Exploring the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre

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The Sci-Bono Discovery Centre is an extraordinary, all-weather family destination situated in the vibrant and safe precinct of Newtown, Johannesburg.
Sci-Bono
With more than 350 interactive maths, science and technology exhibits it is the largest and most visited science centre in Southern Africa. In addition to the hundreds of exhibits it also offers a wide range of leisure and educational activities and events.

Koko recently finished building a clay scale model of the solar system and to finish off the astonomy theme science lessons, we took our group to Sci-Bono Discovery Centre.
Sci-Bono
The kids loved it. There are so many interactive exhibitions that the kidlets were a little overwhelmed. We did, however, have a guided tour and our tour guide was wonderful with the children.

The kidlets loved the Microsoft exhibition. Koko played on the Kinect and the girls alternated between the laptops and the tablets.
Sci-Bono
Our favourite interactive exhibition, by far, was the Mind Ball game.
Sci-Bono
Koko couldn’t relax enough and eventually got frustrated sitting there watching the ball roll towards him. We could see immediately when he started over thinking and eventually lost. He wanted to go again, but there just wasn’t time.
Sci-Bono
Fifi and Daniel drew a tie (they hit the time limit). Daniel was amazing, I’ve never seen such focus from a 7 year old in my entire life! Watching his brainwaves on the monitor fascinated me. Fifi was concentrating so hard, she stopped breathing and went red in the face! Silly girl. These two monsters had us all in awe with their determination to win. They were thrilled that they had tied!

Mindball is a two-person game controlled by players’ brain waves in which players compete to control a ball’s movement across a table by becoming more relaxed and focused. Mindball is produced by the Swedish Company Interactive Productline. The concept, introduced in 2003, originates from the prototype Brainball which was developed by Smart Studio at The Interactive Institute, also in Sweden.

We were treated by a science experiement show by the Sci-Bono resident scientist. The kids loved watching things explode, change colour and expand. Watching these little faces in awe of what you can do with “simple” ingredients had me worried we might have explosions going off of home, LOL, but they were expressly told that they were not to try any of these at home. Thankfully Koko is a very careful child, so I don’t have to worry about that and Fifi and Pixie weren’t that interested until he made a helium balloon explode!
Sci-Bono
Once our group left, we spent a further 2 hours just exploring the centre and all the exhibitions. Even with 4 huge school buses arriving full of school children, we had plenty of space to explore and didn’t have to wait for turns at the exhibitions.

All in all, we highly recommend this facility. Its educational AND loads of fun!

Sci-Bono

The Sci-Bono Discovery Centre, Southern Africa’s largest science centre, is affiliated to the Gauteng Department of Education to support maths, science and technology education and to help build to South Africa’s science, engineering and technology capacity. Sci-Bono is responsible for implementing the Gauteng Mathematics, Science and Technology Education Strategy.

Sci-Bono started as a partnership project of the Gauteng Department of Education and various private sector partners. Located in the historic Electric Workshop in the cultural precinct of Newtown, Johannesburg, Sci-Bono annually receives hundreds of thousands of visitors to its a large collection of interactive science and technology exhibits and exhibitions. Sci-Bono also offers a broad programme of science and technology related events, activities and programmes for both the general public and the school community. Sci-Bono is now one of the most popular leisure and educational destinations in Gauteng.

Sci-Bono is a Non-Profit Company funded by its principal, the Gauteng Department of Education, It also benefits from grants and donations from donors in the broader public and private sector. Sci-Bono is also supported by various scientific and engineering bodies in industry and by the diplomatic community in South Africa.

To rent a car with Around About Cars and explore this incredible region of South Africa click here: Car Rental South Africa

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My Port Elizabeth Wishlist

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We spent a week in Port Elizabeth and didn’t go to a fraction of the tourist spots. While driving to Jeffreysbay, we realised how much we still had to do and see! Here are a few things (there is SO much more to do there) that I would like to do the next time we go on holiday there, the plan is to go once a year or two:

Seaview Predator Park
Port Elizabeth

Seaview Predator Park is a privately owned, 120-hectare animal park, overlooking the sea in the beautiful area of Seaview, just west of Port Elizabeth.

