A park is a park is a park, right? Not the Mahendra Park. A sprawling expanse right at the edge of the Arabian Sea, the Harish Mahendra Park has open-air play options that are suited for children of different age groups. Designed for children with aesthetics and the environment in mind, you can’t help admiring every element that has been inserted in this play space. This is one space that makes you feel pleased that you got your kids here.
What strikes one first is the green space for kids and their parents. Every tree has been botanically labeled. Take a walk in the park, if you like to enjoy nature. A life-sized statue of a mermaid stares at the Arabian Sea and its sparkling waters with longing, while you can share seating with a hippo merged in the mud.
There’s a nature trail that you can take in a small-cordoned area and encounter a hunter high up a tree while a rhinoceros looks up at him, bemused. At the end of the two-acre park is a massive shark that has been strung by its tail. Only the brave will be able to place their head inside the massive jaws.
The best part of the park is age-specific play zones for the children. Each play zone has information board placed at eye level for children. The state-of-the-art equipments are meant to test the cognitive as well as physical skills and uses physics to induce movement.
Each equipment intends to increase motor and balance skills, develop body awareness and space orientation, while at the same time increase muscle strength and promotes healthy bones. Sit on egg-shape tilted cups or stand astride a circular plate with steel bars twisted aesthetically and spin! Or work your way through a maze of ropes that have been tied to resemble a bridge, or haul yourself over monkey bars of assortments that you've never seen before, or simply play in the clean sand in each of the zone.
Even simple delights of the swing are aerodynamically made such that your child is safe even as he or she tries to touch the sky. The equipment is placed in age-specific zones that you can choose to try out. A physiotherapist friend who knows this better tells me that equipment like this enhances flexibility, improves cognition, reduces risky behaviour and faulty posture or poor biomechanics and develops good neural growth. Wow.
How to get there
Behind American Consulate, Breach Candy.
Bus stop: American Consulate
Train: Closest stop, Grant Road (Western Railway).
7 am - 12 pm,
3 pm - 8 pm
Charges: Rs 5 per head
Rating: * * * (3/5)
Best time: Throughout the year except the monsoon. Ideal before the sunsets because the sea face is beautiful.
What can you eat: Just outside the park are stalls that serve chaat, giant-sized grilled sandwiches, swirl out crisp dosas and serve up bottled drinks. The channa-sing wallah is there, along with a roasted-corn selling vendor.
What’s not good: There are no restroom facilities in the park. But there is a pay-and-use public lavatory that is sort-of okay if it’s the last resort.
>> Nehru Planetarium (2 km)
>> Ferry ride from Apollo Bunder (8 km)
>> Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (7 km)