“Mom, I’m bored!” Haven’t we all heard this on a Saturday morning at some point in our parental careers and made a quick decision to load the kids into the car and take a trip through our city to find something interesting for our kids to enjoy. With a wheelchair-bound child, sometimes this takes a little more planning and consideration, but our Mother City doesn’t disappoint with wheelchair-accessible kids attractions.
1. Cape Town Sightseeing Bus
This is one we have enjoyed a number of times and has been a memorable experience each time. Even though the route is plotted, no two trips need to be the same. On one trip we got off at World of Birds, and another at Mariner’s Wharf – the choice is yours, you can get off at all the stops if you like. The City Sightseeing bus has a ramp which makes boarding with a wheelchair possible. Wheelchairs need to be parked on the lower level, however as our own Damian is still light enough to carry, we have been able to take a trip up onto the upper deck to enjoy the rooftop experience as well. The Cape Town family-friendly Red Bus “offers informative audio commentary about Cape Town’s major attractions in 15 languages, with a special audio channel just for kids.” Join the kids club and your child and two friends (under 15 years old) travel free on their birthday. We also love that the City Sightseeing Bus is the first in South Africa to be certified carbon-neutral so you can also be sure you are choosing an environmentally-conscious way to be a tourist in your own city! Visit site for more…
A 1-Day ticket costs R170 if you book online – but visit the site for all the ticket and booking information.
2. Iziko Museum & Planetarium
This is another frequented favourite. The Iziko Museum is accessible from the parking area, with designated off-street disabled bays, to the ramped entrance and right throughout the museum, with all levels being accessible by ramps. Each floor is accessible by gentle gradient ramp walkways, for both disabled and able bodied visitors with ample space. There are also elevators. On each visit we have been impressed with the updating of facilities and displays, besides the usual permanent displays. There are displays to pique every child’s interest whether mammals, sharks or dinosaurs are the latest craze for curious minds. The planetarium is the ultimate experience of the night sky as children are taken on a trip through the universe.
Entry costs R30 for adults and R15 for Children aged 6-18. Visit their site for full information.
3. Company’s Garden
This is a magical place to spend a sunny day in Cape Town. The pathways are wheelchair-accessible making it ideal for a leisurely family stroll through the beautiful gardens. Be sure to buy peanuts from the vendors as you enter as little kiddies will be delighted by the eager squirrels and pigeons bustling for their share. The restaurant offers refreshments and meals within the tranquil space of the garden.
There is no entry fee into the gardens. You can download the restaurant menu from their site.
4. Two Oceans Aquarium
What child doesn’t enjoy a visit to the aquarium? There is just so much to explore and experience at Two Oceans Aquarium including the predator exhibit, kelp forest and penguin exhibits. Little marine biologists in the making will enjoy the touch pool and microscope displays, delving into the workings of the ocean depths. The Two Oceans Aquarium is wheelchair-accessible with ramps throughout the building, making up-close encounters at most exhibits accessible.
Enty costs R135 for adults , R65 for children aged 4-13, and R100 for children aged 14-17
5. Planet Kids
This tucked away indoor children’s playpark in Muizenberg is a gem of a find. The building is wheelchair-accessible and the range of equipment has the differently-abled child in mind. In particular we loved the outdoor swing seat, but the absolute delight is an indoor, ramped jungle gym. For the first time ever, Damian was able to ‘climb’ a jungle gym unassisted. The structure is made of wooden ramps, enclosed with nets, so in a motorised wheelchair, Damian was able to drive himself up and around, all on his own.
2 – 13 yrs: R35 for the first hour (R60 for 2 hours), Under 2 yrs : R25 for children between 10 and 23 months of age, Parents : Free of charge
6. World of Birds
This bird sanctuary is home to an abundant variety of bird species – over 400 to be precise. Most areas and restrooms are accessible to people in wheelchairs and children will be amazed with trips through the enclosures that house the beautiful array of birds in a tropical garden environment. A highlight for children is the monkey sanctuary, home to the most delightful and entertaining little squirrel monkeys. A prominent sign on the gate warns “Do not touch the monkeys” but I think someone forgot to tell that to the monkeys! No sooner are you through the gates than you’ll feel the tiny fingers of these gorgeous creatures tugging on your hair, clothes and bags, trying to find something they can scavenge and put in their mouths. Definitely worth a visit or two.
R95 for Adults, R45 for Children, Visitors in wheelchairs get free entry
7. Ratanga Junction
While not all of the rides are accessible for people with disabilities, the Ratanga Junction park is wheelchair-accessible throughout. For children with special needs there are two entry options – a Fun Pass where they can enter to enjoy a day in the park without going on the rides, or a Mini Adventurer pass which allows entry onto the junior rides. We found the mini adventurer rides to be sufficient – as long as you are able to carry your child into and onto the rides, you’re able to enjoy some together.Rides we enjoyed included the carousel, Lady Bugs mini ferris wheel, My Citi Bus ride, East African Convoy, and our favourite – the Stargazer, which is a supertube on a boat! Take a look at their site for the full information on the kids rides.
Current rates May 2016 – R95 for Full Adventures, R45 for Fun Pass and Mini Adventurer
8. Kirstenbosch Gardens “Boomslang” Treetop Walkway
We have visited the Kirstenbosch Gardens and most of the walkways are wheelchair accessible. We haven’t yet tried The Boomslang treetop walkway, but according to their information page it “is accessible to wheelchairs, but the Arboretum is situated on a slope and quite far into the Garden, and visitors in wheelchairs will need assistance to negotiate the steep gradients to get to and from the walkway and the mulch paths in the Arboretum.” Read more on their website.
Adults:R55, SA Students (with card): R30, Children (6 – 17 years): R15, Under 6 years: Free
9. Butterfly World
This is still on our to visit list, but the establishment states that all exhibits are accessible to the physically challenged. There are two disabled parking bays and disabled toilets. We love that Butterfly World are doing their bit to be more environmentally conscious with a number of practices in place. Water and flavoured water are available by purchasing a compostable cup which you can fill up as many times as necessary at one of the water stations.
Entry fees: R72 for Adults, R41 for children, R65 for students & pensioners, R185 for a family of 2 adults & 2 children)
10. Drumbeat Charters – Seal Island Cruises
Drumbeat Charters offer trips to Seal Island and their boat is wheelchair accessible. We have done a similar trip and it is a fantastic experience to sea the seals languishing on their rocky island. There are a number of different cruise options available, so visit their website for more information.
40 Minute Seal Island Cruise R75 per adult, R30 per child under 14yrs
* All entry fees stated as per current information available on establishment’s website.