Friday, October 18, 2013

Karachi with Children

Karachi has several attractions that can entertain children. From museums to amusement parks and adventure parks, there are plenty of them in the city. Also, attractions in Karachi shopping malls such as Dolmen and Atrium includes an indoor kids theme park, bowling alley, gaming zone and 3D cinemas. This guide is for people who are visiting Karachi with children. Of course, Karachi is a huge city with several places but this article is specially customized for parents with children accompanying them.

Get Around

There are several modes of getting around in Karachi including buses, taxis, car rentals and rickshaws. But the most preferred and recommended option would be the Car Rental with Driver. A number of private car rental companies provide longer-term vehicle rental, with a driver included. Avis, Hertz and Europcar are also represented and offers self-drive vehicles, but it is generally advisable for foreign visitors to opt for a car with a driver. And it also comes under your budget as Car rental companies with drivers are not at all expensive and are available for as low as Rs 1500 per day with fuel. You can easily manage your entire stay by traveling in them.

Accomodation

Karachi downtown hotels have more business touch and are not very much recommended for parents with children. However, far from the main city on Northern bypass, there is a Dreamworld Resort Hotel [http://dreamworld.pk]. The resort is often called "Another Atlantis" with over 160 attractions for children as well as adults and is a city with in a city. It's just it is not located within the metropolitan area and has poor public transport assessibility. But, if you are opting for Car rental with driver, Dreamworld Resort is recommended for your stay as you won't be having much transport related issues.

See and Do

Here is list of places worth seeing:

Entertainment

Arena
Arena [www.arena.net.pk] is a modern and family friendly gaming arcade offering 16 lanes computerised bowling alley, virtual bowling for those who don't want to handle the traditional heavier bowling balls, mini golf, pool tables, 29 different arcade games, coin-operated kiddy rides for children, ice skating rink which is first of its kind in Pakistan, virtual reality simulator, paint ball, rock climbing, and a gymnasium. There's a nice buffet restaurant "Rangoli" which serve continental & Mughlai dishes and a cafe styled restaurant "Cafe Mist" and "Mocktail Bar" located inside the Arena. Entrance fee is Rs. 500 per person which is redeemable.

Nueplex at the Place
Nueplex [http://nueplex.com] is Pakistan's largest 3D movie complex located inside The Place at Khayaban-e-Shaheen, DHA Phase VIII (Opposite Creek Vistas Apartments). The place is rapidly becoming one of the city's bestest entertainment venues with dodging cars, food outlets, tower ride etc. The complex also has five theatre halls – 270 seats in cinema 1, 360 seats in cinema 2, 275 seats in cinema 3, 148 seats in cinema 4 and 48 in cinema 5, which is a luxury cinema. Rs 500.

6D Cinema at Port Grand
Stimulate your senses and experience the unknown at 6 D Cinema at Port Grand. 6D cinema combines 3D, physical and environmental effects for the ultimate theater experience. The seats move up and down, front and back, left and right movement according to onscreen activity. This is coupled with a wide variety of environmental effects including, smoke, fog, bubbles, thunder, storm, wind, rain, snow and more, depending upon the film’s story-line. Rs 200 per person. Alternatively you can also visit another 6D cinema in Millenium Mall.


Atrium GHQ (Gaming Head Quarter) 
Atrium GHQ [http://www.atriumghq.com.pk] is a gaming cafe located on the top floor of the Atrium Mall. Here your kids can enjoy games and can also compete with other gamers in the cafe. Various gaming challenges occasionally held here.






Aladin Amusement Park
Aladin [http://aladinpark.com] is Karachi's biggest leisure recreational area with main entrance from Rashid Minhad Road though its a larger part of Safari Park. It's a place where families can enjoy healthy activities and have good fun. The amazing family rides in the amusement park are sure to have visitors coming to the park every time they need a little excitement in their routine lifestyle. Aladin Park's remarkable features have been attracting visitors from all walks of life and all age groups ever since its inception.


Sindbad Wonderland
 Sindbad Wonderland [http://www.sindbadwl.com] is an outdoor kids theme park on Rashid Minhas Road. The park has thrilling 4-D movies to watch, hi-tech electronic games to play, joy rides and water slides to enjoy, and much more in very pleasant and secure surroundings. Relax in the green areas with mouth watering food and snacks from the cafes and snack bars on the premises. It is the ultimate in funtertainment for the whole family. There is an another outdoor Sindbad located inside Nisar Shaheed Park in DHA.

