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Family Vacations with Kids: Mumbai – Salam Bombay

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Its sheer size and exciting opportunities that it offers make Mumbai an ideal family getaway
| Great places for Kids | Places to See |
| Eating out | Reaching there |

Metros are hardly looked as family getaways or places for a family holiday, especially where you can take your kids on a vacation. But for a moment, don’t jump to conclusions. Pause and think; and you will realise that in fact a metro city is probably the best place to take your kids on a holiday. For, it is easy for a child to relate to a city and its places that he always hears about. He’ll be excited to see the places, which he/she may have seen on TV or may have read about them in his books. Mumbai for that matter makes for a great place to take your kids on a holiday.

Children will love the metropolis for its sheer size and exciting opportunities that it offers in terms beaches, monuments, fun parks and a chance to get a glimpse of actors they watch on TV. Parents won’t be disappointed either, for Mumbai offers good hotels and a fine transport system to move around the city.

Mumbai was not like this always, it was just another fishing village that saw its fortune changing when Portuguese came here in 1534 and later with the arrival of the British the city was destined to change forever. The city was named after the goddess Mumba or Maha-Amba but as the Portuguese settled there they named it as Bombay (the good bay) before the island went to England as part of Catherine de Braganza’s dowry. But that was then some 300 years ago. Today, Mumbai is a major metropolitan city in India, which is home to large business houses and hub of television and cinema in India.

Great places to take your kids in Mumbai
Must see places in Mumbai
Nehru Science Centre:  India's largest interactive science centre spread over 8 acres of land, it comprises of a science-park where  exhibits relating to the properties of life, antique exhibits like railway engine, tramcar, supersonic aeroplane and steam lorry are displayed.
The Mumbai Zoo: A zoo cum garden, the Mumbai Zoo is located at Byculla at the heart of Mumbai. Also known as Rani Jijamata Udyaan or Rani Bagh it is home to the tigers, lions, elephants, bears and monkeys.  Open daily except Wednesday between 9am and 6pm
Taraporewala Aquarium: Built in 1951, Taraporewala Aquarium located on the famous Marine Drive is the sole aquarium in the city housing over 100 species of marine and fresh water fish including seven types of coral fish from Lakshadweep Islands. Other attractions include sharks, turtles and morays.  It opens daily except Monday between 10 am and 7 pm and until 8 pm on Sunday.

Fantasy Land: A total fun zone spread across 30 acres, Fantasy Land is situated in Jogeshwari East. Located next to Essel World, the amusement Park established in 1992 has something or the other for each and everyone from the age of 2-90. Some of the popular rides at Fantasy Land include a Dragon that swings like a pendulum; Slam Bob in which boats surf the air at great speeds and the Ze-Ulta Fulta Express- a roller coaster ride which takes a full 360 degree turn in the sky, leaving you suspended in mid-air. In addition to these, there are also pony rides, pedal boats etc.
Timings: Open on all days except Monday from 11am to 8pm. On weekends or public holidays from 10 am to 9 pm.

Shangrila Resort & Water Park: A water park spread over 15 acres of land, Shangrila Resort & Water Park  located at Thane has a huge swimming pool; an ever-flowing waterfall, slides and a play Area where you kids can ride little toy horses, dinosaur, cars, bikes, play  video games, merry go round or swing away. Apart from the baccha logs, Shangrila Resort & Water Park also has something earmarked for the babalogs- there is a pool room, bar, shopping store and yes for the child in you a rain dance & water slides too. Timings: 10 am to 6 pm

Great Escape: Exciting place to take your kids, has got loads of indoor and outdoor games for both you and your kids – from water games and water slides to a mini train and even a foot tapping DJ, the park makes an ideal getaway for the entire family. 21 kms from Thane.

Essel World: Located in Northwest Mumbai at Gorai, Essel World spread over 64 acres is India’s & Asia largest amusement Park. The main highlight of the park is its Artic Circle - a 3400 sq ft skating ring; Riki’s Rocking Alley- a bowling alley that includes 6 bowling lanes, a dance floor & a cafeteria; a game arcade with six coins operated games. In addition there are also various rides earmarked for both kids and family alike. Water Kingdom, a part of Essel World is located next to it. Aquadrome- a dance floor pulsating at 7000 watts rms is its latest addition.
Essel World is opened 365 days and prices range from Rs 350-480/- to an adult to 250-350 for a child.

