Outdoor theme parks aimed at families sometimes worry me as I stress about their cleanliness, their maintenance, the crowds and losing my children in them as well as the difficulty in finding the venue.
However, when it comes to Bugz Playpark* based out in Kraaifontein in Cape Town, I needn’t have worried. Unlike some venues I’ve attended the staff at the playpark ensure that the place is neat and tidy. Either that or they secretly programme attendants to clean up after themselves as they enter through their gates, however, I’d imagine it’s all down to the efficiency of the staff.
The venue was also easy to find. Staff at the venue did confess to some attendees having some difficulty in finding the venue but we didn’t experience any. It’s simple, if you’re coming from Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs, follow the N1 all the way to ext 34, turn left and then right into Tarentaal Street and you’re there. If you’re bad with directions, click here, enter your email address and you’ll get sent directions to the venue.
The trip, which is 36 kilometres from where we live, took us about 40 minutes but it was worthwhile because Bugz truly is a child’s paradise with a host of rides and play areas (indoor and outdoor), to choose from. When it comes to motor development for your kids, Bugz has it covered. They can crawl, swing, jump, run, walk through a number of jungle gyms, slides, swings, play houses, tree houses and a castle.
While the park has lots of shady areas I’d still recommend a hat and sunscreen to protect your little ones. While we were there we saw a lot of red-faced kids. I’m hoping their flustered faces was as a result of all the exercise they were getting but I’m convinced a few of them were badly sunburnt.
Once you’ve made the trip and plastered your children with sun cream, here’s what you can expect:
Water concerns: I know what you are thinking, so I thought I’d get this out of the way first. You’re thinking of the guilt you’d feel for supporting a park that makes use of water fountains to entertain the kids during one of the worst droughts that the Western Cape has experienced. But with Bugz Playpark you needn’t worry as the water gets treated and recycled. But it goes one step further than that. There are water-wise billboards all over the park and one that I came across explained that when the park can ‘no longer use it for our little troopers we use Sodium Bisulfate (big words) so that we can feed it to our trees’.
So let your kids enjoy the water slides, the water fountains and splash pools to their hearts content. We arrived early at the park (9am) and I recommend getting your kids in the cozzies as early as possible so that you avoid the midday heat and the crowds, which for us started increasing from about 11;30 on the Sunday that we went.
Cost: At the time of writing it costs R120 for a VIP pass for a child (includes entrance fee as well as unlimited Token Rides) it’s not cheap if you have more than one child. For a family of four (2 kids and 2 adults) you could pay R340 to gain entry and then you still have to figure in the cost of food, milkshakes, etc. If your children are under the age of two, then they get in for free. Take care to check on the Bugz website here, as prices are subject to change.
But there are ways to save. If your child wouldn’t enjoy the rides they can access the park for R60 during weekends, public and school holidays. If you’re able to take the kids during the week you’ll save even further as you only pay R45. Adults get charged R30 during the week, or R50 to access the venue on weekends, public holidays and school holidays. Taking granny or grandpa with? That will set you back R70, as Bugz charges R35 per pensioner. If you don’t get a VIP charge Token rides are charged at R10.
If this is all too much still look out for deals on group buying websites. Daddy’s Deals, for example, has two VIP tickets for kids on offer for R120 – a saving of R120. It expires 30 April though – so don’t delay if you’re keen on this offer.
Food: The food at the playpark is what you’d expect. It’s not extravagant but it’s colourful, tasty and the typical type of stuff that little kids enjoy, including different flavoured milkshakes, cool drinks, slushies, boerewors rolls (pork free), chicken strips, viennas, chips and plenty of other munchies. For hungry adults there’s the Farmer’s Breakfast and Monster Burgers. If your little ones are especially hungry take care to ask the staff not to make the food too hot. Ours came out a little on the warm side for our kids and as they’d built up quite an appetite after all the activities and play it was difficult to keep them from digging into their food immediately.
Free play fun: The kids don’t have to participate in the rides to have fun. There’s a whole host of other areas with interesting activities to keep them entertained, including sandpits, slides, monkey bars, doll’s houses, treehouses, a mud kitchen with pots and pans, jungle gyms and of course the splash pools that we mentioned earlier. On days when it’s wet, there are plenty of indoor play areas too.
Petting zoo: Megan’s petting zoo has a whole host of animals that your kids can play with and caress. There’s goats, tortoises, bunnies, geese, ducks, guinea pigs and parrots. It costs R20 per person and is not included in the VIP entry.
Rides and costs: There are a multitude of rides to keep your little ones amused and entertained. Highlights for my children Hayden (4) and his friend Leighton (4) included the Choo Choo Train (free for all including the adults); the Wave Slide; the Horse Rides, the Rowing Boats and the Worm Train. Sebastian our one year old joined in on the Choo Choo Train ride which goes around the circumference of the park – a very welcome addition and a nice way to end the day. But there are other rides too and if you don’t buy a VIP ticket, be aware of the number of tokens you need. Again, this information can all be viewed on the website.
Party venues: If you’re looking for a party venue for your kids take note that Bugsz Playpark specialises in birthdays. In fact this is how the play park started out some ten years ago. It has some funky party venues you can choose from, including the Barnyard, Cooking Venue, Crown Room, Hideaway, Pirates Cove, Princess Ballroom, Secret Garden, Sparkle Spot, Castle, Dolls House, Hooray Hut and Laughter Land.
Themes that you can choose from include an Aeroplane Party, Barbie, Barnyard, Cake Boss, Candyland, Cars, Construction, Cookie Decorating and more. Click here for a break down on the costs involved and how many kids and adults each venue can cater for.
It’s a fun day out for the entire family. There’s lots to see and do. When our kids first arrived they were a bit overwhelmed by the variety that was on offer but soon got stuck into the rides and ran around the park like little mad. I recommend getting there early in the day to avoid the crowds and make the most of being one of the few people in the park. It can get a bit crowded from midday onwards. Set some time aside to go during the school holidays, over Easter or on weekends. You won’t regret it – and the kids tend to sleep well after the excursion too.
Contact information: For more about the park and to contact it, click here.
*The Mombabbles founder was invited to review Bugz Playpark with a VIP entrance fee. This post is not an advertorial. Mombabbles will always review products and services without any bias and with full disclosure even if invited to attend events or given free products for review. We will always declare if services or goods were offered for free and will highlight if a post is an advertorial.