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National Shishu Shibir

Paradise Wildlife Park, Broxbourne
Saturday 21 May 2011

This year’s National Shishu Shibir was held at Paradise Park, Broxbourne on Saturday 21 May 2011. Held at an external venue for the first time, 430 parents and shishus from across the country made their way to the park either by coach from London or in their own cars. It was a glorious morning with blue skies and ample sunshine.

At 11am in the presence of Harikrishna Maharaj, sadhus performed the traditional deep pragatya ceremony to officially begin the shibir followed by a video presentation highlighting previous shishu shibirs and a few prasangs demonstrating Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s relationship with animals. The representatives from Paradise Park gave a brief talk on the history of the park and all the necessary instructions for the day. It was a momentous occasion for Paradise Park as they were celebrating their 25th anniversary and were extremely happy that BAPS was sharing in the celebrations with them.

Once the opening ceremony was over, the families were free to explore the park and complete their activity sheets which they which they had been given on arrival. Toddlers and children wondered around the park with their parents, seeing animals from close distances and enjoyed imitating their sounds and characteristics. At lunchtime, all the families returned to the marquee to sing the thaal to Harikrishna Maharaj and then take lunch outside in the beautiful picnic area, enjoying the weather and natural atmosphere.

After lunch, the children and parents were able to take advantage of a fantastic opportunity to meet some of the animals up close. A python snake, barn owl, bearded dragon and tenreck all came to the marquee for an exciting animal show which was thoroughly enjoyed by all. The children also had the opportunity to take pictures with their favourite animal and were able to touch and play with some of them.

The families were then once again free to walk around the park or attend a show, take a ride on the Jungle Train or enjoy playing in the park. At 5pm, when the coaches were ready to depart the park for the journey back to the Mandir, many of the shishus wanted to stay on for a few more hours and continue having fun with their mums and dads.

The day was thoroughly enjoyed by both parents and children and for some, it was the first time they had seen so many animals up close. The shibir created a way for family members to bond and for parents and children alike to make new friends.

A few opinions from the parents are given below.

We should have this type of outing every year!

We don’t get many chances to spend time with our families in our hectic schedules, so thanks for organising this great outing!

We got to meet so many families from around the country. It was great!

I will definitely make sure we bring along our friends and relatives to these types of family outings. It’s been a day to remember!