25 Places In Delhi NCR To Visit Before Your Kid Turns 12

We recently took advantage of a school break by planning an action packed holiday. 10 free days with our trio of little ones. So unlike some previous lazy holidays, we decided to take full advantage of the free time and planned a series of fun activities and memorable outings. You know all the stuff you want to do “some time” but never get around to it! It was action-packed with just the sort of stuff my kids love: Parks, Sports and Nature. My three, all under 12 years old, weighed in with their unsolicited assessment on day 9 with this feedback, “This has been the best vacation Mom.” Amazingly, it was for me too. It was low-stress, allowed us to bond together, and did not require a single suitcase to be packed or unpacked. Nor a long drive, nor a trip through the airport, or inflated hotel bill. We vacationed here at home, in New Delhi. It was the so called stay-cation! And I highly recommend it.

Next time you have a few days, or even a single free afternoon, think about re-discovering the wonders and fun in your own backyard. Delhi, the sprawling mega-city we call home, has much to offer in the way of fun and inspiration for our little ones.

To re-discover the magic of Delhi, why don’t you…

  1. Listen to a Bird Symphony in Lodhi Gardens

Make a trip to Lodhi Gardens near sunset and listen to the natural symphony as hundreds of birds fly back to their nests and settle down for a restful evening. Enter from the Lodi Road gate for the largest concentration of nesting birds. This 90 acre historic park hosts a plethora of exotic species — more than 450 types of bird live in our capital — sure to delight the animal lover in your little one. Why don’t you record the birds’ songs on your phone and repurpose it later as a morning alarm or ringtone?

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2. Sparkle and bonding time — bangle shopping just for her

Plan a girls-only outing to the Bangle market adjacent to Hanuman Mandir. This open air market has a massive selection of bangles — glass, metal, fabric and lac — in every color combination imaginable, at affordable price points. Encourage her to ty as many as her heart’s delight and bring home a few favorites.

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3. Picnic with the Elephants in the Garden of Five Senses

Energize your body and inspire all five senses in the Garden of Five Senses in Said-Ul-Azaib village, close to the Mehrauli heritage area in New Delhi. This is an amazing spot for children to feel free to explore, take in innovative sculptures and dazzle their eyes with natural beauty. The park is set on 20 lush acres. It costs 10 rupees for children and 30 rupees for adults to enter and is a great spot for an impromptu game of hide and seek! Go early or late to avoid the extreme heat of the sun.

4. Let Them Drive a Train

Choo choo! All aboard. Trains never fail to impress little ones. Why don’t you plan a weekend picnic at the National Rail Museum in Chanakyapuri? This 10 acre property is a quiet gem, a really charming space to relax and see an incredible variety of heritage trains up close. See how many different styles of trains they can count. Wrap it up with a train ride around the park.

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5. From spice to stove.

Why don’t you take your 7–11 year olds to the spice market, the largest one in all of Asia, in fact. It’s on Khari Baoli Road, next to Fatehpuri Masjid at the western end of Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi. It’s been around since the 1600’s! Pick out a few spices and go back home and try out a new recipe together. A delicious adventure.

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6. Creativity in Focus at the Craft Museum

We have a national treasure right under our noses! Plan a visit to the Crafts Museum in Pragati Maidan, open daily except Mondays. Check out traditional embroidery, weaving and pottery. More than 20,000 handicrafts from all over India are exhibited. Then go back home and plan your own craft experience. Arrange for a local pottery artist to come to your home and encourage your children to create their own masterpiece.

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7. Have an evening of fun at “The Gate”

Beat the heat and bend the bedtime rules one evening with a late day trip to India Gate. Take in the majesty of this national monument. Pack a Frisbee and let the children burn some energy at the Children’s Park nearby.

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8. Leaf, Look, Learn: Exploring the trees of Delhi

Cultivate your little naturalist with an outing to Nehru Park identifying as many different kinds of trees as possible.This 80 acre park is bursting with variety. Look for Neem, Banyan, Peepal, Shisham or Indian Rosewood, Amaltas and many others. Collect fallenleaves from as many tree species as possible and do etchings of the tree trunks. Be sure to pack pencils and paper for this outing!

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9. Savor the sweetest treats this side of the Yamuna

Satisfy your child’s sweet tooth with a trip to the famous Nathu Sweets in Sundar Nagar market. Make a game of it by challenging your children to a blind taste test. See if they can identify by taste alone the difference between various Kajuor Namkeens! Indulge and bring home a box of decadent desserts to share with the rest of your family later. Choose from a huge selection of Ladoo, Halwa, Kaju Burfi, Gulab Jamun, and many more!

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10. Step up to Humayun’s Tomb

Work up an appetite before Nathu’s or burn some of those extra calories afterwards by stopping over to the nearby Humayun’s Tomb. This gorgeous monument and final resting place of the 2nd great Mughal Emperor, Humayun, is a Unesco World Heritage site and rests on 30 meticulously maintained acres. Completed in 1572, the tomb’s design was a precursor to the iconic Taj Mahal. Challenged your child to count the steps us you go up and down the various stairwells of the tomb while you explore the 47 meter high, 94 meter wide monument.

