We have always been an outdoor family. What began as a means of handling two young children slowly grew into a vital part of our days. We are fortunate to live in a space with access to lots of outdoor spaces nearby but in the last 4 years I have been on a quest to find good parks and outdoor spaces safe for children and adults alike in the city of Mumbai which we call home. Reading this article today reminded me of why good outdoor spaces are essential for a healthy childhood.
Surprising as this may be as an Urban city, Mumbai has a fair share of accessible parks, trails and hikes for children. Although most of the parks operated by BMC usually stick to specific times when they are open, mostly between 7 – 11 am and 5 – 7 pm other parks like the Colaba Park have longer hours and events that you can use to visit these parks all day.
As we approach the season of holidays and the cooler days of winter, here are some parks that you can visit with kids. Plan a family picnic or bundle up a bunch of kids in a car and head out to these places where the kids can spend a few hours out in the open.
Shilpgram Park Andheri – Between the hustle of Andheri’s streets is a large open space with gardens, years old trees, an open auditorium and best of all some beautiful community stories told through statues. Shilpgram in Andheri is a beautiful park with a number of slides, swings and other play spaces along with beautiful gardens and open spaces children can move in. It is easily accessible very close to the main road and you will find it on Google Maps.
The statues are a real joy to see and kids will love the stories of each community person depicted here.
Colaba Woods Garden (Sagar Upvan) or Mumbai Port Trust is one of the largest open wooded spaces I have seen that children can access. Located very close to the sea it offers beautiful views of the ocean and some stunning sunsets. It doesn’t have a very large children’s play area but low trees, open slopes and beautiful walkways offer a much more thrilling experience for kids. Winters are a great time to visit this park simply because of some of the trees that bloom at this time. They even have a lovely closed cactus garden enclosed in a glass enclosure. Our favorites were a large Banyan tree, blooming coral tree and some humongous snails.
Sion Nature Park (Maharashtra Nature Park Society) is another wooded space that is perfect for bird and butterfly watching. It has long beautiful trails for children and families and offers open spaces for a simple picnic as well. The park is easily accessible but likely to be crowded on holidays or weekends. They now have a website that I have provided a link to which you can use to plan the best time for a visit.
Nirvana Park Powai – A sprawling park with children’s play spaces, a tree house, a small lake and lots of running space for children. Heritage Park Powai is right in the middle of the city close to the Powai lake, this park does not allow food inside so do plan accordingly.
Sanjay Gandhi National Park – SGNP is one of its kind national park within the largest city. The park offers easy treks and hikes for children and parents. The Shilonda trail hike is a good beginner hike for children around 4 years and above. The Park has tickets and there are a number of things to do when you visit – the boat rides and train is really fun to do with kids. You will find all the information you need to plan a fun day out in the link.
The Mumbai / Byculla Zoo is an another fun outdoor activity for kids. While the animals and birds aren’t something the kids enjoyed the outdoor spaces, little caves and the zen garden are well designed and offer a lot to see and do. The giant Baobab tree is a bonus attraction if you enjoy finding a giant ancient tree right in the center of the city.
Keeping with our tropical weather our days are normally hot and humid, especially when heading outdoors make sure you have ample food and water, insect repellants, caps / earth friendly sunscreen and find places to rest so children can catch their breath. Also please remember we are still very much in a pandemic although we now have access to these spaces use them wisely, always wear a mask and maintain social distancing.
I have always lamented the lack of good washrooms and public restrooms in public spaces in our country and this is still true. Although the Zoo and Colaba Parks both have basic facilities.
You will find snack options I have carried in the past and our favorite insect repellants in the Shop. You will also find some fun indoor games and other simple things we like to do during the holidays while in the home at the holiday shop.
Happy holidays and hope you find some of these parks accessible!