In terms of population size, Sharjah is positioned 3rd in the UAE. It was termed as “The Cultural Capital of Arab world” by UNESCO in 1998. Located some forty kilometer far from Dubai, Sharjah is well-known for its scrumptious food and eye-catchy tourist sites such as Blue Market, Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization, Cultural Square, Sharjah Desert Park and many more. In Sharjah Desert Park, vacationers will find an opportunity to connect themselves with Mother Nature. The diversified varieties of flora and fauna of the park, a garden, a museum and the Sharjah zoo park and other attractions are ready to pay its visitors a very warm welcome.
Sharjah Desert Park at a Glance
In 1995, after its establishment in the Seih Al-Masmout Reserve, Sharjah Desert Park commenced its journey as a conservation center for this area’s endangered natural resources, e.g. flora and fauna.
Over the periods, it has posed itself into a dynamic education and entertainment center for tourists to spend a pleasant weekend in a beautiful botanical garden, a breeding facility and a petting farm for the ‘almost-extinct’ desert animals saved from their endangered habitations. Though, the breeding center doesn’t welcome general public.
Reasons for Visiting Sharjah Desert Park
The park is about 28 kilometer away from Sharjah hosting varied forms of edutainment and perfect for a family tour. Here, an individual will get the opportunity to educate him or herself about the very journey of lives on Earth through time and come across various species of animals and plants that are the natives to Sharjah.
For your little kids, Children’s Farm is there to offer exciting staffs like – it will provide them with a chance to feed and pet domestic animal species which include cows, sheep, the famous Arabian horses, and many more. There remains a garden dubbed as the Islamic Garden, decorated based on different Islamic concepts. It is a very rare, ‘one of its kind’ garden that contains different species of plants mentioned in the Noble Quran and Al Sunnah.
The most famous and popular area of the park remains as the ‘Arabian Wildlife Center’ where tourists can have a closer look at the native species of Sharjah such as the Arabian Leopard and Arabian Cobra. The Natural history and Botanical Museum will offer your whole family with both entertainment and educational staffs.
It will offer you with the most comprehensive facts about the ecosystems and species of the native area. Thus, once a conservation and today’s Sharjah Desert Park will provide you with an insightful representation of the natural balance and the evolution of species (both plants and animals) in the Arabian Peninsula.
Location and Transport to Reach Sharjah Desert Park
The Sharjah Park is about 30 kilometer east of the Sharjah city and goes along the Highway of Al Dhaid (e.g. E88) at interchange 9. You can reach there in two ways, one is taking bus and another is taking a car.
If you prefer bus then you can board on bus E311 untill Awir CMC which will take 1 hour and 45 minutes and rest of the distance via a taxi which will take only 24 minutes. Otherwise, you can take bus E400 towards Sharjah cement factory which will take 1 hour and 20 minutes and rest of the distance via taxi which will take only 5 minutes.
If you prefer car, you can take car directly from Sharjah airport. You can go all the way covering the distance in about fifteen minutes only. Parking of car will not be a problem you can easily find a parking space there. From Sharjah airport, taking car will be the best option to reach Sharjah Desert Park.
Sharjah Zoo Ticket Price
For adults, Sharjah Desert Park’s tickets will cost 15 United Arab Emirates dirham or AED and for children aged in between twelve and sixteen years, it will take 5 AED. Kids under twelve years can enjoy a free entry. According to most of the visitors the prices of the tickets are cheaper compared to what Sharjah Desert Park offers. Paying out this amount of money you can access to all the attraction venues except the venue of called breeding center. You will be happy to know that you can enjoy guided tours within this ticket money. One can avail the necessary tickets from the venue in person or form online platforms, e.g. websites.
Sharjah Desert Park Timings
The park stretches over one kilometer of ground and it is appropriate for people of all ages. The park remains closed on Tuesdays, otherwise it is open in all the days of a week. The schedule varies based on days of a week. In every Sunday to Thursday the Park remains open from 9:00 AM up to 5:30 PM. On Friday and Saturday Sharjah Park remains open from 2:00 PM to 5:30 PM and from 11:00 AM to 5:30 PM respectively. The best time to explore Sharjah Desert Park is the winter time, more specifically in between December to February, as this time the weather remains cool and comfortable. To have enough time to explore Sharjah Park it would be better to begin your visit as soon as the opening of the venue.
Things to do in Sharjah Desert Park
You have already come to know that Sharjah Desert Park will welcome you with its lively beauties of the nature. To make you more aware about the details we’ve made a list here, which can be done while visiting the park:
Natural History and Botanical Museum
From historical point of view, Sharjah was one of the richest cities in this area with a settlement history from over five thousand years. Huwayla tribe from the clan of the Qawasim declared Sharjah as independent in 1727. On year of 1820, Sheikh Sultan 1 made a treaty with the British, agreeing to a protectorate to keep out the Ottoman Turks.
