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Summer break calls for popsicles, beach trips – and plenty of family time. Wondering how to entertain and educate the kiddos without the headache of constantly checking on costs? We’ve got you covered with a list of spots with interactive exhibits, indoor play areas and cultural lessons in Sharjah that are sure to make children happy.
Image Credit: GN Archives
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Buhais Geology Park: Fifty-five-year-old Alison Watt, who runs the Insta handle @glimpsesoftheUAE, suggests spending a day at this stunning building that’s designed to look like interconnecting pods. Inside each one, there are interactive displays that allow kids to explore and imbibe information about Sharjah’s mountains and sand dunes, local rocks and fossils. The park also has a ramp that leads to a central space and exhibition areas, from where you can spot unusual rock formations and ancient burial grounds. Want some quiet moments? Head to the immersive theatre, where you can see the geology documentary ‘Sharjah Heritage Treasure’, or relax with coffee at a café that has panoramic views of Jebel Buhais. Tour guides are available on site and there are activities such as drawing and matching fossils for the kids. Where: Jebel Buhais Geological Park. Timings: Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 9am to 7pm; Friday: 2 to 7pm and Sunday 11am to 7pm. Tickets: Dh10.50 (Adult); Free entry for kids under 12, those over 60, People of Determination and one carer
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Discover Mleiha: At this archaeological centre, follow the path taken by the ancients when you visit Stone Age caves. For kids, there are activities including hunting for fossils, horse riding, camping and stargazing. But there’s also a lot of history to learn about – exhibitions on site take you through the Paleolithic, Neolithic, Bronze, Iron, pre-Islamic, Islamic and modern ages, teaching you about not just the history but also social norms, diets, rituals, and art and crafts. Where: Mleiha, Sharjah. Timings: Sunday to Wednesday: 9am to 7pm and Thursday to Saturday 9am to 9pm. Tickets: Dh25 (adults); Dh75 (2 adults and 3 children); Dh15 (Children aged between 10 and 4); Free for children under 4. Dh20 for a guide English or Arabic.
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Natural History Museum and Botanical Garden: As much fun as it is to look at man-made structures and tools and learn about the beginnings of civilization, there’s also much to be said about indigenous flora and fauna. At this museum children can learn about desert plants and animals and their importance in the larger ecosystem through interactive displays. There are also exhibits that showcase meteors from space, fossils and marine wares – elements that define the landscape. Where: 173 Sheikh Zayed St – Sharjah. Timings: Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday: 9.30 to 2pm; Saturday: 11am to 6pm. Fridays and Tuesdays closed. Tickets: Dh15 (Adult). Free for children under 12.
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The Desert Park: Another wild adventure destination that kids are bound to love is this centre which is not only home to a botanical garden bit also a petting farm and breeding facility for rare desert creatures. The breeding centre is off-limits to the general population, but the petting zoo with goats, camels and birds is sure to compensate. While here, stop over at the Arabian Wildlife Center, where you can see Arabian leopard and the Oryx. Where: 30km east of Sharjah city along the Al Dhaid Highway (E88); Timings: Sunday-Monday, Wednesday-Thursday: 9am to 5.30pm; Friday 2pm to 5.30pm; and Saturday 11am to 5.30pm. Tickets: Dh15 (Adults); Dh5 (Children over 12 years); free for kids under 12.
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Wasit Wetlands: Indulge in some bird watching when you go to this spot in Sharjah. The reserve is home to more than 200 bird species along with a number of mammals and UAE’s national animal, the Arabian Oryx. Worried about walking long distances? Don’t worry, there are golf carts to help those touring, to get around. Where: Sheikh Salem Bin Sultan Al Qasimi St - Al Homah. Timings: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday: 9am to 5pm; Friday: 2pm to 5pm; Saturday 11am to 5pm; Tuesday: closed. Tickets: Tickets: Dh15 (Adults); free for kids under 12.
Image Credit: Atiq Ur Rehman/Gulf News
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Khor Kalba Mangrove Centre: Discover the lush mangroves of Sharjah by kayaking your way through it. Visit the Kalba Bird of Prey Centre for a taste of what falconry entails or wait for the evening and take a quick hike through one of the many trails at the Al Hefaiyah Mountain Conservation. Stay on and spot the stars under a moonlit sky. Where: It’s on the east coast of Sharjah, about 90 minutes by car. Timings: Tuesday to Thursday: 9amto 6.30pm, Friday: 2pm to 6.30pm; Saturday 11am to 6.30pm. Monday closed.Tickets: Dh15.50 (Adult); Kids under 12 get in free.
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Sharjah science museum: Practical lesson just sink in differently. Especially when it comes to science and strange cause and effect equation. In this museum, which opened in 1996, children and adults are invited to immerse themselves in the spirit of learning with hands-on experiments and lessons on about laws of nature, thermal physics, and physiology and aerodynamics. There are more than 50 interactive exhibits on site, so clear your schedule and get ready to hustle, you are going to be here a while. Where: Halwan Suburb - Al Abar. Timings: Saturday to Thursday: 8am to 8pm; Friday 4pm to 8pm. Tickets:Dh10 (All over 13); Dh5 (2 to 12 years old); children under two get in free.
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Sharjah Planetarium: Twinkle twinkle little star, how we wonder what you are. Unless we are at the grand dome of the planetarium where we can learn all about the stars. The projector here displays almost 10 million celestial bodies and showcases the grandeur of the universe. There are also themed movies on – so check the website to book your favourite one.Where: Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Rd. Timings: Monday to Wednesday: 9.30am to 2pm; Thursday 9.30am to 2pm and 7.30pm to 11.30pm. Friday to Sunday: Closed. Tickets: Dh10 (All over age 13); Dh5 (those aged between 2 and 12).
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Al Mahatta Museum: This one is for all the ‘Maverick’ fans out there. When the first airport in the region (built in 1932) was converted into a museum, it was a no-brainer that it would represent aviation. Collections here fly you through the history of aviation across the world – and in the UAE. Here, kids can also learn about how an airport functioned back in the 1930s and catch glimpses of propeller planes and refuelling tankers. Where: Al Estiqlal St,Al Qasimia Area, Opposite Sharjah Mega Mall.Timings: Saturday to Thursday: 8am to 8pm; Friday 4pm to 8pm. Tickets: Dh10 (All over age 13); Dh5 (those aged between 2 and 12).
Image Credit: GN Photographer