11 January 2018

Pikkieland at Diaz Water Park

This is my first post for 2018 and after a few years of only posting occasionally I hope to continue to post regularly during 2018.  

We spent our summer holiday at home in Mossel Bay and also made a few trips to George.  During this trips we had a lot of adventures from swimming at the Point and Pikkieland to Happy Valley in George and a visit to the Dias Museum.  We also hosted lost of visitors in our apartment.

One of the highlights for JW (my 3-year old son) was the morning at Pikkieland at Diaz Water Park.  The entrance fee for Pikkieland was R 40 per child and there is no fees for the adults that are with the children.

Pikkieland has two shallow pools for small children to play in.  In the smaller pool the water is only about 30cm deep.  In the bigger pool the water reached just above my knee and is is the perfect dept for the children to play in.  There is a tower in the middle with lots of slides that let them slip into the water.
The smaller shallowest pool

The bigger pool

There is not a lot to do for adults.  The Water Park has other activities but you cannot leave your child alone at Pikkieland.  There is a nice wooden deck with benches to sit but most parents were walking in the water with their kids.  After a while I sat in the water with JW and even went down one slide with him (He needed a bit motivation but once he got the confidence he was sliding the whole time.
Seating for parents in the shade

There are no lifeguards on duty at Pikkieland and parents must supervise their own kids.  My dad went with us and we took turns to walk and play with JW in the water and very soon 2 hours passed.  JW was not ready to go home but the sun was getting very hot and we went home with promises to return soon.

This was a great outing and I will definitely take JW again.  I did feel that the entrance fee of R 40 was a bit expensive for a two hour outing.  I hope when the holiday high season is over that the prices will fall a bit.

I also was a bit disappointed in the water quality. The park opens at 9 am and we arrived shortly after 9 am but the water in the pool was murky and full of small pieces of grass. I think they could keep in cleaner.

Address:                      1 Beach East Boulevard, Diaz Strand, Mossel Bay
Tel no:                         044 692 8429 / 083 679 3555
Website:                      www.diazwaterpark.co.za
Entrance Fee:             R40 per child for 2 hours
Trading Hours:            9:00 to 18:00 (Except Sundays 10:00 to 16:00)
(Not a sponsored post)

22 December 2017

Our favourite kids outings in Mossel Bay

I did a post last week about our favourite kids’ outings in our neighbouring town, George.  
Our home town, Mossel Bay, a small town next to the ocean and mainly a summer holiday destination.  Thousands of people come here to spend time near the ocean during December and January.  

Here are some of our favourite things to do with our 
3-year old son JW:

1.  The Ocean – Swimming, Playing in sand, collecting shells…. and many more

Mossel Bay’s main attraction during the summer month is the beach.  And there is a lot of them to choose from.  For toddlers and younger kids I would suggest the paddling pool at The Point (I usually take my son early, before it gets too busy and the sun to hot) or Santos with is small waves.  For bigger waves rather try Hartenbos or Diaz Beach.

There is a lot to do at the Hartenbos Fun Park…Swimming and Water-slides at the pool, 
a huge jungle gym for climbing, sliding, swinging and lots more and adventure mini golf. The park entrance fee comes in different packages… only an entrance fee or including some or all the activities.  There is also an indoor warm swimming pool (pay separately) and during holidays there are other activities like bumper cars etc.

The Diaz Express consists of three restored Wickham railcars and they offer different  excursions.  I went on the trip from Mossel Bay to Maalgate with work colleges with a stop at the Transkaroo Restaurant for lunch.  It was a wonderful trip with great views and food.  During the December holiday they only do shorter shuttle trips between Hartenbos and Santos Beach. This shorter trip could be great for younger kids that get bored easy.

4.  Romonza / Seven Seas Seal Island Trips

These trips leave every hour from the Mossel Bay harbour and takes about 1 hour.  The trip takes you around Seal Island with its ± 3000 seals and great views of the bay and town.  
I went on the Seven Seas Trip in 2015 and enjoyed is a lot.  I want to take my son on this trip but he cannot swim yet. And even though it is safe and there are life jackets available, I think we will wait another year. Trips are dependent on weather conditions and remember to pack something warm to wear.  You can book online for Romonza (R160 per adult & R80 per child).  I could not find the prices for Seven Seas trips online.