By the 20th century, Sharjah extended its land to the region known as Wasit Suburb. On the 2nd December of the year 1971, Sharjah, along with Dubai, Ajman, Abu Dhabi, Fujairah and Umm Al Qawain joined United Arab Emirates or UAE. From the ancient to up to the modern time’s gradual conversion of the desert life and its habitats have been exhibited in Sharjah Natural History Museum which consists of numerous fragments or sections.
The first fragment or section is titled as ‘Journey through Sharjah.’ It exhibits different well preserved habitations along with graphical demonstrations of different types of climates to illustrate how the Sharjah’s native flora and fauna has evolved across time. The museum offers a very interactive display of its staffs thus here it helps tourists to get acquainted with varied forms of plant species easily. The plant species include different kinds of grass, algae, herbs, fungi and trees.
There remains another section which is dubbed as ‘The Desert Life’. This section presents the all about the environment of desert and displays how the living organisms have adapted with the harsh surroundings of the desert.
There is a hall which bears the theme ‘A Journey through Time’ in Sharjah Natural History Museum. It plays the pivotal role for geological exhibits here. It features a timeline for the earth and also includes a thigh bone of a dinosaur in fossil form. You can also see an immense chunk of copper ore in petrified form and even the first actual meteor from the space. It also displays the fossils for raindrops and also the globe’s most ancient rock.
The section named as ‘The Living World’ shows graphical presentation for different living organisms. From there you will know how these living organisms impact upon the environment, human beings and the rest of the natural habitats.
‘The Living Sea’ hall or the fifth section of the museum features replicas of different kinds of marine creatures. If you are keen to learn about underwater ecosystem then this will be the most suitable place for you.
The Sharjah Natural History and Botanical Museum commenced its journey on the 6th of March of the year 2008. Soon after the inauguration and still today it is regarded as one of the famous attractions of the Sharjah emirate to visit with family and friends. This Museum has every element to serve as a a colorful place of excitement and at the same time as a source of both entertainment and education for individuals of all ages. Furthermore, people of academia more specifically from botany background will find this museum to be an appropriate place to know more about different plant lives and even about the ancient ones which are more than million years old.
Arabia’s Wildlife Center
This wildlife center could be said as one of the most cherished sites for the visitors at Sharjah’s desert park. Arabia’s Wildlife Center started its journey in the year of 1999 and it was inaugurated by the ruler of Sharjah emirate and the member of UAE Supreme Council Mr. Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi. This Wildlife Center is the first of its kind founded in the whole UAE. This center pays extra attention on making its visitors know about the variety of the different living species in the region of Arabian Peninsula. The Wildlife Center and Sharjah zoo Park can offer you with the attractions including the followings:
- Reptiles and Insect House: Here, visitors can find different indigenous species of reptiles and insects of the Arabian Desert. These diverse species include the Puffer snake, Arabian Cobra and the Saw-scaled Vipers.
- Aviary or the Birds’ Cage: The section of the zoo in Sharjah is occupied with different avifauna of the numerous deserts, valleys and mountains from the Arabian area. It has become the home for different types of bird spices like the Houbara bustards, partridges, weavers and so on. The way towards the aviary can also take you to the bat’s cave. In this portion of Sharjah zoo park visitors can watch the fruit bats of Egypt and the blind cavefish of Oman.
- Nocturnal Animals or Animals of the Night: In this section of Arabia’s Wildlife Center, tourists and visitors can enjoy different species of animals which are specifically active during the night time. These species of nocturnal animals include mongooses, honey badgers, foxes, wildcats and many more.
- Large Primates and Carnivores: Different kinds of carnivorous animals and several species of monkeys are also the natives of Sharjah region. This part of the Wildlife Center displays mainly five cages that contain Arabian Wolf, Arabian Leopard, Hamadryas Baboons, Striped Hyena, and other specious of carnivorous animals.
- Observation Area and Cafeteria: For a wildlife loving person this could be said as pure gem. This area is spacious including a cafeteria which makes it really vast. You can enjoy an outstanding view of the area along with the bite in delicious food. From here, visitors can easily watch the ostriches, Gazelles, Arabian Oryx and other desert animals roaming in their native habitats.
Beside sightseeing and enjoying animal lives, the Sharjah Zoo Park or formally dubbed Wildlife Center can really be a place of edutainment to both learn about the native animal species firsthand and enjoy the audio recordings buzzing in background and the educational panels. Zoo in Sharjah is climate-controlled and its surrounding makes the overall experience more comfortable for the viewers from all age group and especially for children.
Children’s Farm in Sharjah Desert Park
The Children’s Farm first commenced its journey at Sharjah Desert Park in May of the year 1997. The area of Children’s Farm is a well preserved area but the preservation doesn’t hamper its natural flavor. This venue is there ready to offer your little kids a warm welcome to get themselves familiar with different species of domesticated animals and birds.
Here, in farm’s outdoor area, the children have the opportunity to pet and feed the animals they like. The domestic animals which children can feed and pet include sheep, cows, goats, Arabian horses, and camels. Apart from this, there are other activities also and you can take part in awareness raising workshops to get familiar with the native bird and animal species or this type of staffs.
