Buhais Geology Park

Buhais Geology Park sits on the plains at the foot of Jebel Buhais near Al Madam. Although it may look small it has a wealth of information in the exhibition halls and a great outdoor trail. I often drive through the mountains and sand dunes in awe of some of their formations and across gravel and rocky plains and after my visit to the park, I understand them so much better.

Hall 1 explains the overall history of the land surface on the earth such as tectonic plate movements and geologic timescale, with a special focus on the areas of the emirate of Sharjah.

Hall 2 is very interactive and explains different types of rock and their formations, types of sand and sand dunes, formation of alluvial plains, fossils, climate change, etc. There are interactive stations to suit all ages.

The outdoor trail takes you through Wadi Suq tombs (Bronze Age) and various rock formations. Spot fossils in the rocks. At the peak of the trail you can see right across al Faya and Aqabah Mountains and the plains to the Hajar Mountains. There are a couple of rock benches along the way to stop and just sit and enjoy the scenery and tranquility.

The exhibition is fully bilingual and there are guides to take you around if you wish. There may not be an English-speaking guide but the information is so complete, you really don’t need one and you can go at your own pace.

After you’ve finished your tour, you can have some refreshments in the cafe overlooking Jebel Buhais. (The menu is mainly burger type meals from what I saw and delicious cakes and fresh juices.)

If you prefer, you can find a spot on the plains along the main road to have a picnic, spot birds and butterflies and identify trails left by birds, animals and insects.

You can also visit the other archeological sites further down at Jebel Buhais. Here are a couple of them.

Note that the climate in this area is different from the coast. It’s cooler than the Gulf coast in the winter and hotter in the summer, but there’s no or little humidity which makes it more pleasant in the summer. You may need something warm in the winter.

I had a very enjoyable and extremely informative afternoon at Buhais Geology Park and I hope you do too!

  • Entrance fee: Adults 10.5dhs, children under 12 free
  • Opening hours: Sun-Thurs 9am-7:30pm, Fri 2pm-7:30pm, Sat 11am-7:30pm, closed Tuesday
  • Wheelchair accessible (outdoor trail has a wheelchair accessible path going directly to the peak but you can do around 2/3s of the trail itself before getting to steps and turning back.)
  • Prayer and ablution rooms
  • School/university trips 2 and 5dhs per student respectively

Water is freely available for topping up your bottle. Well done, Sharjah!

  • What’s nearby?
  • Discover Mleiha
  • Al Faya Retreat
  • Jebel Buhais Archeological sites

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

 

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)