Sharjah Centre for Astronomy and Space Sciences

SCASS (including the Planetarium) is located next to University City and close to the Dubai border and offers another great day out during the hot months.

There is a wide range of exhibits, for example, the solar system, history of tickets, lunar vehicles, etc. And it is packed with interactive ways to learn about the universe and science.

The Planetarium offers regular shows, in either Arabic or English. Check the schedule beforehand. If it’s quiet, they’ll give you the language of your choice. Headphones with translation are also available. You can check the schedule online before your visit.

Infants are not allowed in the Planetarium itself (where the shows are held) and the exhibition is not really suited to very young children.

The observatory is in a separate building but sometimes has an open house. You can find details of this on the SCASS website.

The Centre is set inside Cosmic Park, with the golden dome being the sun and the planets are set around in it in their individual orbits.

There is a cafeteria offering hot and cold drinks and limited snacks.

Entrance fee: Adults 22dhs, children 11dhs, children under four free.

Opening times: Sun-Weds 9am-3pm (2pm during holidays), Sat 4pm-8pm, Thurs/Fri closed.

Location: Maleha Rd, Sharjah. 25.285168,55.46089

Website: http://www.scass.ae

 

Al Qasba

There’s so much going on at Al Qasba!

Al Qasba is both a lively and relaxing place to be. With matching buildings in Arabic architecture on either side of the canal housing restaurants, cafes, bookshops, a theatre, musical centre, a business centre and art centre and plazas, immaculate gardens, dancing fountains and children’s play areas and boats to hire on the canal, there’s something for everyone.

Sharjah is both very family-focused and an emirate full of culture and Al Qasba is a perfect example of how it is providing places for families to go out and enjoy time together and offering cultural and educational activities.

You can find all kinds of restaurants, such as Lebanese, Italian, Mexican, etc, all with indoor areas and outside terraces. If you fancy something lighter, there are coffee shops and ice cream outlets.

Although a couple of these photos are now out of date as the famous Eye of the Emirates big wheel has only just been dismantled to be rehoused at Al Montaza Water Park, there are still many attractions.

At one end in front of Caribou, there are musical fountains with scheduled performances. In between performances, children (or even you!) can have lots of fun running through them. Be sure to bring appropriate shoes though so they don’t hurt their feet on the metal grid. And although there are enormous walk-in driers, they don’t always work, so bring a towel.

Next to the fountains, there is also a traditional Emirati coffee shop where you can sample local drinks and snacks.

At the other end of the building on the same side, there is a fun play park with a separate area for toddlers. (Entrance fee 15dhs for unlimited time.)

Next to the play park is an area with rides for children and on the opposite side of the canal there is an indoor play area.

You can hire a BYKY, a small go-kart to go up and down the canal side (after 4pm). Or if you prefer to go on the canal itself, you can hire a waterkart to use yourself (all day in winter, after 4pm in summer) or you can go on an abra around the lagoon.

Or perhaps you’d prefer to unwind at Body & Soul Spa or work out at their gym. Or you might catch a play or a film at Masrah, the theatre, which hosts film festivals, musical shows and the like. They also offer drama classes for children at the weekend.

The Maraya Art Centre hosts exhibitions and offers workshops and talks and Furat Qaddouri Music Centre offers clssses in music, ballet and arts.

Kalimat, Sharjah’s very own children’s Arabic book publishing house has a bookshop near the indoor play area. As well as housing lots of great books for children, it has a cafe and in the winter months hosts children’s workshops and movie nights.

Mothers of young children are well catered for under Sharjah’s mother and baby friendly approach. Clean spacious cabins are available for feeding and changing with comfortable upholstered rocking chairs along with a small play area to occupy older siblings

Al Qasba mosque is yet another example of fine Arabic architecture. The Friday sermon is read in English here and it can get pretty busy.

Finally, there are several festivals throughout the year which take place at al Qasba, for example, the Light Festival and the Food Festival, Choir Festival, Indian Festival, Sharjah World Music Festival and Qasba Street Festival.

So what are you waiting for? Come and see one of the most vibrant and beautiful areas of Sharjah for yourself!

 

 

Sharjah Science Museum

Another fun and educational place in Sharjah is the Science Museum. Although not big compared to others of its kind, there are many nteresting exhibits, most of them interactive. Learn how the heart works or explore optical illusions, test out laws of physics, identify insects and arachnids or find out more about different types of energy. The list goes on. There’s something for all ages and all interests and with the wide range of topics, there’s sure to be something relevant to what children are learning at school.

There are staff with a scientific background on hand (you’ll see them in white lab coats) to explain more about the topics exhibited if you wish. They also run shows in the theatre in the mornings in either Arabic or English according to the visitors they have in at that time.

Every Friday throughout the year there are family workshops in English and Arabic. The workshops last around an hour.

During school holidays they also run bilingual summer camps for one to two weeks. The next one will start on 31 July and registration opens 1 July. The camps run every weekday until 1pm.

The centre also has a free play area for younger children whilst older ones are looking around.

In the foyer, you can find the Science Museum Shop and a cafe.

Opening hours: Sat – Thurs 8am-8pm, Fri 4pm -8pm.