There is no age limit to participate in these activities. There is an indoor area of children farm which has a tiny library full of reading materials especially focusing on the kids. Children can also enjoy environment related movies and relevant documentaries in the library section.
Breeding Centre for Endangered (or Threatened) Arabian Wildlife (BCEAW)
This center was founded in the year of 1998. Its objective is to save the threatened or endangered animal species. Since the establishment, BEEAW has been playing a crucial role for doing research work concerning some endangered species which are native to the region. Those threatened species include the Arabian Leopard and Arabian Cobra. BCEAW also conducts activities like international breeding projects for endangered species like the cheetah, sand cat and many more. In rendering these types of activities, BCEAW maintains a strong liaison with both the local and international researchers of grass-root level, different departments of the government and their respective facilities and other institutes.
Islamic Botanical Garden
This botanical garden was first initiated in the year of 2014. It has become the first of its kind in the whole Middle East. Islamic Botanical Garden is well adorned with greenery of different plants and trees.
Around one hundred plants are there those are mentioned in the Noble Quran and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be upon Him). The plants include pomegranates, saffron and figs and so on. The Islamic garden’s motive is to promote a self-reflection. It has ornamental pools, beautiful paved walkways along with narrow waterways which were basically similar to the irrigation channels constructed taking ideas from the traditional water channels of irrigation popularly known as the ‘Aflaj’.
Visitors can explore through the premises and access the interpretation center, where there remain exhibits as well as touchscreens features. Touchscreen interfaces will make it easy for you to interact. Such kind of arrangements facilitates the tourists to learn easily about the plants of this botanical garden. Visitors of all ages can enjoy delicious foods in the adjacent cafe. The cafe offers Arabic cuisines to its customers and you will be amazed to know that many of these cuisines are prepared from the produce of the Islamic Botanical Garden. You can also visit the nearby library. The library is occupied with books on plants suitable for readers of all age groups.
Cafeteria Desert Park
There remains a cafeteria inside of the Sharjah Desert Park. Here, you can find different kinds of beverages and snacks. It offers both takeaway and dine-in services. Besides, you can try several other cafes nearer to the Sharjah Park. These cafes and restaurants include Gheroub Al Shams, Al Bathaieh, Al Fayy Restaurant & Cafe and so on.
Picnic in Sharjah Desert Park
This park could be a perfect destination to enjoy a picnic with your kids. Your children will be thrilled by getting the opportunity to explore this huge park occupied with all the native and beautiful animals, birds and different spices of insects.
Talking about animals, birds and insects, in the Arabia Wildlife Centre kids can enjoy the wild lizards, slithering snakes, rodents, beetles, a diversified variety of frogs, poisonous scorpions and so on. Your little ones will be surprised to see the diversified variety of the native species of Arabinan peninsula that Sharjah Desert Park hosts: different kinds of amphibians, the reptiles, variety of birds, aquatic animals, nocturnal animals and the carnivores, roaming about in almost everywhere in their native habitats.
Sharjah Desert Park as a Ecotourism Site
The Sharjah Desert Park remains as one of the significant destinations that has more boosted the ecotourism charm of the area. Tourists relish really an exceptional occasion to discover the captivating secrets of both botanical and geological lives of the desert in the Arabian Peninsula and it is not far from Sharjah city, just along the Al Dhaid Highway.
There remain other ecotourism sites in Sharjah. The Wasit Nature Reserve offers a diverse kind of ecosystem which brings altogether the sand dunes of coastal area of Sharjah, the salt flats, lakes and ponds. On the other hand, Wadi Al Helo and the Mountain Conservation Centre of Al Hefaiyah offer vast landscapes which bring together ancient architectural landmarks along with the wildlife ecosystems of the native area. Upon all these ecotourism sites Sharjah Desert Park prevails with its exceptional attributes and thus contributes to the developmental course of the ecotourism sector of Sharjah. Hence, visitors aware of the ecotourism idea find this venue of the Emirate as an environment-friendly and sustainable option of edutainment.
- Before Visiting What You Need to Know
There remain a few dos and don’ts which you need to know before visiting Sharjah Zoo Park. Here, a list is given below which will be beneficial for you while visiting Sharjah Desert Park:
- Please keep in mind that that taking photo is not welcome here. Thus, you cannot take photo in the park premises.
- If your visiting time in the park is summer, don’t forget to put on light clothes. But your attire should be appropriate to the Arabian customs and culture. In case of your winter visit, ensure to carry a jacket with you. It will be necessary while you will visit outdoor places.
- Any kind of pet yours will not be allowed in Sharjah Park venue.
- It is highly suggested that visitors should wear a face mask all times while visiting the park.
- Don’t forget to have your valid ID along with you. This will be required for the entrance in the park.
- Remember that tourists can carry their own food along with them inside the park. Necessary refreshments are also accessible in the cafeteria inside the park premises. In the spot of the park you can have a picnic and enjoy the time with your near and dear ones.