Abu Dhabi: The much loved Abu Dhabi Science Festival will welcome visitors to its ninth edition this month-end. And this year, children in the emirate’s Al Dhafra region will also have a chance to attend workshops closer to home, senior education officials announced in the capital recently.

“Why not go bigger and give children in Al Dhafra a chance to participate, we thought. And this is why there will be workshops in Madinat Zayed’s City Mall for the duration of the festival,” said Sanad Humaid, official spokesperson for the festival at the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (Adek).

“We expect about 120,000 visitors, especially as the festival will be held at a prime location in the capital: Al Bahar at the Corniche,” he told Gulf News.

Humaid was speaking at a press conference to announce the upcoming festival, which will run from January 31 to February 9. Organised by the Adek, education regulator for the emirate, it aims to promote interest in scientific and artistic careers and fields.

Addressing the conference, Dr Ali Al Nuaimi, director general at the Adek, said the festival will position the UAE as one of the world’s most innovative nations.

In the capital, there will be 77 workshops and 13 interactive shows that will be spread over 35,000 square metres, engaging children in activities related to science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM). Officials expect at least 19,000 schoolchildren, between the ages of 6 and 16 years, to attend the festival in the capital alone. In Al Ain’s Al Jahili Park, about 6,500 children are expected to participate in 20 workshops, while over 1,600 children are expected attend five workshops in Al Dhafra.

In addition, 200 innovators will showcase their inventions alongside the festival as part of the annual Innovator event.

“Holding Innovator simultaneously allows residents to display the products of their STEAM learning. Moreover, we will also schedule daily performances from about 20 talented young artists in the capital,” Humaid said.

As in previous years, visitors can purchase tickets online and register for various activities.

The 2019 edition of the festival will coincides with the UAE’s Month of Innovation, with initiatives to promote innovation across the country.