Nothing stimulates a young mind than nature does – or i like to believe that. Mental and physical limits diminish as the geographical boundaries reduce. They can jump, play, run around and explore as their heart desires. They can truly be themselves and revel in the marvels of God’s creation and spark their imaginations with stuff that their fantasies should be made of. Outdoor adventures have no bounds – call it mountains, sea, animals or whatever best surround you – the experiences they provide are greater than the fanciest, brightest ‘toys’.
Being an outdoorsy myself, it is quite natural for me to make outdoor fun an integral part of the little one’s early years. And i can’t thank God enough for the fact that she only enjoys the most in unexplored, open spaces. But living in Islamabad, our options are not many….. so i decided to compile a list of great outdoor activities within and around the city that lets you enjoy outdoor adventures without having to pack chunky bags.
There you go!
1. Islamabad Zoo
The zoo inhabitants look so cute in all shapes and sizes, yet doing all the things like we do. Zoos are great fun for children and adults alike (oh yes i am still all over the moon on a trip down to any zoo). For me, i can’t help but think of all the times we ended up in Islamabad zoo on our school trips. What a mundane option but how we were bursting with joy and excitement back then. Can’t say if it was for the fewer options, a better kept zoo or was it just our energetic childhood state? Whatever, kids and zoos are a match made in heaven! Go for it!
And if they get tired of watching the good old elephant, take them to the several tiny zoos in Bahria Town and say hello to lions, tigers, chimpanzees, llamas and a lot more. Yaehayy!
2. Birds Aviary, Rawal Dam
This place is one of my ultimate favorites! Located in the premises of Rawal Dam Park. I was pleasantly surprised to find such a decent walk-in aviary with a great collection of birds in majestic bright colors and strange protruding beaks that are waddling side by side with you. So you can feed them while reveling in the joys of a walk in a green environment.
A wonderful experience for kids! And what more as they get to meet a few other favorites like a tortoise, horse etc too. So you just have to know now where you have to head to for the weekend right?
Introduce them to the gigantic, ever beautiful Margalla hills! Get those gross motors working and those tiny minds flooding with curiosity as they go up on the hills exploring all kinds of wild plantation and big and small stones. Mountains are a BIG favorite at our place and there are those whimsical moments when the girl is up on her toes, making an imaginary handbag of something pretending she is off the the ‘mountains’! I don’t blame her. With my passion for hiking, i almost always secretly prayed i had a company for it :p
So get your carriers out or get them on their tiny feet. A hike up the Trail 3 or 5 is a MUST adventure for those toddlers.
BONUS. You sometimes get to say hello to a big tribe of monkeys which are everywhere right, left and center. What a treat!
4. Fruit Farms Fun
Nothing can beat the fun of eating a fresh off fruit. A hands-on experience to picking their favorite fruits add so much zing to the whole process.
My girl is a notorious fruit lover. She has been nibbling at plums, apples, grapes and pomegranates ever since she started solids. So, naturally she has been sooper enthusiastic about the fruit farm trips and of course, a visit comes with a lot of learning, fun and some fresh fruits so why not?
So while in other countries, there are full fledged kids-friendly fun farms, where do you take them to in and around Islamabad? In Winter, head to the gorgeous Oranges farms on the way Khanpur Dam (just what you need to do on a bright sunny day, i tell you) and in Spring, strawberry farms in Chak Shahzad are your best bet.
Spacious, well-maintained parks can be found at every nook and cranny of the city. And parks are where the excitement and thrill begin. Peeking through those tunnel holes, climbing up the monkey bars, swooshing down the slides and swaying back and forth on swings – what is there not to go crazy for. Also, playing in parks is a social experience for kids as they get to learn how to behave with other kids, taking turns, avoiding conflict etc and an excellent source of physical exercise and mental stimulation.
6. Water fun (Rawal/ Khanpur Dam)
So what if we don’t have those beachy waves and a clear blue sea! We do have some not-so-bad dams which make for a great boat ride fun with the little ones. Head to Rawal Dam or Khanpur Dam if you want a more peaceful time and ‘row, row, row your boat’ 😉
7. Golra Railway Heritage Museum
Last but not the least, which kid is not a ‘choo-choo-train’ fanatic? We have seen them make those clunky chugging sounds, play with their toy trains, watch ‘Thomas and friends’ with elated expressions and go totally amazed as they see a real one.
But did you know that there is this fantastic Heritage museum in Golra (near E-11) with mind-blowing collection of relics and artifacts from the British period at display? The whole junction gives a vintage feel with Victorian architecture and huge Banyan trees surrounding the area. You almost feel like you are walking in 19th century, no kidding! Outside the building of the museums in the yard, there are a variety of historic trains like postal trains, steam trains, the saloons used by Lord Mountbatten and Quaid-e-Azam with all the furniture and inside details pretty much intact, a saloon car gifted by the Maharaja of Jodhpur to his daughter as a wedding present etc. There are trolleys, cranes, rail tracks on display depicting evolution of railways in time. Simply a gorgeous sight!
An extremely entertaining and learning trip for little ones and adults alike. Below are a few pictures i took. Enjoy watching these and show some love. Also, let me know how you guys liked the list :*
Inside the museum and train saloons…