All the mommies who thought this wasn’t cool or think that Bombay cannot boast of a world class museum, wait a minute. Yes it may not be as cool as the other ones around the world but its really come a long way. Currently going through its restoration phase the entrance looks pretty swank. For an entry of Rs 30 there is a lot for kids to see. And like I always say kids don’t have fun thinking this place is good or bad, expensive or cheap they either like it or they don’t. In this case chances are they will love it given that its all about animals & birds.
So we entered the museum atabout10.30 and were greeted by friendly watchman who seemed to have been there forever. Regular screening of bags etc and then greeted by huge gardens again reminding us of the Colonial rule and how these buildings will always be landmarks in our city. The gardens are extremely clean with crows kawing around. As we enter the building and take a right heading straight to the birds & animals section, truly thats what might interest my two and a half year old the most. We see a lot of stone idols of Buddha & the Indus Valley sitting tight paving way to the animals section. On the left I saw a make do canteen which looked like it was meant for the local staff and not for tourists. While I was busy seeing the surroundings to write my review my daughter was most excited to enter the section so she dashed straight in.
We started with the Birds Section and got to admit they do have a good collection. We saw crows, peacocks, flamingos, variety of ducks, robins, nightingales,parrots, owl, birds in a nest, birds feeding their babies, pigeons, cranes and many more.
Concepts: Variety of birds, what they eat, colour of birds, male & female birds e.g. peacock & peahen, nest, eggs, shape & colour of the eggs, feeding little ones, hatching of the egg, what each of the birds eat, feet of different birds, nocturnal birds, feathers, feathers are light and enable the birds to fly in the sky, the tail helps them change direction.
Animal Section: The animal section is well displayed with basic animals but the size of the animals definitely is inviting for the children and gets their attention and helps them observe all the details. Animals to lookout for Deers, Black Bucks, bear, Rhinos, bison, monkeys, lion, tiger, squirrels, rabbits, mice, rodents, cheetah, elephants.
Concepts: Wild, domestic & farm animals, who eats what (herbivores, carnivores & omnivores), size as a concept, small, medium & large, long & short with the trunk & tail of the elephant,physical attributes like tusks, stripes, spots, horns, clawed feet, teeth, properties & defense of each animal,e.g. deer can run fast, rhino has his horn, etc.
Aquatic Life: This one is probably the largest but didnt excite us too much as the fishes lacked colour. The only thing that caught our eye were the large displays of saw fish, crocodile, sea turtles and varieties of sea turtles & tortoise.
Concepts: Different types of fishes, how they breathe through their skin and they don’t have a nose, concept of scales on their body, tail used to change direction, needs water, can sing machli jal ki rani hai, difference between crocodile & alligators, difference between turtles & tortoise.
On your way out dont forget to stamp the envelope with your childs favourite animal for a donation of Rs 10. Trust me the kids love it. My daughter folded her entry ticket and put it in the envelope to safely put it in her purse.
Also do visit the ‘Shop’ as the the kiddie collection here is particularly good with a set of glossy wooden aeroplanes and whistles, brightly hued paper clips, the selection of books was quite cool with My Motherâ€™s Sari by Sandhya Rao which always works wonders with the kids, as well as hand painted wall mobiles made from thin, papery leather. It was a fun trip and actually pretty quick.
Estimated time: 45 mins to cover the childrens section alone
To Carry: Water bottle, Dry snacks, sanitizer, hat, wipes. Carry limited stuff with you as on a few occasions you will have to pick your child up for him to see the exhibit.
Review: Must visit
Getting There: 159-161 M.G. Road, Shahid Bhagat Singh Marg, Kala Ghoda, Fort, A little ahead of Jehangir Art Gallery.
Timing: Tuesday – Sunday.(Monday Closed) 10.15 a.m. – 5.45 p.m.
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