One of the newer entertainment options on offer if you’re in Durban and have kids, is Wild Adventures at Moses Mabhida Stadium, which opened in September 2014. It’s kinda Jurassic Park meets Funtubbles: think big, roaring dinosaurs for the older kids, coupled with some tamer items for the littlies.
30 bucks gets you in and I didn’t need to pay for my son Ryder, who is 2. The ticket is valid for the entire day, so it’s quite possible to pop out for a bite at one of the stadium eateries or to participate in one of the other activities on offer (like the sky car, segway tours or People’s Park) and then head back in if the kids haven’t had their fill of dinosaur action. It’s not a massive space, and I’d say you could easily take it all in in an hour or two, but kids might want to hang around the jumping castle and slides for a bit longer.
My two year old scaredy cat was decidedly uneasy about the first thing we encountered there… a large talking tree with arm-like branches and big eyes that stands guard over one of the entrances.
He also refused to let me put him down as we walked past the display of about 4 or 5 dinosaurs, which actually move and roar at passersby. Older / braver kids would love them though. I can’t remember the dinosaur names (I was too busy calming the antsy 2 year old), but there are placards in front of each which give a description and a bit of information about each of these pre-historic giants, so it’s pretty educational too.
The more Ryder-friendly stuff on offer included a motorised train ride (which Scaredy Cat still refused to try out even though he’s been on similar ones before), plus two of those lovely plastic wormy tunnel thingies (what are they actually called?!) for kids to crawl through.
There is also a jungle gym / slide combo towards the back, but unfortunately this was still too close in proximity to Rex and the talking tree for Ryder to fully enjoy. He kept climbing up to the top of the slide and looking nervously in the direction of Rex and the tree before deciding that he didn’t realllly want to slide down.
His favourite part of the outing was the row of about 3 or 4 sandboxes, which are equipped with a paintbrush each for budding paleontologists to “excavate” fossils from the earth. I’m pretty sure he had no idea what he was meant to be doing, but he was having fun swishing the sand around and hearing mum yell “Look, you found some dinosaur bones!”
My personal verdict is that this is a great outing for kids 3 years old and up, but don’t expect to spend a full day there. One of the cool offshoots for me is that my newbie talker added “dinothaur” to his burgeoning vocabulary.
Right now he prefers his dinosaurs purple, goofy and extra friendly. So we cut our visit short and I took him over to the playground at the stadium’s People’s Park a short walk / drive away, which is always a massive winner with him (after chilling off in 30+ degree heat a bit in the stadium fountains and grabbing a bite to eat).
[You can find Wild Adventures at Shop 7 at Moses Mabhida Stadium, in the vicinity of the restaurants, bars, etc. It’s open from 9am to 4pm daily. Entry is R30pp. Tel. 031 582 8242]