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Attractions especially for kids in Cape Town

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Many of the Waterfront activities have been designed with children in mind, making it Cape Town's foremost family destination. The top attraction here is the Two Oceans Aquarium. Face painting, drawing, and puzzles are on offer in the aquarium's Alpha Activity center, and staff often arrange sleepovers and excursions to interesting and educational locations for ages 8 to 12. Call tel. 021/418-3823 to find out what special kids' entertainment will be available when you're in town. On the way, stop at the Scratch Patch, where kids literally scratch through mounds of semiprecious stones, selecting their own "jewels," after which they can play a round of crazy golf.

Catch the kiddies' Blue Train in Mouille Point (tel. 021/434-8537; Mon-Fri 3-5 p.m., Sat-Sun 11-5 p.m.); next door is a maze and an outdoor putt-putt (crazy golf) course. In town, the noon Planetarium show is held every Saturday and Sunday, where they attempt to answer simple astronomy questions, like "Why is the sky blue?" and "Is the sun round?" To get there, take a stroll along Government Avenue (enter from Orange St., opposite Mount Nelson) armed with a bag of nuts to feed the almost-tame squirrels. Afterward, take high tea in the Mount Nelson gardens, or head for Deer Park Café, a child-friendly restaurant that opens onto a public playpark. End the day by ascending Table Mountain in the rotating cable car -- the ride alone is a thrill for kids, but the views are equally rewarding; pack a picnic, but don't forget the sunblock, hats, and a warm layer, should the weather turn.

A gentler experience is to chill out with a picnic next to a burbling stream at Kirstenbosch Gardens, or head for the shady oaks at Le Pique Nique, Boschendal, near Franschhoek. Then visit Butterfly World (tel. 021/875-5628), where 22 different species of butterfly flit about a tropical garden, or Drakenstein Lion Park (tel. 021/863-3290), a sanctuary for captive-born lions -- both are near Paarl. Other kid-friendly attractions in the Paarl area include Le Bonheur Crocodile Farm (tel. 021/863-1142).

Closer to town is a walk through the World of Birds Sanctuary, Valley Road (tel. 021/790-2730), in Hout Bay; then take one of the cruises to Seal Island, departing from Hout Bay Harbour. Imhoff Farm (tel. 021/783-4545) in Kommetjie offers country-style refreshments, camel rides, horseback riding, crafts shops for kids, and a snake and nature park to entertain.

When all else fails, there's always the beach. Try Boulders, where the temperature is slightly warmer, tidal pools are safe, and the penguins add unique entertainment value. Visit the Warrior Toy Museum (tel. 021/786-1395) on Georges Street, Simon's Town, on your way.

For a complete listing of what to see and do in Cape Town, visit the online attractions index at

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