I love going to the Dias Museum and visit at least once a year.  This year I took JW with me and he loved the outing.  We started at the Shell Museum and Aquarium.  Then we walked to the Post Office tree and played outside for a bit.  There is lots of grass and some ducks at the spring.  Next time I will pack a picnic to eat on the grass.  Last we went to the Maritime Museum to see the replica of the Caravel.  JW’s highlight of the day was to climb on to the caravel.  He pulled on the ropes and climbed ladders and loved every moment.   There are 2 ticket options…Including getting on the caravel (Adult R 40/Child R 20) or without (Adult R 20/Child R 5). 

6.  Harry Giddy Park

The Harry Giddy Park is a lovely place for a stroll or picnic.  There is Aviaries with lots of different bids and also lots of other animals to see.  There are fountains and lots of paths for a walk. There is a playground for kids with a boat, swings etc.  But on our last visit the play area was not in a good condition and needed a lot of maintenance.  There is no entrance fee but you can leave a donation.

7.  Fanta Sea @ The Point

This small play area is located at the Point.  They have a jungle gym, put-put, skateboard park and jumping castles.  The entrance fee during the year was R 10 per kid and R 20 for put-put (Prices correct in July 2017 ).  The play ground can do with a bit of maintenance like new paint and a bit of cleaning but it is a nice option and the location is great

8.  Takoda Spur (Hartenbos)

The Spur is Hartenbos has a big indoor play area for kids up to 12 years.  There are slides, swings and lots of climbing.  They also have computer games for the older kids.  It is great for rainy days or when you want to rest out of the sun.  JW loves playing here (or maybe it is about the ice cream he gets when we go)

9.  The Shark Lab

The Shark lab is a small (very, very small) aquarium at the Point.  JW loved the outing and to see the sharks.  The entrance fee was R 20 per adult and R 10 per child (Children under 3 are free).  There really is not much to see except for the 2 sharks in the tank and an octopus.  I think it is too expensive for the 5 minutes you will spend walking through but JW loved it and that is why I include it on this list.

We have heard great things about the following places. We have not done these yet but are going to try them soon:

a)  Diaz Water Park

In Dias Beach is a water park for all ages.  There are water slides for kids and adults.  They also have a warm indoor pool and a toddler area.  I am not sure what the entrance fees are but we are going to visit this park in December

b)  Blasters Family Entertainment Centre

I don’t know why we have not been here yet but it looks like a very nice place for kids to play.  They have a large indoor jungle gym and a restaurant for the parents.

c)  Viking Anchor Restaurant

Situated close to the Harbour in Bland Street is the indoor/outdoor restaurant with large braai.  There is a play area for kids with a boat climb in.  I recently went there for the first time for a breakfast and the prices look reasonable and the breakfast and coffee was good.  Next time I will take my husband and JW with and try the lunch or dinner.

d)  Cape St Blaize Cave and Hiking Trail

I have taken JW to the cave and he loved running on the wood path inside.  He wanted to walk up to the lighthouse but we will do this when my husband is with us.  The cave is also the starting (or end) point for the 13.5km St Blaize Hiking trail.   I don’t think the trail is suitable for young children but can be fun for adventures families with older children. 

15 December 2017

Our favourite kids outings in George

George is our neighbouring town and we visit it regularly 
because my parents live there.  When we go on outings or to
 restaurants we try to find child friendly places
 that our 3-year old son will enjoy.

It is almost holiday time and the perfect time to share some of my favourite places:

Ahavah Cafe & Deli at Outeniqua Palms

We discovered this restaurant recently and have only been there once but it jumped to number 1 on the list.  The outdoor play area is great and there are animals to pet.  The food was also good and reasonably priced.  Entrance is free and the only expense it your food, drinks and maybe buying some food for the bunnies.

Red Berry Farm

The Red berry Farm is always a great outing.  There is a restaurant (I love the strawberry juice) and outdoor play area.  There is also activities like strawberry picking, animals to feed, pony rides, maze, train rides (JW loves this) and more.  There is no entrance fee but you need to pay for each activity you want to do.  Since my son is still small I do a lot of the activities with him and we have to buy tickets for both of us.  This can quickly add up to a lot of money.

Kidz at Mount view is a lovely indoor play area for kids 1 to 9 (Great for rainy days).  There is a toddler play area for kids between 1 and 3 and an indoor jungle gym for kids from 3 to 9 years old.  There are slides, swings and balls and will keep the children entertained for a hour or two.  Next door is “The Coffee Pot” that serves drinks, breakfast and light meals etc.

The entrance fee (Aug 2017) was R 30 per child to play for 90 minutes and R 15 for each additional 30 minutes.  Outside there also is an animal farm and lots of grass for a bit of running.

