25 Places To Visit In Mumbai Before Your Kid Turns 12 (Part 2)

27/05/2016 8:23 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:27 AM IST
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Girl enjoying cuddling puppy.

By Priya Fonseca

If you're a true-blue, born-and-brought-up-in-Mumbai person, chances are that your folks or school made sure you paid homage to every typical sightseeing spot in the city. Our kids, though, tend to turn up their noses at the very places we loved exploring with our folks. Many of us just throw up our hands in despair and say, "There's nothing exciting for kids here!" Well, that's just wrong. Here's a "hat ke" list of Mumbai places and experiences that we think every kid below the age of 12 will enjoy.

See part 1 of this series here.

13. Be amazed at the stamp collections at the GPO


Mumbai's General Post Office behind the Chhatrapati Shivaji (VT) station is a beautiful structure to check out when on a heritage walk or just by yourselves armed with handwritten letters to post.

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 120ft with a diameter of 65ft, making it the largest in the city. The PO is also home to one of the first elevators to be installed in the city, in the 1900s. 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, heritage buildings and movies to name a few. Some are so pretty you will think twice before actually using them.

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14. Take an open-deck bus ride

Hop on to the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation's (MTDC) Nilambari open-deck bus tour that will take you 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, or at their Gateway of India counter. Watch out for twigs and low branches if on the upper deck.

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15. Horse around at the races


If horses make your heart gallop, 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 by the horses and the experience you can even consider the Amateur Riders' Club 10-day Riding Camp which is an introductory service to familiarize those who are interested in horse riding.

For more information, please click here.

16. Watch airplanes land and take off

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.

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17. Admire 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 m Chowpatty and Marine Drive Boulevard.

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18. Stargaze outside the Nehru Planetarium


Every Sunday evening at 7pm for an hour and a half, the Nehru 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 the telescopes.

For more details, please click here.

19. Experience some puppy love

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 animal lovers.

For more information, please click here.

20. Have some jukebox fun


While Café Mondegar is an old city favourite, 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.


21. 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 tablas signed by Zakir Husain on display.

For more details, please click here.

22. Drive down the Eastern Freeway in an open-top car


The Eastern Freeway is a relatively new elevated controlled access 16.8km 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.

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23. Score passes to the Navy Week culmination event


Every year, the build up to Navy Day sees various events open to the public, including naval bands performing across the city; ships being opened 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.

24. Have an underwater adventure


You and your child could go for 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 familiarize 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 breathtaking. 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 of having your child as your dive buddy!

25. Experience the thrill of a chopper 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 marshlands, the green cover, and the cityscape from the sky. The helicopter can take four passengers at a time and bookings must be done online.

For more details, please click here.

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