At first glance, Jakarta may not seem that promising for children.
Indeed, if you come from a developed world city filled with spacious parks and public facilities, Jakarta can seem positively dystopian, often resembling nothing so much as the world’s largest car park. However, things have gradually been looking up in recent years and there are plenty of things to keep the family occupied in the Indonesian capital. It is true that many kids’ activities in the city will cost you in a way that sending them off down the local park on their bikes won’t, but a time-honoured venue such as Ragunan Zoo remains ultra-cheap. So then folks, here’s a brief roundup of just some of the many options currently available for kids around town; just remember to give them a ring first as opening times and policies have obviously been very up in the air in recent months.
Ragunan Zoological Park
Ragunan Zoo can be found just south of the southern portion of Jakarta’s ring road and is, animal attractions aside, undoubtedly one of the city’s largest green spaces, covering a huge area of 350 acres. Zoos may be looking a bit long in the tooth in these ever more woke and enlightened times, and Indonesian zoos, in particular, have come in for a lot of well-justified criticism over the years. However, Ragunan remains a pleasant day out and you can visit everything from the children’s zoo to the Schmutzer Primate Centre in order to get up close and personal with Indonesia’s varied fauna. Pro tip: if you’d just like a quiet stroll then follow the outermost track round the perimeter of the zoo just inside the perimeter wall and fence. This route is usually nice and empty, takes in a lake around the southern edge of the park and is a great spot for a family walk. Best of all, a trip to Jakarta’s zoo is still super cheap, just Rp4,000 for adults and Rp3,000 for children.
Ragunan Zoo, Jl. Harsono RM. No.1, Ragunan, Pasar Minggu, South Jakarta. Tel: 021 7884 7114, Tuesday–Sunday, 9am to 4pm. https://ragunanzoo.jakarta.go.id/about/contact-us/
Dunia Fantasi or “Dufan” as it’s generally known is Jakarta’s premier amusement park and has been for many years now. You’ll find Dufan up at Ancol on the city’s north coast. The park itself features over 40 rides, including a rollercoaster. Moreover, the larger Taman Impian Ancol, within which Dufan resides, offers other attractions including SeaWorld, cable-car rides, and boat rides through the crystal brown waters of Jakarta Bay (gas masks optional).
Dunia Fantasi, Jl. Lodan Timur No. 7, Ancol, North Jakarta. Tel: 021 2922 2222, Monday–Sunday, 10am to 6pm. https://www.ancol.com/id/destination/dunia-fantasi
Taman Mini Indonesia Indah
Taman Mini is a perennial favourite and is now open for business again way out in East Jakarta after a lengthy lockdown. Taman Mini is ostensibly an Indonesia in miniature and features houses and cultural artefacts from all of the country’s provinces. However, there’s so much more here and several trips are really needed to check out everything. From cable car and train rides to pedal boating on lakes to funfair rides to a terrific tropical bird park to museums and an Imax theatre, there is an absolute wealth on offer here in the sprawling Taman Mini complex. Be aware though that the cheap admission fee of Rp20,000 only allows access into the complex whilst most of the attractions contained within will require mummy and daddy to shell out additional hard-earned rupiah, although they are generally not too expensive.
Ice skating is always a bit of fun for youngsters and Sky Rink can be found up on the top floor of the huge Taman Anggrek Mall in West Jakarta, which was at one point Southeast Asia’s largest shopping mall. The rink is open to the public all week and lessons are also available. If you live in the deep south, there is another rink in the Bintaro area.
Sky Rink, Taman Anggrek Mall, 3rd Floor, Jl. Letjen S Parman No. 21, Tanjung Duren Selatan, Grogol Petamburan, West Jakarta. Tel: 021 564 2888, Monday–Sunday, 9am to 7pm. https://skate74.wixsite.com/skyrinkjakarta
Various decent sized water parks can be found in Lippo Cikarang, Pantai Indah Kapuk, and Pondok Indah Mall. Terrific fun in the dry season and plenty of slides to keep the kids amused. The best-known of these parks is probably Waterbom, which features 15 slides, one of which allegedly propels thrill seekers at a claimed 70 kilometres an hour. Terrifyingly great fun.
The city’s main thoroughfare of Jalan Sudirman and Jalan Thamrin all the way up to the national monument banishes all motorised vehicles between the hours of 6am and 11am every Sunday, allowing cyclists, walkers, joggers, skateboarders, you name it, free rein. Moreover, there are plenty of hawkers and even live music to give car-free day a real party atmosphere. Car-free day has not been running during the current PSBB (large-scale social restrictions) transition phase which is still in place in the wake of you know what. However, it’s a hugely popular way to start Sunday morning and will no doubt be back bigger than ever soon. Check the weblink below for other local car-free Sundays.
Jl. Sudirman/Jl. Thamrin, Jakarta Pusat, Sunday, 6am to 11am. https://www.infocarfreeday.net/
Taman Safari is not technically in Jakarta, lying about an hour and a half out of town just before the mountain pass of Puncak. However, this perennially popular safari park has a pretty decent selection of animals (supposedly over 1,000) and some lush natural surroundings. At the weekend, there are usually various animal shows to take in, which you may wish to either check out or avoid like the plague, depending on your attitude to such things.
Jakarta’s largest aquarium has a huge array of fish species and includes an amazing glass-tunnel underwater walk which allows you to spot a multitude of creatures of the deep, including enormous stingrays cruising ominously over your head. There are also regularly scheduled feeding shows to enjoy. SeaWorld can be found in the huge Ancol complex not far from the Dunia Fantasi amusement park.
Sea World Indonesia, Taman Impian Jaya Ancol, Jl. Lodan Timur No.7, Ancol, North Jakarta. Tel: 021 2922 2222 Monday–Sunday, 9am to 6pm. https://www.ancol.com/id/destination/sea-world-ancol
Bricks 4 Kidz
Bricks 4 Kidz blends education and entertainment and aims to help children boost their creativity through the building of LEGO-themed models that encompass everything from animals to outer space. It is aimed at kids between two and 13 and it boasts workshops, after-school classes, and a free play area.
Trampolines, foam pits, a gladiator war zone, a spider tower, and Aero Ball (which combines volleyball and basketball into a high-energy hybrid) should sap your offspring of excess energy rendering them suitably placid for the car ride home.
Bounce Street Asia Trampoline Park, Jl. Sentra Bisnis Artha Gading Blok D Kav. 8. North Jakarta. Tel: 021 2974 5790/91, Monday–Sunday, 10am to 6pm. https://www.bouncestreetasia.com/
Marvellous Little Maestro in Kemang, Kidz Art Indonesia, and Kutak Katik Art Class offer the kids some creative instruction in the world of visual arts. Students learn to draw using a wide variety of premium art supplies in non-competitive environments that aid relaxation and enjoyment. Certified instructors are also on hand to guide your budding Picassos and provide encouragement.
Kidz Art Indonesia, Ruko Sentra Niaga Blok T5, No. 12, Jl. Puri Indah Raya, RT.1/RW.2, South Kembangan, West Jakarta, Tel: 021 5830 2588, Monday–Saturday, 9am to 6:30pm. http://www.kidzartindonesia.com/
Cheap and cheerful, a few minutes of karting time should set you back around Rp60,000. Prices include full safety equipment helmet and jacket, and a chance to indulge those Lewis Hamilton fantasies – for a few minutes at least.