Seaview Predator Park invites you to become ‘part of the pride’, as you come face to fur with our lions, tigers, and many other beautiful wild animals. Self-drive through the park in your own vehicle (4X4 vehicles not needed) and you’re bound to see our giraffe, zebra or buck just near your car.

Seaview Predator Park promotes conservation by rehabilitating wild animals and birds, which are housed in our sanctuary area.

Enjoy a light meal or refreshments at our hilltop restaurant or make use of our self-catering braai/ picnic area. Our lions are are fed every Sunday, at 12 noon, for public viewing.

Pearson Conservatory
Port Elizabeth

1882 Victorian Pearson Conservatory was built for the cultivation of exotic plants, water lilies and beautiful orchids. Named after Mr Henry Pearson, Mayor of P.E. on sixteen occasions, member of the Legislative Assembly, Treasurer-General of the Cape 1880-81 and Colonial Secretary in 1889. It was he who suggested the establishment of the conservatory for the cultivation of exotic plants. It was declared a national monument in 1983.

St Croix Motor Museum
Port Elizabeth

The St. Croix Motor Museum, Mowbray Street, Newton Park displays a private collection of vintage and classic vehicles dating back to 1901.

Campanile Memorial
Port Elizabeth

The Campanile was erected to commemorate the landing of the 1820 Settlers and is situated at the entrance to the railway station and docks in Strand Street, the spot were it is said the settlers landed in Port Elizabeth. The architects were Jones & McWilliams with construction starting in 1920 and it was completed in 1922.
The Campanile Memorial has a climb of 204 steps that takes one to the Observation Room, offering a magnificent view of the harbor and surroundings, more than 52m above the city.

The Campanile contains the largest carillon of bells in the country in addition to its chiming clock. When it’s song time, the tower tops ring out with a carillon of 23 bells, conjuring nostalgic cries of history.

Route 67 starts at the Campanile and there has since been new art additions added around the tower to include the history leading up to the settlers arrival and up to South Africa’s democratic dawn.

Fort Frederick
Port Elizabeth

Fort Frederick, Port Elizabeth, which is located along Belmont Terrace, Central, is a stone fort built in 1799 by the British Forces to defend the mouth of the Baakens River.
Built in 1799 on a natural citadel, Fort Frederick stands guard over a magnificent view of Algoa Bay. Named after Frederick, Duke of York and Commander of the British Army, it was built by troops sent to Algoa Bay to prevent a possible landing of French troops to assist the Graaff-Reinet rebels during the Napoleonic wars, the inception of British occupation of the colony.

The ‘landing with fresh water’, as Algoa bay was referred to, is at the mouth of the Baakens River, which stretches from just above the harbour to the western outskirts of Port Elizabeth. By the arrival of the 1820 settlers, no retributive shot had been fired from Fort Frederick, as the case is to this day.

The over-200-year-old fort contains a powder magazine and a blockhouse, which has lost its timber upper storey; and was originally defended by two 8-pounder guns and one 5.5 inch Howitzer and now contains a selection of muzzle-loaders dating from the later part of the eighteenth century.

On the north side of the fort lies the grave of Captain Francis Evatt, Commandant of Fort Frederick between 1817 and 1847. Captain Evatt is known to have overseen the arrival of the Settlers in 1820.

Fort Frederick is also one of the initial buildings of Port Elizabeth, which sprang up around the fort.

Prince Alfred’s Guide Memorial
Port Elizabeth

Commemorates the men of Port Elizabeth’s Volunteer Regiment who died in various campaigns.

Prince Alfred’s Guide Museum
Port Elizabeth

The Prince Alfred’s Guard Museum grew out of a fusion of a military museum formerly housed in the Donkin Reserve complex and the regimental museum of the Prince Alfred’s Guard Regiment.
The Prince Alfred’s Guard (PAG), is a City Regiment which was founded in 1856 as the Port Elizabeth Volunteer Rifle Corps. Its name changed by Royal assent after it provided a Royal Guard for Prince Alfred, second son of Queen Victoria, on his visit to the City in 1860.

