Yeah! Plenty to play with

Having fun in Patna is now a child's play.

Till a few years ago, children had a hard time entertaining themselves in the capital. But now, things have changed for the better and the city has become kid-friendly.

If the weather permits, they can have a blast in the open at a green patch like Rajdhani Vatika along Boring Road. Else, they can entertain themselves at a hi-tech games arcade or watch movies come alive at a five-dimensional (5D) cinema.

"Taking children out was an arduous task till a few years ago, as the places where you could take them were limited," said Ashiana Nagar resident Rajeev Ranjan, a father of two.

He said: "You could take them to Patna Museum or the zoo. While the latter was still okay, children often found the museum boring. Taking them to parks till a couple of years ago was out of the question as those were dens of criminals."

But over the past few years, a fairy godmother seems to be at work, waving her magic wand over Patna.

"Now there are plenty of options where children can have fun," said Ranjan.

The latest hot spot where children can hang out is Thrill Park ' the 5D cinema that opened at PandM Mall this month. There are only 16 seats at the facility but if you are sitting in one of them, the experience is unparallel.

Pratyush, a school student, said: "Thrill Park is the best thing to have happened to Patna in recent times."

The 15-year-old Kankerbagh resident added: "The duration of the movies at the cinema is short but viewing them is an out-of-the-world experience. You feel like you are living the movie."

At present, three films are being screened at the cinema. Their total duration is 15 minutes.

Another fun-filled destination for children and youths is Funtasia Island ' a water park on the outskirts of the city. Gigantic waterslides, children-friendly swimming pools and poolside soda bars keep visitors engaged for hours.

"The park is an amazing place to have fun," said Ashmit Roy, a Class VII student of Don Bosco Academy. "I took all the rides. The 20-foot-high slide was thrilling."

What's his favourite? "The small swimming pools and the showers with toon characters on them," quipped the 13-year-old. On Children's Day, when adults are generous with gifts, Ashmit had a little wish: "Patna should have more places like this for children."

Not that there is a paucity of choices for him. If he has had his fill of getting wet, he could try his hands at the 62 different games at Timezone ' a gaming arcade in PandM Mall. Along with having fun, children can also win prizes at this facility. If you are good at indoor games, you could take home a box of chocolates or a toy or two.

"For us, Timezone is the place to be," said school student Shalabh Kumar. "My friends and I come here on weekends and end up spending the entire day here."

The 12-year-old who lives at Rajiv Nagar added: "Of all the games, I love Liverpool (pool) the best."

The list of places where children can spend their free time is long and varied (see graphics). While they have fun rewinding from school, studies and homework, experts are of the opinion that entertainment is an essential part of growing up.

Dr Manoranjan Prasad, a child psychologist, said: "Amusement centres and parks are good for the mental, social and physical growth of children. Over the past year or two, things have improved in this regard in the city. But a lot still needs to be done."

Hopefully, there will be more fun zones in Patna by Children's Day next year.

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