I’ve been planning to write this post for quite a while, but kept postponing in fear of getting stuck in the middle of it forever – there are way too manly things to do in Mumbai with kids 🙂 It’s been a lot of fun to explore the city with my trio – Adriana, Alexandra, and Ares, and I can’t wait to do the same with Bruce – our latest addition to the family. Here I’ve gathered 20 ideas of child-friendly activities in Mumbai, but I’m sure I’ll keep updating this post, so stay tuned 🙂
Table of Contents
- 1 My top 20 things to do in Mumbai with kids
- 1.1 Walk from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus to the Gateway of India
- 1.2 Ride a double-decker bus
- 1.3 Enjoy the vibrant atmosphere near the Gateway of India
- 1.4 Visit the Elephanta island
- 1.5 Go boating
- 1.6 Pay a visit to the Hanging Garden
- 1.7 Go to the Byculla Zoo
- 1.8 Learn about the history of Mumbai in Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum
- 1.9 Explore the galleries of the Prince of Wales Museum (Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya)
- 1.10 Get immersed in the underwater world
- 1.11 Ride a local train
- 1.12 Go to the beach
- 1.13 Go shopping at the Crawford market
- 1.14 Visit the Nehru Planetarium
- 1.15 See the stunning Haji Ali Dargah – a mosque in the middle of the sea
- 1.16 Watch people at work
- 1.17 Explore the Bandra Fort
- 1.18 Experience the flower power at the Dadar flower market
- 1.19 Visit idol making workshops
- 1.20 Cool down in the malls
My top 20 things to do in Mumbai with kids
Walk from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus to the Gateway of India
Walk from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus to the Gateway of India and admire the heritage buildings on the way. It’s so much fun. Make sure to point out interesting details to your child. Depending on the architectural style, my Adriana calls the heritage building of South Mumbai either Aladdin’s palace (if the building features prominent Islamic elements) or Quasimodo’s castle (if the structure is basically Gothic).
Ride a double-decker bus
The kids will love to ride on the top section and enjoy the views sitting on the front seats. There are not so many routes with double-decker buses left in the city – the best option would be to take a ride on the bus No. 138, departing from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (SCT) bus stand and going towards Colaba. this is one of the most affordable things to do in Mumbai with kids, and the small ones really love it!
Enjoy the vibrant atmosphere near the Gateway of India
It’s a popular touristic place where people get to see not only the magnificent arch of the Gateway, but also the legendary Taj hotel – one of the most recognized landmarks of the city. There are always lots of vendors offering their services, and it’s also a place to take a ferry to the Elephanta island. But if you’d like to avoid the crowds and have some quiet time looking at the sun rising over the Arabian sea, come early in the morning, just like we usually do.
Visit the Elephanta island
Perhaps your kids won’t find the rock-cut caves with sculptures of the Hindu gods particularly interesting, but you will, trust me! As for kids, they’ll love the sea journey, the monkeys, the toy train, roasted corn on the cob, huge variety of souvenirs where you can buy them “I love Mumbai” T-shirts and so on.
If you’re short of time, the ferry ride to the Elephanta can be replaced by a quick boat ride – there are lots of boatmen offering their very affordable services near the Gateway of India. From what I’ve heard, for many Mumbai dwellers going for a boat ride with their parents is one of the sweetest childhood memories, and I’m sure your kids will appreciate this little adventure too.
Pay a visit to the Hanging Garden
I know, I’ve criticized this place rather harshly in one of my posts, but it does have thing to offer to its smallest visitors – a lovely playpark, a giant Shoe with a spiral staircase and lots of windows, and beautiful flowers.
Go to the Byculla Zoo
Yes, there are lots of empty cages and the place is not so well maintained as we all would like it to be, but it seems children hardly notice these things – they are happy to explore the beautiful garden, to see some exotic varieties of birds and animals, to feed the squirrels (my advice – buy some roasted peanuts specially for this purpose), to observe hundreds of bats hanging from the tree and so on.