The Victorian Drill Hall, in which the museum is housed, is one of the finest surviving examples of its type. It was opened in 1880 and has been the regiment’s headquarters ever since. The building, a National Monument, has been extensively restored and partly converted to museum use.

Old Railway Station Museum
Port Elizabeth

Built on Market Street in the year of the opening of the railway from Port Elizabeth, it is reputed to be one of the oldest railway stations in South Africa. At this quaint museum, two vintage locomotives, a variety of coaches, period furniture and equipment capture the atmosphere of the early days of steam. The building houses a residence, waiting room and tea-room in addition to the station office. Open Tue. to Thur. 10h00 to 13h00 and 14h00 to 15h30.
Built on Market Street in the year of the opening of the railway from Port Elizabeth, the Old Railway Station Museum is reputed to be one of the oldest railway stations in South Africa.

At this quaint museum, two vintage locomotives, a variety of coaches, period furniture and equipment capture the atmosphere of the early days of steam. The building houses a residence, waiting room and tea-room in addition to the station office.

Donkin Reserve Pyramid and Lighthouse
Port Elizabeth

Donkin Reserve, located off Belmont Terrace, Central, and overlooking the city, was proclaimed an open space in perpetuity by Sir Rufane Donkin.
The Donkin Reserve, Pyramid and Lighthouse includes a Stone Pyramid Monument with a touching inscription erected by Sir Rufane Donkin in memory of his late wife, Elizabeth, after whom the city was named, as well as palm-lined walkways and benches.

The Pyramid is approximately 10 meters high and the sides at the base measure about 8 meters each.

Mastertons Coffee and Tea Specialists Pty Ltd
Port Elizabeth

Established in Port Elizabeth in 1924, we’re the oldest coffee roastery in the Eastern Province and one of the oldest in South Africa.
Established in Port Elizabeth in 1924, we’re the oldest coffee roastery in the Eastern Province and one of the oldest in South Africa.

7 Castle Hill Historical Museum
Port Elizabeth

No 7 Castle Hill was completed in 1825 and is one of the oldest surviving Settler cottages in Port Elizabeth.
No 7 Castle Hill was completed in 1825 and is one of the oldest surviving Settler cottages in Port Elizabeth. Following renovations, No. 7 Castle Hill, was opened as a Museum in 1965.

The interior presents a picture of domestic life as enjoyed by an English middle class family in mid-19th Century Port Elizabeth. This picturesque family dwelling located in Castle Hill Road, Central has Yellowwood floors and beams, and a restored slate roof. The doll’s house, lace displays and kitchen is particularly impressive.

No 7 Castle Hill transports children back in time, where their imagination can run wild as they explore the old furniture, kitchen equipment, collect water from the well, old toys and dolls, the fairy garden and complete a treasure hunt and make friends with the No 7 family in the display room!

SAMREC SA Marine Rehabilitation Education Centre
Port Elizabeth

SAMREC is Port Elizabeth’s new marine bird rehabilitation and education centre situated in the Cape Recife Nature Reserve. The centre’s purpose isn’t just to rescue and rehabilitate, but to also inform and educate the public through their different programs.
SAMREC is Port Elizabeth’s new marine bird rehabilitation and education centre situated in the Cape Recife Nature Reserve. The centre’s purpose isn’t just to rescue and rehabilitate, but to also inform and educate the public through their different programs.

Tour our marine rehab and education centre and experience nature through sight, sound and touch.

Visitors can experience the hospital and see the volunteers in action helping to save our environment, in particular the endangered African Penguin.

Dive Expert Tours
Port Elizabeth

We, Silke and Rainer Schimpf, offer an unforgettable adventure in and on the Indian Ocean. We are the only one offering the Big8 (Dolphin, Whale, Shark, Elephant, Rhino, Buffalo, Lion and Leopard) in one package. Since 1999, we are the specialists in the: Penguin watching Dive Safaris – Trips of a lifetime Whalewatching Big8 Sardine Run Shark Diving Reef Diving Bird Watching and Expeditions on the Ocean anywere in ZAR. We take care of adventure tourists, film & photo crews and Marine Logistics in and around Port Elizabeth and along the entire South African coast.

