Monday, September 26, 2011

Family Activities in Bangalore

After 11 months of finding things to do with my two children in Bangalore, I thought I'd pass that information on to others looking for family activities. Here are some of the many things we've found to do, along with photos and information. Our children are 2 and 4, and we are American, so our reviews are done from that perspective. I did a separate list of Indoor Play Places in Bangalore, so check that out as well.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any related questions about expat or family life in Bangalore. I know how hard it can be.

The information in this post was accurate as of October, 2011. If you know of other fun activities for kids in Bangalore, please leave a comment.


Cost: Varies by timings. Per person, per game: 110 Rs weekdays, 120 Rs weeknight, 140 Rs weekends. Shoes included.
Leela Palace. On the bottom floor of the shopping center.
23, Airport Road
opens 11 am
Our Review: Pictures We did not pay for the kids. They just took turns bowling on our games. There are only four lanes, but we've only been first thing in the morning, so it wasn't crowded. There is also an arcade and dancing. While you are at Leela Palace, be sure to check out the GRASS and let your kids run around. My 4 year old is always impressed when we go somewhere with actual grass.
Miniature Golf - Fantasy Golf Resort
Cost: 200 Rs. per person. Kids were free.
Information: Fantasy Golf Resort
It is WAY out by the Bangalore Airport.
Opp. ITC Factory NH7
Yelahanka - Devanahalli Rd.
Our Review: More pictures. They thought we were crazy that we just wanted to play miniature golf. The course was a little difficult to navigate, but was beautiful. We were brought mango juice to drink. The Fantasy Golf Resort also has a playground, sports areas and swimming.

Industrial and Technological Museum
Cost: 20 Rs. for adults. Kids under 5 free. 3D movie 20 Rs. extra.
10 am-6 pm
Downtown, near Cubbon Park
Kasturba Rd.
Our Review: Pictures here and here. Our kids are a bit on the young side for this museum, but still had fun. There is an exhibit of balls following tracks all over the room, old airplanes, hands-on physics experiments, and an animatronic Spinosaurus that scares my 2 year old. There is an art museum next door, but we've never been.

Government Aquarium
Cost: 10Rs, kids under 5 free.
At Cubbon Park
Kasturba Rd.
Our Review: Pictures There isn't much to this dreary aquarium. There are two stories, each one has two layers of aquariums around a circular room. However, it is so ridiculously inexpensive that you can easily tack on a visit to the aquarium to a visit to Bala Bhavan or a museum at Cubbon Park.
Bala Bhavan (Children's Park)
Cost: 5 Rs. for entry, children under 5 free. 10 Rs. per person (over 3) for boat and train rides
Inside Cubbon Park. 10Rs. parking required.
Our Review: Pictures This is a fun day out for those with young children. The Children's Park has several play grounds, a train ride around the entire park, boat rides, a castle to climb on, statues of animals, etc. There are several areas of the park that I have never seen open, including a physics exploration area. Ice creams, snacks, drinks etc are available inside the park.
Children's Library
Cost: Free
West side of Cubbon Park
Our Review: I was really disappointed in this library. In my opinion, there are better things to do if you're going to drive all the way to Cubbon Park. However, if you're really desperate, it's something to do, and it is free. The books were nearly all in Hindi or Kannada (and they didn't look very good, even if you can read in those languages). The English books mostly consisted of encyclopedia/non-fiction books, and a shelf or two of baby board books. There is a pile of bean bags that make a comfortable reading area, and some kid-sized chairs. Outside, in the front, there are a dozen ride-on toys, but every. single. one. was broken. I recommend going to a bookstore, and browsing there, instead.

Brainvilla Book and Toy Library and Store
Cost: Plans start at 150 Rs./month
10 am - 8 pm, Friday Holiday
1. 6th Cross, Kaggadaspura
2. Nagavarapalya Main Road (Both in CV Raman Nagar)
Our Review: You have to purchase a membership to Brainvilla, but if you live nearby, you may find it to be worth it. We had one for the first few months we lived here. Depending on your level of membership, you can take up to 4 books or toys out at a time. The one in Nagavarapalya has a play mat near the children's section where the kids can play with toys, or read books. This one is cleaner as well.
Other Bookstores.
We've visited other bookstores, just for fun. Our two favorites are in Indiranagar. Both carry books and toys, as well as coloring books, workbooks etc.
Sapna Bookhouse
80 Ft. Rd, near CMH Road, Indiranagar
This one has a LOT of children's books, fun to browse. However, there is nowhere to sit and read.

Odyssey Books
100 Ft. Rd, Indiranagar
Opens 10:30
The book selection here is more generic and expensive. However, they have a carpeted area with a few popup tents, ride on cars, balls etc where the kids can play. (ETA: they are rearranging the bookstore and this area is not currently set up. Not sure if it's coming back or not.)

Bannerghatta Biological Park (ie Zoo)
Cost: 160 Rs. Zoo entrance and Grand Safari (kids free unless they need a seat)
Butterfly park 25 Rs.
Elephant Ride 60 Rs. (under 5 free)
9 am to 5 pm
Tuesday holiday
30 minutes south of Bangalore on Bannerghatta Rd.
Our Review: Pictures here and here. There are a lot of good things about Bannerghatta park. If you are used to Western zoos, you may be dismayed at the conditions and treatment of animals. However, it is still excitng to be able to see the animals very closely. Food is available for purchase.
The Grand Safari: Because the drivers and tour guides are eager for tips from white visitors, they cram you into the front seats and take pictures for you. Then they ask for 100 Rs. tip (each!) afterwards. This is all completely unnecessary. If you don't want to be crowded, you can refuse to be crowded onto the waiting bus, and board first on the next one. You can also take your own pictures. Even if not, 100 Rs. is a ridiculous tip. 30 or 40 is fine. Each safari trip is different (I've been on four) but you'll likely see sloth bears, tigers, lions, deer and more. It is well worth the money.
The Zoo: As I mentioned above, the zoo itself is a bit depressing. They have a large selection of animals. 7 hippos, dozens of crocodiles, snakes, birds, leopards, monkeys etc.
The Elephant Joy Ride: Elephant rides are only available on the weekend! You have to remove your shoes. The zoo has at least 10 elephants of different ages. They usually have one near the fence to collect tips. If you're lucky, it will be an adorable baby! If you bring some bananas, you can feed the elephants. You can also give the elephant a tip (a coin if you look Indian, 10 Rs. if you're white) and get a blessing.

Wonder La
Cost: 540 Rs/410 Rs Adults/Kids Weekdays
680 Rs/490 Rs Adults/Kids Weekends and Festivals
Lockers: 50 Rs + 150 refundable deposit
11 am-6 pm (7 pm on weekends and festivals)
1 hour south of the city off Mysore Rd.
Our Review: Pictures Saying that Wonder La is in Bangalore is a stretch. It is over 2 hours away from our flat on the east side of the city. It's a fun amusement park and water park, great for a day away from the city. There are kid rides and thrill rides. We didn't do any of the thrill rides, but enjoyed most of the kid rides. Bumper cars, train rides etc. There is also a Sky Wheel, a Ferris wheel very high up in the air. As for the water park, there are paid lockers, separate pools/areas for women and children only, and lots of fun splash areas, wave pools, water slides, and a lazy river. We did not try the water slides, as our children were too young. The lazy river and wave pool were very nice. Food is available for purchase.

1 comment:

Tucker McGaw said...

Hi Susie, I've been in and around Bangalore for ages (wife is from here), but I've not seen nor heard of three or four of these places! Thanks for showing them to me.