25 Places In Mumbai To Visit Before Your Kid Turns 12
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|   Apr 12, 2016
25 Places In Mumbai To Visit Before Your Kid Turns 12

Almost every true blue born-and-brought up in Mumbai one of us has been taken by our folks or schools to the typical ‘must see’ Mumbai spots. Our kids tend to turn their noses up at the very places we loved exploring with our folks. So we invariably as parents end up saying, ‘There are no exciting places to take our kids to.’ Here’s a hatke list of not just Mumbai places but experiences too that we think your child should have before he or she turns 12. You may just enjoy the city all over again too. Let us know how many you tick ‘done’ or ‘must do soon’ against. Happy exploring!

Flitter, Flutter and Take Flight. Let Your Child Chase Butterflies

Ovalekar Wadi Butterfly Garden has been created by Mr. Rajendra Ovalekar and his brother on a two acre family plot. The garden is home to over 200 types of flowering and fruit bearing plants that attract insects and butterflies. More than 130 species of butterflies call this garden home. You can visit to see the butterflies in their natural surroundings every Sunday from 8am to noon. Do check out the section where the life cycle of different species of butterflies is exhibited. You could plan a trip yourself or team up with a planned tour conducted by organisations like Bombay Natural History Society. The garden even has a small play area for kids. Take along caps, water and cameras. Ideally your young child should carry a magnifying glass that makes all the little things even more exciting. 

For more details, please click here.

Visit the Monetary Museum and Then Buy a Commemorative Coin at the Mint

 

Take your child to the RBI Monetary Museum where it’s all about money. Take an historical tour of India through the evolution of money from early cash concepts to the first coins of 600 BC right up to the current notes and coins that line our wallets. India’s history of dynasties, rulers and princely states are all numismatically mapped with information about money, coins, notes, currency and the RBI through the ages all on display along with a vast collection of coins. It’s only at a place like this can you actually see defunct money notes recycled into other material. After this tour, walk down to the India Government Mint which is opposite the Reserve Bank of India in Fort and let your child select a commemorative coin from the store. This mint’s main activity is the production of commemorative and development-oriented coins. 

For more details, please click here.

Cycle Through the National Park and Take in the View From Above Kanheri Caves

Sometime between June and September, plan a trip to Borivali National Park. Get to the gate early morning, ideally on a weekday; hire the no frill cycles from the stall near the ticket counter and cycle on the path that leads to Kanheri Caves. You may need to wheel the cycles up the last section, but don’t turn back before you head all the way up. Secure the cycles and then walk up the steps past the caves and stop to look around. Show your child the waterfalls, rivulets, wild flowers and definitely take in the view of the city skyline beyond the thicket of the forest valley. Play, ‘Who can spot the Gorai Pagoda’s golden dome first.’ Also head over to the Garden of Fragrance that features 68+ wild and garden species of aromatic plants, well laid out walk ways and pretty landscaping. These plants are a magnet for butterflies too so look out for the winged beauties.  

For more details, please click here.

   

Watch the Sunset in Style

Hire a yacht or Dhow to give your child an experience of fresh air, ocean swells and a multitude of seagulls vying for attention. Plan your trip in time for sunset; pack a picnic basket with refreshments (if the boat hire company does not provide them) take a pair of binoculars and you are ready to go. Children enjoy the sights of the Mumbai skyline; the coastguard helicopters; the Naval and other huge ships and maybe a few dolphins if you are lucky. Companies like SiriusYacht Tours MumbaiOyster Sailing, West Coast Marine, and Aqua Sail all offer sailing experiences.

Stop and Smell the Flowers

The Mahabaleshwar flower festival organised by Dr. Swati Piramal has been such a huge draw for the last few years that she decided to bring flower festivals to Mumbai too. There were two flower festivals last year, one in Thane and one in central Mumbai.  The Vaikunth Flower Show in Thane inspired by the Chelsea Flower Show UK, showcased over 140 species of flowers from India and around the globe. There were 30 types of trees, 18 theme gardens and a Sculpture Garden too. The next flower festival was the Aranya Festival that celebrated the rich history of South Mumbai with flowers, art, music and culture. The event featured 32 theme gardens, installations, dance performances and art displays. While the events are primarily held to showcase Piramal Realty’s new and upcoming projects, this is one kind of advertising that our concrete jungle can do with. Gardens exude a sense of awe, peace and calm. Our Top Picks will keep you updated on when the next Piramal Flower Show is happening. It’s a must do for all Mumbai kids.       