Indoor theme parks
Its not just the outdoor theme parks in Karachi which are popular but there are also several nice indoor kids theme parks located inside many shopping malls including Dolmen, Millenium and Park towers. They are mostly located next to mall food areas. Dolmen Mall's Sindbad and Millenium Mall's play area are more popular among children with several attractions.



Clifton Beach and Fun land
An evening at Karachi's Clifton beach can be a memorable experience. With sea waves, your kids can enjoy riding on camels and horses or collect sea shells. Also, next to the Clifton beach is Bagh-e-Ibn-Qasim, one of Karachi top parks with Jehangir Kothari Parade and Lady Lloyd Pier. A century old amusement park called Fun Land is also located here.



Fun City at Hill Park
Fun City is a small kids amusement park located inside Hill Park. It has many options for children of different age groups (but most of them are for children aged between 10 and 15). List of rides in the park inckudes Chaos (most interesting ride, with some height/age restriction), Dodging (Bumper) Car, Flying Carpet, Ferris Wheel, Gaming Area, Jumping Star, Speedway, Spinning Tea-Cups, Carousel, Mini Roller Coaster and a Children Area.


History Museums
Location: Saddar & Clifton

Mohatta Palace Museum
On Hatim Alvi Rd in Clifton lies the grandeur Mohatta Palace. Another fine British Raj building completed in 1928 with architecturally resemblance to palaces in Rajasthan in India. It was build with pink stone from Jodhpur in combination with the local yellow stone from Karachi, gives a fusion of Rajput and Mughal architecture. The palace was built by an ambitious self-made businessman from Marwar as his luxurious summer home and then became the residence of Jinnah’s sister, Fatima, after he left Karachi for India in 1947. Now, it offers a diverse range of activities for both the casual and informed visitor. Time: 11am-6pm, close on Mondays. Rs 20.

National Museum of Pakistan
Just across the road from II Chundrigar to Dr Ziauddin Ahmed Road lies the National Museum of Pakistan in Burns Gardens. Items on display here include archeological artifacts, islamic art, and other historical documents. The museum also displays two million years old axe discovered from the Potohar Plateau. There is a remarkable gallery describing the early civilisation of Debal and Mansura. Another gallery ‘Freedom Movement gallery’ contains a large collection of pictures and articles arising from the time of the Independence movement. Currently being renovated, caretakers may unlock some of the dusty, largely empty rooms for you. The museum opens every Thursday from 10AM-1PM and 2PM-5PM and every Saturday through Tuesday from 9:00AM to 12 noon.

Bank Museum
Located on II Chundrigar Road (popularly called Wall Street of Pakistan), a walk away from Mereweather Tower lies the State Bank of Pakistan Museum. The museum is the first money museum displaying a century old financial history of the Indian Sub Continent mainly Pakistan. The museum consist of seven Galleries and it remains opens Mon-Fri from 9:00AM to 5:00PM. Its entrance is free.

War & Science Museums

Location: Karsaz; these museums are located close to each other

Pakistan Air Force Museum
Built on a large park in the midst of Sharah-e-Faisal. PAF Museum is one of city's most visited war museums. Items on display include relics such as Quaid-e-Azam’s aircraft and an Indian aircraft captured during an Indo-Pak war. Children here not only get a chance to learn about the history of Pakistan Air Force but can also enjoy the rides at an outdoor kids park called Sindbad located adjacent to the museum. Rs 30.

Pakistan Maritime Museum
Located just next to Arena (mentioned in the entertainment below),  Pakistan Maritime Museum displays the country’s naval heritage. The museum is divided into several sections that houses replicas of the famous sea monuments and vessels, a beautiful marine life gallery, a collection of artifacts that reflect the history of sea trade as well as Pakistan Navy’s achievements, a computerized orientation lobby, an art gallery, a segment of the Daphne submarine among many other things. Pakistan's space agency SUPARCO has also put a science display in the museum. The museum is also the venue of seasonal Karachi Dolphin Show. Rs 30.

PIA Planetarium
PIA Planetarium is a virtual observatory which regularly puts on shows about the solar system and cosmic phenomenon. The shows in English are much more detailed, and are held every Sunday evening. On other days there are only Urdu shows. A ticketed, guided tour by an officer enables one to view the plane from the inside; its cockpit, pilot seats, and various other areas.

