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I think we can all agree that animals (stuffed ones, wild ones and pets) just seem to make everything a little better, especially for toddlers. Since none of these places are really new, I’m sure most of you have taken your littles to visit them already, but, if you haven’t, here’s a roundup of fun places to go to that’ll make their little hearts smile and their imaginations run wild.
1. Butterfly World Tropical Garden
Think one square kilometre of tropical garden, a wonderful paradise filled with exquisite flying creatures. Home to thousands of stunning, free-flying butterflies that you’d only expect to see in more exotic parts of the world, the sight will exceed all expectations.
The garden is also home to reptiles, tarantulas, birds, marmoset monkeys, meerkats and a lot more. Butterfly World is a lovely educational, green and eco-friendly spot to visit and with a shop and café on-site, you and the kids are guaranteed hours of entertainment.
For more information visit https://animalsanctuary.co.za
2. The Drakenstein Lion Park
If butterflies are too “fluttery” and your little ones prefer more powerful animals, a visit to the Drakenstein Lion Park should be on the top of your list. Nothing beats seeing the powerful lion’s prowess from “up close”, but more often than not, seeing them in enclosures can be quite sad. However, this park was established in 1998 for one purpose only: to provide a happy home to distressed and non-rehabilitated lions.
Your visit to the park supports their worthy cause, along with local and international welfare organisations who aim to find the best possible home for these lions. All the park’s lions have a chance to live out their natural lives with compassion and respect and it’s good to know that the park is in no way involved with commercial breeding or trade.
A new addition to the park is the Chimp Haven, which was built to house animals displaced by the closure of the Tygerberg Zoo. Definitely worth a visit.
For more information visit https://lionrescue.org.za
3. Le Bonheur Crocodile Farm
Crocs, their magnificent jaws and lithe bodies are truly a site to behold in real life. Le Bonheur Crocodile Farm is a commercial crocodile breeding farm that is 100% geared for visitors. You can join a daily tour of the crocodile enclosures, where you get the chance to hold baby crocs and view massive crocs (from afar). The farm also offers pre-booked picnic baskets on the lawns, bass and tilapia fishing, a kids’ playground and a restaurant for those less intrigued by the crocs.
For more information visit https://lebonheuradventures.co.za
4. Giraffe House
An amazing spot to experience the magnificent giraffe in real life – and it’s so close to Cape Town! Giraffe House is a sanctuary built in the same valley where giraffe used to roam free in the 1600s. Beside giraffe, there are 30 other types of animals, birds and reptiles, as well. Visitors are welcome to take their own picnic baskets for a wonderful day enjoying the outdoors.
For more information visit http://www.giraffehouse.co.za
5. Cheetah Outreach
With only 7 500 cheetah left in the world, Cheetah Outreach’s mandate is to promote the survival of the free-ranging southern African cheetah through environmental education and conservation initiatives.
For a small entrance fee, you can get close to these magnificent creatures, as well as bat-eared foxes and meerkats. For an additional cost you can pet and stroke a cheetah, that’s if you’re brave enough! Visitors are also invited to meet and learn more about the Anatolian shepherd guard dogs that are helping to save the cheetah.
For more information visit https://www.cheetah.co.za
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but I’m sure the littles will love it regardless. Look out for my next post where I’ll be sharing places to visit with older kids too.
Stay safe & enjoy!