For more details, please click here.

Explore the Original Handheld Device - Visit a Physical Book Store

Book buying seems to have become an online activity. Gift your child the experience of browsing through books at a bookshop. Head to one of the physical bookshops, give yourselves ample time to browse, take in the aroma of books, read and just chill. Many bookstores even have in-house cafes where you can go to swap ‘check out this book’ moments with your child. These are the stores you can check out:  Bargain Book Hut, Wayword & Wise, Crosswords, Granth, Kitab Khana, Oxford Bookstore, Strand Book Stall, Trilogy, and Title Waves

 

 Take a Trip to Mandwa Jetty or Elephanta to feed the birds

  

Anytime through the year but for June to October, ideally on a weekday 6am to 5pm, head to the Gateway of India. Buy a return ticket on any of the ferry boats or catamarans to Mandwa jetty or Elephanta caves and enjoy the sea breeze and views of Mumbai harbour. During the winter months the migratory seagulls follow all the boats in the hope of getting fed by passengers. These birds as ‘adaptable opportunists’ come really close to the boat rails and catch projectile pieces of biscuits and bread mid air. They are a treat to watch. While these birds swallow anything that is thrown their way, you could take them some delicious healthy options like fish, or even plant items like seeds and bits of fruit.    

For more details, please click here.

Get a Ring side View of the Flamingos

Every year huge flocks of flamingos migrate from Gujarat to various parts of Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai. Sewri holds the record for the maximum number of pink beauties and so the jetty and mudflats there are a must visit anytime from November to May to take in the expanse of pink with their young ones. You must do at least one Flamingo Festival organized by Bombay Natural History Society or Sprouts Environment Trust. If you are doing your own personal trip and you see that the birds have moved into the mangroves and are not clearly visible from the jetty, then head over to the lane just near the entrance of the old Fort. This is the lane near the now defunct Colgate factory building. The mangroves touch the path here and if you tell the security guards the kids would like to see the birds up close they usually let you go closer. Everyone should be really quiet as any disturbance will make the flocks move away.  

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On a Foodie Trail Don’t Miss These Gems

Mumbai has several iconic restaurants, food stalls and dessert places just waiting to be explored. Every family has their own personal favourites based on their preferences. However there are some places that every child should go to at least once and these include any one of the South Indian restaurants at Matunga like Mysore Café or Café Madras, Mani’s Lunch Home, or Idli House; snacks and treats from the old Bandra favourites Café Andora for the rolls, Hearsch Bakery for their lemon tarts and mutton rolls, A1 Bakery for dinner rolls and gootlis, Candies for lasagne, roast chicken and salads, Karachi for pani puri, Elco pani puri; Natural Ice Cream for their whole fresh fruit ice creams in waffle cones; Bachelorr’s at Chowpatty for the strawberry shake, Haji Ali Juice Centre for the fruit juices and falooda with a free view of the Darga lit up; and baida roti at Bademiyan to name a few.  

Look at the Ceiling When at Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum

This museum is a very popular destination for families as the education department has worked hard towards making the museum interesting and accessible to all. Many events for children are held within the museum and also at their courtyard. The architecture of the building is incredible and the works inside it are amazing too. Kids love the dioramas. When at the museum, look up at the ceiling. Draw your child’s attention to the six pointed Star of David, a Jewish religious symbol that was used to honour David Sassoon’s contribution to the Museum and also the contribution of Jewish community to the city.

For more details, please click here.         

Take in the Sights from the Top of the Tallest Water Slide

If you live in Mumbai and your child has not yet been to Asia’s largest theme based water park then you need to plan a trip soon. While at the park sometimes even Water Kingdom regulars in the thrill of the rides miss out on a special treat. When waiting for your turn at the top of the tallest water slides look around and check out the view of the salt pans, sea, and mangroves. Wide, open, green spaces are few and far between in our city!