Nishiland Water Park: Sprawled over 55 acres of land, Nishiland Water Park is located on the Old Mumbai-Pune Highway, between Panvel and Khopoli. It is about 70 km from Pune and 45 Kms from Ghatkopar. The park has a mini train (Tum-Tum) to ferry you across the Park. Timings: 10 am to 6 pm

Tikuji-Ni-Wadi Water Park: Established in 1983, this Family Theme Park is located at Thane some 40 Kms from Mumbai. The park has around 21 exciting rides including an UFO Cycle, Go-karting, Whirlwind Chairs, Space ships etc.
Timings: Resort – 9 am to 7 pm (Limited Period Only); Amusement Park – 11 am to 7 pm Water Park – 10 am to 6pm

Suraj Water Park:  Located 8 Kms from Thane and 15 Kms from Borivali station on the Navi Mumbai, Suraj Water Park is opened throughout the year. The Park spread over 17 acres recently made an entry to the Limca Book of Records for the largest man-made fibre cave measuring 103 ft. in length. The Park has various types of slides like Ding-Dong, Sing-a-Song, Labak and Zabak etc.
Timings: 10 am to 6 pm

Shivaji Park: The playground where a certain Mr. Sachin Tendulkar first learnt the finest points of the game, need we say more.

The Sanjay Gandhi National Park: “A jungle within a jungle” is what best describes the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. The only national park to be located within a city, it is one of the few green belts of the city, and a favorite haunt of the Mumbaikars as well as of the big cats, notably the leopard that can be seen perched on tree-tops or sleeping their way to glory in any of the 108 Buddhist monk cells of the 1000 years old Kanheri Caves. You can also try your hands at rock climbing and rappelling at the Park.

Places to see in Mumbai
Bollywood – Catch a star

And yes, if you have the time and are really lucky then may be you can take your kids to see their (and yours also) actors and actress at work at any of the film studios. There are many tour operators who specialize in arranging such events. Who knows maybe you or your kid may get lucky and land up a role alongside your favorite actor.

Gateway of India:  Perhaps the most popular landmark in Mumbai, the Gateway of India was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to India in 1911. Designed by George Wittet in the Indo-Saracenic style to symbolize the enduring nature of British Rule, this majestic arch located at the end of the Shivaji Marg is also the departing point for ferries plying to Elephanta Island and other beaches across the port. Behind the gateway is a beautiful statue of the great Maratha leader Shivaji astride his horse.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (Victoria Terminus): A Unesco World Heritage Site, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Fort Area is one of Mumbai’s most beautiful buildings. Designed by Frederick Stevens and built in 1887, this Gothic building with its huge panels and friezes holds the statue of Queen Victoria on its dome and hence its previous name - the ´Victoria Terminus. The station once the headquarters of the Great Indian Peninsular Railway Company is now the headquarters of the Central Railways and one of the India’s busiest stations.

Chowpatty Beach:  A must visit on everyone’s list; Chowpatty is Mumbai’s most famous beach along with Juhu. A favorite haunt of both the high and low denizens of Mumbai , one can find here families on a picnic, senior citizens on their daily walks and courting couples trying to steal a few precious moments. Located at the foot of Malabar hill and at the end of Marine Drive, Chowpatty Beach is the only beach in Central Mumbai. A statue of Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak is also located here on the very spot where he was cremated in 1920.

Afghan Church: Built in 1847, the Church previously known as St. Johns Church is dedicated to soldiers who died fighting in the Sind and Afghan campaigns of 1838 and 1843.

Haji Ali Dragah: The Dragah of Haji Ali, a Muslim saint who died while on pilgrimage to Mecca is located on a tiny islet located 500 yards from the coast. Built in 1431, the Dragah is accessible only during low tide and is connected to the Mahalaxmi temple by a narrow causeway. The Mausoleum is built entirely of white marble with the typical dome and minarets. It occupies an area of 4,500 mts and its architectural highlight is its 85 foot (26 m) tower. The tomb of the saint is covered by a brocaded red and green chaddar and is supported by an exquisite silver frame. The marble pillars in the main hall embellished with colored mirror work: blue, green, yellow chips have with 99 names of Allah.

Siddhivinayak Temple: One of the most important temples of Mumbai is the Siddhivinayak Temple located at Prabha Devi.  Originally built in 1801, the temple is dedicated to Lord Ganesh who is represented here as Siddhivinayak (the granter of all wishes). Built of black stone, the idol of Ganesh is 2’6” high and 2’ wide with the trunk on the right- an unusual feature since Ganesh is mostly represented with his trunk towards the left. On both sides of the Lord Ganesh idol, are the idols Riddhi and Siddhi who signify sanctity, success, wealth and prosperity.

Eating out in Mumbai

The Vada Pav: The potato and bread preparation is your average Mumbaikar favorite breakfast.

Bhel Puri: Of puffed rice and sev, the bhelpuri is a sour and pungent snack sometimes made with a sweet sauce and at other times garnished with a spicy one. Best place to have one – the beach.

