Exploring Wildlife with kids beyond Discovery Channel

There’s so much more to wildlife than just seeing it on TV or in picture books. Seeing wildlife upfront, exploring forest trails, and being one with nature is a great experience for anyone. But, more so for a growing child. Children will not just learn about nature but also appreciate the importance of conservation.

Did you know that India has over 100 national parks? Or that Madhya Pradesh and the Andamans have the highest number of national parks – nine each?

Karnataka has five national parks, some of which are famed for their elephant and tiger population, besides the flowing rivers that are in the vicinity of the parks.  

So, here, with no further ado, we present to you the national parks in Karnataka that you can explore with your children:

  • Bandipur National Park

An erstwhile private hunting reserve for the Maharaja of Mysore, Bandipur is now a Tiger Reserve and National Park. Bandipur has a vast variety of wildlife and many types of flora and fauna.  A wide range of trees such as rosewood, sandalwood, and teak and many varieties of shrubs can be seen in the park. Bandipur encloses a good population of endangered and vulnerable species such as gaurs, sloth bears, muggers, Indian rock pythons, and four-horned antelopes in addition to Indian elephants, and tigers. It will be exciting for children to spot and identify the various animals!


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National Highway routes NH-67 and NH-212 pass through the national park and on these roads, you may spot chital, gray langurs, giant squirrels, and sometimes elephants too. You will also find a number of reptile species in the park. Besides animals and reptiles, Bandipur has over 200 species of birds. There are also several rivers in and around the park. Bandipur is located in Chamarajanagar district of Karnataka. It is a little over 200 kilometres from Bangalore and 70 kilometres from Mysore.

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  • Nagarhole National Park

Another famous National Park located in Karnataka state is Nagarhole National Park (also known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park). Along with Bandipur national park and few others, it forms the Nilgiris Bio Reserve. The park has a rich forest cover and a sizeable population of wildlife including elephant and bison and approximately 250 species of birds.

It is flanked by the Kabini River on the North and on its southern fringes is the Bandipur national park. A dam on the Kabini River and its picturesque reservoir demarcates the two national parks. Thus, the children can get to see not just flora and fauna but a dam and a river too.

Nagarhole is well connected to Bangalore by road (around 220 kilometres) and rail. You can go via Channapatna and Mysore. There are eco-friendly resorts and accommodation near the park. You can book safaris and/or accommodation through the Karnataka Forest Department which has arranged several facilities for the same.

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  • Bannerghatta National Park

Recently in the news for the escape of a leopard from its premises, this park has been getting a bad name. Hopefully, once things quieten down, perhaps it will regain its former glory of being one of the most diversely populated national parks of India. Comparatively smaller in area size in relation to the other national parks, Bannerghatta still has a sizeable population of flora and fauna.

You can spot varieties of wildlife such as the golden jackal, wild boar, zebras, tigers, panthers, and more. The park offers jeep safari similar to several other national parks. One of the remarkable features of this park is that it houses the first ever butterfly conservatory in India. Visiting the park is a quite doable expedition if you are a resident of Bangalore. It is just an hour’s drive (around 25 kilometres) from Bangalore. There are several regular buses connecting the various areas of the city to the park.

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  • Anshi National Park:

Located in Uttara Kannada part of Karnataka, this National Park borders Goa. It is home to a large variety of animals such as Bonnet Macaque, deer, Indian bison, Malabar Civet, Malabar giant squirrel, elephants, and tigers. This park is the only one in Asia where the Black Panther can be seen.

Imagine the awe of your kids when they see this sleek and majestic animal!

Anshi National Park has a variety of species of mammals and reptiles and about 200 bird species. The national park includes trekking trails that open to beautiful grasslands, and sceneries.

Accommodation is not available inside the park and will have to be arranged in nearby places such as Dandeli. However, trekkers are allowed to camp temporarily in tents inside the park so perhaps you can join one such camp.

Anshi National Park can be reached by rail, road, and air. Bangalore is around 590 kilometers from the park. Karwar railway station (55 kilometres away), is the nearest railhead. Nearest airport is Dharwad, which is 106 kilometres from the park. Regular buses from Dandeli to Bangalore, Pune, Panaji, Dharwad, Belgaum, Karwar, and Mumbai are available.

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  • Kudremukh National Park:

Located in Chikamagalur district of Karnataka, over 330 kilometres from Bangalore and 110 kilometres from Mangalore by road, this park is known for its rich natural beauty. Steep cliffs, deep ravines, and mountains give it a totally different look as compared to other national parks in Karnataka.


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It is home to species such as gaurs, chitals, sambhar, Malabar giant squirrels, flying squirrels, Langurs, macaques, and mongoose. Kudremukh is one of the most popular reserves for lion-tailed macaques. Over 194 species of avifauna can be observed here.

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