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Kid’s holiday fun at Montecasino (Monte Casino, South Africa) Bird Park, Hot Air Balloon and Show
Montecasino Bird Park - Fun day out
If you are looking for a fun half day out with the kids over the school holidays, or for something to do on the weekend, have you considered the Montecasino Bird Park?
If you are a visitor to South Africa, then you should not miss this little gem, it is one of the best kept secrets in Joburg.
The Bird Park is situated behind the Montecasino Hotel and Casino complex in Fourways Johannesburg, this is a really nice hotel and if you can afford to stay here I would recommend it.
If you are staying elsewhere it is possible to take the Gautrain bus to Montecasino, this is useful if you are staying in a Sandtonand do not have a car.
The best option is to self drive until Uber takes off in South Africa, there is safe and secure parking and the entrance to the park is well sign posted. It also happens to be the only park of this kind in Africa, so if you are in the area it should be a shame to miss it.
Up, Up and Away
If you are feeling daring, you can also take a trip up in the hot air balloon. I am told that the view of northern Johannesburg is spectacular, so be sure to take you camera with you.The balloon is large and holds around thirty people.
It costs R70 for an adult and R40 for children, there are also bird park/balloon combo tickets, just ask at the ticket office.
Bird Park Prices
The entrance fees to the Bird Park are quite reasonable at R38.00 for adults and R22.50 for kids and pensioners. Be sure to get a tub of nectar at the ticket kiosk as you are able to feed some of the exotic birds by hand.
Be sure to arrive around show time as you really get the most value from your ticket this way.
Opening hours are;
Mondays to Sunday 08h30 - 17h00
Flight of Fantasy Shows: Weekdays 11h00 and 15h00
Flight of Fantasy Shows: Weekends and Public Holidays 11h00, 13h00 and 15h00
The park is well laid out and in immaculate condition, we had a stroller (pram) with us and there was only one part we had to do a portage (pick up and carry), but that was just because we did not want to walk around and find the ramp.
I was surprised at the amount of different birds that the park contains, on entrance you are greeted by a cheeky African Grey parrot. There was also a large group of pretty pink flamingos, I love the way they stand on one leg, and those legs look so delicate.
The kids loved being able to feed the Lorikeet’s, they are quite bold and will fly right up to you and eat the nectar out of the tab.
I was also amazed at the number of parrots they have on show, what is nice is that they are not in cages, but have an open enclosure. I did not see them tied down either, so they must be quite happy there or they would fly away.
Cycads, 2500 year old tree
I was reintroduced to the national bird of South Africa, the Blue Crane, I had not seen one since I was a child. The kids where more enamored with the ducks and swans in the little lake though.
If you have an interest in botany, the park also houses the largest collection of South African Cycads I have seen before, they purport to have around seven hundred and fifty species, but I must admit I did not count them. I find these plants amazing; the oldest one here is around 2500 years old, and worth a fortune.
There is also a reptile park, if you ever wondered what happened to the snakes and lizards from the old Midrand Snake Park, some of them landed up here.
Take your pick of snakes, lizards and other reptiles, I quite liked the six meter long reticulated python. Some of the most venomous snakes in the world are also on show, like the Black Mamba and the Puff Adder.
Some of the less deadly and more fun animals are the monkeys, sloths and different types of chameleons; the park has a good selection and some unusual types.
The snakes are housed in the large central netted enclosure, birds roam freely here and you can get up close to a number of species.
Free flight bird show
The highlight was the interactive bird show, what made this forty minute show even more spectacular was that it is a free flight show, none of the birds are tethered and they literally swoop in and out of the crowd during the show.
Each bird on show had a particular persona and personality, crowed favorites where the owls, vultures, parrots and the water skiing Southern White Pelican.
After the show the kids had an opportunity to touch the snakes and take pictures with the birds, they had a ball!
Topping the list is the Spur chain of resultants, sure, the food at other places is better, but Spur has stood the test of time. Their solid no frills, wholesome, kind of food your mom makes menu ensures that there is something for everyone.
Grab a bite to eat
When everyone is tired out, I suggest you go into the complex, there are lots of restaurants, it you are there with children I would suggest the Spur, this one does not have a play set for the kids, but they have a dedicated cinema that shows cartoons and Disney movies, there is also coloring in, face painting and balloons.
We got around the whole lot in about five hours with the park and lunch, the kids and the adults had a blast, so if you are considering going, go! The Montecasino Bird Park is a fun day out.