Learn about the history of Mumbai in Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum
Next to the Byculla Zoo there is Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum – go there with your little ones to learn about history of Mumbai. Children especially like dioramas and clay figures representing people of different backgrounds and professions.
You may also like: My cultural shock: Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum
Explore the galleries of the Prince of Wales Museum (Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya)
And speaking of museums, Prince of Wales Museum (or Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya) is a must. The place is gigantic and it’s highly unlikely you’ll cover all the sections in one go, so choose whatever you kids like more – sculptures, paintings, coins, weaponry, natural history and so on.
Get immersed in the underwater world
Explore the underwater world in renovated Taraporewala Aquarium. Don’t count on the wow-effect – there are no tunnels with sharks swimming over your head, but still, your little ones will get to see newts and frogs, seahorses, catfish and jellyfish, anemones, lionfish, sea turtles and many other varieties.
Ride a local train
Rather unexpected option in the list of things to do in Mumbai with kids, right? To be honest, traveling by Mumbai local trains is getting harder and harder due to the burgeoning population. A few years ago it was possible to choose the right time and avoid the infamous crowds. At the moment, the trains are crowded all the time. The situation is a bit better in ladies’ compartments, so I always make sure to take one of those when traveling with kids. The views outside the windows won’t be enchanting, unless you’d like your little one to learn about poverty in its extreme. Instead, I’d concentrate on things inside – it often feels like an oriental market, with girls and women selling fruits, jewelry, clothes, bindis, maps, books and so on. The prices are very reasonable and you can let your child choose some lovely souvenirs for family and friends.
Go to the beach
The Chowpatty beach is a perfect destination if you’re looking for things to do in Mumbai with kids. Forget about swimsuits though, it’s not that kind of beach. Just imagine you’re going for a picnic and prepare everything you need accordingly. You can sit on the blanket, enjoy the snacks, listen to the sound of waves. The kids would make their sandcastles and enjoy running around on the sand. Make sure to buy kulfi, corn on the cob (bhutta), coconut water or roasted peanuts from the local vendors.
Go shopping at the Crawford market
The place is bustling and could be rather tiring for a small child, so I’d suggest to make it quick. Go straight to the fruit market, for example, and show your kids all the variety of exotic fruits. Let them get immersed into exploring the variety of colors, shapes, smells and textures. Make sure to buy some fruit too 🙂
Visit the Nehru Planetarium
To be honest, we haven’t been there yet, but I’ve heard a lot of positive feedbacks. Considering Adriana’s love to everything space themed, I’m sure we’ll have a great time in the planetarium. Visit their official site http://www.nehru-centre.org/planetarium/ to learn about timings, admission fees and other details.
See the stunning Haji Ali Dargah – a mosque in the middle of the sea
It’s a unique structure situated on a small islet in the Arabian sea. The kids will like walking along the broad walkway connecting the shoreline with the mosque.
Recommended read: Haji Ali Dargah – a mosque in the middle of the sea
Watch people at work
Dabbawalas, for example. Every day dabbawalas deliver more than 130 thousand lunchboxes to the office workers of Mumbai. To see them bringing and sorting out the tiffins, go to the Churchgate station – they usually start arriving by 11 a.m.
Explore the Bandra Fort
Enjoy the seascape and the view over the Banrda-Worli sea link.
Experience the flower power at the Dadar flower market
Early in the morning, pay a visit to the Dadar flower market – the variety of flowers is stunning! Let your kids pick up as many flowers as they like, the prices are negligible – it’s a wholesale market, after all.
Visit idol making workshops
During festivals, visit Ganesh or Durga idol making workshops and let your kids observe creative process.
Cool down in the malls
Only if you’ve run out of things to do in Mumbai with kids, go to the malls, check out their activities and enjoy the air-conditioned environment at last 🙂 Some of the biggest malls include Infinity Mall (New Link Road, Malad), Phoenix Market City (L.B.S. Marg, Kurla West), InOrbit Mall (Link Road, Malad), High Street Phoenix (462 Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel) and R-City Mall (LBS Marg, Ghatkopar)
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