'Masti' and wonder in Cubbon Park and vicinity in Bangalore. Other than the park there other activities like the govt. aquarium, Visveswaraya museum with a fun dinosaur model and the Jawaharlal Nehru planetarium in the vicinity.
We first reached the aquarium at around 11 am., checked it out and then walked to the Visweswaraya museum and then drove to the Planetarium (5 minutes away) to catch the solar system show at 12:45. After the show we returned to Cubbon Park for a picnic lunch. We had kids ranging from age 3 to 7. Here is some fun stuff and details...
1) Cubbon Park of course is a Bangalore institution for children. The large playgrounds with well maintained swings, slides etc., the toy train ride at Bal Bhavan, the vast park with bamboo and other trees. The rides have been closed since the unfortunate accident in 2008. But the park has a lot to offer for kids. It can however get crowded on weekends. And can a breath of fresh cool air for adults as well.
Note: If you are planning to have a picnic in Cubbon Park, please get sheets and mat. There are no picnic tables and the grass is not good.
2) Govt. Aquarium. Located to the left of the Cubbon Park as you enter from the Bal Bhavan gate. Of course it is a good idea not to compare it to other aquariums (like in Thailand or the Monterey Bay Aquarium etc.). But at least it is there and the kids truly enjoy it. Some fish that were popular with our children were the tiger shark, angel fish, transparent fish, eels, the pretty feathery fish etc. There are 2 floors of fish in tanks housing around 70 varieties of fish.There are also ornamental goldfish for display and sale as well.
It is clean but it feels a little dingy. I wish we could inject some exciting private blood and funds in these institutions...
Practical info. Open 10 am to 5:15 pm all days except Mondays and second Tuesdays of the month and general holidays. Fees are very nominal. Rs 2 for children and Rs 5 for adults.
3) Visveswaraya Industrial and Technological museum: The best that our kids (5 and 7) like is the model of the dinosaur (spinosaurus). It is a huge life-like model that roars, shows it’s teeth, pounces and makes sounds. Kids under 3 / 4 might be a little scared. But otherwise the kids have a blast. The dinosaur exhibit is in the right hand side room as soon as you enter.
There are many other hands-on scientific displays. Kids can spend some time in there especially older kids. We have not really checked it out in detail yet.
* They have some 3 D shows at different times during the day that look very interesting. We could not squeeze those in. But definitely plan to go back. Do call them to plan these. If you have seen these, please comment.
Practical info: Less than 5 minute walk from the aquarium on Kasturba Road. Open from 10 to 5:30. Phone is 22864563. Open all days except Mondays and second Tuesdays of the month and general holidays. Fees are nominal at Rs 15.
4) Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium: They have shows on solar system and celestial bodies in their night sky dome during the day. The kids really enjoy and these are educational for them. Even the less than 3 year old was transfixed. I personally enjoy seeing stars and the universe--and getting out of mundane lives.
There is also an interesting hands-on outside playground for the kids. With exhibits of how different colors absorb and radiate light, rotation, motion of planets, force etc. The planetarium is fairly well maintained.
Practical info: http://www.taralaya.org, Ph 22266084, 22203234 (call between 10:15 am to 5 pm). Fees is Rs 20. Sri T. Chowdiah Road High Grounds (less than 5 minute drive from Cubbon Park). Open all days except Mondays and second Tuesdays of the month and general holidays. The English shows are at 12:45 (Solar System show), 3:45 and 4:30. But please call and verify or check out the website. The shows last approximately 40-45 minutes.
What an exhilarating time for all. We moms were exhausted towards the end, but the kids—bubbling with wonder and curiosity—wanted to hangout and play more. It was so much more refreshing than just taking them to the mall, Mac Donalds or a movie. I felt the kids could be more in their true elements—full of pure joy, wonder, curiosity and abandon!