Funky Monkey, Lower Parel
When Mumbai For Kids started over three years ago, Funky Monkey was among the first places we had reviewed. Like any good space that is keen to stay in sync with changing tastes and trends, Funky Monkey has decided to upgrade itself. They have created an all-new, 18 feet-high, state-of-the-art rock climbing wall at both centres and, we are told that the one at Lower Parel is South Mumbai's highest indoor rock climbing wall. In addition to the newly installed ice cream corners, they have revamped their cafe, which is now run by Le Pain Quotedien. It is time for a revisit.
Because the kids have outgrown indoor play spaces, I ask two regulars to play reviewer for the new rock climbing wall. Giridhari, five, and Subal, eight, are ready for the challenge.
We head to the rock climbing zone, towards the well-lit end. Since no one else is attempting rock-climbing when we reach, we have the space to ourselves. Giridhari looks at the colourful, padded wall with its jigsaw-like bits that go straight up, and makes up his mind to scale it. After gearing up, he re-considers the decision, gets down and runs off into the maze. Subal stands akimbo as he gets strapped and is all set to climb. He reaches the top and then it is time to return. The rappelling is slightly harder because one needs to look down to find a foothold. Closer down, Subal lets go. Does he want to repeat it? No. Just as we leave the space, we spot other kids walk in. There's a staff member in the space all the time.
There are different zones for different age groups. Most kids know their preferences and it doesn't take them long to make their way here. The Toddler Zone and Junior Zone include a variety of soft play equipment. There is plenty for older kids to do, especially if they have company. Giridhari has had the chocolate cake lollipop, while hanging out with little ones his age and had to be dragged home. After 30 minutes, Subal, for the lack of a playmate, sits with us, tucking into popcorn. In the end, it is good to see both kids seated in the toddler zone, with finger play equipment meant for fine motor skills, while we enjoy a cup off steaming coffee and stayed glued to our phone entertainment.
Safety tip: The whole place is padded and you need to wear socks even if you are only peeking into the play area. Safety is well looked after.
Where: Benefice Business House, third floor, Mathuradas Mill Compound, Lower Parel. Also at Andheri West.
Best for: Girls and boys (2-10 years)
How to reach: Lower Parel is best reached via train on the Western line. If you take the Central line, alight at Currey Road and take a cab to Mathuradas Mills Compound. BEST also has buses going past thecompound.
Timings: 10 am to 7.30 pm, daily
Budget: '400 (minimum per child; no charges for parent)
Food: New cafes and ice cream corners by Le Pain Quotedien
Rest Room: Yes Where else to go: Kamala Mills
Parent Poll: Competitive prices and friendly staff
Kids' Poll: Climbing the wall was tough and the strap hurt during descent
What's Good: Attentive staff, toddler areas are clean. Kids are kept busy for an hour
What's Not So Good: The wall can be intimidating. Padded safety harness or a link to springs to aid descent