Thousands of people from across the UAE flocked to Sharjah Aquarium and Sharjah Maritime Museum during the first two extended weekends.
This followed a decision by Sharjah Museums Authority (SMA) to keep the doors of both destinations open for seven days a week from 8 am to 8 pm Saturday through Thursday, and from 4pm till 8pm on Fridays.
Adjustments to workdays made by SMA came in response to Sharjah government’s announcement regarding the new Friday through Sunday weekend in the emirate.
During the past two weekends, more than 2,000 visitors toured the halls of Sharjah Maritime Museum, and over 3,000 people visited Sharjah Aquarium.
While elated by the emirate’s decision of the three-day weekend, visitors expressed their happiness at SMA’s call to open two important destinations all week long, said a statement.
“I always take my son to Sharjah Aquarium where he learns about marine life, but with the longer weekend, we have more time to visit other important Sharjah museums,” said Iranian Schova Par.
She said Sharjah Aquarium is an ideal and safe place for children to explore and play freely.
Sharjah Aquarium opened in 2008, as the first and largest governmental educational center for marine creatures in the UAE. It houses more than 100 species of marine life, including clown fish, seahorses, and reef sharks, amongst others.
It also allows visitors to watch fish feeding which takes place daily at 10 am daily, and shark-feeding at 1:30 pm on Mondays and Thursdays.
Opposite the aquarium is Sharjah Maritime Museum, which first opened in 2003 in Al Mareijah area, before relocating to Al Khan area in 2009, to become one of the most famous tourist attractions in the country.
Ronald Benson from the Philippines, believes opening the doors of both sites for seven days a week will encourage everyone to visit, and will contribute to promoting a culture of exploration.
“This is my son’s first visit to the aquarium and the museum next door, and he is very happy being introduced to many sea creatures and marine life,” he said.
Atef Selim from India drove all the way from Ras Al Khaimah to allow his children explore the aquarium and its educational offerings.
“I came based on many recommendations from my friends, and discovered how important the aquarium is, especially for my young child, who began happily exploring things around him,” said Selim.
He added that the extended weekend will boost family bonding by providing more time for extra activities.
Ukrainian tourist Irena Casishovna looked at other possible locations before deciding to travel to Sharjah because it's home to many museums and tourist landmarks.
“I read about the UAE and Sharjah in particular before choosing it as a vacation destination with my family, but what drew me most to Sharjah was its museums that are certainly rich with information about the country’s culture and that of the region and other civilizations,” she said.
“As for Sharjah Aquarium, it truly provides a great opportunity for community members to teach their children about the importance of marine life and how to preserve it,” she added.
Egyptian Muhammad Shehadeh has already planned a programme that ensures he and his family visit all Sharjah museums and other renowned cultural sites.
“Sharjah is rich with many important tourist destinations on the cultural, educational and entertainment levels, that provide a wide spectrum of choices for young people to explore and develop themselves,” he said.
SMA has urged members of the public visiting its museums to adhere to precautionary and preventive measures in place to stem the spread of Covid-19.
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