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Mumbai kids taking time to kick back and relax

Now that the vacations are here, school children are out and about playing. The books have been replaced by the slides, swings and see-saws. Maleeva Rebello rates the kiddie parks in Mumbai

Garden at Dr SS Rao Road, Parel
This garden at Dr SS Rao Road, which was opened to the public a few years ago, sees a huge crowd of children swarm the park after 5 pm. Mohan Phadnis, a resident of Currey Road, describes the garden as a great boon.

These little girls in Parel were seen having fun as they played this game. Pics/Satyajit Desai
These little girls in Parel were seen having fun as they played this game. Pics/Satyajit Desai

He says, “It’s been two years since this garden was inaugurated and I must say my six-year-old daughter just loves this park. The kids from the area come here and there is a lot of crowd giving children a good chance to socialise and make friends.”

This kid seemed to be happily playing on this elephant ride at Parel garden
This kid seemed to be happily playing on this elephant ride at Parel garden

Another parent who frequently brings her children to this garden, Lalita Gaekwad, says, “In a city where there are hardly any places for young children to play, this is a nice playground which my kids totally love.

Cleanliness is something that is compromised here. Parents and children eat wafers and other snacks and tend to throw the wrappers where they are rather than walk to the dustbin. People clean up the garden, but it is mostly dirty in the evenings as the crowd is highest then.”

Rating
Greenery: 4/5
Playing equipment: 4/5
Cleanliness: 3/5

>> Judged on the basis of plants and flowers in the garden and if they were fresh or dying.
>> The condition of the slides, swings and other items of play, whether they were broken.
>> If there was trash and dirt around the garden.

Shivaji Park, Dadar
An old-time favourite play spot for many in Mumbai, the Shivaji Park kiddie garden at Dadar booms with the sound of children having fun.

Children play in the kid’s section of Shivaji Park, Dadar
Children play in the kid’s section of Shivaji Park, Dadar

“A large number of children come to the park especially in the evenings. My son loves coming and playing with them. Shivaji Park has always been, the socialising place for little kids,” says Garima Jha, a resident of Matunga.

Talking about the slides and swings at the park, Kamlesh Patwardhan says, “This garden is really well maintained, and bringing my children here always makes their day. Naughty children sometimes break the slides and swings, but the maintenance people here swiftly repair them.

Rating
Greenery: 4/5
Playing equipment: 4/5
Cleanliness: 4/5

Public Garden at Malabar Hill
While Hanging Garden is a spectacle in itself, for many people who live in and around the Malabar Hill area, the Public Garden is a huge parents and children friendly place.

Summer vacations meant a day in the park for these kids at Malabar Hill. Pic/Bipin Kokate
Summer vacations meant a day in the park for these kids at Malabar Hill. Pic/Bipin Kokate

Zainab Khan who has three children says this garden is like an extension of her home. The Malabar Hill resident adds, “While Hanging Garden as it is a huge tourist attraction is always crowded, this garden is comparatively good for kids to play. I make it a point to bring my kids here almost every evening. They enjoy playing on the various slides and swings here.”

The merry-go-round in this garden is the best according to six-year-old Parth Saini. The second standard student who lives in the area says, “My friends and I love coming and meeting in this garden now that our exams are over and we have holidays. We come to play in the morning from 9 to 12 and then in the evening from 5 to 7. There are some who love the swings, slides and see-saws. I love the merry-go-round. In my view it is the best ride.”

Rating
Greenery: 4/5
Playing equipment: 4/5
Cleanliness: 4/5

Almeida Park, Bandra
With Jogger’s Park, Patwardhan Park all in the area; people in Bandra have many places where they can take their children for some fun time in the evenings. However, Almeida Park is a favourite for many.

Daredevilry was on show as these kids played in Bandra’s Almeida Park. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi
Daredevilry was on show as these kids played in Bandra’s Almeida Park. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi

Jane Lopez, a resident of Hill Road says, “This is a park that has free entry and also the slides and swings are something my toddlers love. There are a few parks in the area, which charge an entry fee, paying to play everyday is not worth it.”

For Francis Furtardo, who always brings his children to this park, his childhood memories also get relived. The father of two says, “As a child, my siblings and I used to play here a lot, and now seeing my kids do the same is sentimental. Very little has changed here, the slides and swings are better, but otherwise it is still the same park of old.”

Rating
Greenery: 3/5
Playing equipment: 3/5
leanliness: 3/5

Ramesh More Chowk Garden, Andheri
A favourite park in the area, this garden sees many children come to play here in the evenings. Rahul Rathod, 8, loves the see-saw here as he says, “I live in Telly Gully and my mother always came with me, but now that I am bigger, I come on my own and play here with my friends. I love the slides and see-saw, the most.”

His friend Rohit Sawant, also 8, says, “Now that vacations are on, we can come and play all day.”Kishori Kumar who brings her children to the garden every day says, “We live at Chakala and near our house there are a number of open grounds but no good parks with slides and swings. My children love playing on slides, so I bring them here to spend their time and have fun.”

Rating
>> Greenery: 3/5
>> Playing equipment: 3/5
>> Cleanliness: 3/5

Diamond Garden, Chembur
Also called Acharya Garden, this is the fun park for many Chembur kids. With fighter plane Kiran which was used during the 1971 Indo-Pak War on campus, besides slides and swings, there’s also a part of modern Indian history on view.

For the Yadav family who live in Sion, Diamond Garden is an extension of their home. Savita Yadav says, “I used to come here as a child, now I bring my kids. Very little has changed since the time I was a child. The swings and slides are in better condition and the park is cleaner.”

Lal Shankar Chatterjee, a senior citizen comes for walks here and also brings along his grand-daughter, Neha to play in the park. Chatterjee who lives near the garden says, “When the clock strikes 5 pm, my grand-daughter runs and gets my shoes, asking me to take her to the garden. She loves coming here to play on the slides and swings.”

The charm of Diamond Garden is sweetly explained by nine-year-old Naina Mathur as she says, “I just love coming to this garden as it has the best slides, swings and flowers. I have made many new friends here and it is a great place to play with them and have a lot of fun.”

Rating
Greenery: 3/5
Playing equipment: 4/5
Cleanliness: 3/5

Juhu Garden
Famous as the aeroplane garden of Mumbai, the Juhu Garden is now handled by the Raheja Group, with an entry fee.
Manjulata Mane, a mother of two, who lives at Amboli says, “During the summer holidays, I bring my eight and six-year-old sons here at least once a week. They just love playing here.”

Expressing similar views, Pratham Kapoor, a resident of Juhu says, “There are few gardens left in the city. Due to work commitments I cannot take my family for a vacation and so have to make up by taking my kids to the park every evening. Juhu Garden is like a little heaven, well-maintained and a fun place for kids.

My girls love coming here.” For seven-year-old Anita Verma, who lives in Khar, coming to Juhu Garden is like an extension of a picnic or a day out as she happily explains, “My aunts, uncles and parents take turns in taking my cousins and me to various gardens and parks in and around the city.

We went to Essel World, Water Kingdom, Imagica as soon as exams were over. But there the rides had height limits and I was unable to go on many. What I love about Juhu Garden is that I can play on all the slides here.”

Rating
Greenery: 4/5
Playing equipment: 4/5
Cleanliness: 3/5

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