For a breakfast or brunch we like to go to Kontrei Padstal just outside of George on the N2 in the direction of Wildernis/Knysna at the Sasol Fuel station.  They have a lovely outside play area for kids with a jungle gym, slide and swings.

One of our favourite places to visit in George is the Garden Route Botanical Garden.  Both my husband and I love taking photos and the garden is a great place for photos.  Mostly we visit without JW but it is a great place for a picnic or to take a walk.

Recently we visited the coffee shop in the garden, Getafix Cafe.  There is a lovely play are for kids and the menu has a lot of options. This is a nice place for a drink or light meal after a walk in the garden.

My husband and son both love trains.  We have visited the museum twice with JW and he loved it.  He wants to touch everything and climb into every train.  There is a kiosk/coffee shop refreshments. The entrance fee is R 20 per adult and R 10 per child over 3 years.

We have heard great things about the following places 
and we are going to try them soon:

Happy Valley is another indoor play area for children 2 to 10 with a smaller area for toddlers from 0 to 2 years old.  There is a restaurant to buy refreshments.  The entrance fee according to their website (Nov 2017) was R 30/R40 per child to play for 90 minutes and R 10 for each additional 30 minutes.

My son is still too young for this one but I know my cousins’ kids love this.  Elevate is an indoor trampoline park with more than 60 trampolines.  Entrance fees are R95 for a senior and R 75 for junior jumpers (older than 4 years & shorter than 1.2m) for 90 minutes.

Outeniqua Power Van

My husband and I went on a trip on the Power Van in January 2012 and had a great time.  I think JW is now old enough to enjoy the trip and we plan to do this during the Dec/Jan holiday.  Power Van trips start at the Outeniqua Transport Museum you travel on the railway line into the Outeniqua Mountains with lovely views and commentary about the history.  Take a picnic basket because the Power Van makes a stop in the mountain.  I am not sure of the fee but booking is essential.

08 December 2017

Ahavah Cafe & Deli

The Ahavah Café and Deli and kids play area at the Outeniqua Palms Nursery was a lovely surprise.  I am a creature of habit and when I find a place I like I return to it again and again.  But on Saturday 18 November we decided to try something new.  And I am sure that we will be returning to this restaurant again and again.

Outeniqua Palms is just outside of George on the old Airport road (R102) and we drive past the nursery regularly.  I wanted to take my mom out for brunch for her birthday but also needed a place where my 3-year old son JW can play.  So we decided to give the restaurant Outeniqua Palms a try.

The nursery is easy to find.  If you are travelling from George it is the first nursery on the left hand side of the road.  The restaurant is actually run separately from the nursery but uses the same parking area and entrance.

Ahavah Café and Deli is a farm-style coffee shop with a great outdoor play for kids and a small petting zoo.  They serve all-day breakfast, lunch and deserts.  They also sell small gifts, souvenirs and deli products.

Outeniqua Palms Nursery

Outeniqua Palms Nursery

Outeniqua Palms Nursery

Here are some of the things that we loved:
  • There is a wonderful outside play area for kids.  From all the places we have visited in George this is the best outside play area.  It is surrounded by a fence and feels very save.  It is in great condition with no broken ropes etc. There are a jungle gym, slides, ropes, a sand pit, trampoline, jumping castle, swings and “tree” house to name a few. JW was busy the whole 2 hours we spent there and only sat at the table long enough to drink his milkshake.
Outeniqua Palms Nursery

Outeniqua Palms Nursery
  • There are lots of animals…a pig and a goat, a chicken and duck.  And lots of bunnies. JW (and most of the other kids there) tried and tried to catch a bunny. Some are successful but JW could not catch one.  In the end I helped him and he got to hold the bunny in his arms.
Outeniqua Palms Nursery
  • The food was good and the prices are great. They have breakfast, burgers, tasted sandwiches and tramazzinis and some other options.  There is also a kiddies menu. JW loved his kiddies milkshake served in a lightbulb shaped glass.
Outeniqua Palms Nursery

It was very busy on this Saturday morning with 2 kids parties in process and other visitors.  The waitress was very friendly and service was good.  The only negative was that I had to stand in line for a while to pay.

By the end of our meal JW was tired from all the running and climbing but we wanted to take a quick look at the nursery. There is some gifts and items for your home like photo frames to buy.  The nursery has everything you need for your garden. There are lots of plants and many different trees and I will return to do some plant shopping.

