Notable National Parks in India to visit with families
National Parks are a great place to experience life in the cradle of nature. The nature here is protected from the abusive urbanisation, the nature is raw and real. However, we usually relate National Parks to adventure. When I talk about “family-friendly” destinations, I am looking at places that you can visit with your ageing parents or grandparents, people with some physical disadvantages, with fussy kids and fussier teenagers. So, are there any National Park that can enable all these people have an enriching experience together as a family? Here’s my list of such family-friendly national parks in India.
Bannerghatta National Park
Located within 25kms from Bangalore City, the Bannerghatta National Park is home to an immense
variety of flora and fauna spread across 65000 acres including the Banerghatta Biological park (currently operating as an independent entity). Apart from the sanctuary that is home to a significant number of protected lions and tigers, the premises also include a zoo, a butterfly park and a lake for boating.
People looking for an actual “jungle” experience might return disappointed because this is not your usual wildlife sanctuary – for example, there are separate areas allocated to tigers, lions, bear and other herbivores, even though they are out in the open. There are gates that lead you from a tiger safari to a lion safari, to elephants, bear and so on. Yes, that’s a downside for forest lovers, but the brighter side is the experience of being able to see so many animals up close in their natural (well, a regulated natural) habitat, all at just Rs. 260-Rs.280 for a bus safari.
The butterfly park is a cherry on the top – a beautiful flower park with a small waterfall and over 40 different species of butterflies. This is a unique aspect of this national park which has a laboratory, a museum and an audio-visual room.
Sanjay Gandhi National Park
Sanjay Gandhi National Park located in Borivalli in Mumbai, is one of the most popular tourist spot in the city. This is a perfect place to visit with families because of the wide variety of activities available here. Be it jungle safari or zoo, trekking trails, or boating in an idyllic artificial lake or visiting the 2400-year-old Kanheri Caves.
Children will enjoy the toy train ride through the vivacious jungles, while they will learn about the rich architectural history of India in the Kanheri Caves. Like Bannerghatta, the tiger and lion safari can be undertaken in a safely enclosed vehicle. This makes it apt for people of all ages and physical conditions.
Desert National Park
Desert National Park located in the Thar Desert of Rajasthan is an UNESCO natural heritage site. The Aravalli hills mark the eastern-most boundary limit of the Thar desert while the western limit is defined by the fertile plains of the Indus. The Great Rann of Kutch forms a sharp boundary in the south while its northern limits are formed by the riparian sub-Himalayan plains.
This place is an excellent spot for families with inquisitive kids and passionate photographers. The landscape is unique, as it’s not the green junlges that one would expect. The landscape offers you great opportunity for wildlife photography as the vision is not obstructed by dense forests. The Desert National Park is famous for the critically endangered bird – the Great Indian Bustard. Children will enjoy riding on camels while exploring the ocean of sand.
When in Desert National Park don’t forget to visit the archeological site that is home to remnants of the Jurassic period!
Eravikulam National Park
Nestled in the hills of Munnar, Eravikulam National Park has a mystic charm that will bewitch you all. Anamudi, the highest peak in South India is located right inside the park. The park’s mesmerizing beauty is because of the mountains, the waterfalls and the pristine natural ecosystem. An ecosystem which was unfortunately disturbed and replaced with the aggressive commercialization and tea plantations by the British.
The 97 aw km park is divided into three parts – the core area, the buffer area and the tourism area. Visitors are allowed to stroll only in the tourist area. This helps in protecting the natural ecosystem.
The ticket counter is bustling with people all the time as it is one of the biggest attractions in the Idukki region. The safari bus simply takes you to the hilly forests and leaves you there to explore the park by yourself. That’s what makes it a great family-friendly national park. Trek in the Kurinji trails covered with blossoms to spot the endangered Nilgiri Tahr and be awed at the sight of the majestic Lakkom Falls.
Periyar National Park
Located in Thekkady, Periyar National Park is the largest national park in Kerala. It is also the Best managed Tiger Reserve among 50+ Tiger Reserves in the country according to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA). The forest engulfs the beautiful Periyar Lake in Thekkady.
There are a large number of activities for people of all ages. Night safari for the adventure freaks, plantation safari and nature walks for families with kids and a Periyar Lake cruise for everyone. As you walk down to the Periyar lake a large variety of monkeys and Indian langoors are there to welcome you (or snatch your snacks away). The Periyar cruise is the most relaxing way to enjoy the beauty of nature in Thekkady. You can also book a stay inside the jungles in properties like The Periyar House or The Hotel Treetop.
This is the 14th post in the series “My Fabulous Five” for Blogchatter A2Z 2022. I hope you liked it. Planning a family vacation? Save this list and share it with your cousins, parents, and grandparents. See you tomorrow with another fabulous list.