Happy 2017, everyone! One of my goals for this year is to be a more active blogger. I have a long list of things that I want to write, but I just can’t seem to sit down and start writing. This is why I’m not a journalist :p Anyway, this is my first post this year, about kid-friendly places in Indonesia. Writing this post makes me want to go back to Indonesia! #missinghome. So here it is…
Taman Mini Indonesia Indah – TMII: it’s basically a giant recreational area with many indoor and outdoor attractions. Out of 60 something venues, we only went to Taman Burung (Bird Park), Museum Air Tawar (Freshwater Aquarium), Museum Serangga (Insects Museum), and rode the cable car. While many attractions are free, you’re required to pay admission fee here and there, so the cost will add up fairly quickly especially. The places that we visited are stroller friendly and parking is available at all venues.
Ragunan, the zoo in Jakarta: this zoo is humongous! It’s very green, plenty of tall trees, and at times it felt like walking in the jungle. Now with that said, be prepared to be walking A LOT! Most paths are stroller friendly; although to see some animals, I had to carry the stroller or leave it because ramps aren’t available. We saw many animals – orangutans, elephants, apes, lions, and more. Most of the animals were up and about while we’re there so it was a fun experience for Alia. The admission is very cheap (Rp 4000/adult and Rp 3000/child – $1 = Rp 13400 per January 2017), and if you want to ride the train or take pictures taken by professional photographers, then you pay more inside the zoo.
Indoor play areas – Kidzoona and Playtime:
It’s hot most days in Jakarta, so it can get very uncomfortable being outdoor. We managed to discover some indoor play areas that we like – Kidzoona at AEON Mall Serpong and Playtime at Lotte Mart Bintaro.
Playtime has a wide range of options for young children (1-5 years old): sand area, dried bean area (it’s basically a giant sensory bin!) music, gross motor skill area (climbing structure, slides, bouncy bear, etc.), play kitchen area, pretend fishing area, and Alia’s favorite area the construction/building area. You pay Rp 80,000 for two hours, BUT you can’t leave and come back again within that two hours. There’s a bathroom and eating area inside though. So parents and caregivers, you better enjoy the place too! :p
Kidzoona at AEON is smaller than Playtime but it has a good range of things for kids to do. Their largest area is for pretend play, mainly food related (ice cream shop, supermarket, sushi place, burger stand, etc.). They also have a giant slide and those plastic balls, and puzzle section. Because it’s in one open space, when it’s crowded, it can get pretty noisy and overwhelming.
Rimba Baca : This children’s library is a must visit! It’s located near High Scope Cilandak. It’s very homey… You’ll find a wide range of children’s books on the first floor. They also have fun soft toys that your kids can cuddle while reading books. On the second floor, it’s the adult book section. I know that they also do family events and workshops there. There’s a one time visit fee (Rp 30,000), but you can also become members (Rp 350,000/yearly).
Gelanggang Samudera, Ancol: Also known now as Ocean Dream Samudra (why does it have to be an English name? #offtopic). I used to go here when I was little to see the dolphin and sea lion shows, so I was excited to bring Alia here. For Rp 90,000, you get to see a lot of shows! The showtimes are listed clearly and if you spend the whole day (which you should), I think you’ll get to see all of them. Our favorites are the dolphin show, the birds area, and the playground. There are two playground areas and it’s just fun to walk around seeing all the displays (keep in mind that we went on a weekday so it was super empty!). The underwater theater was super lame and the 4D show story line was weird. Other than that, this is a great place to visit!
Bintaro Farm Field: So this is a super mini farm where kids can learn about and interact with animals like rabbits and turtles. This is my least favorite place for several reasons: 1) it’s not well maintained – When we arrived, it was quiet, dirty, dark, smelly (OK, it an animal farm, but still it’s an unpleasant way to welcome guests), and no signs of where to purchase tickets; 2) the animals were treated unfairly sometimes, and I blame the guide and keeper entirely for this- you don’t need to hop onto a sea turtle’s back to learn more about it, do you? The rabbit cage is overcrowded; 3) the guide needs to have better approach when teaching kids – they should speak slower, allow time for questions, be OK if kids don’t want to participate in things like feeding the rabbit for instance. With that said, I’d take kids here once you run out of places to visit.
