Mumbai for kids: A sports wonderland in Ghatkopar
Whether you are a sportsperson or not, whether you or your kids love shopping or not, you cannot step into this sprawling space and not get absorbed for hours
Decathlon (Indoors), Ghatkopar
Whether you are a sportsperson or not, whether you or your kids love shopping or not, you cannot step into this sprawling space and not get absorbed for hours. Decathlon in Ghatkopar is one place my 10-year-old son begs to slip into if we ever go to that part of the world.
Imagine a whole floor with aisles of equipment. And more. In here are sections (they can be stores by themselves) with just about anything connected with sports - from water bottles to wristbands, eye gear and everything to do with outdoor, indoor and water sports.
My 12-year-old daughter is in a scooter-ride mood and heads in the direction of two-wheelers and rides along the aisle. Other kids, all wearing helmets, ride cycles of different sizes, while some have a jolly good time on skateboards and rollerblades. In the outdoor sections, a few kids crawl into tents while their parents try out foldable garden chairs.
Soon, I've lost track of my son, because my daughter and I have set up carom coins on a carrom board placed at standing height and are focussed on chasing the queen. When we finally finish the game, at least five people have gathered around us to watch. I have a feeling my son would be drooling at the racquet sports sections. But he is not. We find him hefting different cricket bats and striking shots in the air, in a wonderland of cricketing gear.
What's lovely about this drafty warehouse-looking place - with changing rooms that look like mobile, public lavatories - is not just the sheer volume of variety but also that you can wander here and be engaged for hours, without anyone breathing down your neck. Plus, there are ramps and elevators to access the store - making it disability as well as baby-friendly.
Safety tip: Unless you get hit and run over by a rollerblade boy, this is a safe place.
Where: F-18/B, first floor, R-City Mall, LBS Marg, Ghatkopar West. Best for: Children aged five years and above
How to reach: We cabbed it, but the suburb has crazy traffic on weekends, so taking the train works best. Get off at Ghatkopar station and take an auto. The mall is a landmark.
Timings: All days, from 11 am to 10 pm
Budget: Zero budget, unless you plan to shop
Food: You are not allowed to eat or drink here.
Rest room facilities: Yes
Where else to go: The mall is full of options for food and age-appropriate entertainment for children. Take your pick.
Parent Poll: I'd rather be here than allow the kids to wander into gaming areas.
Kids' Poll: Can we stay longer?
What's Good: Attentive staff.
What's Not So Good: Impossible to call the store if you need anything.