Sundays River Ferry
Port Elizabeth

Enjoy a guided river cruise on the Sundays River Ferry and explore the beauty of the Sundays River Estuary.
Enjoy a Guided Cruise on THE SUNDAYS RIVER FERRY and explore the beauty of the Sundays River Estuary.

Memories are made whilst cruising up stream and learning about the interesting history of this area and the
Sundays River. Take the most spectacular pictures of the Mackay Bridge – now closed to vehicular traffic – see the
Hills/ “Koppies” of the Addo Elephant National Park in the distance, we are only 4km away where the NEW entrance through the Southern entrance to the Addo Elephant National Park, at Camp Matyholweni. We are a mere 35 minutes drive from Port Elizabeth on the N2, towards Grahamstown. Come and explore the majestic Alexandria Coastal Dunefields and experience the magnificent scenery from the dunes across Algoa Bay as well as the abundant bird life.

Storms River Adventures
Port Elizabeth

Stormsriver Adventures is a rurally based eco adventure company situated in the heart of the majestic Tsitsikamma Forest region aptly named The Garden of the Garden Route. The company diverse adventure adventure activities which include the world renowned Canopy Tour, Tsitsikamma Forest Tour.
Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour

The Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour is a unique eco-wilderness adventure that takes place in the magnificent Tsitsikamma indigenous rainforest on the Garden Route.

Woodcutters Journey:

Join us on a journey down the old Storms River pass on the Garden Route, and experience the indigenous forest from the comfort of a specially designed vehicle.

The Green House:

Self catering accommodation, Tsitsikamma, Stormsriver Take advantage of our amazing two-bedroomed self-catering house in the heart of Stormsriver Village. This is ideal for a family of four or two couples wanting a special getaway treat. Here you are surrounded by nature with many exciting outdoor adventure opportunities literally on your doorstep!

You can read all about the Monsters’ first visit to the coast holiday in Port Elizabeth here:
Part 1 ~ Our scenic trip to Port Elizabeth
Part 2 ~ Monsters’ first visit to the beach
Part 3 ~ Bayworld
Part 4 ~ Jefferysbay and shell searching day
Part 5 ~ PE SAAF Museum
Part 6 ~ Addo Elephant National Park
Part 7 ~ Homeward bound

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Monsters’ First Visit to the Coast Part 6

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Monsters' First Visit to the Coast
We went on our first visit to the Addo Elephant National Park on a wet, windy and chilly day. Our last day on holiday was well spent and we got to see the elephants just as I gave up hope and headed to Cattle Baron Grill & Bistro for lunch.
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Now the third largest national park in South Africa, Addo Elephant National Park has expanded to conserve a wide range of biodiversity, landscapes, fauna and flora. Stretching from the semi-arid karoo area in the north around Darlington Dam, over the rugged Zuurberg Mountains, through the Sundays River Valley and south to the coast between Sundays River mouth and Bushman’s river mouth, Addo covers about 180 000 hectares (444 700 acres) and includes the Bird and St Croix Island groups.

The original elephant section of the park was proclaimed in 1931, when only eleven elephants remained in the area. Today this finely-tuned ecosystem is sanctuary to over 600 elephant, lion, buffalo, black rhino, spotted hyena, leopard, a variety of antelope and zebra species, as well as the unique Addo flightless dung beetle, found almost exclusively in Addo. The park can exclusively claim to be the only national park in the world to conserve the “Big 7” – the Big 5 as well as the southern right whale and great white shark off the Algoa Bay coast.Plans are currently afoot to include the proposed proclamation of a 120 000 ha (296 500 acre) Marine Protected Area which includes islands that are home to the world’s largest breeding populations of Cape gannets and second largest breeding population of African penguins.