For more details, please click here.

Explore Otherwise Inaccessible Spaces While at Kala Ghoda Festival

A must do every year for all Mumbaikars and visitors in February is the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival. It is the country’s largest multicultural festival created to draw attention to this unique and beautiful area in Mumbai. Every year there are loads of interesting events, activities, workshops, installations, performances and more for everyone. This is one time when you and your kids are welcome onto the lawns of the Museum and into delightful spaces like the courtyard garden of the David Sassoon Library.

Be Amazed at the Stamp Collections at the GPO

Mumbai’s General Post Office behind the Chatrapati Shivaji station or VT station is a beautiful structure to check out when on a heritage walk or just by yourselves armed with handwritten letters to post to friends around the country or even across the globe. Teach your young child about stamps and how to post mail into the right box based on where it has to go. Walk around the central hall and notice the great dome that rises to a height of 120’ with a diameter of 65’ making it the largest in the city. One of the first few elevators that were set up in the city in the 1900s was the one at the GPO building. If you are lucky you might just see the chief postmaster riding in this old but beautifully carved lift. When at the mother of all post offices don’t miss the opportunity to buy unique stamps that you will very seldom find at your neighbourhood post office. These range from subjects like flora and fauna, environmental issues, festivals, fine arts and music to armed forces, defence, heritage buildings and movies to name a few. Some are so pretty you will think twice before actually using them.

For more details, please click here.

 

Take an Open Deck Bus Ride

Hop onto the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation’s Nilambari which is an open deck bus tour that will take you and your friends and family past Mumbai’s beautiful sights after sunset. It’s on Saturdays and Sundays in non-monsoon season; 7pm to 8pm and 8.15pm to 9.15pm. The tour guide will direct your attention to the Churchgate Head Office, Old Secretariat, Rajabai Tower, Convocation Hall, High Court, CST Railway Station, Thomas Cook, Asiatic Library and Gateway of India. This reasonably priced tour offers the option of upper or lower deck seating and you can buy your tickets at the reservation division, MTDC, as also at their Gateway of India counter. Watch out for twigs and low branches if on the upper deck. 

For more details, please click here.

Experience the Races

 

If horses are on your mind and you want to have a fun day, you should definitely go for the weekend Mumbai Christmas Racing Fest that is organized by the Indo German Chamber of Commerce and the Turf Club in December. Kids love the ice skating rink, live shows, workshops, activities and the meet and greet with Santa Claus. Adults enjoy the German food and beverages, music and shopping options. What is really exciting for those who don’t regularly go to the races is the chance to try your luck on Sunday. Anyone (adults only) can place bets and watch the horses vying for pole position. Take your child into the paddock pre race to check out the horses lined up and then quickly rush to the counter to place your bet. This is the most fun a novice can have at the races with access to the beautiful enclosures ensured by participation at the Christmas fair. If your child is taken up by the horses and the experience you can even consider the Amateur Rider’s Club 10 day Riding Camp which is an introductory service to familiarise those who are interested in horse riding.

For more information, please click here.

Enjoy the Thrill of Watching an Aircraft Take Off and Land Close Up

Plan a dinner at Mostly Grills open air restaurant on the rooftop of the Orchid Hotel in Vile Parle. If you and your children enjoy watching and hearing aircraft of varied sizes take off and land, there is no better place to do it from than a vantage point of this terrace. The restaurant is only open for dinner. 

For more details, please click here.

Show Your Child the Queen’s Necklace from Malabar Hill

If you grew up in Mumbai anytime between the 70s and 90s, your parents probably took you to Hanging Gardens, Cafe Naaz, pointed out the Tower of Silence and one late night driving through South Mumbai must have shown you the Queen’s Necklace. You can relive the old memories by taking your child to the high point of Malabar Hill from where the Queen’s Necklace is visible through the trees along with the glittering establishments that now line the 4.3 km Chowpatty and Marine Drive Boulevard.

For more details, please click here.    

Star Gaze From Outside the Nehru Planetarium Too

Every Sunday evening at 7pm for an hour and a half, the Planetarium conducts a Public Sky Watch. It is a free event that is subject to clear sky conditions. If you think the sky appears cloudy then don’t head there. There is no need for prior appointment to view the astronomical objects shown through telescopes.  

