Revisiting 6 of my favorite childhood places in Nairobi

I do believe that in each one of us is a child just longing to be set free.

Most of us ripen and age so gracefully that the child is deeply hidden and stifled to inaction as we trot about, all grown up in our polished suits and accents, saying and doing all the right things; essentially trying to navigate the scarred surfaces of life.

Others encourage the child to thrive, live and breathe freely, so much so that the layers between child and adult are intertwined. We have grabbed life by the lapels, squeezed every lemon into lemonade, and want to sample and savor every experience, refusing anything from deterring us. Though years have gone by, there are plenty of quirky childhood things we still do.

It comes to no surprise that I just wanted to visit my childhood favorites in Nairobi, and recall those experiences and soak up the waves of nostalgia as I did so. I dragged my daughter along and though she wasn’t as half-excited as I was, I guess she learnt a couple of things or two about the city in the sun.

1) KICC: Kenyatta International Conference Centre has stood the test of time, towering over Nairobi as a beacon since time immemorial. I think it’s the most recognizable landmark in Nairobi, having been commissioned in 1967 by the founding father of the nation, the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and often appearing on Nairobi postcards. It is as massive on the inside with 28 floors, and many rooms on it’s ground floor used as venues for conferences, meetings, exhibitions, summits and other events. The K.I.C.C is strategically located in Nairobi’s central business district, and within a walking distance from several five-star hotels. It’s fun overlooking the city from the top of the K.I.C.C.

An aerial view of Nairobi from the K.I.C.C

An aerial view of Nairobi from the K.I.C.C

The Kenyatta International Conference Centre (K.I.C.C)

The Kenyatta International Conference Centre (K.I.C.C)

 

2) Uhuru Park: Uhuru Park is the most popular recreational park in Nairobi. It is situated smack in the centre of the business district. Since independence, it has taken it’s place as a relaxing ground for adults, and a fun place for kids during holidays and on weekends where vendors can be found at different zones peddling snacks and sweets. Concerts, crusades and political as well as cultural events are held here as well. My fondest memories in the park growing up included eating ice-cream with family members on weekends as the sun went down, and playing on the swings and monkey bars nearby. I was happy to take my child there during the summer holidays; not only were camel rides on offer, but as well a bouncy jumping castle. Uhuru Park is free for the public, but one has to pay for boat rides on the artificial lake, and for use of the toilet facilities within the park.

Children having a fun day at Uhuru Park

Children having a fun day at Uhuru Park

3) Animal orphanage, Safari Walk place: I have very fond memories of the Animal orphanage as I visited frequently with family and on school trips during my formative years.  The orphanage is set aside as a place where injured or abandoned animals can be cared for while offering educational services to the public. The Safari Walk place is in close proximity to the Nairobi National Park and the Animal Orphanage. It is built in such a way as to permit uninterrupted views of the animals at a close yet safe range; and is quite convenient for those in the city for a short time, without venturing into our various wildlife parks.  For sure a favorite place for kids!

Face off with a teenage lion at the Safari Walk

Face off with a teenage lion at the Safari Walk

4) Bomas of Kenya: With the fast-paced modernization of Kenya and it’s countryside, one has to wonder how our ancestors lived. The Bomas of Kenya, a cultural centre at Langata offers a snap shot to the past, with traditional huts showcasing how each of the cultures lived, replete with their representative tribal dances such as; the Swahili taarab, Masai warriors, Embu drummers, Luo nyatiti and Kikuyu circumcision ceremonies among others. My daughter and niece had a fun time learning how their forefathers lived.

Feeling cosy in one of the huts.

Feeling cosy in one of the huts.

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Traditional huts featured at the Bomas of Kenya

Traditional dancers at the Bomas of Kenya

Traditional dancers at the Bomas of Kenya

5) Nairobi Museum: 

At the bird section of the Nairobi Museum

At the bird section of the Nairobi Museum

The Nairobi Museum was another favorite while growing up. I was pleased to see that it still stands at the same place, as well the snake park. My daughter was thrilled to have a close range view of the myriads of bird species. We took time walking through the museum, learning and viewing Kenya through a pre-historic prism. There was as well a section to view stuffed wild animals in their real-life sizes.

Walking through the pre-history section of the Nairobi Museum.

Walking through the pre-history section of the Nairobi Museum.

Real life sizes of wild animals in Kenya on display at the Nairobi Museum.

Real life sizes of wild animals in Kenya on display at the Nairobi Museum.

6) Giraffe Centre:

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On the list of things you must do in Nairobi, is 'kissing a giraffe'..You do this by picking up a pellet between your lips and leaning out to the giraffes. They have long tongues and will bump your lips to collect the pellet..My daughter caught this shot of the giraffe licking my chin..slobbery! #Nairobi #WheninNairobi #Kenya #animalplanet #giraffecentre #Hardy #Karen #giraffefeeding #rothschildgiraffe #lonelyplanet #CNNGo #CNNTravel #natgeo #blackgirlmagic #melaninqueens #melaninpopping #wanderlust #wot #globetrotter #travelnoire #travelstoke #travelogues #travelblogger #travelgram #instatravel #instapassport #earthpeek #TheWorldGuru #bestshots #lifewelltraveled

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The Giraffe Centre wasn’t there when I was growing up, but since I had never been, I decided to take my child for a close encounter with the Rothschild giraffes. Though she preferred to keep her distance, I chose to “feed the giraffes” and got a lick from them! It was an interesting experience.

Any other fun places in Nairobi you frequented as a child and now take your children? Feel free to share the experiences in the comment section!

3 thoughts on “Revisiting 6 of my favorite childhood places in Nairobi

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