Ahavah Cafe & Deli at Outeniqua Palms Nursery
Address:                      R102, No 204 Gwang Farm (33° 59' 23.3088" S, 22° 24' 49.1184" E)
Tel no:                         065 286 8348
Website:                      http://outeniquapalms.co.za/
Entrance Fee:             None
Trading Hours:            Monday to Friday     8:00 – 17:00                           
   Saturdays                  8:00 – 16:00
                                    Sundays                    9:00 – 15:00
(Not a sponsored post)
Outeniqua Palms Nursery

24 November 2017

Very disappointing outing to the Dino Expo

Our son JW loves dinosaurs and after reading about the Dino Expo on Facebook we knew we want to visit.  As soon as the early bird tickets opened we bought out tickets.  (R100 per adult & R80 per kid for early bird tickets). Even Grandma and Grandpa was excited and decided to join us for the outing. After waiting for about a month it was finally time for the Dino Expo at the Train Museum in George on Saturday 4 November 2017.

The following is a extract of the description of the Dino Expo from their facebook page:
“The Dino Expo is a mesmerizing, not-to-be-missed exhibition of realistic, life size, accurate to science animatronic dinosaurs that capture the imagination with their life-like demeanor and movement. They will ‘prehistorify’ the senses with their life-like legendary roaring sounds that electrify the environs and inspire adrenaline filled excitement.
Get lost in this phenomenally realistic artistically landscaped captivating forest with natural trees canopying a misty pathway. Gracefully meander through a colourfully and magically lit, fog-infused wonderland. This prehistoric jungle setting is gifted with natural shrubs and bushes, prehistoric plants, beautiful rocks and sparkling waterfalls. This is affectionately referred to as ‘the Jurassic tour’. It is a breathtaking and awe-inspiring experience that heightens the emotions and intimately indulges the senses; sight, sound, smell, feeling. See the Jurassic, hear the prehistoric, smell the jungle, feel the wonder. It is a mystifying environment ideal for people from diverse culture and walks of life across all age ranges.

The Expo had a few problems with their arrangements.  The venue was changed after a few weeks.  I think the first venue was too small.  Then something went wrong with the travel arrangements and the expo arrived a day late in George.  The first day of the expo was cancelled and another day was added at the end.

Now I have to say my son loved the expo.  He enjoyed the dinosaurs and loved the rides.  And while the day was for him... and I am glad he had a great outing... I was very disappointed.

Accept for the fact that my son enjoyed the outing there is not really anything positive to say about our experience of the expo:

  • We had tickets for the first show at 10:00 on Saturday.  We arrived at about 9:30 and then waited.  We stood and wait for about an hour before they opened at about 10:30.  No reason was given for the delay.  Hundreds of people stood in the row and did not know what was happening. Organisers stood drinking coffee and nobody could just take the time to walk to us and let us know why things are running late or what was happening.
Definitely not “mesmerizing”
  • The expo was definitely not “mesmerizing”.  The “forest” was a few potted plants between the dinosaurs.  There was obviously a problem with the electricity and lighting and it was not “colourfully and magically lit”.  In fact the lighting was poor.  So poor we could not take decant photos with the dinosaurs.  The T-Rex head had no lighting at all and could not be seen. We love taking photos and it was a big reason for attending the expo and we were very dissapointed.
  • The advertising via the photos on facebook was also false.  On the photos on the website and facebook people stand next to the dinosaurs and even touch them.  But in George we had to walk behind ropes.
The closest we could get to the dino's
  • The activities that were supposed to be included in the ticket price was not there.  There was no “Fossil digging” and the “coloring” was a small table with a few pieces of paper on it.  When we were leaving at about 11:30 they started to set up the jumping castle.  The photo corner was also not nearly as pretty as advertised and we decided to skip it.  
  • All the activities were squashed into a small area. The rides and the rows to buy tickets and snacks was a mess. (And the rides were very expensive)
  • And the control over money was shocking.  We had to buy a tickets for the rides and the money was just pushed into a plastic shopping bag with no control. The auditor in me was just seeing money disappearing.

A lot of my work colleagues also took their kids and all of them were also disappointed. 

I saw photos of the expo on Sunday and it looked a lot better than what we saw on Saturday. The lighting was better and there was a sandpit for fossil digging.  It seems that they were not ready for the expo on Saturday. 

I feel we were cheated. We paid the full fee but the expo was not ready on Saturday and we did not get what was promised on the website.

The expo has a lot of potential but the organising was terrible. The staff were terrible and were no help.  

It felt like they just wanted our money and did not care if we enjoyed it or not.

He loved the rides.  They were very expensive, but look at the smile.

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