Kuntum Nurseries Bogor: If your children like farm animals, they’ll enjoy this place. They can bottle feed the lambs and cows, feed some carrots to the rabbits and guinea pigs, feed the chickens, see the ducks, geese, and many more. We got there pretty early, so the animals were hungry and welcomed any amount of food you give them. I heard that if you come late in the day, the animals aren’t as enthusiastic. The admission fee is Rp 30,000/person, and you pay extra for the animal food (about Rp 5,000 per bottle or pouch of pellets). You could also do fishing and harvest some vegetables there. It’s a great place to visit with the family.
Taman Safari: for Alia’s second birthday, with her grandparents and aunt’s family, we stayed overnight at the famous safari park in Bogor. We did the safari tour which was the highlight of our stay. From our car, we fed carrots to the buffalos, deers, elephants, and even the hippos! You could basically open your car window during the entire safari ride except when you enter the lion, tiger, and bear areas. It was so fun to see the animals “in the wild.” Afterwards, we saw several animal shows and walked around to see the other animals – Alia especially enjoyed seeing the penguins, the orangutans, and surprisingly the snakes. We saw one large snake slowly drinking water! It’s recommended that you stay at the safari lodge to avoid the traffic at Puncak area. So we rented a 2BR bungalow in front of the lake. We all enjoyed the company of the geese and fish from our balcony. For Rp 140,000/person (not including the bungalow price), this safari park has so many things to offer!
I went to Bandung twice – we went in July with Alia’s father, and just the two of us in August. I wrote a separate post about that mother-daughter trip (click here). So I’ll just review the places we went to in July.
Dusun Bambu : This is another famous destination in Lembang area. It’s a family fun park with restaurants and activities for all ages. Once you park your car at the main parking lot, there’s an eccentric van that’ll take you to the various sites. There’s a playground, donut-shaped boat ride, archery area, horse back riding, strawberry picking, choo-choo train ride for the little ones, and many more. There are a good number of “instagram-able” spots that are always full of people with cell phones and cameras. I think this is a great place to visit with relatives as it has something to over to everyone. Just don’t go on the weekend! Our rental car driver said that on weekends, a 30-minute car ride could take up to 3 hours!
Floating Market: Not far from Dusun Bambu, there’s a huge eating area called Floating Market. The food vendors are on floating boats that are tide to the dock. There are so many options to choose from! Come with an empty tummy and you’ll be happy! I guess we’re too busy eating that I don’t have a single picture of this place :p Be sure to walk around the lake and enjoy the nice breezy weather.
Try local mode of transportation – becak and andong: OK, these aren’t exactly places to visit, but I’d guarantee children will get a kick of riding andong and becak, even just to go for a few blocks.
Gembira Loka zoo: this zoo in Yogyakarta did not disappoint! It’s quite a walk from the entrance till the area where you could actually see the animals. I suggest that you hop onto the train that basically takes you from point to point. The reptile house and bird house are my favorite exhibits. This zoo is HUGE! I’d say come early so you’ll get a chance to see the whole zoo. *I remember it being a very humid day, maybe that’s why I almost have no pictures of this visit :p
Sindu Kusuma Edupark : This amusement park has a few good stuff to offer. It claims to have the biggest ferris wheel in Indonesia (or South East Asia? One of them :p). One thing about the ferris wheel though, it doesn’t stop for you during hop on and hop off. So you basically have to be ready to JUMP into and out of the car! No kidding! There are haunted house, bumper car ride (bom bom car :p), flying elephant ride, train ride, game arcade, and a few other rides. I was surprised to find the place empty on a Sunday afternoon… Although the entrance fee is cheap, the ride fares add up. So keep that in mind if you plan on going on different rides with a lot of people.
We also visited the famous island of Bali with my husband’s family and stayed for 3 nights. Unfortunately… All three of us got very sick, and we all pretty much were stuck at the hotel. So I’ve nothing to write about :p But I know where our next trip is going to be when we go back to Indonesia later hehehe.
I hope you have as much fun as we did when you visit Indonesia with your children!