The majority of the many South African amusement parks combine entertainment and education for the whole family. They offer a whole world of fun, adventure and adrenalin-inducing rides, while also teaching the visitors about South Africa’s rich heritage, fauna and flora, marine life and industries like gold mining.
Some of the best known amusement and theme parks in South Africa are:
Sun City (North West province) is both a holiday resort and an amusement park. Sun City has something to for the whole family. It is a fantasy fun land with spectacular rain forest, water wonderland and amazing architecture. The Sun City theme park is family-oriented with entertainment for young and old. Adults can spend their time in the glamorous casinos, relaxing at the restaurants and exploring the extensive sports facilities. As for children, there is an abundance of activities, from the games arcade to the Valley of the Waves theme park, horse riding and Monkey Spring Plaza.
Gold Reef City (Johannesburg) is an internationally recognised theme park created around an authentic 19th century gold mine. Its museum, underground mine tour and the gold pouring demonstration bring the by-gone world before the eyes of the visitors. The park also has a plethora of fun rides like the Giant Wheel, Anaconda and Tower of Terror. The park is open every day except Mondays.
Ratanga Junction (Cape Town) has more than 30 attractions including 23 rides ranging from Kids Rides to Family Rides and Thrill Rides for the more adventurous visitors. Besides the white-knuckle thrills, Ratanga Junction also offers tamer attractions designed to entertain children and all family members, as well as a variety of opportunities for corporate team building, incentive functions and events. Ratanga Junction is not open all year round, so it is best to visit during school holidays.
uShaka Marine World (Durban) houses the world's fifth largest aquarium, measured by water volume. This is the home of sea mammals, sharks and other fish, birds and great beaches. uShaka Marine World offers beach, water and action activities. There are many things to see, from an old shipwreck to indoor and outdoor displays and exhibits. There is also a freshwater entertainment facility called Wet ‘n Wild for all the adrenaline junkies. The names of the water rides like the Kamikaze Speed Slide and Stuka Freefall say it all!
Some of the other South African theme parks worth visiting include:
MiniTown Durban (Durban) is an amazing city within a city, a miniature replica of Durban. The buildings in MiniTown are scaled down to 1:24 of their size. The buildings reach just above knee height and provide you with a perspective that can not be appreciated when walking through the city. Owned by the Quadriplegic Association of KwaZulu-Natal, it provides employment for physically challenged people and is one of the major fund raising tools for the organisation.
Wave House (Umhlanga, near Durban) offers exciting activities like water surfing, skating, rock climbing, and more.
Lola Park (Johannesburg) emphasises fun for kids in a safe environment. The park has a wide range of rides, jumping castles and other attractions. Also featured is a petting zoo and farmyard where children can interact with and learn about farm animals, and a wide range of exotic species. Lola Park has wheelchair access to some of the rides for disabled children.
Rocky Ridge Estate (Pretoria) is a mini town and a road safety centre, where children become policemen, doctors, schoolteachers or whatever they fancy. Here, children can experience reality on a reduced scale and in a safe environment, while learning about road safety rules.
Bayworld (Port Elizabeth) features natural and cultural history Museum, as well as an Oceanarium and Snake Park. The main activities of the Complex are research and education aimed at stimulating a greater awareness of the need for conservation of South Africa’s natural and cultural heritage. Activities for visitors include seal and penguin presentations and snake feeding. Bayworld offers holiday programmes for children and unique venues for various functions for adults.