First time we visited Taraporewala Aquarium in 2011, when Adriana was only 2,5 years old and two younger kids weren’t even born. And these were my thoughts:
“To be honest, I wasn’t that impressed. It’s not that I visited too many aquariums in my life, but still, no glass tunnels with dolphins or sharks swimming above and beside you, no reservoirs where you can feed the fish… Some tanks needed to be repaired or painted, and the backgrounds could be more imaginative… Fortunately, I came to this place to show the fish to my daughter. And the moment she entered the hall, it was impossible to stop her! She ran from tank to tank pointing at the fish, snakes, crabs, turtles. It was 40 minutes of pure excitement! I was a little ashamed of my grumpy thoughts and made my best to share the excitement of my little one. It was really a nice experience!”
A couple of days ago, inspired by the positive reviews in the net, we made a trip to the aquarium again, this time with Adriana and Alexandra. It takes us roughly 1 hour to reach from Vashi station to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus by the local train, and whatever people may think, traveling by Mumbai trains is actually so much fun … if you’re 6 years old and your destination is the city aquarium:)
And if you’re a little smaller, you have an option of conveniently falling asleep 🙂
A word of warning though – if you’re planning to travel to/around India with kids in April-May, take all the possible precautions. The heat is killing! The girls kept drinking water all through the journey. When we finally reached CST, we took one of those vintage black-and-yellow cabs and went straight to the aquarium. The distance is around 3 km, and we paid no more than 40 Rs ($0,65) – as you can see, cabs in Mumbai are very affordable.
At Marine Drive the girls took their time to look at the sea and boats. Crossing the road proved to be rather challenging – the traffic was like never ending caravan of cars! But here we are, right at the Taraporewala Aquarium. I liked the seahorse-jellyfish-dolphin theme of the exterior, now the building looks much more presentable and inviting than it used to be.
The ticket counters were to the left side of the gate – we paid 150 Rs ($2.4) for all of us. I made sure to take my PIO (Person of Indian Origin) card, otherwise instead of 60 Rs I’d have to pay 200 Rs – this is the price for the foreign visitors. And the photography charges are enormous – it’s 500 Rs for using a mobile and 1000 Rs (!) for cameras. No matter how much I’d like to take pictures, I can really think of other uses for this money. Apparently, so did all the other visitors – not a single person was photographing inside the aquarium.
Well, another sip of water, and off we go 🙂
The entrance is a glass tunnel around 3 m long displaying a nice setup and an array of exotic fish. The children were really excited looking at the fish swimming over their heads. But I think they shouldn’t have put this tunnel right at the entrance – the people tend to rush inside, so it was a bit inconvenient to stand and look around while giving a way to other visitors.
In the hall there used to be a giant skeleton of a whale, but now there is a fish themed fountain. Inside the aquarium the placement of the tanks are exactly the same, but most of them have been done up quite well. Above each tan there is an LCD screen displaying the photos of every species and information in English and Hindi.
Here is the list of things the kids and me liked the most:
The tank with frogs and newts – the small creatures looked really cute when swimming to the surface, chasing after each other and resting between the seaweeds.
The seahorses ! It was the first time I’ve seen these creatures , and they looked absolutely out of this world – graceful and restrained.
The tiny jellyfish. IT was interesting to observe the creatures changing their colors from red to green to blue and purple, according to the lighting in the tank.
The clay pot display in the tank with catfish. There were lots of clay pots stuck together, so that the catfish could play hide-and-seek in the dozens of “caves” conveniently available.
Anemones – no comments, what a strange life form from the underwater world.
Lion fish – these were absolutely amazing, beautiful and ferocious at the same time, with their ornate tentacles and striped bodies.
All the bigger varieties of fish – the girls were really impressed by the size of them.
What I didn’t like (and kids never noticed :))
The way some artificial corals were painted – just bright splashes of different colors without any subtlety of shades .
The paint in some tanks has already started to peel off.
The tank for the big sea turtle was far too small. This is a creature that crosses the distance between the continents, so it requires some consideration when put in the aquarium on display.
Crowds of people – kids are free of school at this time of the year, so the place was quite full. Besides, there were a few tour groups.
Other than that, the visit was very pleasant and, I believe, educational for the girls.
We took a cab back to the station and headed straight to McDonalds for some cold drinks and ice-cream. I’m not sure why, but the stuff gave as a complimentary ice-cream for free – perhaps they were charmed by small Alexandra who was making the order 🙂
So, is it worth visiting Taraporewala Aquarium in Mumbai? Well, if you come with your kids – yes, definitely 🙂
Tuesday to Saturday 10:00 am – 7:00 pm,
Sundays and Public holidays 10:00 am to 8:00 pm,
Adults and kids above 12 – 60Rs,
Kids between 3 to 12 – 30 RS,
Foreign adults – 200 Rs,
Foreign kids – 100 Rs.
Mobile cameras – 500 Rs,
Digital cameras – 1000 Rs,
Professional still cameras – 5000 Rs
Professional video cameras – 10000 Rs.
Taraporewala Building, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Road, Marine Lines, Mumbai, Maharashtra – 400002, India