Five main attractions/things to experience:

Lion (found mostly in the southern section of the park)
Herds of elephant at Hapoor dam
The Interpretive Centre at main camp
The picturesque Zuurberg Mountain
The rolling sand dunes of the Woody Cape section

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We were a little disappointed that we didn’t get to see any of the wild cats, but we got to see some animals and a lot of bird life.
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As I write this, Uncle Brian lies in ICU after being hit by a drunk driver while on his early morning cycle. He will be going into surgery tonight. Please keep him, Aunty Nan and their daughters, Heather and Liz in your thoughts and prayers.
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Monsters’ First Visit to the Coast Part 5

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Monsters' First Visit to the Coast
We love going to military museums, so we couldn’t pass up the change to go to the SAAF Museum next to Port Elizabeth International Airport. It was really interesting and Papa was in heaven.
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I’m not interested in the planes, helicopters or weapons used during wars, but the stories of the men and women who were sent to the front lines have always fascinated me.
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I spent hours reading transcripts and descriptions of the airforcemen and what they went through and everything they experienced while fighting the second world war. It was devastating and tragic, but extremely interesting and eye opening at the same time.
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I did not know that we had “War books” in South Africa. I spent quite a bit of time here, at this table.
Monsters' First Visit to the Coast
The kids were done about 2 hours in and were starting to climb the walls. I decided that is was probably a good idea to get them out of the building and outside where they could eat a snack and run some of that energy off. They discovered this adorable aeroplane jungle gym outside and spent a good 2 hours playing on it while Papa went into the workshop where they are refurbishing and rebuilding some of the historic planes. He may have been geeking out there. I love doing things that bring him so much joy. It really is the little things that make us the happiest at any given time.
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While we were there, Aunty Nan messaged me saying that there were dolphins just off the coast of Pollock Beach, so we hurried Papa up and got the heck out of Dodge to go see the dolphins.
Monsters' First Visit to the Coast
This was amazing, the dolphins weren’t super close to the beach, but close enough for Papa to zoom in and get some really great photos of the dolphins jumping up. It was the highlight of our holiday. Who can say they saw dolphins in the ocean, out in the wild??? WE CAN!!! Thanks again for the heads up, Aunty Nan!
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Pop in tomorrow to see our adventure at Addo Elephant National Park with Aunty Nan and Uncle Brian.

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Monsters’ First Visit to the Coast Part 3

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Monsters' First Visit to the Coast
Oh My Word, the kids just LOVED their first visit to Bayworld!
Monsters' First Visit to the Coast

One of the leading tourist attractions in Nelson Mandela Bay, Bayworld is unique in Southern Africa, embracing a natural and cultural history Museum combined with a Snake Park and Oceanarium. It is located in the heart of the Port Elizabeth beachfront and serves up a feast of edutainment to hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

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. Research and education programmes focus on marine life, reptiles, maritime and local history.

Monsters' First Visit to the Coast
The seals were delightful and so so playful. When we arrived at their pool, they started swimming up to us to get a closer look and loved making the kids giggle when they sat on the edge watching us.
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We were privileged enough to to have a short seal demonstration and talk. The kids loved watching the seals do little tricks and little Sammy was having nothing to do with any of it. All she wanted to do was play and mess with the trainers, LOL. She is my favourite seal by far! Unfortunately due to a critical staff shortage, they couldn’t do a full presentation. They do have a volunteer program for those interested.
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They have an endangered African Penguin community. The African penguin is endemic to Namibia and South Africa, breeding in southern Namibia, Western Cape & Eastern Cape, on 25 islands and 4 mainland sites. The Algoa Bay population comprises almost half of the global population, which stands at some 80 thousand individuals. In 2010 the species was reclassified as ENDANGERED.
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We also saw a huge sea turtle, but it was shy and didn’t give us time to get a good look.
Monsters' First Visit to the Coast
The kids loved the Oceanarium. They have a collection of creatures that the we all loved watching. Its so calming and relaxing.
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Monsters' First Visit to the Coast

This lego shipwreck was my personal favourite, non animal, exhibition at the Oceanarium.