 Waran Bhaat: A typical simple Maharashtrian meal which is simply dal (waran) served with some fresh steamed rice ("bhaat") and topped with a dollop of ghee and some salt and lemon on the side.
Pav Bhaji:  Inexpensive and relished by one and all, a bread and curry delicacy. Said to be originally prepared in one of the textile mills in Mumbai when the mill business was at its peak.

Shrikhand:  Have a sweet tooth then its Shrikhand for you- a dessert made of strained yogurt extremely popular in Gujarati and Maharashtra.

Juhu Beach:  A great favorite with Mumbaites, the Juhu Beach wears a carnival like atmosphere during the evenings and weekends when thousands of people descend down to the beach to spend some time with friends and family by either savoring the delicious fares brewing offered by the food vendors or taking a ride on camel or simply playing on the beach.

Kamla Nehru Park: A children’s park, it offers great views of Marine drive and Chowpatty.  The main highlight of the park is its huge boot or shoe.

Mahalaxmi Temple: One of the most sacred temples of Mumbai, the Mahalaxmi Temple built around 1785 is located on the Bhula Bhai Desai road. Though the temple is dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, it also enshrines the deities, Kali and Saraswati. The image of Mahalakshmi is shown riding a tiger and a demon (Mahishasur) in a tandem.

Malabar Hill: The place where the high and mighty of the corporate and film world lives. Malabar Hill is one of Mumbai’s most coveted residential areas.

Mani Bhavan: Located on Laburnam Road, near the August Kranti Maidan, Mani Bhavan is the place where Mahatma Gandhi stayed during his visits to Mumbai between 1917 and 1934 and from where the Non-Cooperation, Satyagraha, Swadeshi, Khilafat movements and the Quit India movement were launched. Now a museum the building was taken over by the Gandhi Smarak Nidhi in 1955 for maintenance as a memorial to Gandhi 

Marine Drive:  Shaped like a crescent, Marine Drive is a 3 km promenade lined up with leafy palm trees. Built over reclaimed land, it links Nariman Point to Babulnath and Malabar Hill and is
known as the Queen’s Necklace in the evenings for its e street lights which looks like a string of pearls. 

Prince of Wales Museum: Built to commemorate the visit of King George V (then Prince of Wales) to Mumbai in 1905, the Prince of Wales Museum was opened to the public in 1923. The architecture of the museum is the Indo-Saracenic style with an imposing dome in the 15th -16th century western Indian style. With three sections devoted to  art, archaeology and natural history, the Prince of Wales museum is undoubtly one of the finest museums of the country. The museum now known as the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya is located in the middle of South Mumbai close to the Gateway of India. The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday, 10.15 am to 6 pm.

Towers of Silence: Located in the Malabar Hill Area, the Towers of Silence is the very place where members of the Parsi community dispose off their dead. Strictly off limits, a replica of the Towers of Silence can be seen in the Prince of Wales Museum.

Elephanta caves: A Unesco World Heritage Site located in the Mumbai harbor off the coast of Mumbai, the Elephanta caves are famous for the Trimurti which shows the three faces of Shiva as almost akin to the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. Other sculptures here are the reliefs of Nataraja and Sadashiva and the splendid sculptures of Ardhanarishvara.

Reaching Mumbai & Best time to go

By Air: Mumbai is well connected by air from all major cities in India. Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport is 26 Kms from Mumbai city center. Chhatrapati Shivaji Domestic Airport is located at Santa Cruz and is 25 Kms away from the Mumbai city center.

By Rail: Mumbai is well connected by rail with almost all cities in India. In fact railway is the lifeline of Mumbai as most people in Mumbai travel in local trains.

By Road: Mumbai is connected by good network of roads with all major tourist centers.

Best time to go: September to April is the best time to go to Mumbai for the weather at this time is relatively dry and cool. During the monsoon season (June-Sept) ferries to Elephanta Island and beyond stop and trips to Sanjay Gandhi National Park, forts and cave temples around Mumbai are often impossible. However, if you want to be a part of the 11-day Ganesh Chaturthi festivities, then be there in August/September.

About Mumbai: Mumbai Information & Fact File
Altitude 8 meters
Summer 36 (Max) & 28 (Min) Degrees Celsius
Winter 30 (Max) & 14 (Min) Degrees Celsius
Best time to Go December – February
Monsoon June – September
Summer April – June
Clothes Cottons all year round
Nearest Airport Mumbai has an International Airport
Nearest Railway Station The Headquarters of the Western and the Central Railway Zone are at Mumbai ensuring ample connectivity.
Bus Station Mumbai has several Interstate bus terminals spread in various zones of the city.
Hospital & Doctor

Mumbai offers best medical services that range from well equipped Govt. and Private hospitals

Places to see Gateway of India, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Chowpatty Beach, Juhu Beach, Afgan Church, Haji Ali Dargah, Siddhivinayak Temple, Kamla Nehru Park, Mahalaxmi Temple, Marine Drive...
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