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Updated by Joanna James on Sep 13, 2018
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Joanna James Joanna James
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Things to do with your family in Colombo -Great activities to enjoy with the Fambam!

Colombo, the buzzing commercial capital of Sri Lanka, got some pretty neat places that are ideal for an outing with the family. So read on to find out what they are.

1

Teach The Kids Some History

Yes, they're on holiday but still, education comes first! The National Museum in Colombo has some pretty cool attractions that the kids will find interesting. Your 'little devils' will adore the antique demon masks, the stunning collection of ancient jewellery and one of the biggest highlights of all-the magnificent jewel-encrusted throne of the last king of the great Kandyan empire.

The museum is located in the heart of Colombo, along the Sir Marcus Fernando Mawatha, very close to the giant Nelum Pokuna Stadium. It's open from 9am to 6pm, and is closed on public holidays such as Poya Days. An entrance ticket to the museum costs Rs. 25 for locals (15 for kids) while for foreigners its Rs. 500. They've got a collection of good restaurants within the premises, should you feel hungry after exploring relics from the past.

2

Beach Time

Nothing says a family outing than going to the beach. This is never truer when in Sri Lanka, as it is blessed with an abundance of beautiful beaches. Though the beaches in Colombo cannot be compared to the spectacular pristine shores of places like Hikkaduwa and Arugam Bay; they are still worth a visit. Galle Face Green is the most convenient of all as it is situated near the epicentre of the city's commercial hub, Fort. This entire region is very popular with tourists as you can find many a good city hotel in Colombo the likes of Cinnamon Red Colombo; as well as plenty of good restaurants and shopping precincts. Galle Face Green has a long stretch of a lawn where the little ones can play and frolic about. There are vendors selling toys and kites and numerous little kiosks selling the beloved Sri Lankan street food, Isso Vade.
Mount Lavinia, is a really nice beach and unlike Galle Face Green, it's got a long stretch of beach. It's located about 30 minutes away from Galle Face Green. Other beaches to head out include the Bambalapitiya and Wellawatte beaches.

3

Meet the Animals!

Finally, somewhere your kids can feel at home- just kidding! The National Zoological Gardens is quite a delightful place to visit. Located in Dehiwala, the zoo was originally a private property of an Englishman named John Hagenbeck in the late 1920's. This is quite normal as back in the days, both the English and the Sri Lankan kings used to keep many animals as pets.

The National Zoological Gardens are currently home to a staggering number of around 2500-3000 animals which include 72 species of mammals, 65 species of birds, 89 species of fish, 31 species of reptiles, 30 species of butterflies, and 3 families of amphibians. Some of the biggest attractions of the zoo include the Asian and African elephants, the Bengal Tigers and the deadly hippopotamus. The zoo made headlines back in 2014 when one of its resident female anacondas decided to eat her mate and later regurgitate him back- savage!

4

Shop!

Toys, clothes, food are the things that kids adore. So, when in Colombo shopping is a must and there are so many options. One of these is Majestic City, a mall in Bambalapitiya that has a good selection of clothes, toy and electronic shops as well as a kid's zone and a cinema complex. Next, up is Crescat Boulevard with its designer kiosks and then Liberty Plaza with bubble tea! Odel is a department store that is branched across Sri Lanka, but the best store is located at Alexandra Place. Aside from the high street shops, you also get Pettah, which is a huge market area in Fort. Prices here are really cheap and if you can bargain it's even better. However, the traffic and the crowds will make a visit here a bit daunting.

5

Relax

Even in the midst of the urban jungle of Colombo, there are places where one can go enjoy nature with the fam. The Viharamadevi Park, being the largest in the city, is somewhat Colombo's equivalent of the central park in NYC. The entrance gate of the park, which looks towards the majestic municipal council, has a giant golden statue of the Buddha in a seated position. Within it holds an aquarium, a big pond with a hanging bridge over it and a children's playground aptly named Sathutu Uyana (the park of happiness). The park can get crowded, especially during the weekends, so if you're averse to crowds then better to visit the Independence Square which is a much quieter option.

The Independence Square Memorial and the tranquil gardens which surround it were built to commemorate the nation's independence from the British colonists in 1948. The memorial hall is a stunning piece of architecture with intricate stone carvings. It is built to resemble the ancient buildings of the Kandyan Kingdom.