The Mad Momma has done a great service for the busy parents of today by listing a few places where they can go with their kids and enjoy themselves without exposing them to the 'plastic' world of the convenient Malls all the time. Off and on, for the past few years I have been trying to recount our adventures in different places in and around Bangalore but all the information is hopelessly scattered in the blog archieve. However if I make a compilation of all our outings in my mind, I do always vividly remember the joys of the other places than of the Mall visits and so shall the kids for sure. That is simply because there are infinitely more interesting. Having said that, I must admit that I spent the last two Sundays in Malls, heh heh.... after all they are the lazy parents' haven! However one of these Mall outings was quite a delightful experience as an African drum performance was is progress and all the kiddies (except mine, humph) were shaking a leg! After the performance the kids were allowed to tap at the drums to get a feel of the instrument. I have en rolled the kids in a dance class to ensure that they do not let go of any other such opportunity! After going to the Mall we also visited the fabulous Meenakshi temple which looked heavenly, bathed in the bright moonlight. We had dinner at our favourite shack restaurant and finished off the meal with delicious fruit ice cream sitting on the steps of the ice-cream parlour on the footpath....sigh...we also had good company- our young neighbours who treated us to the ice cream! Ahem...without digressing any further let me concentrate on the Bangalore list ( of places other than Malls where you can enjoy with kids)----
1 The first on the list has to be Lal Bagh the botanical garden at the heart of the city. We lived near it previously so we headed for it at the drop of a hat. Evenings at the Lal Bagh lake with monkeys on the trees and ducks in the water can transport you to another world altogether and scarcely will you remember that a bustling city is at the gates! We have spent many a pleasant evening at lal Bagh and the band stand holds a performance evry Saturday but who needs music to enjoy nature?
2 Ulsoor Lake is marvellous for boating and watching birds.
3 The Shankey Lake -for lolling and watching gigantic bats traverse the lake from one end to the other to their trees.
4 Cubbon Park- which houses the aquarium and also has a Band Stand. There are some rides for the chidren and lots and lots of greens to explore.
5 Tipu's Palace and ruins of the fort- this place is near the hustle and bustle of the city market area and the summer palace lawns are well kept. The fort wall ruin is also an interesting place to snoop around in.
6 The Bangalore Palace is also worth a watch, the royals still live in a part of it. It looks more lived in than the museum like Mysore palace.
7 The Visvesvaraya Industriial and Technological museum is also very exciting we have spent many happy hours on the floor which has scientific instruments that can be worked by the children including a mirror trick that makes it appear as if your head has been cut and served on a platter!
8 Karnataka Chitrakala Parishat on Kumara Krupa road - every year the Chitra Shanthe festival is held here where artists young and old, professional and novice display their art on a one kilometer stretch of the road. We have not been able to attend this annual event yet but we did catch a yakshagana performance by kids and a painting exhibition.
9 The Venkatappa art gallery and the Government Museum one can spend an entire day exploring these two places which are side by side.
10 The Nehru Planetarium- this is an excellect place to take kids to. The Bangalore planetarium has a shop where science toys and experiments are sold and a garden with scientific games along with regular slides and swings. A sound and light show is also held in the lawns nearby.
11 Ranga Shankara theatre holds various children's festivals. Recently we went for the celebration of World Puppetry Day and had a complete blast!! Even now theatre workshops for kids are in progress there.
12 Easylib the online library organizes story telling sessions for kids now and then. They have organised a readathon for kids this year where they'll read as many books as posssible within a given time frame and even write reviews of the books.
13 The Bannerghatta National park which has a zoo, a butterfly park and a safari option.
14 The Bull Temple and adjacent park which has swings and slides and the largest population of bats that I have ever seen on the tall trees!
15 We also visit the nearby BTM lake there is a lakeside garden and swings for the kids and it is a great place to spend the evenings.
16 In Bidadi just outside the city is the Innovative filmcity which has a hefty entry fee but lots of pleasureable pavillions including the wax museum, the 4-D theatre and the Mirror Maze.
17 Chennapatna is about 1 and a half hour car ride on the magnificient Mysore road, it is the hub of wooden toys. the next town down the same road is Ramanagaram the place where the film Sholay was shot.
18 Nandi hills the summer retreat of Tipu sultan is a two hour bus ride from bangalore it is a delightful hillock where the kids and the parents can enjoy a day picnic you can also stay at the government guest houses there. We have spent many hours sitting on the hilltop observing the view down below.
19 Bangalore is the city of gardens and lakes...just pop over to a lake near your house and lay back and watch the birds and the trees stretching their massive branches into the sky. We have a lake nearby which we have to explore...holimavu lake but we get a glimpse of the inmates everyday. Every evening flock upon flock of white water birds (egrets?) fly over our neighbourhood, possibly the birds hunt at the holimavu lake and stay at the BTM layout lake, but its a lovely sight. Often we are so eager to give our children the perfect learning experience that we forget to look out of our own window! While walking to the Brat's music class we have seen several species of birds including a kingfisher and a wide variety of insects and garden lizards. Often we have stopped walking and stood wide eyed, staring at a rare black bird, or a green beetle.
20 I also enjoy gallivanting about the local marketplaces with the kids in tow. Chikpet is the equivalent of Delhi's Chadni Chowk and the kids and I have skipped about in every nook and crany from the silk saari shops at Jama Masjid lane to the wholesale toy shops at Mamunpet.
I have read in the papers of other exciting places too, like a farm house which allows guests to mingle with their animals and take care of them, somewhere on the city outskirts, and an enterprise which gives you bamboo contraptions which attract sparrows...so there is still a lot more to discover and learn. So parents, happy un-Malling!