out the Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre to explore Hamleys, the Cape Town operations of the 255-year-old toy store in Regent Street, London, that have been delighting children for generations.
For more shopping, head to The Watershed on Dock Road with more than 150 outlets selling ceramics, textiles, furniture, fashion, jewellery and much more.
The Clock Tower retail centre also houses a number of small shops great for shopping for presents. The brick-red octagonal double-storey Clock Tower is an attraction in its own right – it was built in 1882 as the harbour captain’s office.
Cruise away into the sunset with La Famiglia
Looking for an exclusive excursion for the whole family? Nothing beats sitting back on a sunset cruise on a yacht. The La Famiglia motor yacht is perfect for a family outing from the V&A Waterfront. She carries up to 12 passengers, or six for an extended overnight sailing experience.
Whether you’re Capetonian or a visitor to the Mother City, the V&A Waterfront has fun activities and experiences to keep you busy for days. Bring the kids and make family memories to last a lifetime.