For more details, please click here.

Volunteer Along With Your Child at the Welfare of Stray Dogs Kennel

If you have been hearing on loop, “Please can we get a dog” the ideal first step is to sign your child up as a volunteer with Welfare of Stray Dogs (WSD) a non profit trust that has been helping street dogs since 1985. Children under 16 years need to be accompanied by an adult so you may as well sign up too.  The kennel activities include walking the dogs and even bathing them. This could serve as a good opportunity for your child to understand what goes in to looking after a dog and will also give him the chance to interact with other dog lovers.

For more information, please click here.

Have Some Juke Box Fun With Your Little One

 

While almost all of us may have visited Café Mondegar, very few might consider taking their kids there. This popular restaurant and bar has a jukebox with a cool mix of tracks. Introduce your child to the concept of the jukebox, let him or her select tracks, enjoy them and settle in for a fun time introducing your child to Mumbai’s cool spots. Other places that feature a jukebox include Kit Kat, Sunlight, Café New York, Café General & Store and Jam Jar Diner.

Show Your Music Fan the Maestro’s Table

If you and your children love Indian classical music, then head over to the Taj Mahal Tea House in Bandra to not only listen to music in a superb ambience but also to sip on interesting teas. An old bungalow has been converted into a warm and inviting space that makes you feel happy just to be there. What makes the visit even more special for music aficionados is to see Zakir Husain signed tablas on display.

For more details, please click here.

Drive Down the Eastern Freeway in an Open Top Car

The Eastern Freeway is a relatively new elevated controlled access 16.8 km highway that connects South Mumbai to the central suburbs. This road has helped reduce travel time between the two points drastically. This highway is supposed to be free of pedestrians, two wheelers, handcarts, and heavy vehicles so driving along this route is an experience not to be missed by any Mumbaikar. As the entire route is elevated, along the way you can point out the Mazgaon Dock Yard with its massive crane, the tops of huge ships and cruise liners as also fishing boats, and if you look inland you can even spot the contentious but famous building Antilla. If you have a car with a sunroof or better still a convertible or access to one, there’s no better way to cruise the freeway than with the wind in your hair.

For more details, please click here.

Score Passes to the Navy Week Culmination Event

  

Every year the Navy celebrates Navy Day and the build up sees various events open to the public such as Naval bands performing across the city; Naval ships being open to visitors; free medical camps; and an open sea swimming competition. Navy Week culminates in the Beating the Retreat and Tattoo ceremonies that are held at the Gateway of India. The event is complete with uniforms, music, marching and drills. The iconic Gateway area takes on a different feel for the evening with all regular public access shut, special seating and ambient lighting. As the sun sets the war ships are lit up. To be part of the audience at the rehearsal events you need a pass. Schools can write to Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (for Command Welfare Officer), Head Quarters Western Naval Command, Shahid Bhagat Singh Road, Mumbai 400023 to secure passes in advance. 

For more details, please click here.

Watch Rain Drops Splash into a Pool From Inside the Pool

You and your child could go for the within city SCUBA courses conducted by Lacadives and Orca Dive Club to know what it feels like to be weightless and to breathe under water. These introductory sessions familiarise you with terms, equipment etc. It’s really exciting to do this course in the monsoon months as the sight of raindrops falling into the pool viewed from the bottom is unique. If you enjoy the session, you can go further, do a course and then plan a trip to a tropical paradise to explore coral reefs. Imagine the fun having your child as your dive buddy! Please click here for further information.   

Experience the Thrill of a Helicopter Ride

MTDC (Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation) and Pawan Hans have started Mumbai Darshan Heli Joy Rides from Juhu Aerodrome. These chopper rides give passengers incredible aerial views of the city as the route covers Juhu, Versova and Gorai. You can expect to see the coast, the marsh lands, the green cover, and the cityscape from the sky.  The helicopter can take 4 passengers at a time and bookings are to be done online .

For more details, please click here.

Do you think we have missed out on any other interesting place in the city? Tell us at priya.fonseca@mycity4kids.com

 

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