26/04/2016 8:40 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST

12 Eye-Opening Experiences To Try In Delhi-NCR Before Your Kid Turns 12

Kids (4-7) leaning out of car windows
Images_Bazaar via Getty Images
Kids (4-7) leaning out of car windows

By Tina Chadha

You don't need to take a fancy vacation to make new discoveries or have fun. There are plenty of wonders in your own backyard, just waiting to be found. Delhi, the sprawling mega-city we call home, has much to offer in the way of fun and inspiration for our little ones. To re-discover the magic of Delhi, why don't you...

1. Listen to a bird symphony in Lodhi Gardens


Make a trip to Lodhi Gardens near sunset and listen to the natural symphony as hundreds of birds fly back to their nests and settle down for a restful evening. Enter from the Lodhi Road gate for the largest concentration of nesting birds. This historic 90-acre park hosts a plethora of exotic species--more than 450 types of bird live in our capital--that will be sure to delight the animal lover in your little one. Why don't you record the birds' songs on your phone and repurpose it later as a morning alarm or ringtone?

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2. Jingle all the way with bangle shopping


Plan a girls-only outing to the bangle market adjacent to Hanuman Mandir. This open-air market has a massive selection of bangles--glass, metal, fabric and lac--in every colour combination imaginable, and at affordable prices. Encourage her to try them to her heart's content and bring home a few favourites.

3. Picnic with the elephants in the Garden of Five Senses


Get energized at the Garden of Five Senses in Said-Ul-Azaib village, close to the Mehrauli heritage area in New Delhi. This is an amazing spot for children to feel free to explore, take in innovative sculptures and be dazzled by natural beauty. The park is set on 20 lush acres and is a great spot for an impromptu game of hide and seek! Go early or late to avoid the extreme heat of the sun. It costs ₹10 for children and ₹30 for adults to enter.

4. Let them ride a train


Choo choo! All aboard! Trains never fail to impress little ones. Why don't you plan a weekend picnic at the National Rail Museum in Chanakyapuri? This 10-acre property is a quiet gem, a really charming space to relax and see an incredible variety of heritage trains up close. See how many different styles of trains they can count. Wrap it up with a train ride around the park.

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5. Go on a spice to stove journey


Take your 7-11 year olds to the spice market--in fact, the largest one in all of Asia. It's on Khari Baoli Road, next to Fatehpuri Masjid at the western end of Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi. It's been around since the 1600s! Pick out a few spices and go back home and try out a new recipe together. A delicious adventure.

6. Get creative at the Crafts Museum

We have a national treasure right under our noses! Plan a visit to the Crafts Museum in Pragati Maidan, open daily except Mondays. Check out traditional embroidery, weaving and pottery. More than 20,000 handicrafts from all over India are exhibited. Then go back home and plan your own craft experience. Arrange for a local pottery artist to come to your home and encourage your children to create their own masterpiece.

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7. Have an evening of fun at "The Gate"


Beat the heat and bend the bedtime rules one evening with a late trip to India Gate. Take in the majesty of this national monument. Pack a Frisbee and let the children burn some energy at the park nearby.

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8. Go on a tree tour at Nehru Park

Cultivate your little naturalist with an outing to Nehru Park, identifying as many different kinds of trees as possible. This 80-acre park is bursting with variety. Look for neem, banyan, peepal, shisham or Indian rosewood, amaltas and many other types of trees. Collect fallen leaves from as many tree species as possible and do etchings of the tree trunks. Be sure to pack pencils and paper for this outing!

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9. Do a taste test

Satisfy your child's sweet tooth with a trip to the famous Nathu Sweets in Sunder Nagar market. Make a game of it by challenging your children to a blind taste test. See if they can identify by taste alone the difference between various namkeens and sweets! Indulge and bring home a box of decadent desserts to share with the rest of your family later. Choose from a huge selection of ladoos, halwa, kaju burfi, gulab jamun and many more!

10. Step up to Humayun's Tomb


Work up an appetite before Nathu's or burn some of those extra calories afterwards by stopping over at the nearby Humayun's Tomb. This gorgeous monument and final resting place of the great Mughal emperor Humayun is a Unesco World Heritage site and rests on 30 meticulously maintained acres. Completed in 1572, the tomb's design was a precursor to the iconic Taj Mahal. Challenge your child to count the steps us you go up and down the various stairwells of the tomb while you explore the 47m-high, 94m-wide monument.

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11. Go on a space mission at the Nehru Planetarium

Cultivate your inner cosmonaut and space enthusiast! Plan a visit to the Nehru Planetarium to marvel at the wonders of space. Check out the Soyuz T-10 which took India's first cosmonaut, Rakesh Sharma, to space in 1984. See his actual journals and space suit. Envision what 2 million stars would look like with the optical star projector, "Megastar", attraction. Then go back home and follow astronauts from the International Space Station on Twitter to see real-time photos of space travel and the Earth from deep space. Amazing!

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12. Hug the Qutub Minar and make a wish


Plan a visit to the tallest brick minaret in the world. Built in 1193 and 73m high, the Qutub Minar is a tower of victory and one of Delhi's most famous attractions for centuries. It is believed that your wishes will be fulfilled if, standing with your back to the structure, you can encircle the pillar with your arms. For the children, challenge them to see how many of their arms it might take to encircle the pillar! Make a wish!

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For some more interesting places to visit with your child in Delhi/NCR, click here.

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