School’s out, and it’s that time of year when many parents are searching for worthwhile ways to keep their children occupied. Studies show that youngsters benefit most from holiday activities that fall into the following two categories:

  1. Family time: The American College of Pediatricians says meaningful, enjoyable time together as a family leads to better behaviour in children, and contributes to lower stress levels for children and adults.
  2. Time spent outdoors: Playing outdoors doesn’t just contribute to your child’s physical health, it also helps children develop their executive function (critical skills that help humans plan, prioritise, troubleshoot, negotiate and multitask), according to an article on the Harvard Medical School’s Harvard Health Publishing site.

As a school holiday favourite, a day out with the family at Maropeng ticks both these boxes.

Two new exhibitions

This year, Maropeng is a must-visit outing for South African families, because we’re hosting two striking new exhibitions that tell South Africa’s poignant story. These are the Long March to Freedom exhibition that features 100 life-sized bronze sculptures of struggle heroes, and the South African History Archives’ struggle T-shirt exhibition.

A journey through time

The virtual lab is a fascinating part of the exhibition at Maropeng. (Image: Maropeng)

Maropeng and the Sterkfontein Caves also famously take visitors on a journey millions of years into the past, when the Cradle of Humankind was home to very early ancestors to modern humans, such as Australopithecus. You’ll learn about some of the most famous finds to come of the Cradle of Humankind: Australopithecus africanus, Australopithecus sediba and Homo naledi.

Budding young scientists will also be fascinated by the virtual lab in the exhibition space at Maropeng, where you can watch researchers working on extracting the remaining bones of the sediba skeleton from the natural cement in which it has lain preserved for over two million years.

A bit of adventure

A visit to the Sterkfontein Caves is thrilling for children (and grown-ups!). The walk to the entrance is interesting, and the chance to don hard hats to safely explore the caves is both exciting and memorable. Just remember to make sure the kids are wearing comfortable, closed shoes and bring warm clothing as it can get chilly underground.

Meanwhile, families have been showing off their Maropeng adventures on Instagram. Follow us and share your pics with @maropengsa on Instagram. Below are some of our favourite family pics.