Entrance fee: Adults 10 dhs, children 5dhs.

Location: al Abar, Sharjah (next to Sharjah TV and Archeology Museum, near Quran Roundabout)

Sharjah Classic Cars Museum

If you love looking at old cars or your children are learning about the history of transport, this one is for you.

Take a leisurely walk through the cars of different eras of the 20th century, admire the upholstery, the sleek or chunky designs, travel back down memory lane.

There are a couple of cars that you can actually get in and get the feel of the leather seats and try out the gearstick.

Don’t miss the cars parked near the Classic Cars Club too.

Opening Times: Sat – Thurs 8am-8pm, Friday 4pm – 8pm

Entrance: Adults 10dhs, children 2-12 yrs 5 dhs.

Location: Dhaid/Airport Rd between interchange 4 and 5, just before Sharjah Airport, opposite the Discovery Centre

Website: http://www.sharjahmuseums.ae/OurMuseums/Sharjah-Classic-Cars-Museum.aspx

Wasit Nature Reserve

If you’re looking for an oasis of peace in the middle of the city, this is a perfect place to visit.

Wasit Nature Reserve, also known as Wasit Wetlands, is a protected area in Ramtha and is home to over 200 species of birds as well as a number of mammals, reptiles and rare insects. This is due to its diverse landscape – wooded area, salt flats sand dunes and a large lake.

Alongside nearby wetlands like Ajman Creek, it provides a stop off point for migratory birds in the spring and autumn.

From the indoor centre, you can observe a variety of birds in habitats similar to those they would normally live in and you can learn about the various species. There are a few interactive games for children. From the cafe, you can sit and watch flamingoes, herons, etc on the lake.

The centre also has an education room and a theatre where you can watch videos and a shop selling books and souvenirs.

Outdoors, you can take a free trip around the lake in a buggy (a disabled friendly buggy is available). There are eight hides with binoculars at different points around the lake. It’s a five kilometre walk around the lake, although you may have to argue your case to walk round by yourself! If you can, it’s a beautiful walk in the winter. In the hotter months, the buggy trip is doable with the breeze.

On your way round the lake, you’ll probably spot gazelles too.

This is a must-do for birdwatchers and fun for a family outing.

Opening times Sun-Thurs 9am – 5:30pm, closed Tuesday.

Friday 2-6pm

Saturday 11-6pm.

Entrance fees: Adults 15dhs. Children under 15 free.

Location: Al Ramtha, Sharjah (on border with Ajman) It is easy to access from all Emirates from the E311.

(Note: on recent visits, the cafe hasn’t had much other than snacks and cold drinks, but it does offer a great place to sit and enjoy the view)

The Rain Room, Sharjah Art Foundation

 

Are you tired of the heat already? Are you longing for some rain? Why not visit The Rain Room in Sharjah. And the best bit, you can enjoy the rain without even getting wet!

The Rain Room is a permanent art installation and is located in an underground chamber. Due to motion sensors, it doesn’t rain on you even then you’re surrounded by the ‘pouring rain’.

You do have to walk very slowly though so toddlers running around aren’t a good idea unless you don’t mind them getting soaked!

Don’t wear stilettos as they’re liable to get stuck in the metal grid that allows the water to flow through the ground.

Lastly, there’s a nice little coffee shop there too if you need to wait for a turn.

The Rain Room is open Sat – Thurs 9am-9pm, Friday 4pm-9pm

(Ramadan Sat-Thurs 10am-3pm, 9pm – 12am, Fri 9pm-12am)

Adults 25dhs Children 6-12 15dhs, under 5s go free.

Location, next to Al Majarrah Park

The session lasts ten minutes. Six people go in at a time. During holidays, you might want to call ahead and book a slot.

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Emirate of Sharjah

Sharjah is the third largest emirate in the UAE and has stretches across the country. The largest part reaches from the city on the Arabian Gulf inland to the Central Region which includes several cities and towns such as Dhaid, Madam and Maleha.

It also has several enclaves on the East Coast – Dibba al Hisn, Khor Fakkan, Kalba and Khor Kalba and Wadi el Helou. If you visit any of these places, you will notice that they have the same features of the city of Sharjah – local government buildings in Arabic architecture, beautiful mosques, the corniches with attractive gardens, ornate street lamps, play parks and family areas, sports and youth facilities along with educational and cultural facilities such as university campuses, community colleges, libraries, theatres, etc. They are also venues for Sharjah’s numerous festivals, such as the Light Festival and Sharjah Children’s International Film Festival.

Culture plays a large role in Sharjah following the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan al Qasimi. It has been named Cultural Capital of the Arab World twice in recent years and is home to many museums (over 25), theatres, heritage areas, sports facilities and youth clubs, and seats of learning. It also hosts several festivals, conferences and forums. All local government buildings are designed in Arabic architectural styles.

Sharjah also has a rich historical past and there are many archeological sites across the emirate.

The emirate is more conservative than others and certain things are not allowed, such as alcohol. It is very family-oriented and provides many facilities for family leisure activities.

Whether it’s seeing wildlife, learning about history, relaxing on the waterfront, visiting museums, there’s something for everyone in Sharjah!