Mumbai’s rapid urbanization has resulted in a lack of adequate open spaces for children. The advent of mobile phones, personal computers, and gaming devices has further exacerbated the problem, with most of the city-kids preferring to spend their time indoors. Mumbai does have a number of child-friendly locations and parks that are unfortunately not adequately explored. If you’re looking for healthy outdoor activities and learning centers, you should look no further than this list of destinations to take your kids over the weekend.
There’s nothing like a game of chess to get those grey cells activated. This game has always been associated with intelligence and quick-thinking. Pave the way for your child to be the next Vishwanathan Anand, the Indian chess grand master, by enrolling them for chess classes. This can be an extremely refreshing activity for young minds, stimulating cognitive function, concentration, and the ability to strategize. Sign up for classes at Charni Road using the Cleartrip app.
Sitting pretty at the peak of Malabar Hill are the sprawling Hanging Gardens. There are many delights for kids here – shrubs trimmed in the shape of several animals, pathways to run, and lush grass carpets to roll in. The highlight of this garden, though, is the Boot House: no child can resist the urge to run up and down the interiors of this structure. Make a trip to the garden with your kids and relive your own childhood.
The Sanjay Gandhi National Park is a large natural reserve with a huge variety of flora and fauna. It has a fun mini train called Vanrani that takes you on a ride around a part of the garden. The park also boasts of several trekking and biking trails that kids can enjoy, while learning about nature. But, the highlight of this park is the wildlife safari. Take your kids on an adventurous bus ride through the protected reserve of this park to spot some lions, tigers, and other animals in their natural habitat.
With approximately 38 species of butterflies, 200 variants of trees, and 80 different types of birds, no wonder Mahim Nature Park is called the Green Lung of Mumbai. Bring your kids to this treasure of a park, hand them a camera, and let them indulge in some nature photography or simply let them run around in the vast expanse of lush green. The park is a true delight for any child.
Formerly called the Prince of Wales Museum, this is one of the most popular institutions in Mumbai. Spend a day here with your kids as you walk them through its various ancient exhibits. Be sure to regularly follow their website for upcoming programs and events information. The compound of the museum is a treat in itself with sprawling gardens and a Grade I heritage main building.
Skating is a great sport to improve your child’s balance and agility. Round up a group from their friends’ circle and sign them on for these fun sessions over the weekend. It involves a cheaper investment as compared to cycling and is a good outdoorsy activity for kids in the summers. Enroll your child for these classes in Andheri, using the Cleartrip app.
Right on the coast of the Arabian Sea is another home for aquatic species; the recently refurbished Taraporevala Aquarium. Children are always intrigued by underwater species and this aquarium is home to several sea creatures. Among its attractions are the touch pool – yes your child can touch some aquatic species, oceanarium, an amphitheatre showcasing documentaries, and a cool fish spa.
In the heart of Mumbai are the Sewri mangroves: an ecosystem comprising thousands of these unique green plants with breathing roots . This marshy land is extremely important to Mumbai’s ecological balance. A trip over the weekend to the Sewri mangroves is a must to make kids understand its rich biodiversity. They can run around among pink colored flamingos and indulge in some nature photography.
Just as enticing as the underwater world is to kids, the realm of the stars is just as fascinating to them. Make a trip over the weekend to the Nehru Planetarium in Worli with your kids to give them a taste of astronomy in a fun and interactive way. Let them enjoy the screening of an astronomy show, participate in astro-quizzes, and walk around the various exhibits to learn about different planets.
A visit to the beach is probably the most popular picnic idea in any part of the world; Mumbai’s lovely coastline makes it the perfect city for such beach escapades. This weekend, head to Juhu Beach with your kids, have a gala time with plenty of sun ‘n sand. Build sand castles, enjoy a horse ride, treat them to Mumbai’s famous chaat and golas, swim or simply play some sport; the beach never disappoints.
With a busy life in a fast-paced city, we often turn to quick fixes for our children’s entertainment. This year, take your kids out to enjoy some more wholesome avenues of recreation and relaxation with visits to these destinations.