Island of Heroes: Children’s Cultural Adventureland
Jungle of Gajendra | Island of Heroes, London, UK
Mountain of Shravan | Island of Heroes, London, UK
Sea of Squirrels | Island of Heroes, London, UK
Village of Shanti | Island of Heroes, London, UK
More than 40,000 children and their families were inspired by the ‘Island of Heroes’ children’s cultural adventureland at the ‘Festival of Inspiration’ – a historic 10-day community celebration to mark the centennial birth anniversary of Pramukh Swami Maharaj at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London from 22 to 31 July 2022. 
The ‘Island of Heroes’ was one of the star attractions of the Festival – a fun, immersive experience for children and families to engage through theatrical shows, musical productions, a UV light show, 4D immersive experience, shadow play, escape room, obstacle course, interactive games, and much more.
Children were invited to set sail on an adventure through four distinct terrains – the Jungle of Gajendra, Mountain of Shravan, Sea of Squirrels, and Village of Shanti – and be inspired by heroes of the past and present to become the heroes of the future.
The journey motivated children, with their parents, to become shining members of our multi-cultural society, drawing upon the timeless wisdom of Hinduism and universal values lived by Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Adventurers also learned about contemporary values and issues, such as respect for Mother Earth and the environment, delivered through a powerful 4D experience in a relevant and practical way for children. 
Navigators collected souvenir stamps and other mementos as they ventured through the ‘Island of Heroes’ and understood the respective values of each terrain, namely, faith, respect, hard work and kindness. 
Younger children enjoyed their own journey of learning and discovery at the ‘Little Heroes Forest’, a fun zone with its own puppet show, wiggle cars, sandpit, arts & craft area, and more.
The ‘Island of Heroes’ was entirely designed, produced, directed and performed by children and youth volunteers of BAPS UK & Europe. More than 1,200 shows were delivered across the four terrains. The young cast had planned, prepared and rehearsed for several months, and over 450 children performed in these productions over the ten days.
The entire journey was supported by more than 650 volunteers, artists and crew members each day, who provided entertainment, energy and also educated visitors further to enrich their experience.
Visitors departed with renewed motivation and vigour to imbibe noble values in their lives. A ten-year-old girl delivered a handwritten letter to the Mandir after her visit in which she wrote: “Me and my family went to the Island of Heroes Adventureland. It was amazing! The set up was just beautiful. It was all inspiring for me and my brother.”
Claudio Giambrone, Head of Marketing for Wembley Park London, one of the largest regeneration projects in Europe, observed, “What you have done here is incredible! It looks like something you would see at Sea Life or London Dungeons – like a Disneyworld. The difference is that those things cost millions of pounds to make. This was done by volunteers.” 
Professor Chris Butler, Professor of Primary Care at Oxford University, added, “The involvement of the children that we saw across all the shows – helping around, performing, developing their confidence, developing their sense of citizenship and community engagement of selfless contribution…. That’s the kind of person that makes me, as an older person, hopeful about the future.”

 


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