Travelling with kids to Goa? In between surfing the beaches and enjoying the waves, you can also show them the lesser known side of Goa, including its natural attractions, history and culture. Here are five top things you and your kids and undertake for a value-added holiday.
With the pandemic forcing us to stay indoors most of the time, let your kids have a whiff of fresh, oxygenated air whenever there’s an opportunity. So why not take them on nature walks conducted by expert naturalists? From general interest walks to special interest sessions, there is a lot of choice. For example, you may join nature walks, including programmes on snakes and reptile protection, led by photographer and herpetologist Nirmal Kulkarni. Alhoguh Kulkarni is engaged in research-oriented activities, he also conducts educational trips for general visitors. Usually, their expeditions are organised during the monsoon.
You may go on an ornithological trip to the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary located on Chorao Island in the middle of the Mandovi River. Take a ferry from Ribandar, which is about 15 minutes’ by road from Panaji. Apart from the forest department, there are non-government organisations conducting birding trips to the island. Goa-based Birds & Breakfast, run by Lloyd Fernandes, conducts birding trips across Goa, including Carambolim Lake and Woods, Arpora Woods, Bondla Forest, etc. Check if Mumbai-based BNHS is running any nature camps in Goa.
Bhagwan Mahavir Sanctuary
Go on a day’s hiking through the, about 54km from Panaji. Located along the Western Ghat foothills, it is the largest wildlife reserve in the state. The sanctuary is open all days of the week from 8am to 5.30pm.
If you are accompanied by older kids, they may love a spin at the carting tracks. There are some popular (privately run) tracks ner Anjuna and in Arpora.
Goa has some fantastic museums, which can be great places for a family outing. The Houses of Goa Museum, conceptualised by architect Gerard de Cunha, the main building is shaped like a ship. Inside, spread across three floors are galleries showcasing the different types of houses in Goa, their history, the material used, symbols and their meanings, etc. It is located in Torda, about 5km from Panaji. Nearby is the gallery and store, Mario Miranda Museum.
Goa Chitra, a privately owned ethnography museum, is a place to learn about ancient Goa and its culture. Displayed here are traditional farming implements and other ancient tools of trade set up against the backdrop of a traditional organic farm, wood work, doors, windows, pillars, railings and other material collected from over 300 demolished traditional houses, etc. The museum is located in Mondo-Waddo, Benaulim, Salcete.
Although it may appear a bit tacky to some, Ancestral Goa (also known as the Big Foot museum) in Loutolim is often a favourite with kids with its mock village setting with huge displays explaining the history and culture of Goa. Besides, there are exhibits such as the Museum of Crosses, the Rosary Bead Museum, the Tiatr Hall of Fame dedicated to the actors of the Konkani theatre, etc. The Big Foot museum is open round the year..