I grew up in an extremely well planned city with various attractions within easy reach for residents. When I was young, any place in Chandigarh was never more than 30 minutes drive away. While there was a plethora of gardens to be visited in Chandigarh, there were also many tourist attractions to go to for a day trip. So our parents took us for an outing to a nearby attraction most Sundays, except for those when we had exams.
When I came to live in Kolkata post marriage, I did a lot of research on places where one can go for day trips with kids. I was a little disappointed with my observations. The reason being that while the city of joy does have a few day trip options, but most destinations would be more comfortable for an overnight stay, if I was to travel with my kids. Or else I think I have to wait for a couple of years to make my kids comfortable with long road trips. But until then I’d have to keep them busy on Sundays. Afterall that is one day they really look forward to. Their dad’s home and they want to go out with him. A little research and I came up with this doable list of places which promise enough activity and entertainment for kids under five years of age.
Below is a list of places that we frequent, to make our Sundays happier and successfully accomplish the task of keeping our kids away from electronic entertainment.
My 5 year old had visited the zoo so many times, that he now knows the animal enclosures and their locations by heart. It helps that the zoo is just about 3 kilometers from our place. We leave from home early in the morning and reach the zoo at its opening time. There are less people at that hour and it’s pleasant at that hour.
Also, because its cooler we are able to spot more animals while they all roam outside in the open area of their enclosures.
Birla Industrial and Technology Museum (BITM )/ Science City
If you wish to introduce science to kid at an early age, BITM and Science City are the places to go to. Various projects and working models ensure a life like experience for kids to understand the various wonders of this universe and prepare them for their science lessons. For slightly older kids they are a revision of what they have already learned in the class.
My son loves the model of the Universe at the technology museum. The museum also has activities that help kids experience the wonders of science first hand and understand the underlying concepts without any classroom training.
Lake Gardens / Lion Safari Park
One of my friends asked me, why would you take your kids to this simple park with a rabbit enclosure and some rides and swings almost every Sunday? Don’t they get bored?
Well, once you are parent you realize that kids do not seek joy in variety. Their joy lies in abundance of what they like. So yes, this Lions Safari Park in the Southern Kolkata region famous for its upkeep and maintenance is an easy escape route for us parents, if we are short of time and energy for any other day outing.
The huge sand pit is a major attraction for my kids. But rabbits also find a special place in their hearts. So much so, that the Lions Safari Park has been rechristened as ‘Rabbit Park’ in our household.
Game Zones in Malls
I would be a liar if I said that I do not give in to the temptation to entertain my kids in air conditioned premises. These are the places, where I can put my husband in charge of the activities with the kids and myself proceed to catch up on my shopping list. The best part is that they all enjoy their time at the gaming zones completely.
Though Nik is only 5 years, he is already a pro at some games. But I can also see the longing in his eyes when he watches the elder boys have a blast over some games not yet meant for his age.
Untill a couple of years back, Nicco Park was a maiden amusement park attraction for kids. But now there’s a water park in the adjoining area. There is another water park called Aquatica that is extremely popular for family visits. And the latest attraction with a gamut of children centric activities is Eco Park. They are loaded with ammunition to keep kids and their parents busy throughout the day. The latest addition to a dozen full of activities (such as cycling, boating, toy train, tuk-tuk ride, air balloon, water balloon) is the miniature depiction of the Seven Wonders of the World. These miniature forms are only that much miniature that it took us 4 hours to walk through them on a fine winter Sunday afternoon.
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