How to get there?
The Eco Tourism Park, built by the Government of West Bengal, is situated right on the Rajarhat road in Newtown, Kolkata, India and takes around 15 minutes to reach from the airport by car. The metro stations around the location are developing and will be ready for use by the end of 2018. A lot of buses are available which use the route as well. It has a huge parking area as well.
A wonderful place to spend a lazy or entertaining day in, Eco Park offers enjoyment for those of all ages. The park has 480 acres of an area enclosed within it. There is ample space to set camp and enjoy the day. If anything, it is an ideal picnic spot. The park remains open from 2:30 pm to 8:30 pm on Tuesdays to Saturdays and from 12 am to 8:30 pm on Sundays and public holidays. It remains closed on Mondays. Apart from the minimal ticket of 20 rupees, there are additional charges for the other fun activities.
What to do?
There are a lot of fun-filled activities in the Eco Tourism park to keep you busy all day. At the same time, you can utilise this time to lazy around and chat, or bring your own badminton racquets or cricket bats and footballs to start playing! Here are all the options available to explore all day –
There is duo cycling which can be rented for 15 minutes at a rate of Rs 200. Since the park offers a vast space, you can ride freely without having to worry about traffic. As much as it is exciting to see, it is, even more, fun to ride these. We saw different spots all over the park from where these could be rented. One can also take the shikhara and be afloat on the lake enclosed within the park. With all the development all around, this is a change from the usual bustle of city life, transporting you to a different world where you feel you have left behind the hectic schedule of your day to day living. The paddle boats are also available to ride for fun.
There is a gaming zone with 12 computers set up to play popular games like Counter Strike to Angry Birds. There are multiple flower gardens and a tea plantation. A water fountain with lights and sound is also located inside the park which showers in the evening. We saw roller skating zones, which seemed to be very popular amongst the kids.
Land and Water Zorbing
Another interesting activity is the land and water zorbing. You’ll be put into a huge plastic bubble and set afloat on the water. It was something I would have loved to try but time crunch did not make that possible. There is, of course, no danger in these bubbles, if you are thinking about safety, as the bubble is tied to the shore and there are people around to keep a check on the surroundings so that there is no mishap. The same can also be done on land, both for Rs 150 each, 200m on land, 15 minutes on the water.
The park also has the system of being taken around in vehicles called eco carts, an excellent service for senior citizens for whom walking the whole park on foot will not be possible. It could also serve to help out the lazy ones amongst us.
There are food joints within the park too for all the hungry souls. The park is also a wonderful place for clicking photographs with a setting of greenery and a lake within to enhance the beauty. There is no extra charge for carrying cameras. Currently, the Government of West Bengal has undertaken a project to build miniature replicas of the Seven Wonders of the World within the vast space.
There is also an island in the lake which has a hall which can be rented for parties and launches, it has a 360 degrees view of the park as you can see the water below from its glass floor. It can accommodate 100 people. Only the ferry can be used to access it.
Mothers Wax Museum
By taking the subway, you will reach to the other side of the road where you can visit the Mothers Wax Museum. You will find the wax statues of famous personalities here like our President, famous sportsmen, celebrities and important personages over time in India. It is also a kid’s dream come true to meet their favourite cartoon and click pictures with them, as you see those of Doraemon and Chota Bheem, an Indian popular cartoon.
When to go?
Being a popular location to spend the day at, it is extremely crowded over the weekends and on public holidays in India. Winters are an ideal time to visit. This will prevent you from getting scorched in the heat and drain all your fluids out in the form of perspiration. Since I made the mistake of wanting to spend a quiet day on a public holiday here, I had to face the problem of not being able to sit under the shade of the seating areas or even the small trees and bushes which were occupied with people lazing on their spread bed sheets with food in front. If you are one of them you wishes to picnic, get there at your earliest possible to occupy a good spot and if not, visit on some other day to relax and chat.
Things to remember –
- Do not forget your sun block, umbrellas, and sunglasses if you are visiting during the day, Kolkata in the summers, especially, has a lot of humidity.
- Carry plenty of water, the heat and the humidity will drain you. There is water available in the park too.
- Eco Park is essentially also a lover’s attraction, which every other person will always tell you about this place. It is advisable that if you are one of those parents who does not want their kids to learn about romance at an early age, or have had a recent breakup, then steer clear of the park in evenings.
- Since there are no direct buses to most places, be prepared to wait for a bus to arrive and for to change your means of transport at some other point as well. The later you leave the park, more will be the transport issues since buses will be crowded and taxis filled (there is an IT hub nearby).
- City Centre 2 is a mall which is a 5-minute ride away via bus, in case you need anything.