Adventure & Wild life

Karachi Zoo
Established in the year 1878 and originally known as 'Mahatma Gandhi Garden', this is one of the oldest zoos in Pakistan [http://karachizoo.pk]. There are around 500 different species of birds, 180 species of mammals and nearly 200 species of reptiles in some 107 cages. Attractions include "White Lions", "Mumtaz Mahal" and the "Elephant House", where two female African bush elephants born in Tanzania, named 'Noor Jahan' and 'Madhu Bala' were brought. A Mughal Garden including Mughal-style fountains, established in 1970, occupies a major part of the zoo with green lawns and seasonal plants. The garden is famous for different varieties of roses and other flowers that are exhibited there. A "Natural History Museum", is also one of the famous attractions of the zoo with stuffed animals, skins, antlers, horns and feathers. The Municipal Aquarium is also located in the zoo. It was constructed in 1953 and has a total of 28 tanks which contain a total of around 300 fishes from about 30 species. There is also a boating lake and a "Reptile House" which is one of the few reptile houses in Pakistan. There are 13 species of snakes and lizards. Newly born hatchlings of turtles, tortoises, terrapin and crocodilians are also exhibited. Rs 10.

Safari Park
This family-only park was opened in 1970, has a small zoo, a children's playland and some gardens. This park is one of the major recreation and amusement park in the city. Catch a bird's-eye view of the animals from the 10 minutes long chairlifts in the park.






Go Aish Adventure Park
Located next to Safari Park, Go Aish Adventure Park [http://goaish.com] is Karachi's largest adventure park offering different adventure activities such as rope course, Paintball, Wall climbing, ATV track, Big swing and Flying fox. This is the place for kids who love daring activities. With required safety measures and up to date equipment in place, Go Aish provides children with the thrilling experiences of wall climbing, quad biking and paint-balling.



First Karting Centre
First Karting Centre [http://www.firstkartingcentre.com] is a racing track located behind Baqai Medical University, at Toll Plaza on Super Highway. If your kids are into races and motorsports, than this track can be a great venue for it.




Water Parks

There are also several water parks in Karachi but popular ones include Fiesta [http://www.thegreatfiesta.com], which opens only on weekends, while another one is Sunway Lagoon Waterpark [http://sunwaylagoon.com.pk]. Dreamworld Resort is also very popular.

Sunway Lagoon
Sunway Lagoon is a scenic water park located just 5 minutes from Gharo Town and 50 Minutes from Karachi International Airport, on 42 beautifully landscaped acres, with huge lush green coconut trees, garden, comfortable and covered food court with dining tables and chairs, exciting water Slides, Asia’s Largest Lazy River, Water Channel, totally segregated Ladies Pool, Body Slides, Spiral Slide, Raft Slide and amazing Raft Bugi Bugi and Hill Slide. The Quality of water in the Park is good as the water here is continuously treated and filtered through filtration System from Spain, keeping water sparkling blue. Rs 700 for adults/ Rs 600 for children (3 to 12yrs).

The Great Fiesta
The Great Fiesta is another huge water park on Super Highway near Toll Plaza. For those who just want to relax and unwind, it is cool-cool indoors where your kids will find a wealth of things to do, from zipping down on scintillating slides to amazing rides. Your kids here can do as much or as little as they want in a safe environment. The park remains open only on weekends. Ticket per person is Rs 600.

Buy

Karachi used to have several kids specialty shops but now with the rising real estate costs, most of these shops have demise. However, you should benefit from the city's status as the world's most cheapest city. Some recommendations for buying:

  • Buy Musical Instruments such as guitars and pianos. Here you can get acoustic guitar for as low as Rs 2000 (USD 19)
  • Liberty books also sells toys in addition to books and magazines
  • Buy kids garments, leather goods (shoes, school bag, jacket) and sports goods mainly football and sport wears

Eat

Many Karachi restaurants have special kids menu for children. However, kids favorite McDonalds also has several branches all over the city including Karachi Airport, Sea View, Tariq Road and almost all top shopping malls. Most of these restaurants also have Play Area inside so while you order, your kids can have fun. There are also kids specialty restaurants in Karachi. These include:

  • Eat-a-boo [http://www.eataboo.com],  is a specialty kids restaurant located at 14-C, 6th Zamzama Commercial Lane Zamzama Phase 5, D.H.A. Eat-a-Boo is a restaurant-cum-recreational outlet for kids between the ages of 2 to 8. Kids here can enjoy delicious meals, play games, have dance and watch 3D movies.

Safety tip

Keep your children under strict control when walking on the streets and especially when on public transport. In the rush you may get separated, and other commuters might not stop to help.

Enjoy your stay!

If you have been to Karachi than we request you to please add your review about the city on tripadvisor. Thanks!

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