For all those budding Cousteaus out there, Amilla Maldives offers Junior Marine Biologist Course. In the same way some people wonder why resorts have fitness centres (“who wants to do workouts on holiday?”), you might wonder, what kids want to do schoolwork on holiday. Well, me for one. When I was a tyke (about 9 years old), I used to go away to Camp Belknap in New Hampshire for a fortnight. While other kids signed up for archery, swimming and baseball, I signed up for the nature activities. They taught you flowers, trees, animals, star constellations (which has come in handy one many a star-filled Maldives night). I thoroughly enjoyed walking around exploring the outdoor beauty and learning all about it.
Amilla’s course features a daily 1-hour activity that include a Marine Walk, Mini Marine Bio Programme – comprehensive learning about the ocean. Over 6 days (each day a different topic). It builds. Ocean, plankton, coral reef, parrot fish, sea turtles and sharks. The sessions included showing selected TED talks and National Geographic clips, but the focus is on engaging with the children with puzzles, book creation and other activities to implement the material they have learned:
- Monday: 17:00 – 17:30 – Marine Walk (different topics, such as the sea turtle nest, the origin of maldivian islands, some curiosities about Maldives etc.)
- Thursday: 10:00 – 11.00 – Introduction to Snorkeling (a short presentation followed by a snorkeling session. Location: Spa Jetty or Dive Centre Jetty, depending on the weather and current conditions). VERY IMPORTANT: Please note that equipment (life jackets, fins, mask) will not be provided, so please make sure they come with equipment and they wear a rash vest. FYI: 10 slots available (for the moment). Only 5 years and above can participate. If younger than 5, they can come accompanied underwater with parents.
- Sunday: 10:00 – 11:00 – Marine Biology Presentation and Q&A
The Mini Marine Bio Program is tailored to those kids who are keen to receive a comprehensive learning about the underwater world and its creatures. The program is run 6/7 days, 1 hour a day. Each session is about a different topic:
- Sunday: Facts about seas and oceans @15:00 – 16:00
- Monday: The plankton and its importance for our lives @10:00 – 11:00
- Tuesday: All about coral reefs @11:00 – 12:00
- Wednesday: Parrotfish (How to keep a balanced and healthy ecosystem) @16:00 – 17:00
- Thursday: Lets discover the sea turtles @15:00 – 16:00
- Friday: Sharks and their amazing world @10:00 – 11:00
At the end of the program, participants receive a certificate plus Amilla’s marine badges (see photos at top and bottom)
One of the earliest and simplest joys of hot days in childhood is running through the lawn sprinkler. Youngs guests at Emerald can enjoy a watery frolic as extravagant as this prestige resort itself. Its not just the adults who get to savour their favourite activities in luxurious style.
The Maldives have come a long way from when it was mostly a destination for divers and honeymooners neither of which brought along little ones. Now (except for a few resorts positioning themselves as “adult only” or “children restricted”), the vast majority of resorts not only welcome children, but cater to them with a range of treats and activities some of which make the adults envious. The centrepiece of family-friendliness is the pervasive “kids club”. These havens of youthful and safe play spaces include all sorts of exciting features, but even the most lavishly equipped and designed tend to be tucked away somewhere in the interior of the island. SAii Lagoon’s Koimala & Maalimi’s Junior Beach Club and Camp has treated its young guests to seaside venue as picturesque as the one their parent’s are enjoying with keenly savoured peace and quiet.
Some of Amilla’s complimentary items are a gift to the guest and the planet. They provide a variety Mon India bags for guests’ use and some for guests to even take home made out of plastics that would otherwise be destined to end up in the ocean that surrounds their visit:
- “We have started making bags and accessories out of Ocean Bound Plastic Recycled Fabric. We have developed an ethical supply chain, with our partners collecting plastic bottles and other kinds of plastic and preventing them from entering the seas and ocean. Recycling the collected plastic into fine polyester fabric. Once the fabric reaches us, we make Bags and accessories out of it.”
Amilla includes laundry bags, hairdryer bags, toilet roll bags, table covers and beach bags from Mon India for the guests’ use. And the kids get a welcome back pack (see below) inspired by the local star wildlife resident, the White Long-Tail.
Another (extra) fun resort logo is Siyam World floating water park, but to get your Instagram shot, you will need to be far above the water. I first proposed on of these back in 2014 in my “Haven’t Seen Yet in the Maldives” series (#7 of list #6). Then, Hideaway Beach informed me that they were inspired to feature one after reading my article (and, of course, Maldives Complete got the scoop). Siyam has gone one bigger with a truly expansive version designed to keep the kids (and kids in spirit) entertained for hours.
Hard Rock’s rainbow of kids club delight is its outdoor percussion pit for a whole spectrum of music-making fun – two set of colourful drums and three difference xylophones.
Rain doesn’t have to ruin your day in the Maldives. For the youngsters at Joali, the Muramas kids club (ages 4-12) has a Rainbow Stairs Room. A colourful and unique play area for jumping around, tumbling or just chilling out until the rain passes and the real rainbows come out.
· “Always be yourself. Unless You can be a Unicorn. Then Always be a Unicorn”
Happy Halloween! An occasion where all sorts of mystical creatures emerge. After more than 20 years of visiting the Maldives, I might not have seen a whale shark yet, but I have seen a unicorn. Not just once, but twice. At the Hard Rock and SAii Lagoon’s kids club who host an “awesome Unicorn Party”. Then, later at the main restaurant buffer Unicorn Froot Loops not only provided another encountered with this mystical creature, but also satisfied my American-bred addiction to high-fructose corn-syrup.
Even if you stay sequestered in your own villa pool, you still to have to be careful with safety around water. Especially with young ones in tow. And this is doubly the case if you have a water villa with a pool. A while back, most Maldives resorts did not allow children in water villas for fear of their falling into the ocean, but recently they have decided to let parent’s make their own decisions about safety. If your child is less mobile or you are diligent in looking after them, then there shouldn’t be any problems. But all parents know their attention can be distracted even for a moment.
For an extra measure of hi-tech protection, Amilla has procured a number of “Safety Turtle” devices which trigger an alarm at a base station (up to 200 feet away) if it gets wet. Put it on your child’s wrist to be alerted imediately if they fall into the pool or ocean. The devices are available for loan on request.
Joali’s kids club has the most whimsically decorated beds for little ones as each crib is designed to resemble a hot air balloon. Up, up and away to the land of nod.