Maritime History Hall exhibits tell a story of shipping of by-gone years, early explorers of the African coast and the lure of trade with the East. Artifacts from shipwrecks found near Port Elizabeth, a model of the Dias padrao and various ship models are featured. The landing basket at the entrance to the hall was used to load and off-load passengers onto the decks of tugs. You can try lifting a small portion of a canon similar to those from the Portuguese galleon, Sacramento, which was wrecked near Schoenmakerskop more than 300 years ago. I spent most of our time at Bayworld here. I loved it! The kids… Not so much.
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Temporary Display- Africa’s Lost World – A striking exhibition at the Museum featuring dinosaurs from Africa is sure to delight young and old. A number of the dinosaurs have been fitted with mechanisms allowing sound and movement. Of the dinosaurs featured are: a sauropod, the Algoasaurus, which lived in the area today known as the Algoa Basin; a stegosaur, Paranthodon africanus, a creature with the smallest brain-to-body size ratio of any animal; and a large predatory dinosaur from the Sahara Desert area, larger than the American Tyrannosaurus rex. Koko and Pixie loved this particular exhibition. Fifi was noncommital when I asked her if she like it.
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Papa and Fifi really enjoyed the Snake Park. They have many snakes and all sorts of lizards. Papa even held an American Corn Snake and we chatted for quite a bit with Mariette, the head handler, while we were there. The kids got to touch and hold tortoises and we learnt quite a bit about them. It was fascinating. I haved a snake phobia, so I stayed away from the snake, but the girls and Papa were quite enamoured with it. You can tell from the pics that Koko wasn’t going to get much closer to it, either.
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Monsters' First Visit to the Coast

2 HUGE Burmese Pythons.


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After spending the entire morning at Bayworld, we stopped in at King’s beach for lunch and discovered it was deserted and we couldn’t find anywhere to eat, so we walked around a bit and let the kidlets play on the playground.
Monsters' First Visit to the Coast
We took a drife to Humewood and popped into Company Social Brasserie for lunch and then headed to the beach. I found this beautiful shell and this starfish on the way. The beach was full of these sea snails. There were thousands of them!
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I had forgotten to pack shorts for myself back home, so we had to find some in Port Elizabeth. None of the usual stores had any in stock, since its winter her, so I ended up going to PnP Clothing and getting some cotton hippy pants. I love them! I couldn’t pass up the chance to play in the ocean with the kidlets. Hippy pants and all! That water was ICE cold and I eventually couldn’t feel my feet!
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Papa took over breaker duty, but he forgot to take his phone and wallet out of his pockets, so for a while he was standing in the water holding his pockets up. Silly man.
Monsters' First Visit to the Coast
The kids loved the beach. We spent a good 5 hours there and by the time we got home the kids were completely exhausted and ready for bed. I was very surprised at how at home Koko was in the water. He was never my water baby, but he sure does LOVE the ocean.
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Monsters' First Visit to the Coast

Pixie found her footprint and dug it up!

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Keep an eye out for a few pictures of our shell searching trip to Jeffreysbay tomorrow.

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Douglasdale Dairy field trip and an Oreo Surprise

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Douglasdale dairy field trip
Last week we had the opportunity to participate in a field trip at Douglasdale Dairy in Sandton. We had gone on a tour of the dairy many years ago when Fifi was 8 months old and it was awesome to see how much she enjoyed it this time. You can read about our previous field trip HERE.
Douglasdale dairy field trip
The tour of the dairy facility includes the production area, where various processes, from the raw milk entering the dairy to bottled milk that leaves the dairy, are viewed through a viewing window. We unfortunately not allowed to take photos inside the factory.
Douglasdale dairy field trip
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Douglasdale Diary is also the home of the oldest house in Sandton. It was built in 1905 and still stands today and is used for the presentation we watched before the bottling tour.
Douglasdale dairy field trip
Children got to bottle feed baby calves and enjoyed the experience.
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After our diary tour, we were surprised with goody bags containing 2 branded drinking glasses and some fresh milk. We enjoyed our milk with some yummy Oreo cookies we received in our Oreo Goody Bags at the SA Mom Blogs #Jozimeetup.
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Oreo is celebrating its 104th birthday in March and is currently offering the opportunity to stand the chance to win 1 of 3 family trips to New York City worth R200 000 each!

To stand a chance to win of of these trips, purchase a pack of Oreo biscuits (176g or 429g) and SMS the last 5 digits of their barcode to 40185. Oreo cookie lovers can also enter online. Sms rates and Terms & Conditions apply.

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