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11. Go on a Mission to space at the Nehru Planetarium

Cultivate your inner cosmonaut and space enthusiast! Plan a visit to the Nehru Planetarium to marvel at the wonders of space. Check out the Soyuz T-10 which took India’s first cosmonaut, Rakesh Sharma, to space in 1984. See his actual journals and space suit. Envision what 2 million stars would look like with the optical star projector, “Megastar” attraction. Then go back home and follow astronauts from the International Space Station on Twitter to see real-time photos of space travel and the Earth from deep space. Amazing!

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12. Hug the Qutub Minar and make a wish!

Plan a visit to the tallest brick minaret in the world. Built in 1193 and 73 meters high, the Qutub Minar is a tower of victory and one of Delhi’s most famous attractions for centuries. It has been believed that than who is standing in front of the pillar with his back to the column and can encircle it with his arms will have his wishes fulfilled. For the children, challenge them to see how many of their arms it takes to encircle the pillar! Count how many arms it takes, and make a wish!

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13. Go Down the Steps of History: The Stepwells of Connaught Place

Teach your child about the importance of water through the ages with an outing to the Agrasenki Baoli, a beautiful stepwell in the heart of the city near Connaught Place. Stepwells were built to conserve water in ancient times. Bring a sketch pad and pencils and try to capture the beauty of the traditional architecture of the well.

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14. Flower Power at the City’s Largest Nursery

Visit the Government Nursery in Sundar Nagar Nursery set on sprawling grounds in the heart of the city. Catalogue the varieties of flora and fauna found and count the number of ladybugs you can spot!

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15. Have a big band, rock-n-roll breakfast at the American Diner

Why don’t you wake up early and go for a signature American-style breakfast at the American Diner at India Habitat Centre. Pancakes, scrambled eggs, milkshakes, and the works all before 8am! Take the opportunity to expand your child’s awareness of music history… Open their ears to the sounds of big band, early rock and roll, and classic cinema soundtracks!

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16. Groom little cowboys and cowgirls!

Book a visit to the Pony Club in Vasant Kunj. Your little ones will learn how to take care of a horse with a hands-on lesson in hoof care, cleaning and grooming, and how to feed the ponies. The experience wraps up with a pony ride!

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17. Journey from past to present: Akshardam Temple

Photo credit: Swaminarayan Akshardham Website

Take a journey through 10,000 years of life in India while enjoying a 15 minute boat ride through the Akshardam Temple. Life size figures and animated robots depict family life, bazaars and the contributions of Vedic Indians to the fields of science, astronomy, arts, mathematics and literature. Awe-inspiring and enjoyable!

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18. A Drive Worth Taking

Plan a day trip to the Heritage Transport Museum in Gurgaon, the museum showcases the evolution of transport in India. Spread over four floors, the facility is state-of-the art and is sure to WOW your child with the wonders of evolution in automobile, aviation, maritime and railway. Ask your child to create a photo diary of his or her favorite innovations and why.

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19. Zoo-Logic — Look & Learn at the Delhi Zoo

Visit the National Zoological Park and challenge your child to name one fun fact about each major species. Bring a book on animals and world map to play along! With nearly 2,000 animals and 214 acres you will surely run out of energy before you tackle every species! Book the buggy ride and stop mid-way for an ice cream.

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20. Go on a Two-wheeler tour

A two well tour of Tughlaqabad! Take the bikes, scooters and pack a picnic basket for an outing to Tughlaqabad Fort. Built in 1321 by the founder of the Tughlaq Dynasty the fort is steeped in history. With grounds spread over 6.5 kilometer there is a huge area to explore.

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21. Quack out with the Ducks of Hauz Khas Village

Feed the ducks at the lake next to the Hauz Khas Fort. The beautiful lake is peaceful in the early mornings and late afternoons. Follow with a walk through the fort and stop for a snack in one of the many Hauz Khas Village Cafes.

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22. Listen to Songs of Gratitude & Beauty — Sufi music

Visit the Nizammudin Dargah to listen to Sufi music. It is the shrine of the famous Sufi saint, Nizamuddin Auliya. Qawwalis, devotional prayers that are sung, are performed every day, but Thursday and Sunday are a bit more special. Take in the beauty of the songs and talk to your little ones about the meaning of gratitude and prayer in your own life.

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23. A View to the Skies from Jantar Mantar

Visit Jantar Mantar, built in 1724, and marvel at early astronomy instruments used to predict the times and movements of the sun, moon and planets. Bring a sketch pad and try mapping out our solar system too!

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24. Ready, Set, Climb! Unleash your mini mountaineer

Cultivate your future mountaineer with a trip to Delhi Rock in GK 2. Instructors are certified champions and among the top climbers in India. Children can learn from a two day Climbing 101 course and Kids Climbing Class where they learn theory, fitness and technique.

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25. Take in the Magical View of the Setting Sun from the Lotus Temple

Watch the sunset from the gorgeous Lotus Temple. The hues of the fading sun on the manmade petals of the of the Baha’i House of Worship make for quite a site. The temples unique architecture in the shape of a lotus flower reaching up to the sky is a magical site. This is a special way to end the day. Ask your child to time the sunset and to count the number of colors he or she can see.

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This article was written by Tina Chadha for mycity4kids.

Originally published at www.mycity4kids.com on April 13, 2016.

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