Thousands of people from across the UAE flocked to Sharjah Aquarium and Sharjah Maritime Museum during the first two extended weekends, officials said.
The Sharjah Museums Authority (SMA) decided to keep the doors of both destinations open for seven days a week from 8am to 8pm Saturday through Thursday, and from 4pm till 8pm on Fridays.
Adjustments to workdays by SMA came in response to Sharjah governments new Friday through Sunday weekend.
During the last two weekends, more than 2,000 visited Sharjah Maritime Museum, and over 3,000 visited Sharjah Aquarium.
Visitors expressed happiness over SMAs decision to open the two tourist attractions throughout the week, saying the new weekend will mean more people visiting them.
I always take my son to Sharjah Aquarium where he gets to learn about marine life. Now, with the longer weekend, we have more time to visit other important Sharjah attractions, 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 government edutainment centre showcasing marine life in the UAE. It houses more than 100 species of marine life, including clown fish, seahorses, and reef sharks, among others. Visitors also get a chance to watch fish feeding daily at 10am, and shark-feeding at 1:30pm on Mondays and Thursdays.
The Sharjah Maritime Museum situated opposite the aquarium, on the other hand, is one of the most famous tourist attractions in the country. The museum opened in 2003 in Al Mareijah area, before relocating to Al Khan in 2009.
Ronald Benson from the Philippines, believes keeping both museums open for seven-days a week will encourage many people to visit, and will contribute to a culture of exploration. This is my sons 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.
During the extra weekend day, Bensons family decided to visit other museums which they never had a chance to explore before.
Atef Selim from India, drove all the way from Ras Al Khaimah to allow his children explore the aquarium. I came based on many recommendations from 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 is helping boost family bonding as people can now spend more quality time together.
Ukrainian tourist Irena Casishovna said she looked at other locations before deciding to travel to Sharjah since it is 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. What drew me most to Sharjah was its museums that are certainly rich with information about the countrys culture and that of the region and other civilisations, she said.
Sharjah Aquarium provides a great opportunity for people to teach their children about the importance of marine life and how to preserve it, she added.
Egyptian Muhammad Shehadeh and his family have drawn up plans to visit all museums and cultural sites in the emirate. 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.
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